In another of my strange little worlds, Wife has these three in her head who are simultaneously separate of her, and who ARE her. Read along as they witness the majesty of Wife’s emotional-eating extravaganza. Enjoy! Relate! Sit in superiority as you eat a spinach salad and judge! Oh, wait. Just do those first two things.
SUPEREGO: Oh no. What is Wife doing?
EGO: She has the cheese. An entire wheel of cheese. We need an intervention here, people. Code red, everyone to the control room.
SUPEREGO: I can’t believe this is still happening. Can’t you talk to her, ID?
ID: No, I’m sorry guys. I’m afraid she’s gone full ostrich. The cheese is in charge now.
EGO: Well if we can’t snap her out of it, we’re screwed. Who can we make her call to come over and slap the salami out of her hand? Renee?
ID: If anyone could do it, it would be her. But Wife would never call her. She’d never let anyone see her like this. Not knowingly, anyway.
EGO: I just feel so…powerless. I mean, one minute she’s got things under control and it’s been a great day with the kids, and the next minute she’s shoveling dry fruity-o’s in by the fistful as if the meaning of life is at the bottom of that empty cereal box. I mean, when will the horror end?
SUPEREGO: It doesn’t. That’s the thing. This abandonment and divorce is the sucktacular gift that just keeps on giving. It’s been four years, and yet her go-to move when the kids say something heartbreaking is still to unhinge her jaw in the snack pantry.
EGO: It’s like watching an alcoholic lying on the floor surrounding by empty Jameson bottles listening to Van Morrison albums and asking the cat ‘Why’d he leave me? Huh? Answer me, you pussy!’ ‘Cept instead of empty booze bottles there’s, like, 11 empty Ritz cracker sleeves and a hollowed out vat of Mint Chip.
SUPEREGO: Not to put too fine a point on it, but I blame ID.
ID: Excuse me? How did this become MY fault?!
SUPEREGO: : Well, we all know you’re responsible for Wife’s baser-instincts. Why couldn’t you just urge her to make a salad?
ID: Look, Mr. Holy-er than thou, it doesn’t exactly work that way. And you know what, pal? If anyone’s to blame, it’s you.
SUPEREGO: I don’t see how that’s possible…
ID: Oh really? You’re the one who’s filled her head for years about the importance of the family unit, the ‘kin-unit’ as you call it. So she’s spent her entire life believing that she will only feel complete once she has that family. She had it, and then – poof! It was gone. She can’t reconcile it.
EGO: Excuse me, ID, but wife HAS a family. They’re sleeping in the next room.
ID: Don’t play dumb with me, Ego. I invented that. No. You know I mean the nuclear family. The 2 parents and children variety. She can’t help but feel incomplete at every function, every park, every school event. And now that her daughter is voicing it in exactly those words, she’s even more convinced that nothing she says or does will ever make them feel ‘normal’ again.
SUPEREGO: What was it that Baby Girl said tonight that sent Wife running for the cheese? Oh yah. ‘Mommy, our family doesn’t feel complete without Daddy. When will he come to be with us?’
ID, SUPEREGO, EGO (all at once): Uhhhhh! Oh my God. No!! Just no. That’s awful. Poor little thing.
ID: Ugh. I’m gonna barf or cry just thinking about it. Crarf. That’s my new word for that.
SUPEREGO: You can have it. No one’s gonna try to co-opt that one, ID.
ID: Well then what about Bry? Barf-cry?
EGO: Come back to the grown up table, children.
SUPEREGO: Well, I don’t accept the blame, ID. I’ve made sure Wife knows that they ARE a family. She’s been working so hard on believing that, too. The pain the kids express to her is like a dagger to her heart, so when this happens all her progress just sort of crumbles away. Their pain cripples her more than anything that she lost for herself in this sordid mess. She’s got to see that what she has with the kids is a real, legitimate and bona-fide family. It’s just three members now is all. More to the point, it’s minus one lying, cheating man-child. If you ask me, they’re all better off for it.
ID: But that’s the problem, SuperEgo. They don’t FEEL better off for it. Not yet, anyway. Intellectually, Wife knows that’s true, but emotionally she’s still blaming herself and struggling through pointless ‘what if’s’. That’s what the festival of cheese seems to be all about. To watch these sweet, vulnerable kids be in so much pain? She just can’t give one more pep talk about how everything’s going to be alright while her 5 year-old daughter or her 7 year old son cry themselves to sleep. It’s so tragic and wrong and unjust and wife just can’t bear to hear one more heartbreaking comment…except the comments never stop. Not her own in her head, and not from the kids. It’s just a black hole of suck, so she gets a little comfort in the form of Pirates Booty and chocolate milk. So sue her.
SUPEREGO: Ewwww! In a bowl with the milk? Like…cereal?
ID: No, you moron. Not in a bowl like cereal.
EGO: The real problem here is anger, guys. She feels enraged on their behalf, but that rage has nowhere to go. So she soothes them and tells them she’s here for them, and then engages in very unhealthy and self-punishing eating habits in an attempt to feel better. Of course, it’s usually something jaw-droppingly unhealthy, like the egg-roll platter with a side of Grape Fanta.
ID: Ooo! I love that one. (EGO and SUPEREGO stare at her). What?!
EGO: She’s horrified when he doesn’t come out for a visit, because of the harm that that continued void does to the children. But she’d be even more horrified if he did come, because they’d be in fresh, gut-wrenching pain after his subsequent and inevitable departure. It’s truly a no-win.
ID: Why do people think it’s better to have a harmful father in the life of a child rather than no father at all? How does that make sense?
EGO: Well, define ‘harmful’. For example, we all know Honey’s character is garbage, but he doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo. He seems pleased as punch about who he is. So he’s Mr. Jovial, Mr. Fun-loving when he Skype’s them. So really, what harm could he bring by being in their life?
SUPEREGO: Uh, pardon me? What harm could he bring? How about he gets them alone to explain how what he did to them is somehow okay? Justifiable? He can’t do it without scrambling their brains. What, will he try to explain that because of some bastardized concept of the word ‘love’, they get to have no dad in their life? So, romantic ‘love’ with someone that’s not your wife trumps vows AND fatherhood? Your selfish desire beats out driving me to my first day of school or my desire to get a hug from my dad more often than once every 4 years? To normalize what he did to them, to somehow co-opt their innocent nature and make them believe that that cheap brand of love is something that can be normalized? Wife would implode into a pool of soft-serve if he got them to believe that opting out of parenting them was somehow an okay thing to do. No, like, literally. She’d break into Foster Freeze’s and try to drown her pain in swirl cones.
ID: Not to mention he hasn’t even got the empathy port to grasp that his children are in immeasurable pain about his….extended absence. He’s all smiles and gloss and fakery. Gross.
SUPEREGO: Extended absence makes it sound so…legitimate. You know, like He didn’t ABANDON them, he’s just on an extended absence from parenting. It’s not that he hasn’t bothered to scrape together the cash to come see them in 4 years, it’s that Wife is evil for making the court garnish that darned child support! He’s the victim of circumstances and that’s why he can’t come be their parent…except he omits that he himself created those very circumstances. Details.
ID: I just realized something, you guys. Ego is right. Wife…can’t win. There’s no win here. She complains about the dumping off of his parental workload onto her? He tries to take the kids from her because he’ll assert she clearly ‘can’t handle things.’ She complains about the lack of support? She’s a victim with a sad. She asserts that he needs to come visit them? She’s being a controlling mommy. She shows ANY sign of the legitimate anger over what this has done and continues to do to all 3 of them? She’s emotionally immature, even crazy. The kids do or do not get a visit from him? They suffer harm. Yep. This is one well-mangled mess of no-win and crarf-worthy garbage, guys. It’s like a…well, it’s like a Turducken. You know, where they take a turkey and stuff it with a duck and chicken? Except I guess this would be a…crarf-anger-bry.
SUPEREGO: You suck at names. Let me try. Oh! I got it. A junk-rage-sad. No, wait! A crap-weasel-turd.
EGO: How is that even a thing?
SUPEREGO: Maybe wife doesn’t have it so wrong. I mean, she knows she’s well-cooked and that there’s no good solution here…so…I guess the only good solution left IS Cheez-Whiz and self-shame.
EGO: Or waffles and mild self-hatred!
ID: Or bacon chicken alfredo and feigned indifference!
(Some time has passed, all are sitting on the control room floor with a mountainous buffet spread out in every direction)
EGO: (Through a mouthful of food) Oooo! Yes! Cadbury Eggs will make it all go away…
SUPEREGO: (Through a mouthful of food) Would someone please make wife grab the eggnog and the jar of pepperoncinis?
ID: (Through a mouthful of food) I’m on it.