When I started blogging years ago, my plan was to keep things relatively upbeat most of the time. I indulged in a few rants here and there about things going on in the world, and occasionally couldn’t help a bit of personal strife from slipping out. But mostly I’ve tried to entertain, rather than “reach out” and find a support network out there. I’ve certainly made some meaningful connections over the years; connections which I value very much. But I’ve instinctively held back from putting too much of myself out there. As in letting anyone venture into the really deep recesses of my mind and soul. I suppose that it’s a trust issue, to some degree. Which is entirely unfair to you, I know, but I’ve been deeply betrayed enough times that I hesitate to let anyone get too close anymore. It’s also a case of not wanting to burden anyone with my troubles. That’s something that was drilled into my head in childhood, and which is still there. Good to a point, of course, as too much unburdening can become very tedious for those exposed to it. But at the same time, keeping everything locked up inside has proven to be very detrimental to my physical and mental well-being over the years, most especially in recent years. But mainly the holding back is fear of judgement and rejection, I suppose. Again, unfair to you out there, but as with the other issues, it’s based on life experience and early teachings.
A few days ago I said that I didn’t have any New Year’s resolutions, apart from getting more organized again. Well, I’ve since changed my mind. Today I realize that I need to properly slam the door shut on some relationships, while opening myself up more to other people who are just waiting for the chance to get to know me better. If they haven’t rejected me by now, it’s unlikely that they ever will, so I need to fight down the fear and just go for it.
And what brought all of this on? Well, I was reminded twice this week that I am still seen as a wicked, naughty girl by people who should be among my biggest cheerleaders. Since I’m now just nine days away from my 44th birthday, it’s abundantly clear that they’re never going to see me in any other light. I’ve grown up and have become a very decent human being, if I do say so myself, but in their minds I’ll always be the little girl who needs to be beaten down and remoulded into whatever their ideal image might be. And god, did they try, through all of my growing up years and beyond. I was never a wicked, naughty child. Not ever. How could I be when I was so terrified of putting a foot wrong and having even more judgement, shame, and feelings of worthlessness dumped on my head? On the odd occasion when I did act out, it was a cry for attention and recognition that I existed. Even negative attention is better than none, right? In more recent years the eyes flew open and I started the process of getting out from under their evil spell. I thought that I had made tremendous progress over time, and had actually managed to totally break the spell in the past eight months or so. But no, all that it took was a phone call from my mother on the weekend and a nasty letter from an aunt a couple of days ago to bring back the feelings of a terrified, beaten down, unworthy little girl again.
But, despite their best efforts to make me into that little girl again, they haven’t succeeded. Feeling the feelings is different from believing the feelings, and I no longer believe them. So, while the physical response might be the same as of old, the emotional triggers for the response are far different. The bonfire in the stomach, jitters, roaring headache, insomnia, etc. are there this time because of the sheer intensity of the fury, outrage, violation, etc. that I feel. How dare they speak to me like that? Who do they think they are? What gives them the right to be so pious and judgemental? Me, wicked? Not on your life. The wickedness is reflected from their mirrors, not mine. I would never, ever treat anyone the way they have treated me and one of my sisters. Not anyone, but especially not a blood relative. Nor would I ever sit in judgement of humanity as a whole, so utterly blind to my own numerous shortcomings. Nor would I ever try to break the spirit of another human being, keep a running tally of the mistakes of a lifetime to thrown into their face at any given opportunity, grind the heel into the most sensitive parts of their psyche, and so on. No, I have nothing to apologize for, or feel inadequate and guilty about, nor have I ever had. None of us is perfect, and I’m well aware of my own faults. But compared to those sitting in judgement of me, I’m a pretty fine example of humanity. As is my daughter, as is my husband, as is my sister. We might not warm a pew in church every Sunday, and the whole world doesn’t know about us. Nor will we ever be showered with public recognition for our “good deeds.” But we do care about the other inhabitants of the world we live in, and do our part in our own, quiet way. We are also fiercely loyal to and protective of those we love and like, and would never, ever, ever betray them or turn on them in a time of need. Nor at any time, actually.
But I will turn on those who aren’t worthy of my affection and loyalty. It’s not a general habit, but sometimes it’s a necessity for self-preservation, and that includes now. The mature thing would be to have it out with both parties and try to set them straight, or at least make them see a glimmer of the true light. Which is my way of handling things, as a rule. But in this case, there’s frustration added to the anger and outrage because I know that any attempt to reason with them will fall completely on deaf ears. I’ve been working on my mother all of my adult life, and have given it a few shots with my aunt in recent years, all to no avail. Richard, Stephanie, and my sister have all said, “just let it go”, which I know is very sound advice, given the circumstances. But it’s hard, you know? I don’t look to pick fights, but I can’t stand injustice of any kind and it’s very, very difficult to just let it slide. The hurt little girl in me wants her say and I think that she’s entitled to have it. But the reality is that if I do go off at them, it will just backfire. If I have any allies left in the family, I’ll soon lose them, and odds are that the aunt will make my sister pay for my standing up to her. She has already done unspeakable things to my sister in the past couple of years, including taking sister’s ex’s side when he walked out of the marriage, and even going so far as helping him try to take the child away from my sister, paying his legal fees so that he can keep fighting a pointless, poisonous battle, and so on. Aunt has backed off a bit just lately, so I really don’t want to do anything to get her stirred up again.
So, I suppose that the only thing for it is to have it out with them in my mind, and just give them the silent treatment in real life. Which doesn’t sit all that well, but it is the sensible approach, for sure. Meanwhile, indulging in this little rant has helped calm me down for the moment.. Don’t know if it makes any sense at all as I’ve just been typing as the words come, but maybe that’s the best way sometimes!
I’ll be back again when I’ve settled down properly and can focus only on things that matter again. Thanks for listening!