Doesn’t every family have a crazy person in the attic?

Okay, my family doesn’t have an attic. And the word crazy gets tossed around much too easily.

Still, family has its challenges, and certainly every family member might should be locked in an attic for a while from time to time. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Sometimes I suspect I’m the one who should be in the attic…it’s probably quiet up there.

So, a particular someone in my family has a debilitating disease. This person doesn’t know I have a blog–and probably doesn’t even know what a blog is–but in the off chance I’m wrong about that, this story will be as convoluted as possible.

I’m not supposed to know this person is sick. Every time I talk to this person, I must act as if everything is fine. I know about the illness because someone else felt that I had a right to know, but that someone made me promise not to reveal that I know the truth.

In some ways, this makes life easy. I don’t have to figure out what to say or wonder what I should do to help. But then that someone tells me this person has stopped taking their medication. Just stopped. But I don’t know that, of course, so I can’t say, “Take your medicine!”

I ask, “How are you doing?”

This person says, “I’m fine. I had a cold.”

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah. I went to the doctor. Everything’s good!”

Do you ever have fake conversations with your family?

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9 responses to “Doesn’t every family have a crazy person in the attic?

  1. Oh Lord, girl, I think every conversation I’ve ever had with my mom is fake. Possibly my dad too, though there haven’t been many conversations with him. Huge elephants in the room that are never mentioned with both of them. Now that I think of it, it’s possible that my relationships with most of my relatives are built on fake, or at least surface, topics. But that’s how I grew up, so that’s what I’m comfortable with.

    You just opened my giant can of worms. 😉

    • Yes, I too grew up with elephants in the room that were never mentioned. My poor mother did her best to mention them, but since no one else would, she felt crazy.

      Oh, I’m sorry. What’s that? I have a worm stuck to my shoe? Do I? Imagine that. How did that get there?

      • Ha, silly. Worms everywhere! I’m the one mentioning the elephant in the room, and it makes everyone else uncomfortable. Maybe I’m not as comfortable with it as I thought.

  2. I don’t have enough fingers to count the crazy persons in my family.
    I’ve started refusing to play the game “Now don’t tell,” which are words frequently spoken in conversations. Sad to say, I once played the game, too. But no more.

    • The don’t-tell game is tricky. Telling ought to be better. Most of the time I think it is. Sometimes though I think people tell things because they want wound others, and then they say, “Well, I was telling the truth.”

      What a complicated thing.

  3. I am sort of with you on the family thing, and I’m convinced I’m that person in the attic. And since nobody in my own family ever read my own blog, any of my short-stories published online, or for that matter my stellar short-story in an anthology, here goes nothing…I don’t have that situation with the disease that you are talking about but I do have a situation where I feel I’m being used and discounted as a person. It hurts. But if I bring it up (like I did a few months ago) the others get all defensive and discount my “feelings” and then things get all wonky for a couple of months. That I migiht have done the same thing to my own mother makes me cringe and cry, a lot. For your situation – whoever told you about the sick person, I would tell them you can’t keep the secret any more (what the heck kind of secret is that to keep anyway?) and talk to the sick person and tell him/her to take their medication! You know what? Let’s start a revolt!!

    • Yes, it is painful to feel discounted. And since becoming a mother…well, I can see what I must’ve really been like as a child sometimes. It isn’t a pleasant feeling.

      But those feelings of being discounted, how does one deal with them? I’ve never worked that out.

      I do know that the person who told me this secret was in fact told quite directly not to tell me. And I know that this person kept the secret for over a year, with it always nagging at them. And I feel that if I tell…well, I ruin something between them, not to mention probably end a source of information for me. So, that’s me being selfish too I suppose.

      Ah the revolt! I need more courage.

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