Friday, August 24, 2007

because it takes a village?

Strep called last week to talk about stuff unrelated to Daniel, but because it related to his daughter's (herewith "Tina") welfare, I give a shit so let the idiot waffle on for a while about how his ex wife ("Hades") has (after years of stony silence between them because they're so mature god help me and have their daughter's best interests at heart yes they do) been calling him and crying for hours because she's now suicidal, has attempted to take her own life on more than one occasion, and how, among other things, his ex-wife's brother, Tina's uncle (for fuck's sake), threatened to kill both of them while at a family birthday party, and nothing says "Festive!" like a death threat. Tina apparently cried for three hours straight after that one, and Hades, from the sounds of it, is trying to get a new audience because her friends and family are all, according to him according to her, horrible to her and have all stepped back so won't support her through this difficult time.

Note to the insane (Hades? That'd be you): If several (hundred, we're talking an extended, ethnic family here) individuals who all play different roles in your life are essentially saying the same thing (which, word has it, is "smarten up or fuck off, drama queen"), they're the variables, you're the constant. There's a wee chance, my pet, that you might not be the hard done by, poor thing you think you are.

So anyway, Strep called to offload this headfuck onto me because I guess he hasn't got any friends, and hey! I'm always up for a good dose of manipulation. He was all "we had something special, things happen for a reason, I value your opinion, bla di bla di bla", and I was all yawning and filing my nails and saying "quit with the bullshit, what are you going to do about Tina?".

He's put me in a difficult position because he's an asshole knows I give a shit about his daughter - as I would any child - even though, quite frankly, it's not my business and doesn't concern me at all. There is nothing I can do to help, and I find it extremely upsetting to be so impotent. Not because it's HIS child but because she's A child, and from the sounds of it and based on what I knew of their family dynamics even before his shit hit my personal fan two or so years ago, she'd be better off being raised by wolves.

When he picked her up after that ill fated birthday celebration, she was all smiles and happy and saying what a great time she had, and now he's curious why Tina hasn't told him any of the drama she's been living with thanks to her mother's ridiculousfest. It's never occurred to him that it might be an issue that she says nothing at all. My take is that he's primarily (only?) concerned about himself and his feelings ("why won't she talk to me?") instead of realising this child needs help (versus "what can I do to support her so that she feels she can share her worries and fears?". Or something) because she has a fucking huge load to deal with and rather than be protected by her parents, feels she has to protect them. She's learned that her feelings don't matter in comparison to theirs. This conclusion, by the way, comes from six years of observation and isn't anything new to me. I realise too, that I may be projecting and identifying and psychobabble bla bla bla. She might well be fine, but still, her parents are both so self involved that they can't comprehend that Tina has feelings. She tells Strep she's okay and he accepts it without question, and her mother needs her to be okay so that she can be the high maintenance one in the family. Surely a responsible guardian would say "She says she's fine but she's living in a chaotic world. Maybe I should keep an eye on her?". But he's sitting back and Hades is wallowing in her life of high drama, and they're both reaping the rewards of creating relationships with Tina where she protects them. She parents both her parents. She's looking after them and no one is looking after her.

Anyway, yes. None of this is any of my business and I'm probably identifying too much (YA THINK?) with Tina, but he called and as well as dumping this shit on me, asked for my advice on what to do. So with his permission, I gave it: Hades is unable to look after her own mental health right now, so is hardly likely to be able to look after her child's. Chances are Tina is a wee bit worried that she's going to come home one day to either find her mother's corpse and an empty bottle of pills lying on the floor, or that her uncle is going to murder them both in their sleep. In the short term, he needs to take Tina home with him, and then call a mental health crisis line, his family doctor, a hospital, or a psychic help line to get some advice on how best to be a support person to Hades (if that's what he wants to do. Me? I'd toss her the same phone numbers then run for the hills. I don't do that whole "wa wa I'm going to kill myself" bullshit), but his priority is Tina. She needs him and he needs to talk to someone who has an experienced and educated idea of how to best handle this whole clusterfuck, and he needs to quit deluding himself that doing fuck all is going to help anyone.

And the curtain goes down on last week.

Act II.

He called again Tuesday night, all "I was on the phone to Hades for four hours last night and....*pauses for maximum effect*'s not good. She's really in a bad way."

I waited to hear how Tina was. You know, his twelve year old, but he was more interested in how heavy it is to listen his depressed and hopeless (and probably stoned, is my bet) ex wife.

"So, Tina is with you then, right?".

No she's not.

He left her there with her suicidal mother and her abusive boyfriend. Oh yeah, I forgot about that part. Hades' boyfriend is abusive. I'm not sure to what extent but abuse is abuse and it's being done in front of a child who's growing up to model her future relationships on what she sees. Awesome. Even more awesome is that Strep thinks that because it's heresay and because he "only" has his daughter a small percentage of the time, that he shouldn't do anything about the reports that knives have been thrown and bodies have been pushed into the wall.

This just keeps getting better and better, doesn't it?

I told him that he's a fucking idiot and that Tina is 100% his daughter and that he needs to quit sticking his head in the sand and start acting like a parent.

He thinks that if he took Tina away, Hades would off herself. I told him that a) statistically, people who threaten to kill themselves are less likely to do than those who say that everything's fine, thank you very much, b) he's worrying about a grown up when there's a child who needs his help and is not getting it? Grow the fuck up, and c) Jesus Christ. I also told him I think that it's a big fucking responsibility to be the one thing between your mother living or dying, and that it's criminal that he's colluding with Hades on that idea. Sacrifice the child much?

Identifying. I KNOW.

Still, when she's all hysterical and threatening to toss back a handful of pills with a bottle o' vodka chaser, I don't see what the big deal is about saying "Wait there, I'll come collect Tina and once she's settled in here, I'll call you back and we can talk.". I also don't know what planet I'm living on because, hello, this is Strep we're discussing here and solutions involve actual, real thought processes.

Then I told him then that I'm not his friend, I don't like him, and having thought about it, am wondering who the hell he thinks he is that it's okay for him to dump all this on me. I can't do anything, so why tell me about it? I have my own stress, life and worries to deal with, did he think about that before he laid his shit on my plate?

"What stress?" he asked, "why is your life stressful?".




I find this whole mess extremely upsetting. Extremely, and I'm pissed that he's involved me in it. Anyone would find this distressing, not because some princess is threatening to kill herself or because her brother has threatened to do it for her, but because there's a child caught in the middle of it and no one is doing anything. It's distressing because it's fucked up to begin with, but it's SO distressing for me because there is absolutely nothing I can do except listen to Strep and help him. Which, is he serious?!

I'm just going to publish this shit storm and walk away.

2005-2007© aibee