Money Changes Everything

My parents came back through on their way home last night. We had to stop at Walmart and send money to my nephew for something. Then they fought about how much money to give to the Butcher for his birthday.

They ended up giving him a generous amount, but I’m sure it was less than they gave my nephew.

Which… I don’t know. I have grave doubts that money they sent my nephew is going to the thing he told them it was for. I think, instead, it’s going to his mom, who has, yet again, burned all bridges in her life.

And on the one hand, it’s their money. They should do what they want with it.

On the other hand, it’s utterly noticeable how much more money they give to our brother and his family than they give to the rest of us, how uneven it is.

I’m trying to just learn to roll with my resentment, to tell myself that it’s okay to feel angry and conflicted about it and to not have a plan for resolving those feelings.

But it’s hard because I feel like they’re also trying to spend my money. I should get a new car so our brother can have my car so the nephew they’re always throwing money at can have my brother’s car. I should get this furniture or that furniture. I should… blah blah blah.

This is a fear that’s always been sitting in the back of my mind–that I’m supposed to also do for the family what they do for the family. That they can’t see me as a person with my own life and wants and desires. I’m just supposed to be another sucker like them–working hard and throwing that money at whoever seems to need it the most.

Plus, they’re miserable. They just fight with each other and bitch about their friends.

And I have been working so hard to stop being miserable that I am afraid of getting sucked back into that.

Anyway, here’s my nephew. He’s also unhappy. But I think that’s just because he’s in a growth spurt.


4 thoughts on “Money Changes Everything

  1. At least this one is too small to need a car.

    You can’t change your parents. They do things that reasonably cause resentment. It will continue to happen. You can work on learning to let go of that more easily, but I imagine they’ll always keep right on doing the same old stuff. It’s hard to deal with. But they also can’t change you, and at least you’ll never be the enabler they want you to be.

  2. You’re not going to get sucked in, because you’ve been outside the bubble and you know it’s better. And it is! To go back in, you’d have to shrink or kill parts of yourself that you love, and you’re not going to do that.

    You’ve chosen, as much as possible, to live your life in a way that works for you. Your parents are ultimately powerless to change that, and that’s the way it should be.

    But as you said, they are blinded by their own unhappiness and unable to see you as you truly are, a main character in your own story and not a side character in theirs. There’s a concept in Le Guin’s Always Coming Home, she calls “making up the world;” people who refuse to see reality or embrace it or grapple with it, but withdraw and refuse to see anything but the world they’ve made up. Meanwhile, reality keeps happening around them and to them, and they miss the good as well as the bad, and usually end up mistreating themselves and others.

  3. It bites when you realize that someone who is supposed to love you is, at least momentarily, regarding you as a resource they can take from to supply whoever they’re obsessed with at the moment.

    Like when I was an undergrad, carefully budgeting my money and determined to extract the most education from every dollar spent (professors who wasted class time earned Spock-eyebrow glares from me), my father decided that I should pay for half of a camper-trailer he decided my elder sister needed.

    His logic was that since I could theoretically use it too, I should pay for half of it. Of course, I didn’t have a vehicle that could tow it, and it was to be kept a thousand miles from where I lived, but I should still pay for half. He never stopped insisting, to me and to others, that this would be for my benefit.

    Parents’s voices can create demons that inhabit us — no one else has such power. Because our very lives hung on them when we were most fragile. It’s not fun.

  4. Helen, thanks for this comment. I’m sorry you had to go through that, but you’ve articulated a couple of things here I haven’t been able to put into words and I really appreciate that.

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