Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Dreaming some more

My older brother is spiralling out of control. He has been for a while, but my parents keep picking him back up again. Which is more than mildly annoying to me, the youngest in the family, because without trying too hard I can tote up about $40,000 they've given him not only this year, but for at least the past twelve years. (Before that it was about 100K per year.) That rankles after a decade or so.

I had a dream a few years ago with a prologue. Never had one of those before. There was this whole back story to the dream, which only existed IN the dream, which I became aware of as I was walking up the front steps to my parents' house. Last night I had an epilogue dream. I'm getting a little too invested in this thing!


I have a younger sister named Georgie (Completely false in real life. No sisters, just the older brother) whom my parents dote on. Georgie has broken into my house, stolen a watch, and then lost it by flushing it down a toilet while she was drunk at a party. She has called me asking for money so that she can replace my watch. When I didn't give the money to her, she called my parents to complain. They are angry at me for not giving Georgie the opportunity to make good on her bad behavior and have asked me to come to the house.


I can't find my mother in the house, so I wander into the back yard. There I see a cute Victorian cedar shingled playhouse. The trim is painted grey and yellow, and the red cedar is unweathered. It's adorable. There are bird baths and a pebbled path and a cottage garden all around this. (Very unlike my mother's backyard in real life, but representative of her over the top doll house decorating.) I go into the playhouse to discover that this is where my mother is housing her bird feeder collection (which also exists only in the dream). There are metal ones, wooden ones which look like houses, wooden ones which look like birch logs, plastic ones which look like birdhouses. It's chaos. They are all hanging in clumps and at different levels. You can't even see the back wall of the house.

As I walk further into the house, I keep turning corners and bumping into the lower half of Dutch doors. There are walls which spring up out of nowhere, and I still can't really figure out how big the room is or even how many rooms there are. It's like a garden center gone insane. I keep hearing my mother's voice; she's arguing with me about my ill treatment of Dear Georgie. Why did I lend her the watch when I knew she would lose it?

"But I didn't!! She broke into my house!"

"Why didn't you hide the watch if it meant so much to you? Poor Georgie. She's so careless. It's so like her to lose something while in the bathroom."


And I still can't find my mother to actually confront her face to face.

After I had the dream I went over it in some detail with my therapist, who was completely delighted that I had imagined a whole new sibling. A sister with a man's name (almost). She wanted to know all about how I've managed to essentially forget, over time, that I even HAVE a brother. He's such a non-issue that he's even dropped out of my dreams and needed a replacement in a drunken little sister. She loved the description of the house and wanted to know in detail what it felt like to be wandering around in my mother's chaos. It was a fruitful session.

So last night, at least six, possibly seven years after I originally dreamed this dream, I dreamt the epilogue. Or maybe a later chapter and the true epilogue is still to come.

Last night:

I go to visit my Mom and find her sitting in the garden house on the floor. The house is much smaller-- no furniture, the floor is packed and swept dirt. There are three windows and a door, no decorations, and no bird feeders. My mother is crying, "Your brother made me sell my beautiful collection! He needed the money. What will Georgie do? Those were her inheritance!"

I am in the same moment sorry for my mother as she's weeping for my brother and completely livid that her only thoughts are for how Georgie will cope. I'm the one standing here! Where's MY inheritance? Money for my brother, money for Georgie, nothing for me. I hate Georgie. I hate her so much I'm sweating with it.

When I woke up I found myself to be MOST confused. For a few minutes there I really had to convince myself that I can't hate Georgie because she doesn't even exist. Makes me ever so much less likely to rush out and buy a bird feeder though.


Doug said...

Interesting that the therapist would assume Georgie and your brother were one and the same. I didn't think that at all. I take a more Jungian approach to dreams -- in which case, Georgie represents some aspect of yourself from which you feel the need for distance. Considerable distance.

Beyond that, I don't have much. I get prologues all the time, backstories galore, maybe epilogs, too. I dislike intensely the power of dreams to ruin my whole day but what can you do? And why can't I have dreams that MAKE my day? Why only the day-ruining dreams?

Suisan said...

To be fair to the therapist, she asked me what I thought of Georgie, what my reactions to the dream were.

And I replied that Georgie was obviously my brother, but now made into a silly flighty girl. My therapist as a rule doesn't "interpret" dreams, but asks me what I thought of it, how it made me feel while I was dreaming it, and what emotions it brings up when I retell it. So the Georgie equals my brother thing is all mine.

Then she was interested to know how it was that I had supplanted my brother with this Georgie person after I had made the connection. (Which is obvious in my mind. But maybe I don't like the part of me that wants to be able to rely upon my parents' generosity and is able to manipulate them into giving me whatever I want. With certain strings attached, you understand. FOr for 40K I might almost put up with the strings. Almost. But I don't.)

Doug said...

That was an enormous amount of money they gave your bro, by the way. This made Karen feel better about her parents, since they only gave her older brother a few hundred thou.

Parents like this insist they treat all their kids the same. yours too?

Megan Frampton said...

That is an amazing amount of money.
I am glad your psyche is finding some way to deal with it, I don't know if I would ever get over the unequal relationship. Good thing I am an only child.

Suisan said...

They pay his mortgage (he has three concurrent ones out now) and they used to pay his rent on the apartment and on his photographic studio.

Then they pay for trips to France, karate lessons for the grandkids, various expenses. They also pay the orthodontist, and the reading specialist. Oh. And part of the lawyers fees for his upcoming divorce, but they stopped paying that one. He also drives one of their cars, so they essentially pay his insurance for him. The figure I quoted in the post was only the mortgage.

And then he stole 7K from them last summer, and an additional 5K from them a few months ago.

I try not to total it up, because it just makes me so damn mad once I see on paper how much he gets.

But they respect me more. And that's something. But there are days when I'd be ready to get some money and lose some of the respect.

(My mother has offered to pay for a cleaning lady to come to the house. I have to take her up on the offer pretty quickly before she forgets.)

Suisan said...

Actually Doug, my parents haven't said that they treat us both the same for a long time.

On the other hand, my mother does call me to whine that she "had" to write antoher check to my brother. She feels so frustrated. What can she do?

She thinks I'm her friend, but I'm her daughter. So I tell her not to bother giving him any money. (When he smashed their car,they not only paid to repair it, but they rented him a car for while it was in the shop. I screamed at her, "Let him take a taxi like every other person on earth!") THen she sighs, "I know. I know."

So I wouldn't say that she thinks that she's treating us the same, but she also doesn't know who her audience is when she complains.

Marianne McA said...

It's the amount that's so mind-boggling. If my parents sold everything they own, they'd never have that much.
Still, on a much lesser scale, they've supported my younger sister and her family for years. My parents now have no spare money. Any savings or anything have gone. And yes, because my sister is - we all think - addicted to shopping, it can be maddening. She'll be crying about not having money to pay for their school lunches, while packages that are duplicates of stuff they already have are delivered through the door. What four year old needs two play kitchens? And in every possible way it seems wrong for my parents to then have to pay for the lunches. Their judgement, however, is that the worst scenario is my sister's family disintegrating under financial pressure, so they do what they can to help, and use that leverage to try to exert some control on her behaviour.

My bottom line is that it's my parents' money. They are competent adults, and their financial decisions are none of my business.

(Mind you, they don't complain about it. Or at least, we all sometimes moan about my sister, but my mum and dad know they've chosen to go without to support her, and they wouldn't blame anyone apart from themselves if they can't afford something they need.)

CindyS said...

Just giving you a poke to make sure you're doing all right! Hope all is well but I'm betting you are working way too hard ;)


Kate R said...

::poke, poke::

me, too.

Suisan said...

Sorry--I'll write more later, but things have gotten a touch nuts recently.

My son's only in school one hour a day for a bit (a good thing, mostly) but it drastically reduces my "free time" alottment.