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Whiny Needy-Baby Jail

Whiny Needy-Baby Jail

The boyfriend invented something called ‘Whiny Needy-Baby Jail’ this weekend.  After reading this post, you may think I belong there.

You know the feeling: It seems that no matter how much I give, people will always want more.   What I have to offer?  It’s never enough.

I see it in my personal life, I see it at work. 

I do my best to meet people more than halfway, yet, it seems, it’s never far enough.

One of my current projects at work is a consolidation of work groups in order to obtain better synthesis.  This involves a physical move, something that has been in the works for over six months.  Now that other projects have been completed, this move has become my main focus and it has been nothing short of a colossal pain.

I deal with people who make megabucks. They have more than most and should be grateful, happy people.  But, no.  Instead they focus on the most trivial things: where a wall is or is not, who is sitting near or next to them, cube size, proximity to windows, etc. 

Each time a concern or issue is identified, the whole process stops dead in its tracks, and we wait while facilities figures out a way to accommodate each request.  Now, I’m all for people having what they need to get their work done, but… some people!

They truly need a reality check. 

A friend and co-worker suggested that every time someone whines to me about some trivial, self-serving matter, I should hold up a picture of one of those children starving in a third world country and say, “See this child?  They have nothing.  Nothing.  They survive on mud pies and paint chips. Now… what is it you need?”

But I’m afraid it would go right over their pointed little heads. 

The same rings true in my personal life. 

I know that my mother’s current path is nothing short of an absolute trial.  My father is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s and she has decided to care for him at home – a home that is across the street from me – one that my ex and I rehabbed for her.  My Mom’s desire to take care of my Dad is admirable, but it is a path she has chosen. 

Sometimes, I feel she's taken part of me hostage in the process. 

I see her for at least an hour and fifteen minutes every day.  Every day.  I rearrange whatever I have going on to make this happen, because it gives her a break in her day; a bit of company and an opportunity for me to assess the situation and take necessary actions.  In addition to that time, I make time to mow lawn and shovel snow, etc: all the things she doesn’t have the time or energy for.

We’re going on our sixth summer.  And it’s starting to get to me. 

It’s hard watching my Dad slowly fail.  There are days now when he barely wakes up.  My Mom does her best to keep things from appearing too grim, but, well… there’s only so much one can do.  I know that on some level my feelings have something to do with facing my own mortality and I know that on some level my sense of powerlessness and devastation has to do with watching someone who was once so powerful in my life waste away slowly.  It also has to do with the longevity of it, as in: this will not go away, until… the day he goes away. 

And even then, it’s not over. 

I can see my future. 

Next I’ll be caretaking for my mother.  Then my ex.  I know this to be the case because the foundation has already been set.  In many ways, I am providing a certain amount of care for both now: time-wise, emotionally and financially.   I don’t see a time when playing caretaker will not be my role. I will probably end up being a caretaker until I need one myself – by which point, I will probably find myself very much alone.

Yes, my siblings help with my parents, but not on a daily basis.  Some see them a few days each month.  One, twice a year.  One, once every five.  I envy them their freedom and frequently wonder how I got trapped in this situation.  But, like my mother, obviously, I have chosen this path; I’ve chosen it because I believe it to be the right thing to do.  My parents cared for me, now it is my turn to do for them.

As for my ex, I feel a great deal of responsibility where he is concerned.  His welfare is important to my happiness.  If he is not feeling well-supported, financially secure or with health or emotional issues, then I can’t be happy.  If he’s not happy, then I feel I will have failed him.   

These thoughts all came about due to a conversation my ex and my mother had in my presence.  I provide my ex with a lot of support.  I provide my mother with a lot of support.  But they are both resentful of the time I spend with the boyfriend. 

My mother can be snide and cruel about it, taking swipes, being critical, while the ex will sigh a great deal while making wistful comments.  Both make me feel horribly defensive and terribly guilty; as if what I have to offer them isn’t enough. 

Then, I simply end up feeling defeated.  Like there’s no winning.

So, I feel a bit under siege.  Rock, hard place. 

I get it.  People live with expectations. They picture their offices, their cubes, their homes and their lives in a certain way.  That picture lives in their head, offering hope and comfort while they work in order for it to come to fruition.  You upset that vision; they will see you as the reason that their life no longer matches the picture they have in their head.  And that makes you the bad man.  That makes you the problem.

But I live with pictures in my head, too.  For a long time, in my personal life, I was okay with my reality not matching the picture in my head. 

But no more.

I am grateful for the opportunities afforded me.  I take joy in the simple things – my boyfriend holding my hand in public places, one of my dogs rolling on his back expectantly waiting for me to rub his belly, a free cup of herbal tea in the kitchenette at my work place… I don’t need much in order to find a bit of happy.

I’m grateful for those little things, because they each represent something much larger for me: that my emotional and financial needs are being met.  In those three things there exists hope for the future, the potential to love and be loved, and a sense (ever precarious that it may be) of security and belonging.

And, yes… there are times when I long for more, but ultimately, for me? 

That is enough. 

And I am grateful.

So, how can I influence others to come to the same conclusion without exploiting the picture of a starving child in a third world country?

I’m stumped.

And now ready re-assimilate and live among the rest of the population.

Yep, the nice thing about ‘Whiny Needy-Baby Jail’? 

You can leave anytime you choose.


Queer Heaven said...

I'm sitting here thinking of my mother who lives 2,000 miles away with one of my sisters. (thank god for her). I understand how difficult this must be for you.
The best part of your post today is the last line.
..Just keep that in mind,

Explorer Jack said...

"So, how can I influence others to come to the same conclusion without exploiting the picture of a starving child in a third world country?"

Unfortunately, values must be earned and learned. Simply imparted? Doubtful.

Good luck.