My family thinks I don't love them.
The rumor mill has turned out quite a few theories that make them feel more comfortable about my absence. The current favorite is steeped in a mythology Vaarsuvius has created. It started when I was very young when they decided who I was, how I was, and they told everyone else this decided judgement. It had just enough truth in it to become an all encompassing definition, and no matter what I did or said no one would change their mind because "the truth" seemed to be so obvious. I thrashed against this for years, but it only made it stick more.
They think I have isolated myself. They are mistaking isolation for good solid healthy boundaries. They have also mistaken this for as my trying to cause them pain, be hurtful. That is a mythology adhered to by those who don't know what healthy boundaries actually mean. Townsend and Cloud discuss this in their book Boundaries. So part of this feeling hurt on their part means they don't think I love them. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I love them, have loved them and in fact have spent years trying to chase after their love, affection, respect. It didn't go well. While Vaarsuvius would swear on their life that they loved me and were affectionate with me, this was coupled with abandonment.
So this is a letter to them, those that think I feel no love at all.
For you whom I have loved for so long. I've never not loved you, but at some point I figured out that I was chasing after ghosts. Vaarsuvius and Other child, you have only ever wanted me when I was able to give you something in some way or another, it was always about your "needing me", but you didn't respect me, value you me. I was a resource you liked to have, your comfort when you had bad days, your therapist, but as soon as you were done you dropped me like I was nothing. I waited till you would want me again, greedily snapping up any attention you would throw my way, chasing after you like a puppy dog, waiting and hoping for approval and validation. You didn't respect me as a person, you thought I was weak, over emotional. You didn't value my natural talents and accomplishments.
Dear Family everything in our relationship has always been about you. When we have problems you don't see how you in any way contribute them, you take the defense, you feel "emotionally devastated". You only ever want a relationship with me when I am willing to agree with you on everything, be happy, cheerful and not rock the boat. When you say to me you just want me to be happy, you don't mean it. You want me to happy in the way you define it. You don't want to be mutually responsible for the relationship, you don't want me to have any feelings, you don't want me to tell you when I've felt you hurt them. You can't handle accepting responsibility for any of your behaviors, you deflect, defend and I walk on eggshells. Your lack of understanding regarding a healthy dynamic in which boundaries are normal was shown by the smallest boundary requests being rejected and resulting in temper tantrums. You were unwilling to compromise, you took it as a personal assault, my needs didn't matter at all, it was all about you, how hurt you were by the situation. You have not cared about what was really good for me, only how you felt and were affected. Requesting something from you is an imposition, my being dramatic, "why can't I just do this one thing for you".
I have tried everything I can think of, even though you won't believe me. I finally figured out that you were not going to change, so I had to. I distanced myself from the relationships in the family The dynamics have been unhealthy to say the least, and the energy I expended trying to fight that dynamic resulted in me being sucked in and it took its toll on my life.
Quite honestly it's not that I don't love you, but that you don't really love me.