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June 14th, 2010


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03:34 pm - A Truth Self-Evident
When last I updated on my family angst, my mom had implicitly agreed to let me find a wife on my own and my grandmother had determined that God would punish me. Since then, I reluctantly agreed to still look into potential future wives sent on by my parents, even though the whole reason we had that conversation was because I didn't want to do that anymore. And it turns out I still felt that way because as soon as I saw one in my inbox, I had a rage blackout and panic attack at the same time, so I avoided phone calls for a week because I was too busy to have an emotionally charged conversation.

Last night, I sent an e-mail to my mom, copying my aunt, who had also been hounding me with phone calls and e-mails about this latest potential future wife.
Subject: Failure is just success rounded down

I haven't been answering the phone because I've been busy with auditions and rehearsals and work and developing the homework for my cancer pharmacology workshop and hosting a game night and going out with friends. But mostly I haven't answered because I know what you want to talk about, and I don't want to talk about it. Ever again.

I am not going to contact [the latest potential future wife]. I thought I could handle more "suggestions" while I looked on my own, but I was wrong. As soon as I saw the e-mail, before I'd even seen a picture or read about her, I just got angry. I cannot deal with this anymore. I cannot deal with being called by extended family right after an audition as I am trying to talk with my friends and banging on my head with my fist as I try to be polite about the whole thing. I cannot deal with the entire family breathing down my neck about every little step of the process. I cannot deal with the constant accusations that I have some secret girlfriend. I have been going through this for over ten years. This is not what I want my life to be.

I absolve you of all responsibility in finding me a wife. I am a failure and a disappointment, and you should just accept that and move on. I have a graduate degree, I have a successful career and pull a good salary, I am respected by my co-workers, I have ample savings, I own a car, I have great credit, I am cast in theatre productions, I teach workshops and sit on panels at conferences, I have lots of friends, I am mentioned in the Acknowledgments section of two books, and I make really good vegetarian chili, but none of that matters because I am unmarried. I am tired of Changing My Marital Status being the only thing worth talking about. So we are not going to talk about it anymore. Whatever happens, happens. But it's going to happen on my time and my terms, not yours.
And here is my mom's response. I apologize for the ASSCAPS. That is how she types. I've also translated the Gujarati because apparently her anger crosses languages.
Subject: respond to your very nice letter

HI SUNIL THANKS FOR THAT NICE LETTER. SO WHAT WAS THE REASON FOR THE SENDING THE SAME LETTER TO [YOUR AUNT]??? [NOW YOU ARE SO BIG THAT] NOW YOU ARE ARE TELLING ME WHAT TO DO. [WE HAVE SPENT SO MUCH MONEY ON YOU] AND THIS THE THANKS WE GET. (THAT IS WHY YOU have a degree AND CAR.) YOU HAVE NO APPRECIATION AND RESPECTS FOR US OR ANY ONE OLDER. AND YES YOU ARE NOT MARRIED YET YOU ARE 28 YRS. OLD . AND BECAUSE OF THAT IT HURTS US VERY VERY MUCH. I KNOW THAT YOU DON'T CARE HOW WE FEEL... AT THIS AGE YOUR DAD HAD YOU AND [YOUR BROTHER] AND WAS DOING HIS RESIDENCY. AND HAD HIS OWN CAR ALSO. AND RESPECT OF HIS FRIENDS AND COLLEGES ALSO. AND YES BEING MARRIED AND HAVING FAMILY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT IN OUR LIFE. YES [YOUR COUSIN] WAS MARRIED AT 25 HAS HIS OWN HOUSE AND WIFE AND DAUGHTER AND DEGREE AND HAS TWO CARS AND HE TAKES CARE OF HIS PARENTS ALSO. SO DON'T GIVE ME THAT BULL ABOUT ALL THE THINGS YOU SAID. IN OUR SOCIETY BEING MARRIED IS VERY IMPORTANT AND HA YES NOT JUST OUR CULTURE BUT IN ANY SOCIETY BEING MARRIED IS VERY VERY IMPORTANT TOO. YOUR DAD IS ALSO VERY UPSET WITH YOU.
And then two minutes later she sent me a thing about $1 smoothies at Jamba Juice.

So at least I was correct in my assessment that I am a failure and a disappointment, and my marital status is all that matters. I don't know what to do anymore.
Current Music: Incubus - Aqueous Transmission

(103 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


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[User Picture]
From:miniglik
Date:June 14th, 2010 10:49 pm (UTC)
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Maybe it's time to cut ties? Like, totally cut ties and not allow this kind of thing back in your life anymore. Maybe you could see a therapist or join a support group to help you through the process.

I hope your situation gets better.

Edited at 2010-06-14 10:50 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:June 14th, 2010 10:58 pm (UTC)
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I honestly feel like cutting ties right now. I am appalled. I certainly don't feel like talking to them for a while. I mean, I'm not busy getting married, so it's not like we have anything to talk about.
[User Picture]
From:equustel
Date:June 14th, 2010 10:50 pm (UTC)
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Oh dear Lord. Face, meet palm, repeatedly.

The contrast between your email and hers kind of says it all. You guys live in completely different worlds, yours consisting of rationality and sound grammar, hers consisting of CAPS AND BLATANT ABUSE OF LOGIC (as well as the written word).

I'm sorry. :[ I am on Team Sunil?
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:June 15th, 2010 04:30 am (UTC)
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I am on Team Allison [Moves to the Bay Area]!
[User Picture]
From:plazmah
Date:June 14th, 2010 10:53 pm (UTC)
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WE HAVE SPENT SO MUCH MONEY ON YOU] AND THIS THE THANKS WE GET.

DDDDDDDDD:

Dude. I am... fairly angry on your behalf. I don't know what else to say. Er, I have a link that I want to share though. I know it's about feminism and there are random tangents about Jesus (*eyetwitch*) but it touches on the issues of race and sacrifice and I'm just kinda flailing about now because I don't know how to end this comment?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I completely support any desire you have to punch things and rebel like crazy. I'M IN YOUR CORNER, YES.
[User Picture]
From:serasempre
Date:June 15th, 2010 01:59 am (UTC)
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Thanks for that link. I found it very useful.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:netpositive
Date:June 14th, 2010 11:53 pm (UTC)
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This. I've never met you, Sunil, but from your circle of friends and all your writing you seem like you are a pleasant and interesting person -- and if you do meet someone who appreciates that, wonderful.

But for your mom to portray you as nothing but an investment and I guess basically an insurance policy against their old age that isn't paying back in grandchildren...? Grr.
From:sainfoin_fields
Date:June 14th, 2010 10:57 pm (UTC)
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I think you've done what you can do. And I know it's hard as fuck but I think you should be proud of yourself for not just all the accomplishments you mentioned but for laying down in no uncertain terms what you're gonna do.

I remember having a conversation with my therapist years ago, in tears, because of my family's regarding me as a failure and a disappointment and a horrible person. I asked her how I could be sure they weren't right, since as my family, don't they know me the best? Wouldn't they know?

No, said my therapist. Your family might never understand you or know you at all. They might never approve of your choices or love you the way you need to be loved. And as harsh a thought as that is, I found it somewhat freeing. I don't know.

Hit up those smoothies, though, totally. Peach Perfection! Better than parents!!
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:June 14th, 2010 11:02 pm (UTC)
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The $1 smoothies are only the superfruit, including a new one called...Yumberry. I'm not sure what that is.

Your family might never understand you or know you at all. They might never approve of your choices or love you the way you need to be loved.
I've been trying to accept this, but it still kills me that it's true. What the fuck is family for, otherwise? Besides money, obvs.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:June 14th, 2010 11:08 pm (UTC)

got your back

(Link)
You stated things clearly.

They stated things clearly


You might not be able to talk again for a bit.

Keep things to email - beth b
[User Picture]
From:amberlynne
Date:June 14th, 2010 11:22 pm (UTC)
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It took a lot of guts to write that email so that's another check for your awesome column. And as you have seen, I totally understand the crazy emails from parental units. *hugs*
[User Picture]
From:amy37
Date:June 14th, 2010 11:22 pm (UTC)
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I can hear your head hitting the wall there. I'm so sorry.

I agree with the others who said it might be time to just cut ties, at least for a while. I also think therapy/counseling is a really good idea, just to help you sort of retrain your brain in how to think about this. It's really emotional, I know, but what you need to hold onto is everything you said in YOUR email. That's what matters.
[User Picture]
From:miniglik
Date:June 14th, 2010 11:53 pm (UTC)
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to help you sort of retrain your brain in how to think about this

This. They've had years and years to practice manipulation techniques on you, and you can't break free of that easily. You'll probably need a little help relearning how to think about your interactions with them.

Even more, you'll need to learn how to interact with them when you're no longer pissed off. Right now you're angry and that gives you strength. What happens when you run out of that anger? Will you be worn back down and fall back into the old relationship?

Edited at 2010-06-15 01:25 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:raelee
Date:June 14th, 2010 11:30 pm (UTC)
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I'm sorry, P-C. I wish it were easier. Or that your mom had suddenly "seen the light" after your email. It makes me angry that she doesn't at least acknowledge your feelings on the matter. It'd be one thing to be disappointed but also able to see how it's hard on you too. It definitely seems like she may never see your point of view. Maybe keeping yourself separate from them for awhile will at least force her to accept that, if she wants you in her life, she has to stop trying to force this on you?

*hugs*
[User Picture]
From:etherealclarity
Date:June 15th, 2010 12:06 am (UTC)
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I'm so sorry that you have to go through this. No one should. :(

You are a wonderful, successful human being, and the fact that your family cannot be happy with that is their failing, not yours.

Unfortunately, as an adult child, the only leverage you have over your family is your presence in their lives (or lack thereof). Obviously that's a choice you have to make yourself, but if you do make it, I recommend writing another letter explaining why (though probably wait until you can write it calmly and rationally) and explaining on what terms you will speak to them again. And then stick to those terms! For your own sake, create some boundaries.

*hugs* You've got so many people rooting for you, Sunil. Hang in there.
[User Picture]
From:outforawalk
Date:June 15th, 2010 12:08 am (UTC)
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I'm impressed you managed to be patient about the bride process for so long and still manage to be polite in you email asking that it just stop.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:June 15th, 2010 05:39 am (UTC)
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I feel like I could have been politer.
[User Picture]
From:anoel
Date:June 15th, 2010 12:30 am (UTC)
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This is what I would do. I don't know if you can do it but this is what I would do.

Say mom/aunt, I don't want to talk about the subject anymore [reasons here if needed]. If you attempt to talk to me about this subject (or send an email, etc) I will absolve all contact with you so it will be impossible for you to talk to me about it or anything else relating to my life. I don't want to do it but you keep leading me no choice and I need to set a boundary for my own mental wellbeing. I'm sorry to have to do this but it's really important to me so please respect my wishes.

Then wait and hope it doesn't happen again and if it does, follow through and take no phone, block all email, etc. Obviously it's drastic and if you value being in contact with your family above this issue, it's not for you but that's just what I would do if I was in the same position.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:ethanvahlere
Date:June 15th, 2010 12:40 am (UTC)
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This will sound awfully repetitive, but I have nothing new to add except you are a good person who shouldn't let anyone - even parents - tell you otherwise.
[User Picture]
From:scripted22
Date:June 15th, 2010 12:45 am (UTC)
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I agree with all the others that suggested counseling. The most important life lesson we all need to learn is that we cannot change how other people act -- we can only change how we react to them. I don't think your family will ever really change, so if you want to maintain a relationship with them, you need to learn to not let them get to you. (Which is much easier said then done, hence the need of a counselor.)

On a much, much smaller scale, I can sort of understand how you feel. It would be nice if I had memories of just one family member's wedding that wasn't ruined by the constant badgering of when it would be my turn to get married. I finally ended up coping by deciding that misery must love company because happy people don't feel the need to badger people. Don't get me wrong, some of my family members have great marriages, but they also are perfectly capable of realizing that things might be different had they waited until they were older to get married.

And then two minutes later she sent me a thing about $1 smoothies at Jamba Juice.

On the bright side, she isn't only worried about you being single. She's worried about your hydration as well.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:June 15th, 2010 05:40 am (UTC)
(Link)
:-}

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