Monday, June 13, 2011

Just another manic Monday, ooooooooh oh oh, Wish it was Sunday......

Yesterday (Sunday) was a good day. Very casual, laid back, lazy....sitting on the back porch in the shade. I took my laptop outside in the morning to write a post for my food blog. Tom was smoking a brisket. It was the best Sunday we've had in a long time. Sitting there quietly together, enjoying the outdoors and each other. It was a rare treat that only made me yearn for more times like that. I've missed those times with Tom lately. We've been too busy or too preoccupied. It's time to make time again.

There's lots to write about, but broaching the subjects are touchy at best. Let's just say that watching Tom's family at the wedding over the Memorial Day weekend really contrasted differences in the way families interact with one another. Watching all five of them (Tom and his sisters and brother) and their father (my father-in-law) love, laugh, support, listen, compromise, COMMUNICATE or simply appreciate being in each others company....it was a joy to behold. Not one of them is afraid to tell the truth and not a secret anywhere. Not one of them is afraid show emotion, whether it be joy, sadness, irritation, silliness.

I realize all families are different, but one would hope that the most basic human skills - love, support, listening, compromise and COMMUNICATION - would be present in all but the most dysfunctional families.

Have I mentioned COMMUNICATION?

Last week, I posted this status on Facebook: I'm done. I can't deal with another family bull shit thing. What started the journey to that realization began with an argument I had with Tom weekend before last and culminated with a discussion Tom had with Karen in which I chose not to participate. Yes, folks, I'm finally tired of all the drama, drama, drama. I'm tired of the lies and half-truths. I'm tired of excuses and the whole "I'm a victim" psychology. I'm tired of the pretending and facades.

Years ago, I separated myself from my siblings because of it. I had better things to do than to constantly be drawn into useless, petty arguments and rivalries or competitions to determine which one of us does Mom and Dad love most, completely orchestrated and manipulated by my parents I might add. I was sick of always seeing myself as victim...of my parents, my siblings, my circumstances, my life...whatever the situation might be. I wanted....no, needed....to grow up. I had (have) a husband that I loved deeply and who loved me unconditionally (something I'd only ever felt one other time in my life...thank you Aunt Sally) and I wanted to make my marriage a good one. I had two beautiful sons to raise. I had a rewarding career. But I was tired. Jesus, I was tired. I needed to take a long, deep cleansing breath. I felt toxic. I needed to take responsibility for myself and stop blaming my parents and my upbringing or my "lot in life" and move on. And I did.

After over 18 years, I reconnected with two of my sisters over Myspace, then Facebook. One sister has succumbed to cancer (another family member gone due to smoking). I have another sister that I still have no contact with at all. Why? I don't know. It just seems too messy to step into that one. Then I think, But, they're all messy..., then I think, I know, but I don't need any more messy. And the honest to God's truth is I just can't handle any more messy. I have to set boundaries. I spent my first 40 years trying to balance love, honesty and personal growth with ugly, abusive and messy. It doesn't work. There isn't a balance...ever.

Anyway, what I have realized is after reconnecting after over 18 years, I don't know these people...at all. Some of them have made some progress and have changed in some areas, but others have merely stayed stuck and stagnated, almost like drowning in quicksand. I have one sister who lives with me and I can honestly say I don't recognize one thing about her except that petulant, defiant teen-20-or-30-something. Another sister who has completely isolated herself from everyone, including her children and grandchildren. Another who, to this day, fears rejection by her family.

So my question is...why did I invite it, and almost welcome it, back into my life? I struggle with that question every single day. Was I being too much of an optimist? Was I still caught up with trying to maintain that old, phony "family facade"? Maybe I thought it would be different because, after all, well, people change don't they? Maybe it was all of it and probably a lot more.

I only know I have some work internal work to do, but as of today I can say my boundaries are clear and I will no longer be sucked in. If there will be drama, it will not include me.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have never seen a more pompous attitude from someone who has done so little in their life. What a shame that you see yourself above the pain and hurt of others. Regardless of what hierarchy you perceive yourself the pinnacle of, you will always be a single human being, the same as every other human being...no better. Look in the mirror at your own kids, family, extended family: what have you done to promote healthy growth? You see life is not about this perceived balance that you invoke throughout you blog, but rather the giving of oneself to love, growth, relationships and humble living. It is, seemingly through this blog, that you have failed my dear. You still have time to make it right, but you must make the effort to do so. My prayer is that you find your way to true peace before it is too late and for God's sake, PLEASE come down off of your high horse.

Terri said...

Well, now my dear sister Robin:

Yes, IP addresses are a wonderful help when identifying commenters on my blog.

Thank you for perfectly illustrating the very reason I have distanced myself from my family.

You say you're a truth teller? Really? But you hide behind "anonymous" so you don't have to take responsibility for your words. How very honest and truthful of you.

What did I do to promote healthy growth in my extended family? Tom and I took in your kids, for one, when you felt like you just couldn't be a mother any more. Apparently you've forgotten that.

This is the last time I will allow you to leave a comment on my blog.

Rickey said...

Wow........

altadenahiker said...

Family dynamics is the eternal mystery to me. I'm always in awe when I see a genuinely close family.

Terri said...

I am, too, Karin. I watch my aunt's family and Tom's family in sincere amazement.

Anonymous said...

I too Aunt Terri have always been in awe of families that are close. I've never known how it is that they are so accepting of each other. Not because I'm not accepting of others, but maybe because even in my immediate family I've never felt that acceptance. I wish I had some guidance or wise words, but all I can say is, "We are family....". I love you and I thank you for your honesty good or bad! -Nic

Terri said...

Nic, I am going to be really, really honest here.... because I had successfully distanced myself from my sisters and their continual drama for so many years, I did not experience your immediate family's interactions first hand. I've only recently experienced it Facebook and Myspace, but I can easily see how you would feel the way you do. That you have always felt the way you do is what is most sad to me because that means that your family members have always criticized and demeaned you in some way as they continue to do to this day. I am certain that is NOT the sort of "family" I want in my life. From my perspective, it's more like a prison sentence.

I hope at some point in your life you are able to feel the acceptance you desire and deserve. I love you, too.