When I started this blog, I wanted it to be about recovery and healing. But instead, it’s starting to cause some riffs in my life. And it’s breaking my heart.
One of my family members read my blog and was very upset with things I have written. I have never written anything that wasn’t true, but more importantly, I don’t want anyone in my life to think I’m blaming them for problems I have. Yes, I do believe our past experiences influence our present. But I also know I have free will and that it’s MY responsibility to guide my life into the direction I want it to go. Mine.
No childhood is perfect. If one is, then the parents names are Joseph and Mary and each and every friend is named Jesus. One of my own problems as a young parent was thinking I had to be the best parent ever. I had the education, the teaching experience, and the books! My boy was going to be raised in a utopian home and never have a gripe against me. Surprisingly, that didn’t happen. I was a crappy mother at times. I lost my temper. I yelled. I said things I regret. I did things I regret. Things that bring me to tears today when I think about them. But I did my best and I think my son knows that.
I know everyone in my life did their best. Especially in my family. But it wasn’t easy. We didn’t know much about mental illness in the 1970’s when I was growing up, and talking about such things was still taboo. There were people in my life struggling with depression for which there wasn’t the treatment there is today. With Attention Deficit Disorder which was even more baffling. When I developed anorexia, people were just beginning to understand such a mental illness existed, and no one in my family was comfortable enough to address it head on. It was a different time. Clinical depression does run in my family, and though I’m on anti-depressants, it’s still very hard for my son when I call him in tears and hope he’ll be the magical balm to make me feel all better again. My issues are his issues too…we’re a system and what happens to one, happens to both.
My mom was married to her second husband for 28 years. And even before the marriage, he had been physical with her. During those 28 years, there were good times (and we were talking about some of those today), but as the years went on, the incidents of violence escalated and my mom was brutalized, beaten, and almost killed by this monster. Mom has been brave in talking about the violence she experienced, and has even spoken to my classes to educate the younger girls. I know this is hard for her, but facing it and talking about it has been a great healing process and knowing she’s helping others makes her feel important. But we never talked about it when it was happening. We saw the bruises. We saw the black eyes. We saw the way he talked so terribly to her. But we kept quiet. Because if you don’t say anything, maybe it won’t be true. And that’s still going on today. Some of my family members can’t admit to what happened to my mom. Or they minimize it, pretending it just couldn’t be as bad as we say it was. When you have to take your mom to the doctor because you think she’s going to lose her eye, and another time, see her in the emergency room with bruises all over her back while she vomits blood, it was pretty damn serious. My sister and I were greatly affected by this, and my mom understands why. Being subjected to this kind of evil almost daily took a piece out of us. There is nothing worse then seeing someone you love be hurt so badly, and my sister and I suffered along with her. For 28 years. And sadly, some of my family are actually Facebook friends with this monster. Me? I want to torture the son-of-a-bitch.
Another family member spoke to a class of mine as well years ago on ADHD. The talk was awesome…and the students loved it. I did as well, because I heard my family member saying how different they were prior to understanding ADHD and getting help for it. In fact, they even said they treated their dogs better than their own family. That was hard to hear. But honest. And I appreciated that honesty and acknowledgement.
That doesn’t happen much in my family. The modus operandi, for the most part, is simply cutting off a person when things get tough. Just throwing them away. Because I guess it’s easier to ignore something than to bring it out into the open, face it, talk about it, and work it out than just saying, “I don’t want you in my life.” This is a pattern that has happened for generations so I know where it comes from. At any given time in my family, you don’t know who is talking to who…who loves who…who is mad at who…and the list goes on. I thought family was different. Men in my life have thrown me away. OK. I accept that. But I can’t accept a family member, who I love and very much need, doing the same. Aren’t families supposed to stick together through the good and the bad? Isn’t that what sets families apart from other relationships? That ‘forever’ tie? When I received the message about this ‘cut-off’, I begged the person a half of dozen times to meet me today, take a walk, and talk everything through. I truly believe things have been interpreted in a way I certainly didn’t mean. But, the person refuses too. I’m not a cancer to be cut out. I’m an imperfect woman who deserves a chance to make things right if I’ve made a mistake.
My son is my heart. He’s my soul. He’s so much a part of me that at times, I don’t know how I lived without him the first 27 years of my life. There is absolutely nothing he could do that would EVER make me cut him out of my life. EVER. And if he tried to do that to me. It wouldn’t work. I’m his mom…I have an obligation to make things right with him. When I had him, and I became his parent, I took on the responsibility of being that parent forever. Not until he upset me. Not until he turned 18. Not until we fight for the 100th time. Forever. And we will never be apart.
I’ve had too many losses this year. I lost my friend and mentor, hubby 3, Sarge, my nephew, and now my family member. It’s too much. I feel thrown away again, but this time, by my own flesh and blood. When is this going to end?
I want to be the one to change some patterns in my family. My mom thinks it’s a battle I probably won’t win, but I’m going to try anyway. We are living in a scary, dangerous, tumultuous world right now, and I want my family to be a safe, loving haven. For all of us. Ignoring issues…refusing to see problems…pretending things aren’t so bad are excuses for not making the effort to work through these things and make them better. And I’m done ignoring and pretending. Telling the truth is not a sin. Still, it’s a different thing to do in my family and I know I’ve upset people. For that, I’m very very sorry. But working these issues out and creating and nurturing authentic relationships would make the bonds stronger. Neglecting or ignoring problems weakens things. Everything worth while in our lives takes work. And I’d like to believe I’m worth that. But with the response I’m getting, I’m afraid that may not be so.
This is what I know: sometimes you only want to hear what you want to be true…not what necessarily is. Hearing the truth can be a damn hard thing…I know that first hand. But I also know that every family relationship is important to me, and I’ll do my best to fight to make things work. Because that’s what love really is.