Saturday, April 2, 2011

Why does this make me so uncomfortable?

God I really, really need to get on that shrink thing. It's at the point where I can (almost always) usually (mostly) kind of be gracious and polite when Laurie and Tom give us stuff. Of course sometimes I cry and sometimes they can tell my thank you is a little choked, but I always get it out.

Today after I got back from work, Laurie came over and wanted to go through our clothes with us. She sent Josh out and had us trying on stuff. I didn't realize how much she pays attention to our clothes until Laurie started saying things like, "Let me see those medium wash jeans with the missing back right pocket." Usually I am on top of us growing out of clothes and cycling smaller stuff down but not lately.

It was embarrassing that she kept telling us to un-cuff our jeans so she could see if they were long enough (they aren't - that's why we're rolling them). Laurie pointed out to Danielle where the shoulder seam was on a bunch of her shirts and where it's supposed to be. How my skirts should be at my waist rather than my hips, and if they are, then they're too short. I could feel my face turning red every time Laurie pulled out a pair of socks with holes in them.

She was really nice about it, and I think my sisters were having fun (or at least not upset), but it was killing me. When Laurie suggested she take us to replenish I pointed out that since we just handed things down to each other, it wasn't really needed. She smiled and told me, "It would be nice to fill in the holes, wouldn't it?" I couldn't do it - I told Laurie catching up on missed school stuff was my priority this weekend.

Laurie: Well, you don't mind if I take the girls then, do you?
Of course they were all, "No, she doesn't!" and ran to get their jackets.  I don't know why this made me so furious, but it did. When my sisters came home they were loaded down with bags and super happy, which just made me even angrier.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that you feel so angry about this. It sounds like Laurie and Tom are just basically really nice people and that they care about you and your sisters a lot. Perhaps she thought it would cheer you up after being so sick--after all, most girls probably get cheered up by new clothes. I think it's thoughtful that she included your sisters. Maybe it makes her happy to do these things with you and your sisters because she doesn't get to do them with her own daughter. Maybe that's your gift to her. It doesn't really seem all that different than the fire families having you over for dinner all these years except that Laurie and Tom are probably better off financially and are able to give in a different way.

I hope that you can work it out in your mind somehow. Your gift to your sisters is letting them enjoy Larie's gift.

I hope I haven't said this all wrong. I'm not nearly as good as you are with the written word.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Kathy above. It seems like Laurie enjoys doing "girly" things with you and your sisters because of what she missed with her own daughter.

Try being honest with yourself as to why this makes you feel angry. Do you feel that by Laurie helping out with clothes means you aren't able to provide for your sisters and yourself? Or you feel she's interfering in an area you've always taken care of?

Also being able to spend time with Laurie, a positive role model, is a good thing for you and your sisters. It seems her actions are coming from the right place (her heart). You and your sisters deserve to have a positive influence especially after all those years with your aunt.

I'm trying to help you view things from a different perspective.:-)

Anonymous said...

Maybe uncomfortable because you are proud, independent and don't like to take too much. Also, your sisters sided with Laurie, in this case, and not with you (maybe why you felt angry with them)

Jane said...

My favorite thing in the world is to buy things for other people, especially my children. Especially when it is something that they can't buy for themselves. I think Laurie feels like your mom, and maybe you feel sad/uncomfortable/even resentful because your own mom isn't here to do all those things. And because your sisters probably don't even remember that much about your mom. Laurie isn't trying to and can't take the place of your mom. She's just trying to fill in some of the holes.

Anonymous said...

Sam - I agree with the above comments. My sister get free counseling through her school. She is in a public university in NJ (Jersey City). Please check with your school.

Alisha said...

Agreeing with everyone above. Sam, you will always be YOU to your sisters -- the person who has cared about them the most for the past decade and still does, the person who has done the most for their physical and emotional well-being and still does. Letting them enjoy attention and gifts from other people who care about you all won't detract from that; on the contrary, if you can manage to allow that without letting them see that you feel bad (and hopefully soon without actually feeling bad), that's another way to love them. It's a form of generosity, allowing them to benefit from the goodness of others as well as from your own efforts on their behalf. And, for that matter, it would be generosity to yourself if you could accept kindness directed *your* way. You've done an unbelievable job making the best out of a very hard life...when someone comes knocking to try to make it easier, let them in! :-)

Anonymous said...

It seems like she's oversteping a bit? Maybe suggest (to Josh) that in the future she ask you if it's ok to do something like this before she comes over & starts going through your closet?

It reminds me of the bedding issue. I think she needs to be a little more sensitive to you & give you fair warning ~ then you at lease have a choice to say (& mean) "thank you" or "no thank you."

It's your home & belongings ~ your choice. Sorry you feel upset. T

RC said...

I've been married for over 15 years and my MIL still oversteps her bounds. I know she isn't doing it to be malicious so many, many times I turn the other cheek to save my sanity.

I think this is partially Laurie trying to be helpful and seeing that she is treating you and your sisters as her "daughters". I'm not sure what the right answer is, but maybe talking to a professional would help so that you can find some peace about this. It doesn't seem to me that Laurie is going to change.

Yankee, Transferred said...

Armchair shrink here. I think there are several things going on: Laurie wants to be the mother of a daughter-or three-and her own daughter won't play. She feels protective of you, and that trickles down to your sisters. I know I would feel a little like, "Hey. I did this for years without help. I can still do it." All of these things, jumbled up with your sisters' enthusiasm for new stuff and having Laurie be like the good aunt (as opposed know who) can be very confusing. Sometimes, confusion causes anger.
I hope you do talk to someone, just to make things easier on yourself. You have a lot going on in your life, and you do an amazing job of juggling.

thordora said...

Even at 33, anyone trying to mother me makes me feel all sorts of weird-angry, sad, excited, fucked up. I can only imagine watching it happen with the sisters you have been the mother figure to.

No advice, but talking it out will help.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if you are feeling Laurie's actions as unsolicited judgment. The nicest, most nurturing, trying-to-be-helpful judgment, but judgment all the same -- like she's saying that even with the 110% effort you put into taking care of yourself and your sisters, your best just isn't good enough. I can totally understand how that would be frustrating even if she had the very best of intentions. No answers here -- just trying to see how it might feel from your point of view. Good luck sorting through it all.