In some ways, I can see how dealing with her issues is slowly healing some of the wounds. In others, it seems like she still has to get worse before she will get better. After a fight yesterday we had a talk about how she is doing and everything that is going on with her. She feels guilty because she thinks I deserve better and she is scared I will one day not be able to handle it anymore and will leave her. She wants me to leave if it gets too much, but at the same time she doesn't want me to leave because she needs me. In the last weeks, we have made good progress, at least in my opinion, with addressing and voicing some of her wounds. The question of why nobody except for me and one of her sisters loves her and wants her has been brought up multiple times and always leads to tears. It breaks my heart to hear her say these things, because I know that no matter what I say, her pain still will be there. Mostly, I tell her that her mother is incapable of truly loving someone because of all the things she went through and therefore the men she attracted in her life were emotionally equally scarred/incapable of love. I also tell her that if a child gets told that it is not worth of love, it will soon believe that and that that is not the child's fault, clearly. But it is hard to get through to her, because she has lived feeling not worthy of love for so long and I've only loved her for not even a year and a half.
I also told her about her brain and how most likely, her brain right now is learning a lot of new things and that because her brain is so busy learning, it sometimes gets thrown back. I feel like in some ways, she is for the first time in her life learning how to have healthy, 'normal' relationships with someone other than friends. From the stories she has told me, her mother clearly did not and does not have healthy relationships with any of her children. She blamed and blames problems on her children that were caused by her behavior - a reaction to her and her inability to parent a child with more complex needs, especially emotionally - and doesn't take over any responsibility for anything. One thing my beloved monster-in-law likes to say is that she had it even harder at 22 and therefore my girlfriend should stop complaining and grow up and be completely independent - as in go to school full time, get good grades and work enough to pay for rent, food and all other expenses, all at the same time. Yeah, right, that's very likely going to happen. Anyways, my point is, my MIL always states how hard she had it and how hard her life was and that her children should just stop complaining, hold their heads high and do what she did, which is take care of their own business. In my opinion, she doesn't want her children to have it any easier than she had it and that's why she is so unwilling to help her children out. What she doesn't see is that as a mother, she should want her children to have a better life than her. She should want her children to heal and grow, so that they can have more fulfilling lives, relationships and so that they don't end up where she is right now. In a recent conversation, MIL complained that we didn't ask if she needed any help when she was forced to move out of her boyfriend's place. Um, excuse me, you are the 40-something-year-old MOTHER who doesn't give a sh*t about her daughter and you expect US, the 22-year-old college students who can't find a job because of the economy to offer help? Really? I mean, REALLY??? And what angers me the most is that she thinks it is her daughter's responsibility to call and ask her how she is doing,... so that their relationship can get better. My girlfriend didn't fuck up their relationship, yet she should work to make it better while her mother can pat herself on the back for being a great mother? Yeah, I don't think so. MIL complained that my girlfriend never calls and asks her how she is doing, yet she never calls her to ask how school is going. Plus, she is incredibly hard to reach and generally doesn't return phone calls, so how exactly is that supposed to work? Anywho, enough about that, but that should give you an idea of why my girlfriend doesn't feel loved by her parents. Not that her dad is any better, since he doesn't know how a phone works either, apparently.
So even though we still fight a lot, there are definite improvements in some areas. We had a rather lengthy talk last week about my alleged 'OCD-ness'. GF likes to complain about my desire to have a clean apartment and about my unreasonable request for her helping me clean. So when she once again complained about how my expectations were too high, I made her give me a list of how often she would clean (major cleaning only). Here is her list:
- Clean the bathroom - tub, counter, toilet - once a week
- Clean the kitchen floor once to twice a week, depending on how dirty it is
- Clean the bedroom floor at least once a week
Anywho, that was a really, really long update on what is going on. Unfortunately, this is only a small part of our daily lives, as the struggle with her depression, anxiety and PTSD continues. But, there is hope at the end of the tunnel!!