August 28th, 2003

Sadness

I hired this young woman several months ago. She'd grown up on the wrong side of the tracks. There were hints to this in her speech and her manner with me. I knew this was a chance that many people wouldn't probably have given her because she wasn't the sort of uppity polished and overly prissy that many people in this industry are. I liked her instantly and I could tell that I wouldn't have to tip-toe around her in the office like people the owner had hired in the past. She had the balls to do the hard parts of this job and the drive to conquer the rest.

In the time she has worked for me, she has done an amazing job. She works her butt off and catches on extremely quickly. She's focused on the end goal and great at a truly annoying collection of details that I suck at. I've come to consider her a friend during the time we've worked together here. And I've come to realize just how different our life experiences have been, despite the fact that our mothers are very similar people.

I came out of my childhood knowing I could expect a lot of most of the rest of the world. I grew up understanding that I shouldn't settle for just that which was available and where I found resonance for the pain I experienced growing up. I didn't learn it from my mother, but somewhere along the way, it sunk in growing up in middle class America, that I could demand a certain amount from life. It has come to me, through knowing this young woman, that she doesn't have a lot of those same realities in her life.

She is smart enough, attractive enough, and neat enough people to deserve all those things too, but I don't think she's ever had them as part of her reality, so her expectations just don't reflect those things. She deserves a loving spouse who will dote on her from time to time. She deserves a person who can really provide for her and help her with the things they share in their reality. She deserves a situation where she doesn't have to feel guilty for asking the reasonable just because she's already asked so much to get him up to the minimum bar of entry to adulthood. She deserves someone who doesn't have a criminal record and more debt than they will ever be able to pay off because of child support he's failing to provide elsewhere. She deserves not to have to always be the grown up and not to have to constantly teach him how too. She deserves someone who will decide she's worth it and then not backslide every time a buddy is around, or be disrespectful because his friends are around and it's cool to them to disrespect women. She deserves someone who would never say "Well, just look at you" as his answer to why he's choosing to be childish rather than spend time with her, someone who loves her for who she is. She doesn't seem to have any of those things.

It breaks my heart. I feel like she could easily be the sister I never really had. I did have sisters, but our ages were so different and our mother was so psychotic that we have never really been close or able to talk about all sorts of things. I feel like a mother hen who wants to pull her in and protect her from her life at the moment rather than watching where I believe it will go from here.

She and her SO are constantly money strapped. His debt and child support withholding eat them alive every month. She can't get on his insurance without adding the child in CA that he fathered. They can't take a vacation without going into debt. He has assault felonies from CA. He has a temper that is out of control (not at her specifically, but generally). He can't even declare bankruptcy and start over because it's mostly child support that he is not adult enough to go get renegotiated, and so it has piled up to the point of insurmountable. He isn't very supportive. He's not especially loving as far as I can tell. She has spent a lot of the last few weeks realizing she was inches from finally leaving him. From everything I have to go on, I'm afraid to meet the guy because I'm afraid I might slug him over the way he treats her.

And then yesterday she found out she was pregnant. Evaluations change, emotions roll in and out with the tide. She wants to see the good in him. She doesn't want to see all the reasons she needs to get out anymore. She decided she really wants the baby no matter what happens with him. She wants to believe he's going to grow up for the occasion. She's got a high risk pregnancy because her family has a history of really low progesterone levels and miscarriages. She isn't eligible for medicade because she loves her job and gets paid too much. We're in a cluster fuck over the payroll company so she can't be added to insurance until we find a new company to provide coverage for us.

She told the SO yesterday and he was mostly in shock at the time while playing hooky from work. He played hooky again today and went out to get drunk with the ass hole buddy of his. I would bet significant cash that he's in love with the same ass hole buddy and so in denial he wouldn't admit it if confronted with it. He's obsessed with the guy to the point of fawning and throwing the rest of his life out the window to be closer to him in any moment to moment decision sense. The ass hole buddy is probably trying to force the issue of either getting to move in to couch surf or break them up so they can live together.

She's in tears in the office because he's out with this ass, they can't afford for him not to work now, let alone considering the kid, because he's in debt up to his ass over the last child he created. He's playing hooky for no good reason after admitting to his supervisor that he lied on his application for employment and didn't admit that he has assault felonies in CA before he moved her.

She doesn't really want to leave him, either, and it's tearing her up. She doesn't want to stress herself out over mess so much that she loses the baby. I just want to cry for her.

I haven't gotten as close to her as I've wanted to during the time we've known each other, because I've not wanted to get into details about my personal life that I haven't generally admitted to at work, because this is the sort of industry where appearances mean more than they should. I regret that I haven't spent more time with her before this point. A week ago we had all the time in the world to help her see how bad he is for her. Now that's not so easy or straight forward. I don't want to watch her spend several more years on this guy before she realizes that he's just a lazy teenager in an adult person's body and he's never going to respect her. Someone capable of respecting her would never say "Well, look at you" pointing out weight as though that were the most important thing to their relationship and the thing that made her hideously unpleasant in his eyes. Love accepts you for who you are and supports you if you decide to change for yourself. It isn't cruel.

But now I don't just want to seem like I'm trying to break them up. She's got enough pressure from the ass B is hanging out with, on that front. I want to tell her that she deserves so much more and protect her from the mess, though. I want to protect her baby from an emotionally unavailable, explosive, childish father who would be better off admitting he's gay and moving in with this guy he's fawning over. I want her to know what it's like to have a spouse who is really there for her, heart and soul. I want to help with the healthcare mess, but I'm essentially powerless. I want to be a closer friend to her, but I'm scared for what are probably stupid reasons.

I have two spouses, one of whom is intersexual. I'm bi and kinky and not really your average bear. I work in the child care industry, and those two things just don't go all that well together. I also know that because of the mess that was her parents lives, she looks on kinky and poly, etc, as largely associated with the irresponsible cruel behavior her parents partook of, not really as part of a healthy committed relationship structure. I haven't wanted to make her uncomfortable on the subject, and I've been afraid to bring those details of my life into work because of the industry and my own irrational fears about various things. I've also had a general desire to let her see it rather than tell her because our lives are nothing remotely like her parents".

I think she's a phenomenal young woman and I just feel like a mother flipping out that my baby is about to get herself screwed over, but I don't really have any right to that other than the right we all have to feel irrational and sometimes non-sensical things.

I don't know what to do or say on the subject because I don't want to lose her friendship over my feelings about her SO, nor do I really want to force her to do anything in particular. I don't want her to come to resent me as the source of leaving if she were to come to regret it. I just ... just want her to see a glimpse of the view from where I stand and some magic way to help it be less painful for her, and some useful way to know how to help her.

B's irresponsibility, his childishness, his disrespectfulness and his lack of self control are not things that are going to miraculously go away. I even believe that having children does make a lot of men grow up some, but they move a few rungs up the ladder, not generally up 6 stories and it just feels like that's what he'd need to do.

I find myself crying for her as I type and at a loss for what to say to her, how to be a good friend and how to help. I guess maybe it means staying her friend no matter what happens and even if that means I sometimes encounter and have to be pleasant with the man I want to slug for all of his choices that screw up her life. I just don't know. I even want to believe, for her sake, that he could somehow turn his entire existence around for her, but the realist in me says it just isn't going to be. *sigh* I feel like she's going to keep giving him ultimatums and he's going to keep saying one thing and then doing another and destroying her and her child's trust. I just feel so sad about the whole thing at a time when I want to be happy for her because I know how much a child would mean to her and how much joy she will find in it, and how happy it could make her.

Dinner

I think I've figured out what part of the issue is with our usual dinner routine. What usually happens is that Deb says "eh, I don't care" or "I don't need dinner" and we all go rounds over the "What should we have?" question, eliciting many "I don't know"s and lots of frustration. Eventually nearly everyone drops out of the conversation in one way or another. It tends to then get ugly from there as I get to the point that I'm ready to beat my head on a wall over the entire topic. This is compounded by never remembering to plan meals, though usually planning meals involves having basically the same damn conversation ten times at once, rather than once a night.

One of the problems is that I struggle with abandonment issues. I don't like feeling just dropped on the floor or like everyone just opted out of something I need and left me dangling there to just cope or hide. It's not about what to have for dinner any more. It's about the fact that everyone would rather stay absorbed and avoid decissions and spin and lose weight and throw in my face that we didn't plan as though this is somehow solely my responsibility because I'm upset, than change their attitude and really work on it with me. Sometimes one or the other of them manages to get it together, but hardly ever both of them at the same time. I just end up feeling like screaming on the subject.

For reasons that I still cannot fathom, Deb generally seems to want to skip dinner and Joel just wants to have canned pasta or mac and cheese. What ends up happening is that I settle on some unpalatable frozen dinner and everyone stays sucked into whatever they wanted to be doing more than really spending time with me.

That's what dinner is to me. It's an evening togetherness ritual. This is a problem because Deb never wants to eat and I am absolutely not okay with her just sitting there watching me eat after all the years of shit from my mother and the fact that she generally acts frustrated with doing so anyway.

Things are further agravated in my life because I can never even begin to guess on what schedule Deb might want food or not want food, and I'm so desperate for the time spent that way that I then say yes to dinner when I'm not hungry because I gave up and assumed she wouldn't be hungry, so I ate like an hour before that feeling like, as long as my emotional need wasn't going to be met anyway, I might as well not have the irritating conversation at home. Invariably those are the nights that Deb finally wants to have something to eat and I can't bring myself to even say anything because I'm a mess inside on the subject and clutching for whatever I can get.

The whole thing really frustrates me. Then it is often compounded by especially bad reactions to me being upset. I'm upset about being abandoned, so I'm bitchy, which makes Deb decide she's a horrible person that I don't want to be around, and she goes off to sleep elsewhere unless I fight with her not to which furthers my insecurity about being abandoned because I have to beg for even that.

I don't know how to deal with any of it. The planning it on Sundays is causing essentially the same frustration. No one wants to plan it. Everyone is bitchy. If I don't make it happen, it just won't happen. I end up coming up with 2/3rds of it anyway, which is part of what was setting me off about doing it nightly. The fight and internal panic and feeling of being left high and dry with petulant resentful unhelpful spouses is just all crammed into one day which is at least less frequently exhausting if still a big problem for me.

Last night it was made worse by the fact that eventually I got back up because I was having a gas attack because I hadn't eaten anything, and Joel, once he knew what was wrong, went back to his computer, didn't offer to take me to taco bell or go with me, and instead went to bed while I went so I couldn't even talk to him when I got back, and I felt abandoned again.

I woke up this morning feeling like no one loved me. I eventually worked up the nerve to climb into bed with Joel for some much needed affection, but I've been a mess most of the day still, and I'm dreading going home tonight because either I have to go through it all again, decide for everyone, or talk Deb out of a "I'm a terrible spouse who should punish herself" fit which just compounds all of it further because I can't get it out in the open without being afraid I will then have to drop my distress on the floor for hers which is miserable, or be more miserable by letting her scald herself or go off to kill herself in a car accident or something.

*sigh* I feel really trapped on the subject. I don't know how to make them care. I don't know how to make Deb want dinner. I don't know how to deal with her just staring at me. I don't know how to not care and I have had no luck at all in trying to just attach the need to something else instead of dinner.