Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas isn't always Merry

For the past few days I have had a great sense of uneasiness.  It is overwhelming and something I could not shake. This usually means that the 18 year old is about to blow.  To my knowledge this hasn’t happened, but I doubt anyone would tell me if he did.

These feelings had me edge, but as I sat in church last night, another feeling hit me. The feeling of not being wanted or welcome.  As our pastor described why it was so amazing that the shepherds were the first to hear the news of Jesus’ birth, I identified with them.

She described a population that were thought to be outcasts, unworthy, unclean and smelly, just a lower class person.  These feelings were overwhelming.

As we ended the church service with great joy, that feeling just nagged at me.

When we got home, I did my Christmas Eve tradition of curling up on the couch and watching “It’s A Wonderful Life.”  My daughter was in bed, and hubby was on an ambulance shift until 11 PM, so I was essentially alone.

As I watched the movie, I identified with the main character, George Bailey.  He faces a hard time and feels that things would have been better if he had never been born.  If you’ve never seen the movie, an angel is sent to show him what life would have been like for the people he loves if he hadn’t been born. 

I was left with some of the same questions.  I posted this on Facebook and received some beautiful messages from people about how I have impacted their lives, but my feelings are not unusual for parents with emotionally disturbed children.

You see, I have basically lost my family.  There are a few people that have stuck by me through the years, but overwhelmingly, I have more criticism than anything.  Unless you parent a child or children like mine, you can’t understand. 

I have family members that truly wish I no longer walked this earth.  They would rejoice over my death.  (No, I’m not exaggerating.) 

A few years ago my grandmother on my mother’s side called me and told me that if I wanted to be invited back into the family and attend family functions again, I would need to meet with her and she would establish the rules for me.  Excuse me?  This is how family treats each other?  I don’t think so. That meeting never happened, and we don’t do family functions.

The contempt for me on the other side of the family is not hidden.  It is more passive aggressive, but it is still there.  I have two aunts that do the digs behind my back.  Other family members delight in joining them. 

My parents and my brothers, those relationships are non-existent.  My father and I get along, but he will never openly support me. 

So, during a season when everyone is talking about family and togetherness, it is a not so subtle reminder that I have none.  Don’t get me wrong, I can do without the drama and hearing what a horrible person I am, the glaring looks from people who wish they could kill me with looks, and the over all sense that I don’t belong.

It is just an in your face reminder of what we don’t have.  I love my in-laws, but they live in Texas and usually aren’t here for the holidays.

This feeling or phase will pass, but I wanted to write this because I know that I am not the only one that deals with this.  Many families of kids with attachment disorder have lost friends and family because they can never understand what we live with every day.  I know my son is working things at family gatherings and presenting himself as the charming and mistreated child.  Only someone who understands will see through his charming demeanor.

And in case you’re wondering… no, we haven’t heard a word from him since Thanksgiving.  We are useless to him if we won’t give him money.  The fact that he is not with us for Christmas means nothing to him.

The fact that I have “lost” a child weighs on me.

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