Friday, October 30, 2009


It’s interesting how things come back around. I thought I knew what I was in for when I took on the “job” of caring for my mother but as she declines and becomes an invalid, I find dealing with these issues very difficult. I am frustrated, angry, and filled with despair. In spite of all my training in dealing with emotions, I am not handling this well.

It’s funny how something will come along to give another perspective. I recently made contact with people I worked with years ago. I’d been out of touch for about ten years as I carried a lot of issues from those factory days. I left full of frustration and anger and I couldn’t bear to face those with whom I once worked. It took a year of healing before I was able to move on with my life, yet I still did not want any contact with those old acquaintances.

In this morning’s journal writing, I realized that the bare emotions from those early days are similar to what I am experiencing now. I asked myself how that could be. The situations are totally different but as I delved deeper, I looked back on my childhood.

My mother wasn’t typical. She’d be out playing hide and seek or kick the can instead of baking cookies. She’d be walking wooded trails and teaching us about plants instead of having coffee with the neighbors. As I grew older, my mother would be making up quiz games for us kids and not going to PTA meetings or making us go out for school sports. She and my aunt would take regular games like Parcheesi and change the game around by adding more “men” and adjusting the rules.

Questions arise. Does this mean that my mother never taught me social skills? I was much more at home in the woods than on the playground. I’d rather be out in the fields than participating in “girl” talk with others my age. I was a social outcast and it didn’t get better as I grew older.

Now, as I am slowly re-acquainting with old co-workers, I am reminded of the on-going struggle of trying to fit in and wondering why I never could. Why have these people come back in my life to remind me of that past anger at a time when the frustrations are resurfacing? Is it my fault that I never had a lot of friends or couldn’t seem to get along with anyone?

Perhaps I want everyone to act in a certain way and when they don’t live up to my expectations, I don’t want to be around them. Yes, I try to accept people for who they are, but the underlying fact is I get frustrated when people won’t behave as I’d have them. It’s like I don’t want to play their game.

That’s it! The light bulb goes off. I don’t want to play by anyone else’s rules… if I don’t like those rules… and today, as in years ago, when I don’t like the game, I stop playing. I often say, “I refuse to play their game” and that’s true with jobs, affiliations, the government (as much as one can) and anything else.

This is what makes me frustrated and angry. If I don’t believe in the rules of the game and I’m still forced to play, then I fall apart. The politics of the old job, the corporate atmosphere of the work place, and the current situation in health care and the decline of a parent are situations that drive me crazy. There are all those “not fairs” in the world and I don’t want to participate.

I cannot always have it “my way” though. There are times when I have to “suck it up” and get the job done. I can’t always re-write the rules to suit me. My mother is getting worse and I cannot change that.
What’s that old saying about “Accepting what you cannot change?” Maybe I can stop feeling so put upon, let go the anger, and accept what is with an open heart.

These old contacts resurfacing are a wake up call and remind me that if issues are buried without being resolved, they will come back. Then again, perhaps seeing the similarity between past and present might shed a new light on this journey of self discovery. Let’s hope so. I am looking forward to catching up with people who were once part of my life…

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