The empathic snail is broken today….
The combination of inconsiderate pain in the arse brother in law. Two kids whom I can see are starting to take on some of his inconsiderate pain in the arse traits, but are still lovely and I really want to try to teach them more empathy, care, love & consideration for others, and a sister trying patch all of this back together, but is 8000 miles away and can’t do much – has broken me.
I want to bludgeon him…. but I can’t.
Usually I walk away from people like that before they can affect me too much, but he was a guest in my house and his children are my nibblings whom I do care about very much and want to teach the soft beautiful trait of empathy to. Which means, being the empathic snail… I now want to turn this rage on myself and cut myself open instead, and that is not okay. This is a breakdown, and it is NOT okay that they have caused this.
I have strong east asian conditioning and I started off the trip by defering to him as an ‘honoured respected older brother’… which clashed very much with my do-what-i-want personality. That made it okay for him to shout at the kids in front of me….. That meant when I wanted to take the kids somewhere, first I had to consider, can i convince him, if not, can i convince the kids, so that he will agree to go, which really narrowed down the places we could go to because the children already had memories of galleries and museums as being boring places. As other people who deals with kids more have already told me… you don’t have to ask kids whether they want to go and do ‘place’. You say “we are going to do this today and it’s going to be fun” and it WILL happen and it WILL be fun.
Needless to say. This backfired. I got furious after day 2 when he critiqued everything I did with the kids – after he had left them with me, unplanned, and shackled me to ‘within a bus ride of harrods’. On day 3, when I had my debut guzheng performance, and he got the kids there 55 minutes late. I was furious again. With the kids around, I couldn’t show him any of the fury, and I whatsapped it all to my sister instead, which got some of it out, but not all. She was very understanding, but it was her husband after all at the end of the day, and while she could rearrange the trip so they moved out and didn’t irritate me so much… while she could apologise on his behalf…. she couldn’t make him realise what he had done to me – how much disrespect he has shown me.
There were many things, but I’ve been petty enough, and the point isn’t what he did, but what is being shown to the kids.
I can write a 100-deep list… but let’s start with this
Shopping (acquiring more material goods, of which they already have an abundance of) is more important than spending time with people… And the mum complains to me the kids loose stuff all the time and they keep having to buy replacements/duplicates. Hmm… I wonder why…
Limiting human contact is more important than being generous (When we were wrapping brownies up to give to the homeless… all dad could say was “don’t shake hands with them, they have pee on them”)
By choosing more time in shops, and choosing the option of a luxury £100 picnic with dad rather than the pick-your-own-in-the-shop picnic they would have gotten with me…. and because of some nostalgia they had at the park… when they had already been to the park twice on the day dumped them on me unplanned (grrrrrr)… Again they are choosing material wealth, closer family over less close family, valuing nostalgia over generating new memories, prioritising moneyed fun rather than learning the lessons I can teach them.
I can go on… but I have done enough nitpicking.
I feel deprioritised. I feel unimportant. I feel devalued. And this has caused a breakdown.
It is only because children I love are involved that this is happening. If they wer adults and they choose wealth over family.. I would say, every time, – fuck them, and get on with my life.
But they (or rather he) have fucked me around enough… and I am broken. And I can no longer take the kids this week even if I wanted too – my mental health is now too bad… but this is a lesson for next time.. Get the adults out of the way, and just take the kids for a week, with my own plans, own itinerary, and my own list of soft skills to teach them. And next time I’ll also teach them to cook!!