For the longest time, in the back of my head replayed the old tape, “You’re losing your babies because you’re not WORTHY enough. You’re not GOOD enough. You’re not COMPETENT enough. And you certainly aren’t LIKEABLE enough.”
Pretty horrible and destroying, huh?
What if I told you the voice was my mother’s?
It had already, to that point, taken quite some time with various therapists and techniques and well-earned DINK* dollars to get me to a point where I felt I could pass the day as a bona fide adult with anything to contribute to the world. To wash off the seemingly endless layers of external conditioning that had brought me to the point of needing – not wanting – to deconstruct my upbringing.
Imagine how interesting the game got when I then began to lose children. Harder still, when I have been faced with not one or two, but four family estrangements. Not to mention those that have gone in generations before me.
It’s taken everything I have in me to remain on an even keel with “knowing thyself”, not giving in to the darkness. Not allowing that voice (for by now it was not outside of myself but internalised and sounded like me and what I was saying to myself) to rise up and be brought into the light. To be given love. Because it was as simple as that, as it turns out. Infusing everything I did with love and understanding.
That is what ultimately uncoiled my wound-up, wounded Self.
Hey, I can still get all muddled up, still get it all wrong. It is far too easy for me – given my nature, my experiences, heck even my position in the family (3rd of 4 kids and doesn’t everybody, including me, like to have a dig at that needy middle-child and, even now in adulthood, roll their eyes and sigh at memories of siblings in times past; I hear it more often than I ought) – to fall on the sword. To blame myself and only myself for my part in these estrangements. Never instigated by me but long-suffered, all the same.
I go through the months and sometimes years of thrashing it out with that person in my head. “What the…” “What about all those times when…” “And I said NOTHING!!! So how come you get to come in and just….”
Throw it all away.
Throw. It all. Away. It is far too hard, I have decided, to live in angst about these lost loves from my life. I have lived and regenerated myself several times in this one lifetime. I must build and grow as I go.
Tomorrow, Lolly and I are meeting with an elderly friend. My walking buddy, who dutifully meets me at 6:30 every morning with his dog, and we have chatted and merged mornings for that brief thirty minutes for well over two years now. He is taking us on a tour of the theatre where he is a director. When I told Lolly, her eyes almost popped out of her starry-eyed head. It’s all I can do to convince her to leave her tap shoes at home. Because there won’t be an opportunity to get up and tap out a number on stage. Dear oh dear.
But the point is, I count this person as some sort of surrogate. Not father, not relative of any sort. But a conduit who, like so many of our friends since Ellanor who we have made, strengthens my resolve. That it wasn’t all me. That goodness is to be found in the world. That not everybody is going to hurt you.
It’s a very difficult thing, not to succumb to being gun-shy over relationships, when those you’ve had for decades seemingly find it easier to run away and not face their own darkness.
If you are in the middle of the mess of estrangement, all I can say to you is, remember that until you can meet in the middle with true equality and all the heat is taken out of what has passed between you, live your life. Remember you don’t know all you think you know about their side. And when you reckon you’re spot on, think again… and remember, again, that you don’t! Of course, the same applies to them as well: they don’t know your side/your version/your perfectly justified justifications… and that may well be what is contributing to what is chewing you up from the inside out…
Stop. Let them go. Let it all go and turn your thinking about them into thoughts towards them/your situation. Surround those thoughts with love and send them off into the air, wrapped in that bubble. If you don’t, you will constantly have them on your shoulder. And that can debilitate you to the point of physical illness.
Of course, if that manifests, it can also serve as a wonderful teacher.
Estrangement from family can be freeing. Try and see the benefits of being cut loose. Eventually, the good might just outweigh the bad. In my experience, it’s happened because there has been an inequality or an imbalance in the exchange of energy between you anyway. Possibly for quite some time, perhaps since the very beginning. So use this time to really see yourself.
Blessings, many blessing to be had from this estrangement business. Ultimately.
Okay, big Note To Self (shared out loud) over.
* Dual Income, No Kids