Monday, September 16, 2013

Living with Selfishness..........

  Part 1
Erin put us through 2 months of hell but she doesn't think coming to visit us when she was unstable exploited our kindness in any way. She has a good heart....just ask her. Threatening suicide to avoid responsibility is afterall.....such an incredible, loving gift to give anyone, let alone our family trying to heal from the ordeal we suffered with my cancer and all its complications.

I apologize for my sarcasm. I normally try to avoid its use. I have always tried to be fair in my writings. There are two sides to every story so I try to include that other side for balance but in this situation I find it hard to understand how Erin can tell herself she didn't exploit my illness and our kindness so I indulged myself with a little sarcasm as an expression of the frustration I feel.

Despite the opening sarcasm, rest assured the balance of my writings about Erin is, if anything, understated. Much of Erin's time here she was incapacitated by her mind games. I imagine the fact I am not a player threw her off. When I didn't get drawn in as expected, she stayed stuck in dark depressions.

When she wasn't crippled by depression, her behavior was anything but complimentary to living with others. There were many little things piled up into huge mountains of inconsiderate behavior that show how truly selfish Erin is. I confronted her only about the most egregious but Erin felt I was picking on her.   I think to understand why her stay caused such harm it is important to see what a mine field she laid out for us.

Of course, we had no idea talking to Erin about anything contrary to her perception would precipitate her downward spiral. It took some time before I put it together meanwhile we found ourselves living with a chaos unlike anything we had seen before. Chaos in and of itself is exhausting. Tantamount to living in a war zone, the day to day stuff was wearing us all down when what we needed was healing.

First off,  like Jessica,Erin thought she should be fed but didn't offer to help or clean up. When she did get herself something from the kitchen, she left a mess behind her similar to the days when I had 4 kids at home. Only my kids all knew where things were so they didn't tear the kitchen apart looking and they knew better than to leave the mess behind if they did find themselves hunting for something. Erin felt no compunction to respect this was our kitchen. She trashed it regularly and rearranged things to suit her needs. Even in boarding school with a "public" kitchen there was more respect than Erin showed in mine.

She frequently asked when dinner would be ready saying she was hungry. Then when it was served she was gone from the house so someone would need to get her if she was going to eat. We, however, didn't track her down since she had been told when the meal would be ready but we didn't put the meal away either thinking she would be in shortly. Of course, she felt no obligation to eat or clean up the remaining mess when she did come in or even communicate if she still planned to eat so poor Dave or Lindsay got stuck on KP duty hours after dinner had been served when they should have been winding down for the night.

There were more issues related to food. We tend to buy our groceries in bulk at the beginning of the month. Desserts and special things we must make from scratch so our dollars spread. If we do buy something special, we make sure everyone gets their share but not with Erin around. If it appealed to her, she wiped it out with no regard for the rest of us. As an example she ate a tub of Costco red licorice the first two days after it was purchased claiming she would replace it. If she did, she ate that too, or most of it anyway.

Because I was still struggling with food and volume, the dietitian recommended some protein bars that were spendy but the only ones I could get down. They were important to keep my protein and calories up. Erin wiped those out too never considering anyone but herself. We didn't realize she was into them until they were gone long before they should have been.

I figure she ate her way through the money she gave us for food in ten days.  By then there was nothing left of the specific items purchased  for me or anything sweet that Dave or Lindsay would have liked. I lost 10 pounds the first month she was here but we learned our lesson.

The second month we hid the items we thought Erin would devour with her mindless eating figuring she'd eaten 3 months worth already. There was no way she could eat such things all month long on the amount she gave us for groceries and she had cleaned out some stores tucked away in the back of the pantry put there specifically for a rainy day. As carefully as she had budgeted to make this trip, it was obvious she knew the value of a dollar and how to make it stretch. I believe she knew exactly how much the things she was eating cost. She just didn't care how it impacted us.

When she complained about the lack of sweets, I showed her the recipes and the supplies so she could bake cookies. But Erin didn't want to do anything like that. Instead she ate the entire 4 lb bag of chocolate chips and was well on her way through a second before I hid those too.

This selfishness was difficult. We are a family that shares and looks out for each other so we were not prepared for the effect of a lemming on our pantry. It was slim pickings the latter part of the month for anything but staples only because she wasn't interested in those but we toughed it out. We didn't confront her on any of these things around food or meals because there were more important things that couldn't be let slide but this part living with Erin was already way more of a disruption than Jessica had been. Funny thing was Erin thought she was superior to Jessica. I'm very sure I would never say that.......different for sure....but no way better.

To be continued.......

In the Barn with Erin........


  1. It sounds like she suffered from narcissism, on top of depression and everything else. I grew up in a large family, and I was always taught to be aware of making sure that everyone else got their share, and that I did my share of the work.

  2. Food rations do seem to be a major stressor when groups of people co-exist. I remember baking cookies at a sorority retreat, turning around, and discovering that every cookie I baked had been consumed in the time that I cleaned up the dishes, and I never got a single bite. My friend and I also got kicked out of a cabin because we drank all the milk. I borrowed a rowboat to row across the lake to the general store to buy more, but it was closed. In college, I brought home my bulimic roommate, and she literally ate everything in my mother's house within 24 hours. My mother gave her a $20 bill and shoved her out the door telling her to go buy herself some food in a restaurant. I had to stop at three restaurants in the hour's drive back to college, because she swore she was starving. She quickly found out that $20 didn't stretch that far and tried borrowing money from me to eat more.

    You can bet I've been sensitive about noticing food and drink rations after having those experiences. Some people just don't notice such things unless they have to suffer consequences. Having Jessica steal your pain pills and Erin eating the only protein you could stomach in your condition is very upsetting.