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Questioning my family

big greg

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I found this site a week ago, and read alot before I started posting, and while I'm on a roll I figured I'd get some opinions on something that has been bothering me for a while about something my mom told me.


My parents are a mismatch. My dad's a 450 pound "manly" man who farts, spends alot of time out drinking, and has general bad habits and is quick tempered, and who * * * * ed off in college and has had to struggle making middle class wages (not really ambitious) at a lemming job. My mom is an intellectual, who was valedictorian, college graduate, high achiever, high class, ambitious, "type A" personality, good manners, etc. I can remember growing up how they would fight, and I can remember my mom giving me a ride to school and crying, talking out loud about why on earth she married my dad. It became clear to me at an early age that they stayed together just because of me. While I was growing up, my mom missed out on a big career, and ended up retiring early, so their financial situation is middle class and since she's such a high class/high achiever, she thinks that it isn't living comfortably and that the only way you can live comfortably is to be rich. They were both married before, and were 30/31 when they got married to each other.


When I grew up and moved out and started doing things on my own, they kind of geared down into that "retirement/relax" part of life. She stays at home and is a seamstress that does alteration work for the big sewing shops, and dad's still working at the hospital. They started getting along better, and I could tell that there wasn't enough tension as before. They'd take motorcycle rides up scenic roads, and have fun together. It's because my mom has just "Accepted" things, and she learns to deal with the things that make her mad and just get over them before they happen so that she doesn't get mad like she used to. It makes me sad, but they get along better now.


I've always been a mama's boy, and I always relate to what she has to say more than dad because she is on more of an intellectual level, but I love them both the same. We were driving home from a blue-man group concert (dad was out golfing and drinking with friends), and we got to talking. I asked her what she was doing when she was 23. She said she had a degree, a job, was married, and had just bought her first house. We got to talking about that, and she said that her ex husband died. I asked how, and she said brain cancer. He was some big shot pharmacist. We got to talking some more, and she said that they found out about the brain cancer when they were going through the divorce, and that the cancer had attributed to his personality changes that caused the divorce in the first place. She mentioned that she is the kind of person that plays "whatever hand of cards she's dealt". I asked her, if her first husband hadn't of gotten the cancer, what she would be doing now... and she said the words that have been bothering me ever since... she said "We would have been set up to have a very comfortable life".


I'm open minded, but I also analyze things people say. After she said that, I actually got sick to my stomach and was about to throw up, but I hid it. What I got from what she said, is that she doesn't like her life now and my whole existence is just "playing the hand you were dealt", and not what she really "wanted". The way she said it makes it sound like she isn't really happy with the way things turned out, but she's just making do. I know she loves me, but I honestly couldn't sleep for days after hearing that, knowing that my whole existence is just an alternate tangent path on her life plan, and isn't what she originally wanted. I know her well enough to know that what she REALLY wanted was this perfect chivalrous gentleman husband and to be rich and high class with a big house and nice cars. It's kind of like finding out that you were an unplanned pregnancy, I don't know exactly what kind of emotions they unveil but they just make me want to crawl into a corner somewhere and not talk to anyone. I mean, my whole existence is based on something that got over looked and could have been fixed.


Can anyone relate?

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I think you have taken this the wrong way. Your mother was just answering your questions and the fact is, if that hadnt happened then she would be set up for a comfortable life. Doesn't mean she regrets you or her life now.


Everything happens for a reason and the smallest things change our path forever. For example, if my mum hadnt moved to South africa and met my dad she never would have had me. But it DID happen and shes GLAD it happened but if it hadnt it might have been completely different. Its just the way things work out.


Its like how your boyfriend or girlfriend might have several exes. Yet those exes have probably led that person TO you. Things are meant to work out in certain ways. Your mother loves you. And yeah life can be tough but I bet you she doesnt regret it.

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I think you are misinterpreting what she said. When I read it, I took it to mean that she meant financially comfortable. That has little or nothing to do with you. When she said she is playing the hand she was dealt, I think she was just using an expression to convey that she makes the best of things. Maybe it's true that she had some unhappy times with your father, and maybe she would have done things differently given the chance. But wouldn't we all? Think about all the divorced people in the world. They might regret the marriage, but I would guess many of them don't regret the children that resulted from that marriage.


I think you are reading too much into this. It sounds like you have a close relationship with your mother, so clearly she loves you very much. This is about her, not you.


Also- I am the result of an "unplanned pregnancy" as are my brother and sister. It's no big deal. Plenty of babies are unplanned. Doesn't mean they're unloved when they get here. Parents seem to have a remarkable ability to separate their children from their feelings about their marriages, jobs, etc. It's just a different bond and relationship.

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The first thing I'd like to address here is this statement:


I asked her, if her first husband hadn't of gotten the cancer, what she would be doing now... and she said the words that have been bothering me ever since... she said "We would have been set up to have a very comfortable life".


Realistically, there is no way she could know what might've been. She may have an idea...but how much of it is based on wishful thinking? It's easy to think that path not taken (for whatever reason) would've been so much easier, rosier and better than where we are now. It's likely that path-not-traveled would've had its own set of challenges and there is no way to know if we would've been happier with what really would've occurred in that alternate reality (as opposed to what we think/believe/wish would've happened).


It became clear to me at an early age that they stayed together just because of me.


Oh...I suspect there are more reasons than you that made them stay together. It's not uncommon for kids to think they are the sole reason for things their parents do...from getting divorced to staying together to what color they decided to paint the living room. That's just the way kids think. But relationships are more complex and multi-dimensional than that. You were probably a big reason...but I'd be surprised if you were truly the only reason they stuck together. Both your parents likely had multiple reasons for sticking with each other....and some of them...maybe even a lot of them...probably had absolutely nothing to do with you. The fact that they are still together even now, when you are out of the house and on your own, tells me that there are many other reasons they stayed together.


You are not responsible for another person's happiness or their level of satisfaction with their lives. Not a significant other's, not a spouse's, not a parent's, not a child's. These intangibles -- happiness with and satisfaction with one's life -- are things that come primarily from our own thoughts and attitudes and the choices we make. All along the way in our lives, no matter what happens, we have the ultimate choice on how we are going to interpret events, what we are going to believe about events, and how we are going to allow those events to affect us. At any point along the way, all of us are free to make different choices in terms of how we look at things.


It's because my mom has just "Accepted" things, and she learns to deal with the things that make her mad and just get over them before they happen so that she doesn't get mad like she used to. It makes me sad, but they get along better now.


I don't understand why this makes you sad.


Acceptance is merely the process of acknowledging what is. There is no value judgement involved. She decided to not let things she cannot (or does not wish to) change make her angry anymore. From where I'm sittin'...that's healthy...because in a battle of wills between a brick wall and one's skull....bet on the brick wall.


As long as she is alive, your mom has the choice to change things. If she does not want to make big changes in her life for whatever reason (most people avoid big changes out of fear). She also has the choice to complain (or get angry or have other negative emotions about her situation)...or she can accept what is and make the best of it, if she know she is unwilling/unable to make any major changes at this time. From what you've written, she's chosen to change her attitude.


I haven't had a relationship with my parents for about 10 years now. (long story, posted many other places on this board, so I won't bore you with the irrelevant details) The relevant part is for my entire life and up until I severed my relationship with them, my parents never seemed to particularly like each other very much or have much of anything in common. At some point after I moved out of their house, they moved into separate bedrooms. At different times, both of them told me -- individually and independently of the other -- that they wondered if they'd have been better off not getting married at all (my mother's opinion) OR if they'd have been better off marrying someone else (my father's opinion). Never was a, "Oh, but I don't regret having you here" (or something along those lines) uttered from either of them.


I could get all maudlin about that...and maybe I did initially. It's been so long, I can't be sure anymore. But I've come to see it as their own responsibility for the choices they made in their lives...and their responsibility to either change their actions or their attitude if they didn't like/don't like where they are. If they chose differently, I might not be here or I might've had one different parent....but then I'd have different experiences and I wouldn't be the total of who I am. After a lot of therapy, I've decided I kinda like that chick...and I wouldn't be like this if I didn't have those two psycho parental units I do.

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