That's Post Aunt (yes, that aunt) Stress Disorder.

I am bound and determined to get the dishwasher emptied and reloaded, and all the hand-wash dishes done before bed, so I'll make this brief:

  • Really wanted to sing but couldn't join anything with obligatory practices.

  • My Maiden Aunt was leading a small group of carolers to sing at her friends' garden center and then at a nursing home. I went over the music with her once and the singing was enjoyable.

  • Today was the date of the actual singing, so I rushed over to her house from Mass in the miserable pouring rain.

As I went to put down the coffee I'd purchased on the way over, she took it from me and--while stating that she's not supposed to have caffeine due to her "brain injury" (I can't even get into that one)--asks for a sip. I said fine.

She drank half my coffee on the way to the garden center. It kind of bugged me extra that I paid for it with the gift card my former teen board had given me as a going-away present.

I couldn't do anything about it, because (a) I wound up driving (which probably was the safest option), and (b) I was trying my hardest not to cringe as she was shouting into my right ear while talking to the other two girls in the group, former voice students of hers who are just finishing college (20-somethings).

So the coffee-stealing pissed me off, but not as much as the conversation. I guess all this brain stuff has her into Dr. Amen, and she was going on and on about the "Brain in Love" stuff. . . she's screaming about how neat it was that (supposedly) the same parts of the brain "light up" when first in love as when a person takes cocaine. And the later stage of a relationship is supposedly "the heroin stage" which in her words was why "it's so much harder to break up during the heroin stage."

At which point she stops and shouts, "YOUR BREAKUP WAS DURING THE HEROIN STAGE, WASN'T IT?"

I think she's asking me the question, but I've got my eyes on the road and am trying to get through the driving rain. Not to mention my eyeballs are about to fry from the rage I am feeling. How dare she? How dare she attempt to dredge up a painful event from my past--an event I have worked hard to put into its proper place IN MY PAST, as I now am enjoying a freer, more successful and satisfying life--as a talking point for her stupid lecture???

Honestly, she acts as if my life stopped, and that I haven't dated in years (which I have; I just haven't ever mentioned my dating life to her as a matter of self-preservation).

I almost pulled over and left her on the side of 76 West.

Instead, I didn't answer.

I let her continue drinking my coffee as she segued into a rant against the person who would be dressed as Santa and accompanying us on guitar--a person who had been her friend for decades, but apparently was not anymore. Because that's what she does. She alienates everyone eventually because she accuses them of having done her some horrible wrong.

We sang at the garden center--hardly any customers; it continued to rain heavily--and afterwards as we made our way to the nursing home, she unleashed a tirade against her former friend which included several m-f bombs. I can't stand that word, and I could not believe she was giving such personal details to her former students who are younger than I am. They, of course, were sympathetic and think she is very cool.

On the way from the nursing home--again, lovely time singing for the residents--she went on about how she basically "has no family to celebrate Christmas with," which is baloney because in any given year she's mad at half her siblings and not impressed with the invitations offered by the other half (including my immediate family). More sympathy from the girls, who now have offered to help her decorate her Christmas tree on Sunday.

At about 4:30, I drop her and the girls off at her house. She walks off with the pen from my glove compartment because I was nice (stupid) enough to say I had one when she needed to write down the one girl's e-mail address.

Three final thoughts on this whole thing:

1. I have to stop saying yes to her, and stop thinking that just because I'm not her little niece anymore, things will be different. They're not and I just end up feeling like a traumatized sucker.

2. I need to find another outlet for singing, because it feels wonderful to sing.

3. I am determined not to end up like her. . . even though being genetically related and still unmarried in my early 30s makes me deathly afraid I will.

I guess that wasn't as brief as I'd hoped. Sorry!


nightfly said…
Hooooo boy. So sorry. It's so much harder when a relative turns toxic. Prayers here.
Kate P said…
Thanks, 'Fly. Please pray for her. Pray that I'll be able to pray for her, too.
ccr in MA said…
It's so hard, but sometimes you just have to step away from certain people, and it sounds like you know it's time. Still sucks, but good luck!

By all means, find some singing another way. Anything that helps.
Mr. Bingley said…
I think you're perfectly within your rights to look at her with a withering glare and ask her "is that sort of language really necessary?"
Kate P said…
CCR--thanks. I think I've declared it was time to step away in the past, but I want to stick to it this time, you know?

Bingley--I think I was just so shocked she was talking that way to these girls, it didn't even occur to me. But you are right. I should have told her she was out of line.

The weird thing is that the next night, she called up my one uncle asking to use his credit card so she could stay at a hotel because the house she rents is apparently still full of the toxic whatever that gave her the brain injury. He said no, but a friend of hers said yes. So now she and her cats are staying in a hotel.

I heard all this from my mom. We are all weirded out.

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