I really liked this quote; I always seem to find things like this when I really need them.
A wave of sadness had hit me yesterday, in part because I was still trying to recover and process from a nightmare the night before. I had this horrible dream Other Child was dying and there was nothing I could do about it. I was at their bedside forced with having to let them go. I think a dream like that is fairly representative of how I am still sorting through my feelings after making the choice to go no contact. Sometimes making a choice like that when faced with an abusive family system (their way of thinking) you have to think of things in very black and white terms and be as unemotional as you can. If you let your emotions get involved there is a greater chance of getting hoovered back into the family. It's because you care, love them despite everything and feel guilt not only because it seem you are hurting them but because you have been trained to accept all responsibility for any problems and issues. You have also been trained to think you are "the bad one" that they only want whats best for you, and that you have emotional issues and cannot see clearly. It's easy to believe them- that's why you almost have to completely shut that part of yourself off when you decide to leave. But in the aftermath all that pain from separation comes flooding in because you are in a safe space to feel it. And all the doubts flood back in as well. Did you make a terrible mistake, couldn't you have gone about things differently?
I was feeling the sadness and doubt yesterday. I though about Other Child and because it's easy for me to put myself in their shoes I feel bad. They are likely genuinely hurt, and I feel horrible about that. I also think they do not understand and that makes the hurt worse. I thought about starting a series of posts here were I could write letters to them (even if they never read them) and explain myself better, that now that I have some distance I could communicate in a more mature way. I thought maybe this would create understanding and diminish the idea that I am hurtful on purpose and that I am selfish and hateful. I just want to tell them that everything really makes sense and that it wasn't a decision based out of spite or a lack of caring about them. I can hear them in my head telling me that "If you really cared you would have stuck around to work things out, you wouldn't have isolated yourself, you isolate everybody". But then I am faced with the sticking point that never goes away. They are entrenched in the family program and they don't have any idea. Their idea of our relationship is that family comes first and it doesn't matter what they do you let it go and move on. Their idea of working on our relationship was to blame me for all of its problems. And to be fair I certainly share a portion of the hurt. But never were they willing to think or admit that they shared a portion as well. It would have been a one dimensional relationship at best. Even if we were to leave the family issues and some of our issues to the side there was dysfunction in some very basic aspects of the relationship. If they said something in a tone that felt hurtful I could not tell them without launching into an endless spiraling argument were my words would be twisted and they would put up a defense and shift any blame back to me.
It is still hard even knowing that. I don't hate them, and still care about them. And because of this I fall into thinking "if only I had done something different". In a way trying to shoulder the blame and responsibility gives me more of a feeling of control over the situation than the unfortunate reality in which I have none, and I have to deal with the loss of the relationship. It's hard because I know how they think, I know how the majority of my family thinks and I react to this in ways where I try to fix things and make it better, do better, seem more grown up and mature so that maybe then they will have nothing bad to say about me, or can't blame me, or finally see that I am telling the truth and I am not hateful and on an mission to hurt them. It is hard because I have still cared what they think- I have given them all a great deal of power by caring what they think of me and desperately trying to fix that image.
I felt like they could still hurt me if they didn't see the truth of things, if they participated in trashing me in family wide smear campaigns. I felt like they still had a power over my life and I have wanted to do damage control. At times I have, and sometimes making those statements to speak for yourself is important. But the truth is they all live in a bubble, and all things they have hurt by smear campaigns and disbelief are in that bubble. And anyone who does not stop to think or bother to ask me was always going to be part of that bubble. While it feels like I have lost everything- and that is a very real feeling worthy of honoring the grief attached- I have not lost anything that was not already lost to begin with. My families power stops there in the bubble, and they have no further power unless I give it to them and I am coming to recognize the reality that I cannot turn myself inside out, trying to explain myself to people who refuse to see me, I am beginning to know who I am.