We lost touch for the best part of 13 years. It was entirely my doing. It’s a weird set up. Mum and Dad are from extremely dysfunctional families. They went on to create their own dysfunctional family, but appear to be oblivious to it. We always seem to be play-acting at being normal.
Attempts to explain to sister that I am unable to live up to their expectations, always fell on deaf ears. Estrangement became easier, albeit with the ghost of their tongues regularly haunting my mind.
Two years ago, sister appealed for my understanding, “You might not want to see us, but don’t you understand, we want to see you”.
There was so much history; too many years of being relentlessly criticised.. So much heartache and rejection whenever I failed to succumb to their wishes. It can feel difficult to remember that I am now pushing past middle aged, yet still dealing with the same inner-guilt-torment thing.
This might be the root of my inability to create or maintain friendships and relationships. In my experience, if we don’t meet expectations, bad things happen; people get hurt and disappointed, some even reject us. Somehow, it feels more peaceful and much safer to remain in a state of blissful isolation.
Despite living with a physical (painful) disability and despite suffering crippling depression and agoraphobia, my Mum and sister want to meet in central London, the weekend of the 20th of-flippin-DECEMBER. WTF?!!! They both texted this morning.
Yes, we are back in touch and already the expectations are steadily re-emerging. I would rather gouge out my eyeballs than go into central London at all; never mind so close to Christmas. But, can I overpower the gut-wrenching guilt for disappointing them?
This morning, I didn’t hesitate to text Mum and Sister a reply with a firm “NO”. I told them they were crazy to think about coming to London four days before Christmas and to count me out. My sister replied with a cold, “ok”, but Mum ignored the text with her typical passive aggressiveness. I imagine I won’t hear from her for some time, but I’m grateful for small mercy’s.
So, I’ve spent the day feeling concerns that they are creeping into my life again with their dysfunctional-expectations. It’s easier, I feel less guilty, when we are in touch, but I want that contact to be at arm’s length. I don’t want to feel responsible for their expectations. Will it ever be enough?
Sometimes we stumble upon things that can mean a great deal. I read these twelve steps on a completely new blog today. They made me feel better. It is what I will focus on in the coming days.
12 Steps to Self Care
1. If it feels wrong, don’t do it.
2. Say exactly what you mean.
3. Don’t be a people pleaser.
4. Trust your instincts.
5. Never speak bad about yourself.
6. Never give up on your dreams.
7. Don’t be afraid to say ‘No’.
8. Don’t be afraid to say ‘Yes’.
9. Be kind to yourself.
10. Let go of what you can’t control.
11. Stay away from drama and negativity.