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Zoethe

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The source of the snit [Jul. 1st, 2004|02:13 pm]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |crushedcrushed]

Another conversation with my sister last night. Instead of taking it out on the whole LJ community again, I will simply have a directed rant this time. This is only going to be public a couple days, since people in her community look at our journals on occasion. But I really have to get it off my chest.

You all gave generously, and it got them through a crisis. But I really hoped that it would make a difference in the long run, and that hope has been proven vain.

Jon beat the DWI rap with a plea bargain, and then kicked back until he could get his license back, using every last minute of his unemployment up. Then bad news: the plea bargain allowed him to get his regular license back now, but he won't get his CDL (commercial license) back for another six months.

The first take of my mother and my sister: the damned public defender sold Jon down the river! Uh, no. The P.D. took advantage of some really sloppy police work to wriggle Jon out of what would have otherwise been an extremely bad situation. Of Jon's own making, no matter what the reasons and excuses. And you all didn't bother to pay attention when the license situation was explained. It's no one's fault but your own - but blaming it on the P.D. is much easier.

Unable to drive the truck, Jon then went back to his employer - who had generously kept him on the payroll so that they would have healthcare - and asked if he could work at any other job on the site until he can drive again. Boss said he had to think about it. Everybody had the long weekend of stress, worrying that the healthcare would be gone. But you know, the guy frickin' carried you for months, paying his part of your unemployment AND your healthcare premiums while getting nothing in return. Do you even begin to understand how generous that is - and how asking more is really asking too much? Why weren't you there working on site all these months? Why do you think you were entitled to sit on your butt?

Last week when I talked to Kris I asked if she had applied for disability yet. She said no, because the woman who set them up for foodstamps had told her that disabilities were hard to prove and it wasn't worth her time. I told her that was ridiculous and that she should contact Legal Aid for representation. She said the lady at the insurance company had told her the same thing. I said if that was the case she really should get on it, because they need the money.

I asked her last night if she had done anything about it. She said no, because the woman who set them up for foodstamps had told her that disabilities were hard to prove and it wasn't worth her time.

They are going broke. They are going to be thrown out of their house. They won't do anything to help themselves. And life is a litany of how they have bad luck and how some people are just mean-spirited.

And in all this, she is still hurting. She is taking massive numbers of drugs and all they are treating is symptoms. She has another procedure scheduled in July that they hope will solve the problem, but in the meantime isn't it nice that we had a campfire by the river last night.

She doesn't want to die, but she can't be bothered to take care of herself. And I would concede that it might be because of the drugs and the pain, but she has been like this all of her life. When her son was three the dentist had to remove all his baby teeth because back when he was 8 months old he had had an infection of some sort and they hadn't been able to give him milk for a week so gave him juice and after that he didn't want milk. It was easier to give in to him than make him do anything, so they stopped giving him any milk and raised him on juice. In a bottle. Including at bed time. He had no calcium as a baby, and no teeth until he was in school. But he's a strong, handsome young man now, so it didn't make any difference, now did it?

Everything that happens to them is not their fault, and something will always come along and rescue them. I remonstrated at her, get the forms, fill them out, you need the money, but I know that when I call again nothing will have been done. Because it won't happen unless someone else does it for them.

The irony is that when she is working she is really good at her job, extremely responsible. She just can't seem to apply that to her own life.

Our brother predicts she's going to die of this, because she isn't willing to do what it takes to keep that from happening. I am afraid he's right.
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[User Picture]From: shadesong
2004-07-01 06:18 pm (UTC)
Gyah. Jesus fuck.

I'm sorry, Gini.
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[User Picture]From: lubedpumpkin
2004-07-01 06:19 pm (UTC)
Too many people in this world are just like that. Even when they hit what other people would consider rock bottom they still find people to blame for their inability to get a footing.

You are a womderful person for being there for them, too bad they don't seem to appreciate it or learn from your motivation..
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[User Picture]From: servermonkey
2004-07-01 06:32 pm (UTC)
My thoughts exactly. My wife and I work our asses off for the things we do have, and appreciate any help that's ever come our way. One of her sisters (well, mostly her husband), on the other hand, seemed to think that the world owed them something for a long time. No job was good enough, he had to work on Sundays, he had to work too late at night, you know, whatever reason to turn down a job. It takes substantial effort to get fired, and that happened to him as well. It was pathetic. Thankfully, he's getting better, and while I do care for them, they really have to start taking responsibility for themselves.

I'd not be nearly as angry if I'd just been handed things all my life, I'm sure. I've worked for everything that I have, hell, I worked three jobs while carry an 18 hour course load for a couple of year.

Okay, I'll stop ranting.
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[User Picture]From: scathedobsidian
2004-07-01 06:25 pm (UTC)
Ugh.
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[User Picture]From: melanie
2004-07-01 06:30 pm (UTC)
god, this sounds so familiar that it makes me queasy.
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[User Picture]From: callie_chan
2004-07-01 06:32 pm (UTC)
Ouch.

It's bad enough when you see that sort of thing in acquaintances. When it's someone related to you, it's even worse. *hugs*

I hope she starts learning from your example and begins doing things to help herself before it's too late.

-Callisto
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-07-01 06:33 pm (UTC)
She's 37. I don't hold out much hope. Though my mother didn't turn her life around until she was in her late 40s....
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[User Picture]From: lyssabard
2004-07-01 06:37 pm (UTC)

Cyberhugs

I agree with what everyone has said, Gin, and I so understand how sorrowful and frustrating--hell, infuriating--a situation like this can be. Especially when you are like myself, who wants to fix things and make everybody happy.

It's a lesson going on for me this week as I try to reconcile the fact that another friend of mine is hurting people with his actions and all that I have said through the years means nothing.

For some people, it's easier to live in pain rather than to admit some of their suffering is their own fault. Because there is the danger to the ego (I may be a bad person! Or have been wrong!) is greater than any danger to their own body--or anyone else's (because hey, it's not *them*). Forgive me if that sounds harsh, but, I think that's the way it is.

If you need to call me and just plain rant at any time this weekend, do so. *grin* In fact, I'll ring ya tonight.

Love you much,
Lyssa
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-07-01 06:45 pm (UTC)

Re: Cyberhugs

Tonight's a bad night - Ferrett will be getting home this evening from the funeral and I need to be spending my attention on him. Tomorrow instead?
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[User Picture]From: dreagoddess
2004-07-01 06:39 pm (UTC)

*hugs*

I'm sorry. It sucks to be in that sort of situation, when you HAVE to care because it's family, but you don't WANT to because they've been such shits about it. I just hope things work out for you and for her kids. I can't bring myself to hope it on her behalf anymore.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-07-01 06:47 pm (UTC)

Re: *hugs*

Her kids are pretty much grown (20 and 15), and both have the life philosophy of striving not to be like their parents. Having grown up with that same life philosophy about mine, I know that they will make some heartbreaking mistakes, but I have hope that they will be okay.
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[User Picture]From: paranoidgrl
2004-07-01 06:43 pm (UTC)
You don't know me from Adam, and I know you mainly needed to vent, but anyway:

I represent people in Social Security hearings for Disability. Tell her that it is not hard to get; it is not pointless to apply. It can be a long process, yes, but I've seen a lot people get benefits. Also, if you qualify for SSI, you're automatically given Medicaid and that fact alone is worth it for some people.

You can get the application forms from Social Security. They're easy to fill out, and someone at that office can help you. You can be very general on these forms - I've seen applications that say nothing more than "I feel sick alot." Tell her to give all her medical records to Social Security herself; there's no guarantee that Social Security will collect those records for her. If those show that she can't handle a regular work week because of medical problems, there's a good chance she'll win.

Legal Services is a great resource. If she doesn't know her local office, here's a listing of the offices for each state.

You sound like you know all of these things already, so I hope you don't mind me jumping in. I should also disclaimer this and say that I'm being incredibly general about what the law is, so she should see someone who can talk about her individual situation.

I'll be keeping your family in my thoughts.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-07-01 06:51 pm (UTC)
No, I only had a vague idea. I can at least give her this information now and maybe that will help her get on the stick. Thank you so much for speaking up.
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From: fmh
2004-07-01 06:46 pm (UTC)
I know people exactly like that. Nothing is ever their fault, everybody's an "asshole" out to get them. Like the landlords, the police, child services, and anybody who expects them to turn out to a job on a regular basis, pay their bills and prioritize their life. A million handouts and a million excuses later nothing has changed.
Your combatting someone elses lifelong habit, whats worse is when you have several people like this together because they enable each other.
You need to distance yourself, which I know is hard when they're family. But you can't live their lives for them, you've already done the saints load trying to help them, and they're going to make you nuts with their lack of initiative.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-07-01 06:53 pm (UTC)
It's tough. I'm the big sister, and did the child-rearing for a portion of her youth. She has always identified closely with Mom, who had some of these same issues when she was younger.

But it kills me to give up.
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[User Picture]From: kibbles
2004-07-01 06:58 pm (UTC)
I know people like that, I am RELATED to people like that.

It's frustrating, and heartbreaking -- especially when you feel in your heart that their actions will lead to an early death. :(

I really feel for you. But you went above and beyond, at least you can get some comfort in that.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-07-01 07:00 pm (UTC)
I wish I could feel that comfort just now....
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[User Picture]From: jfargo
2004-07-01 06:58 pm (UTC)

Family

I've been going through something very similar with my family, that I will not get into here, because this isn't about me. I will, however, let you know what I have learned.

Sometimes, the best love is tough love, and while it seems cruel or selfish, sometimes you just have to say to someone "Look, I can't deal with this anymore. It's about time you do something for yourself. I'll be around to help, but I can't do everything, get off your ass, and deal with it."

You've said as much in your posts on depression. Sometimes it just has to be that way for other things too. Your sister and her husband need to take responsibility for themselves, and if they don't, well, they need to learn the consequences.

It just feels like it's sink or swim time.

No matter what you choose though, Gini, I wish you the best luck in the world. You have a magnificent heart, and I wish there was some way that I ~knew~ would help with the situation. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts. That includes Ferrett.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-07-02 01:54 am (UTC)

Re: Family

The thing is, they aren't even asking for help. She doesn't call if I don't call, they haven't even inquired if there are any funds left. There is some left, reserved in case she asks to be flown out here to see a specialist, but I've offered and I'm not gonna offer again. She has to try, at least marginally.
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[User Picture]From: apostate_96
2004-07-01 07:04 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, I can relate to that all too well due to the latest disaster in my life. I very sincerely hope that your sister doesn't go down the same road my cousin did. I'll be prayin' like Hell that somehow, someway they'll "get it" before it's too late.

And I'll be praying 'n' sending the positive thoughts/vibes out for you, too.

*hug*
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-07-01 07:45 pm (UTC)
God, I am so sorry. Sorry that you are going through that and sorry that I missed that entry. My love and prayers are with you.
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[User Picture]From: frawg_angel
2004-07-01 07:06 pm (UTC)
My mother is disabled, vision, and I go through this with her constantly. Dealing with my mom and your sister seem a lot alike. I love my mother, but she has a sense of entitlement and nothing is her fault, even when she has 3 higher ed degrees! See, because people discriminate against the disabled. And if she gets a job it would only be for pity anyway, so she wouldn't want that. She shouldn't move because it's too much of a hardship on her, all the things to do. She shouldn't have cataract surgery because... well, it might work, but that nagging 30% that she might need a second surgery is too much for her to bare. Any little nuance of tone from anyone (her friends, church, her mother, and my brother) can turn her back into the spineless jelly who applies for maybe 2 jobs a month and complains about how bad the job market is for teachers... except she's only applied to 3 different schools!

It is the hardest thing in the world to watch someone you love who has so much capability turn not only on you but on themselves. I'm sorry your sister isn't doing what's necessary because others have echoed her doubts to her. They're the loudest voices, not the ones of hope and health. I'm sorry that her husband isn't helping or taking responsibility for his end in this mess. I'm sorry your mom is enabling the situation.

We aren't only products of our environment. There are situations like these where some of us come out and wonder "What the fuck?" and are better for it. Hurt, jaded, and suspicious, but also still full of hope, love, and pride. There is always that one good biscuit in the pan of burnt. You are a wonderful sister, a good woman, and your efforts...no matter how thrown off, are not useless. The moment you choose to walk away, that's also not failure or not caring, it might be the best caring you can do.

*hug*
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From: blumindy
2004-07-01 10:25 pm (UTC)

Social anxiety disorders

There are medications for things like depressions and panic attacks which can also help people like this. I know, they have to want help and they have to take the medications, but sometimes, once you've forced it on them, they see how much better they can be and they want it to stay that way.
If not, they have to suffer tough love or you have to be willing to sacrifice you life, money and well-being to support them. Your choice.
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From: nasagrl
2004-07-01 07:16 pm (UTC)
I know so many people like that. Starting with my now ex-husband, and working up to two of my past roommates. Never their fault that they didn't have jobs, or couldn't support themselves.

I was always the one to step in and try to make things better, offering them money, places to stay, alternatives.

Sometimes, there's just nothing you can do.

But venting is always good.
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From: tessbelle
2004-07-01 07:47 pm (UTC)
*BIG HUGS* Sorry things are working out the way they are.
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[User Picture]From: paradoxicalme
2004-07-01 07:59 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry to hear about this. All I can say is that my thoughts and prayers are with you.
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[User Picture]From: galateadia
2004-07-01 08:21 pm (UTC)
oh my, what a mess.
and what a crappy thing to have to go through with family.
while i can empathize a bit, its mostly with longer distance family for me. uncles and aunts and the like. not someone so close.
i am hoping for her sake and yours that she turns it around like your mother did in her later years. if she can make it that long...:(
*hugs*
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[User Picture]From: donkey_hokey
2004-07-01 09:52 pm (UTC)
What a mess, again. I'm sorry you're dealing with this again.
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From: cktraveler
2004-07-01 11:20 pm (UTC)
... okay, yeah. I still take issue in the general case, but in this instance you are 100% right.
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[User Picture]From: mizdandylynn
2004-07-02 12:02 am (UTC)
I'm sorry. I know they are small words for a huge worry and an even huger hurt. I was afraid this would happen. I have family who does this same thing...and then they complain about the "system" and "others" ... nothing is ever them. You have done so much... don't let yourself feel guilty for anything...

*hug*
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-07-02 01:49 am (UTC)
I don't feel guilty, only foolish. And so very, very sad....
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[User Picture]From: shezan
2004-07-02 12:13 am (UTC)
You know, last time you posted about this situation, I sat on my hands not to reply that in all likelihood, your sister's disabling illness that nobody can figure out is entirely psychosomatic. I don't mean she doesn't feel terrible pain; I mean that her entire life system is geared to manufacturing crises that will enable her to revert to a 3-year-old's irresponsibility state; and in this case her subconscious is making her ill. (Yes, you can die of psychosomatic diseases; many people get cancer from largely psychosomatic reasons. Real cancer, kills them all right.) At the time however, I resisted posting, figuring that in your time of anxiety you didn't need back-seat advice from some disinterested party on the other side of the ocean.

But really, there's a pattern here. She (and her husband) feed on your anxiety; it gives her the feeling she exists. It's leeching. I don't know if you've ever shouted at her, gale-force shouting, that everything that happens to her is HER FAULT and you're simply not interested any more, but in your shoes, I would. And hang up.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-07-02 01:45 am (UTC)
I don't think they feed on my anxiety, in that I do not place myself in their lives continually. And Kris has always had a pretty sunny attitude - to the point of obliviousness. I don't really impact their lives that much. I can understand where your instincts on this would be coming from, but I don't think my involvement or lack thereof is gonna make that much difference.
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[User Picture]From: cubes
2004-07-02 01:02 am (UTC)
There is a glimmer of hope in all of this... sometimes it takes hitting a rock bottom far lower than you'd think a person could survive, and then they wake up and DO something about it. Sometimes when everyone around them finally throws up their hands and walks away in disgust and lets them finally fall flat on their face, sometimes that's what it takes. Sometimes all you can do is stand back and watch and hope they get the wake up call before it kills 'em.

I've seen miracles happen, just that big and then some.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-07-02 01:48 am (UTC)
Yaeh, except my mom is back there and that means tht she probably will not bottom out....
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[User Picture]From: correspondguy
2004-07-02 05:07 am (UTC)
I concur with the chorus of voices agreeing that this is max suckage. I am the last person to give advice, but I suspect that you're gonna need to pull a rip cord and get out of this plane before it hits the ground.

I've seen this pattern before. Hell, I've been in this pattern before, except I knew that it was me fucking up my life, not anyone else.

Let me tell you about a guy I know. Dude was in and out of the program for a long time. He'd get sober for a while, find some work, and decide a couple of drinks would be just fine. He'd end up on the street, smelling so bad that the other street people would avoid him.

One day, he was in an derelict house, drinking, when his lamp spilled on him and his leg caught fire. To repeat, his leg was literally on fire. He went to the hospital three days later, because he still had booze. They were sure he was going to get gangrene and wanted to remove the leg to ensure that he wasn't going to die. He talked them out of it, and a couple of days later, he walked out against medical advice.

He drank for a while after that, and several months later, he had his last drink. He's been sober for twenty years.

Now, I tell you that story not because I think either Jon or your sister is an addict (reserving the DWI, but it doesn't sound like a chemical dependency to me, and you've told me that it isn't), but because that's the guy I know with the lowest bottom. (I could also make a case for the guy who got shot by the cops, but he was armed and in a blackout.)

I've got a post brewing about this, but there are all flavors of addiction. And what they have in common is that the addict has a life that's out of control and a denial that they're the ones allowing it to be out of control. If a guy can set fire to his leg, and not go to the hospital, and not think, "Gee, if I hadn't been drunk, I might not be in this agonizing fucking pain right now," then I am not stunned that Jon and Sis might not grasp that if they do nothing, their problems will get worse, not better.

I'm with you, Sis. I've never been in your shoes, but I've been the guy about to get thrown out, and I've been the guy whose girlfriend collapsed, but I've never been on the outside looking in. But, this situation is a friggin' death spiral. You gotta start walking away.

I just went for a smoke (ironically) and I was thinking about why this makes me think of addiction, and I realized it's because they're not asking for help. The insanity of addiction is that you don't percieve the underlying problem. No one's asking for help filing for disability, no one's trying to find a different job, no one's asking for help repairing their shitty situation. They're asking, if they're asking, for temporary solutions. That's not something to be proud of. If these people are going to pull out of this, IMHO, they're going to have to find some steel someplace. They want someone to swoop in and save them without them having to embarass themselves.

She's unlikely to apply for disability because if she gets rejected, she will have to think about whether she's valid. He's unlikely to take action on his employment because then he'll have to question whether the DWI was his fault.

You gotta save yourself. While you are the person they can rely on, you cannot let this fuck with your serenity. Let 'em ask, explicitly, and take the chance you'll say no. At least then it's completely their fault.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-07-02 11:43 am (UTC)
Yeah. Hitting bottom and digging a deeper hole seems to be the way they are headed. And my mom will keep bailing them out....
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[User Picture]From: tygher
2004-07-02 06:46 am (UTC)
*hugs* I wish I knew what else to say, but .. there doesn't seem to be anything to say. I'm sorry you have to go through this.
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