Good kid, bad kid

I feel like such a failure. I still have no tutor, and I´m pretty sure I won´t get one until next Tuesday. I´m lying in bed all day, making frantic plans for the rest of my life and I feel like I´m looking into some kind of abyss because these future selves I sketch out are just not me in any way. Meanwhile, my dearest sister Irene has received a three-year-contract for a job as a teacher at a university in a great city at the other end of the world .

Don´t get me wrong. I don´t wish my sister was a failure. I just wish she´d stop thinking I was one.

Of all members of my family, Irene is most worried about my future. When I entered college, apparently she instructed my parents to keep pushing me, telling me to go to my lectures and classes, and she also made sure that my parents were not happy with me when suddenly, instead of an A, I´d get a B+. I have no idea why Irene was doing this. Or why my parents relied on her judgment. Maybe they have outsourced my up-bringing to her, I don´t know. I cannot help being embittered and hurt because of the complete lack of trust I encountered when I entered college. I mean – just before that I had proven that I can, all on my fucking own, work hard enough to graduate from high school with the best grade point average possible. One should think they´d have a pretty high opinion of my work discipline, my ambition and my ability to motivate myself. Oddly enough, however, I encountered some icy cold distrust. “Well, don´t think you can relax now and rely on your high school diploma to carry you through life.” It sounded almost scornful. Just what the hell? Why did they behave as if I was on parole or something?

I don´t remember feeling anything much about it back then, I didn´t even understand the severity of their behavior. Now, however, the memory makes me want to cry. I´m sure they´d say they were “just worried”, and they even believe this themselves, but that doesn´t make it any better. It changes nothing about the fact that apparently they don´t trust me because they think I´m inherently unreliable, troubled and flawed.

My mother would say this is my own fault. I have always been unfavorably compared to Irene when it came to openness and reliability. My mother told me about how Irene was always on time, how Irene always called when she was on holiday, how Irene always discussed her plans with my parents…and how I tend to be late, don´t call, don´t want to share my plans, don´t want to talk about what I am doing and how I am feeling. It has been like this ever since. According to my parents, my family cares about me a big deal, but I push them away all the time. I never know what to reply to this. It´s true, I ward them off whenever I can. I don´t call. I´m late. I give grumpy answers when my parents ask me questions. But actually I want to be cared for. Just…huh. Maybe not by them? I don´t know, really.


I have a weird, ugly feeling I don´t quite understand. I feel guilty. And I also feel worried about Irene. It was her who always pushed me to work harder for college. And when I first applied for college I messed something up; and as a result I had to wait for another semester until I could start studying my actual subject. And when we noticed that, Irene started to cry. Now what the hell?

Why does Irene cry when I mess up? The thing is, I was crying, too. I was pissed off at myself and at the whole system and at my entire situation. And I wanted to be left alone for a moment, so I asked Irene to go. She wouldn´t. I seriously had to push her out of my room, and she still didn´t leave me alone. What the heck, really?

Somehow I don´t think it had anything to do with her being so sorry for me. Or with her absolutely wanting to comfort me. She was behaving as if she herself was affected by this. Maybe my memory is distorted, but I´m starting to wonder if there was some kind of panic to this. She was upset for herself. Somehow my failure had negative consequences for her, too. And I wonder why.

Irene always seemed to feel responsible for me, and as a result, she was a lot more mad at me when I messed up than my parents. My parents, to be honest, don´t give a damn.

And I´m starting to feel guilty because I wonder what exactly Irene might have gone through. Why does she feel and behave like she is my parent? Do I or did I ever, by fucking up, get her into trouble?

I feel like I´m in a really messed up place with this. I feel like I might be guilty without even knowing it. I already mentioned I live in a bubble, but I also live in a bubble family-wise. I was always lackadaisical, I didn´t care about anything, I was basically selfish. I was granted the luxury to remain a child forever, even when I was already a teen and beyond that. The price, however, was to never be taken seriously and to be left out of all plans and secrets. I´m always the last person who learns about anything. Don´t think I was happy, I wasn´t. My sister was the aggressive one, I was the one who got depressed and started to cut.

Well, Irene, however…Irene seems to have a very close relationship with my mother. They talk about intimate stuff I´d never talk about with either of them, but particularly not with my mum. And my mum tells Irene stuff she never told me about, like when she was love sick. The two of them do not only talk about their own affairs, though. They also talk about me. About intimate details. In a conversation with Irene, my mum once referred to me as “our child”. It´s like I am their little project.

They talk about what the teachers said about me. They are satisfied with the results, so the teachers are recognizing my value, just like they are supposed to. As if I was a product the two of them manufactured, and now the costumers are finally recognizing how great it is. They also talk about my depression. They talk about how much of it has to be show. They talk about how insolent I am towards my mother. They talk about how I should just sleep with my boyfriend, then my depression would go away. A few months later, they talk about how it is my fault that my boyfriend left me because I didn´t sleep with him and instead pretended to be oh so sad and depressed. Don´t ask me how I found out. Definitely not by honorable means. Then again, how else would I have ever found out I´m the family version of the Truman Show?

Why, then, would I feel guilty towards Irene, though? Because even though she is emotionally invalidating to the point of being abusive, she is the only one in this damn family who actually seems to care about me. I´m not just her project in the narcissistic sense. Maybe she is also trying to protect me from making her mistakes. Maybe, on some level, she wanted to help me, even needed to help me, and I did not exactly make it easy for her. I refused her just as much as I refused anybody else. And, other than my parents, I think I might have hurt her doing so. And right now I feel deeply sorry that I failed her all my life, and sometimes out of pure hatred and vengefulness. At the same time, though, I know it is not my job to help her fulfill a dysfunctional role in a dysfunctional family.

I cannot resolve the underlying conflict between us. Irene won´t hear anything negative about our parents. She fervently denies there is anything wrong with them. According to her, I ought to be grateful for them. She attacks me most viciously when I question them. Nothing I can do for our relationship. We do not have a real emotional connection. Just a very twisted dependency, it seems. And so what I am scared of most about all this trouble with my thesis is Irene learning that I failed. I think that she hates and resents me for each mistake that I make. I think she is embittered on some level, feeling like I´m being treated better than her. Maybe she feels that my parents would blame her for her mistakes, but they wouldn´t blame me for mine.

I´m entering a really dangerous zone of my psyche here.


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