Friday, September 07, 2012

Let's NOT Compare Tragedies

"Well it can't be all that bad since you've gone out a couple of times this week," she texted, while trying to prove a point that I was miraculously and emotionally healed just by going out for a bite to eat (and drink) with either my mom or my wife at the local bar and grill. Did she just expect me to sit home and cry for another six months or so? Would that prove to her that my love for my father was genuine? My friend was very angry, bitter and very sad over a few things. She's going through a horrible divorce after an abusive marriage and her dog just got hit by a car and didn't make it. She is self-medicating heavily, and dangerously I might add. She continued on with her rant... "I've been drinking and popping xanax from morning till night not getting out of bed for nearly a week because of my sadness between my divorce and my dog. My dog wasn't just a pet, he was my world." My response was, "I'm so sorry you're feeling awful. You went through a terrible loss. Give your heart time. You went through major life events, so give yourself some credit and be good to yourself. Drowning out your liver isn't going to help you, and you know what they say, the best revenge is living well. So defy all the temptation to self-sabotage your well-being and you'll push through this much more easily." (This was word for word taken from my iPhone.) She said, "It may be different for you because when we grow older we grow more apart from or parents, so it's different. My dog was by my side all the time. There was more love."  ...........Really? She basically downgraded my relationship with not only my father, but with my mother too.

To all the animal lovers out there (as I am too), take no offense, but how the hell can you compare the life of a person you love to the life of an animal? And while I also think that my little Lola is "part of the family" and love her very much, I also know in my heart that humans come first in my world in terms of life. However, with that being said, I would never, ever minimalize anyone's grief for their pet who is part of their family, ever. I would never state "Oh since you're out and about you must not love your pet" --- and just by merely stating the word "pet" gets her all riled up. She yelled at me once again, "He's not just a pet!!!" I know that in her grief, she is lashing out, but once you compare my experience with yours, and especially if you downgrade my feelings, the argument is over. I told her to be well and that this would be my last text message to her, ever. We all mourn differently for different people, different PETS, and different reasons altogether. My sadness is not the same as yours. If you choose to suck down vodka from morning till night -- good luck with that. See if you pull out of your depression faster than I do. And while not trying to sound bitter, I actually feel very sorry for her because she has no outlet other than her drugs and alcohol. What's sad about this is that she and I never had a fight within the seven years I have known her.

I want to be there for her right now, but I have no energy or patience to deal with someone who is irrational and irresponsible. Grief can really bring you down a very dark road...if you let it. I can't respond to random texts that say, "i iii am so f**ked up rt nwo adn im gonn a go to teh bar donw tehh road. Wana come wihtt me?" Verbally talking to her is a whole other can-o-beans. It's all Greek to me. To the best of my ability, I can only help to a certain point. I don't have tolerance for people who are ossified and yet want to communicate or reach out...or say upsetting things that hurt my feelings. I'm not in the mood and I have just gone through one of the most hardest challenges in my entire life. Not once did she ever, ever ask "So how are you doing?" Never. It's all about her. Thankfully she is "unplugged" - meaning she is against computers, the internet or anything technical except for her phone to which she continues to text me in slurs. Now it would be a much different story if she contacted me and said, "I haven't gotten out of bed for nearly a week because I can't stop crying" -- because I could have then been there for her without the vodka making her into a demon. I understand that alcohol addiction can go beyond and above when in times of grief, but if you don't have respect for yourself, how can anyone 'get through' to you?

Maybe you think I sound bitter in this post, but in all seriousness, I feel very bad that I can't be there for her right now and yet, I feel justified in my choice due to her actions. After the loss of my dad, sure I've stayed in bed at times unable to get up and ready to face the world. I isolated myself because I couldn't face anyone without crying. And sometimes, it still happens. There are times I can't even see my own mom because I want to 'keep it together' for her - not let her see me cry for a couple of reasons: to provoke her sadness more or to make her feel less important. Sadly, sometimes people actually think that and I don't want any of those negative feelings being portrayed to her. I've self-medicated with a few glasses of wine, but knew when to say, "Ok, no more." In fact, I have been drinking much less these days because I know it'll only make me worse and amplify my sadness. My mom asked me yesterday, "Why aren't you having a drink with us?" And although I really wanted one, I just told her I'm trying to watch my weight, but the fact is, I want to be in control of my feelings around her. I want to make her laugh, not cry. I have plenty of time to cry by myself if need be, which is okay. It's healthy. ---Side note: once my mom and I stayed away from alcohol for three months to see if we could lose weight. We only lost 10 lbs so we said, "Screw it, the ten pounds isn't worth it," and then opened up a bottle of wine. We always laugh at that.

So what's my point?? Do I even have to make one? I'm just a bit aggravated about how insensitive some people can be during their own times of troubles. For me, even if I'm going through the most horrifying tragedy in my life, I would never insult someone else's 'lack of' grief or compare it to mine. I would always be there for them, but this time, I. just. can't. Part of me feels like a horrible friend and yet part of me feels slightly relieved to be away from a self-destructive person who has little to no compassion or regard for human life, as she's mourning for her PET. I'm sorry, but don't even go there with me. And now I must go and hug my dog. Ironic, huh?

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

2 comments:

the walking man said...

You are right about disconnecting from a person experiencing their own pain. I think you are empathetic enough where you would try to shoulder, without even thinking of it, some of her burdens. That would validate her but it would also make your own grieving time harder and more complicated. You nor anyone else who has lost a beloved person needs extra weight right now.

You are a wonderful person Deb, and I love that can distinguish when to be physically there for your mom and when to back off because you're not in the right emotional place to help her carry her weight.

best to all of you, mad, your mom and your sisters.

The Elephant's Child said...

I cannot tell you how much I admire your strength in knowing just what is good for you, and what is counterproductive. I sadly fear that I would have gone to see your abusive friend (she that abuses herself and you) and would have resented it. Which would help no-one.
Be as well as you can, and allow youself time to weep, time to laugh and of course time to hug your dog.