Sunday, May 28, 2006

Beware - Family Rant

What is it about families that makes them uniquely able to really get you riled up? Or me riled up - maybe you are the very model of placidity around your family.

Today's target is my brother. We went to Dad's dance class tonight. None of us want to be there of course. And dance class goes from FOUR pm til TEN pm, can you believe it? It's a whole social thing. Of course retired people have great slabs of time just waiting to be filled in, and they're all insomniacs and they have little naps before they go. I am exhausted after six hours of dance lesson. Not to mention dancing with about a zillion old men. I couldn't sit any out, as soon as I sat down someone would come and ask me to dance. It was a really stupid idea for me to take up dancing, now everytime I come down dad wants me to come dancing.

Anyway brother got cranky because he wanted his dinner, and threw a tantrum. I didn't see it, he would have thrown it at his girlfriend who is just exactly the sort of woman who gets into a domestic violence relationship and stays there. Not that my brother is phycially violent, he is just incredibly self-centred and gets cranky and starts yelling. I mean, we were at a CLUB for gawsake - you know, with the doorkeeper where you sign in, and pokies and of course a RESTAURANT section with greasy chicken schnitzel on special for $3.99 on Tuesdays and a $5 roast on Fridays. So if one was hungry you would think one could go and get one's own self a bowl of chips at the very least. No, no, instead he has to do the baby act and stamp his feet and rant and of course girlfriend runs after him and says 'it's because he hasn't had his medication yet.' Bipolar disorder does not make you an ARSEHOLE. I only found out about it afterwards and Dad said, 'He's upset because he hasn't had his medication yet', and I said, 'No, he's upset because he is being a PRICK and his condition does not make him have angry outbursts." I mean, now of course that he is SICK Mum and Dad really have permission to explain away any nasty behaviour as 'not his fault'. OOOOH it just makes me so cross (clearly). He is just so abrogating responsibility "oh I am having a tantrum because I have a mental illness' and he always has and Mum and Dad run around placating him because it's not good for him to have a tantrum. Embarrassing? Or were they just fearful of the potential damage? (plaster walls with fist holes through them, possessions smashed from being flung about the room, and so on.

I'm also cross because i didn't do anything about it. What would a wise person do? I mean, I didn't see the tantrum. I'm often on the periphery - I hear when they have just happened but I don't actually see them. So I don't feel like I can say, 'Get your shit together and take responsibility for yourself'

now of course he is back to being completely charming.

What WOULD a wise person do?
Yesterday he raised his voice to Dad and I told him to stop it. He wanted to go out to lunch, Dad was saying he shouldn't spend the money. So he gets into argument about it. I said, 'Stop responding to Dad. If you want to go to lunch, go.' He's like, 'Yesterday i wanted to buy a CD, Dad said no, it's a waste of money. When I was in Malta I wanted to buy some gold jewellery, dad said no it's a waste of money. Today I want to go to lunch, Dad says no, it's a waste of money.' I said 'Who cares what Dad said, just do what you want,' He said, 'But dad always says not to.' I mean, how old is he, five?? JUST GO AND DO IT.

Sorry to dump on you like this. Family is always going to get you in the end, isn't it. I think (here we go with the self-psychoanalysis) it really taps into how unfair it felt when we were kids that there was one rule for Zedd (my sister) and I and another rule for brother so as not to upset him. And his girlfirend's role is so scarily like my mother's, rushing around placating him.

I don't know if he would ever be physically violent but it's definitely the same dynamic. Any discomfort he is experiencing is her fault.

Well, that feels better. Thanks for listening (even if you did skim-read).

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