Caretaker

People say you have to love yourself
before you can love another
well, they just eat up memes like sugary sap
they haven’t had to care about those
who stopped caring for themselves decades ago
whose self-proclaimed accomplishments were baring children
who struggle daily with their identity
in a constant battle for self-assurance
I should have therapy hours for CBT, DBT,  PTSD, ODD, & Group Therapy
All while I still need it myself

I have had makeup boxes thrown at me, expletives shouted, words screamed that only demons would understand. I have been punched at, called an Idiot, told that I am hated. I have one niece that started cutting and has thoughts of suicide from time-to-time. Everyone in my house (that I am in charge of) is now under psychiatric and psychological care, all while my husband and I both work full time, and I go to school and work on my continuing, albeit shaky recovery.

I took all of this on because my mother begged me 1.5 years ago to take one of the two nieces she was guardian over off of her hands, or she would end up in a wheelchair within the next few years. Always having been protective over her, I complied, though all hell broke loose when I did, as was chronicled in this blog.

Eventually, I ended up with both girls, and though she seems to be at peace with the final outcome, the vacillations caused by her and between her, my sister and I took a toll on all involved and none of us have fully recovered, though I’m hopeful that we will.

What nobody could have predicted when both girls ended up with me in California is that my sister would’ve moved here from her state to be closer to us. I didn’t expect she would ever act on that plan, but she was set on it, and having been in homeless services I knew what to advise her to do. She was told upfront she couldn’t stay with us, especially with her husband (not the father of any of the children) who was extremely problematic, and due to the size of our already overcrowded house. 

When the opportunity presented itself, I helped pay for a Greyhound ticket to send him packing. The connections I had with homeless services were frustrating, largely because I know how broken the system is and I knew deep down the cycle would just continue for her, and that her two young boys would continue to be carted along in the system with her and keep their chronically homeless status, unless they received a miracle worker case manager and housing opportunity (which would’ve needed to be Permanent Supportive Housing). 

I came to the stark realization she would need something she’s needed her entire life: Unconditional love and support from her family, despite the tornado it sometimes causes. 

I guess it’s doing some healing, though I feel like I’ve backslid in my recovery significantly: I’m questioning everything, feeling rejections too strongly again, binging, purging, starving myself, feeling crippling guilt, fantasizing about starving more, all while I’m surrounded by people depending on me almost paralyzingly, and worrying that these behaviors are going to exacerbate my already fragile health. 

I don’t mind this new change in many ways, I enjoy my sister’s company and it’s helpful having her around. I also told myself I want to break cycles, and this is part of that too, but I also don’t want to break my back or my heart.

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