Shocked at how good I've gotten at letting go without feeling devestated.

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, May 11, 2013.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    When my mom and Scott left me, I was not as good at this as I am now. My mom was the first and the worst because I misunderstood life and had it in my mind that if your mother didn't love you, you weren't lovable. Fortunately, I have gotten past that. Scott was also very hurtful, but at that point I really had to make a choice between Julie, whom he was suddenly tossing in the trash, and being silent about bad and hurtful behavior on his part. Maybe I did it wrong, but the end result was Scott walking away and never forgiving me, although I believe a child who had been with me since birth would have been forgiving. What happened between us was fixable, but it takes two. On and off it has hurt me, but I did much better with understanding how I could not change him and make him want me in his life than when my mother did it. I actually functioned pretty well and still feel I did right in defending Julie.

    Now I finally had to do some walking away myself. This is the first time I've ever walked first, but I feel it is necessary. A dysfunctional family can cause people to be toxic to one another. My sister has really been cruel to me one too many times. The first time she did it, I was going through my divorce and she just told me, with no explanation, that she would never talk to me again. When I tried to find out why by calling her over and over, she called the cops on me. I didn't find out what her issue was for years as she kept her silence, and I missed her so much because I had taken care of her and she was so precious to me. Then one day she wrote me a letter and we cautiously started a relationship again.

    Sis and I have been on again/off again since then. At first I thought it was me because I always think it is me. The more I got to know the real Sis, the more I realize she is a very petty and picky person who has the ability to be very cruel to lots of people. She didn't invite my brother to her wedding for ridiculous reasons and didn't speak to him for years too. Now they speak because my brother is a forgiving, good person. She does not treat him badly anymore partly because they don't talk that often and he lives far away.

    A week or so ago, Sis called me while I was with a friend and the friend could hear every word she said because her voice was so loud. Sis shocked me by ripping me apart for posting something for her birthday on her Facebook, lamblasting met hat I "know" how she likes to use her Face Book and that she doesn't want me posting pictures or texts on there without her permission. The real reason turned out to be that I made a family joke that she and I go back and forth about all the time. Our family has kankles...really thick ankles...and I teased her on her FB and said, "By the way, family secret: Ankles. She went ballistic. I guess she thought her sort-of-a-boyfriend (a whole other story...he will never includ her in his life except for sex) would see and maybe ask her about the post. She has suffered with anorexia and I think she still does so her body image is of paramount importance to her but I never dreamed just putting down "ankles" would get her so angry. In the past, both of us have laughed about it. Also, it's not like I said, "Happy Birthday. Every year our kankles get fatter." Heck, she isn't even 100 lbs. If she gets to 100 lbs., she goes on a diet. She works out seven days a week for 1 1/2 hours every single day. Her ankles are NOT like mine...they are thick for her, but she has no fat at all on her body. She looks emaciated. Her maybe-a-boyfriend could never suddenly look at her ankles and think, "Hey, fat ankles. No more sex." I still don't really "get" her anger. It was extreme anger too and I think her tone was what finally did it to me. Something snapped inside of me. How I'd always felt about her changed. Suddenly I stopped feeling anything toward her, just that quickly. Enough was enough.

    A few more petty things happened and she texted me to never contact her again.

    She has done this so many times and she always gets back in touch with me. But s he messaged me and called me "Psycho" as a reference to my mental health issues (as though she has none). I thought about it and decided, she is better off out of my life too. She takes and never gives and gets angry at me over things I could never guess will anger her. I can no longer play her games. I am too old and my own life is becoming way too peaceful and happy to let her in just to remind me of the bad old days when Mom used to blame me for everything and reject me. I am tired of Sis telling me how everything is my fault. At one time, the only people I loved more than Sis were my kids. Not anymore. It's like I feel very flat about her now...she's my DNA, but not connected to me, at least not in my heart, not anymore.

    She is going to really be surprised that I am taking her seriously this time. In the past I missed her and sort of chased her, like I had my mother all her life. I can't do that now. I learned too much. I plain just don't want to deal with guessing if I'm saying something that will set her off anymore.

    I'm done.

    My family is my husband and my kids and some dear friends I am starting to make. Family is who cares about you. Sis will have to go it alone now. I have been her support system since her divorce, which I thought was foolish of her to get, but I kept my mouth shut and made sure I was always there to talk to her when she was sad about money or her worthless boyfriend.

    I don't know what she'll do now. Worse, I don't care. I'm too worn out to fight with those close to me anymore. And I'm sort of guilty that I"m not the least bit sad about it. I'm sort of relieved.

    Just a vent. I don't know if most people can't even relate to this, but this is where I post when I have something to say to myself :)

    Thanks for reading this, if anyone has. I love feedback when I get it, but I will understand if nobody has feedback to give on this issue :)
    Last edited: May 11, 2013
  2. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    I understand your post, and being able to let go of those that don't deserve holding onto is a good thing, in my book. I was placed in a foster home at age 11, and she was a cruel person, and a substance abuser of fairly monumental proportions, although as a kid, I didn't know that. But in the midst of all of that, you still see the good in the person, on occasion, and you try, try, TRY to win their approval. I never could and it took me a very long time to get over that basic I'm-not-good-enough-to-be-loved feeling. It was certainly a liberating experience to finally let her go out of my life (she actually stopped talking to me many years ago, and I'm still not quite sure why). But when those people stop having any power over your self-worth and you just block them out: it's a good thing, and their loss in my opinion. Guilt? Pffffft. Who has the time to let that take up any real estate in our hearts and heads? I'm too busy with my happy, fulfilling relationships.
  3. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I absolutely understand your post. Your family cast you in a role to make themselves feel better about themselves. You have decided instead to feel better about you. Life is so short, and your sister and Scott have made their choices in their own lives. Whether they are happy with them or not should not depend upon you, and it definitely should not depend upon you being their "bad guy". Do what feels good to you. I know that you know how to be a good wife and a good friend and a good mother. Be that for the people who appreciate it. Don't let people define you as something you are not. You deserve to be your own woman and to be happy.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks very much to both of you. Both of your posts were very affirming. I totally believe that it is in my best interests to consider only those listed as my family members. Life is very short and I'm going to really enjoy the time I have left. Ever since I've been avoiding toxic people, my life has been better than ever before. My sister has always made me feel like I was the problem in the family, yet I had always done everything to try to take care of her because she is seven years my junior. My Mom was never there for her until she became less of a needy person, but I'm the family problem? If she thinks so, so be it. I no longer give a rat's.

    Thanks again :)
  5. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good for you MWM! I think you should be proud of yourself! What is it Oprah says? "We teach people how to treat us." or something to that effect. Basically, your reaction to how others treat you will pave the way for how you will be treated forever. Stand up for you!
  6. Dixies_fire

    Dixies_fire Member

    My therapist would say you are enforcing your boundaries and that is a great thing.
    And I agree I wish you less stress!
  7. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Well-Known Member

    Agreed!! Awesome post and good for you!!!!
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thank you. I am afraid too many people are brainwashed into thinking that just because people may share DNA that they have to include them in their lives. Many of the black sheep kids (like me) are the ones who, at a desperate attempt to be loved to the end, are the ones who take care of Mom when she is at the end of her life, even though she abused the person her entire life. I have sat in many group therapy sessions where members spoke of how they were the ones who stepped up to help when Mom was desperate and yet Mom still loved the other siblings more and abused them as they did their selfless caregiving.

    Some people will think this is horrible, but I don't care because I know it is right. When my mom had brain cancer, I did not go down to see her. At all. She had had a tumor in her brain at 67 and made everyone in the family not tell me. She finally did tell me a few years later as I always attempted to mend fences and kept calling her.I was so hurt when I found out that she hadn't allowed anyone to tell me she had a brain tumor. Eight years later when she had brain cancer, I had changed a lot and learned a lot about how to deal with people who don't care about you. Although Mom was feeble by then and wouldn't have known who I was, I didn't go. If she had been in her right mind, she wouldn't have wanted me there. Never once, in over ten years had she ever called me and she had never seen my youngest two children. She made it clear, we didn't matter. Not once did she even send any of us, grandkids included, a birthday card. Nothing.

    I let my sister do all the caregiving. She was the one who my mother had a relationship with so why should I drive down from WIsconsin and haul her back and forth to doctors and visit her at the nursing home? My sister was overstressed, but they had that connection that my mom didn't want to have with me. So she had to do it, since my brother lives in NJ.

    I did go to Mom's funeral, but I didn't feel sad. It was like a stranger had passed. I was mostly there to comfort those who had known Mom, like my nieces and nephews. I did not tell my children to go and they chose not to as they didn't know her. The last child she had seen was Julie at age six. She had called 35 and abused him several times over the phone when he was sixteen, her last contact with him. She had never seen Sonic and Jumper and had refused to go to my wedding with Tom.

    I feel sorry for the "black sheep, treated like dirt" who try to do the right thing and get loved until the very end. I understand their motives. But I think they are making choices that will only hurt them. I have told that to many people in my group therapy too. Sadly, we as a society keep insisting that DNA is the most important tie in the world, that blood is IT, that how you are treated by that blood is secondary...that friends who have stood by you through thick and thin are not as worthy as your DNA relatives who abuse you. It causes a lot of anguish and pain.

    I refuse to share that pain or to ever buy that DNA argument ever again. And I'm glad I had learned enough not to be the one who run to Mom when she was so sick. My sister would have gladly let me do was hard for her. But I didn't and I'm glad I didn't. It wasn't my place. In her heart, I really wasn't important to her. We had been estranged for a very long time and I'm glad I knew that nothing I did would change that. When I found out she had disinherited me, I was REALLY REALLY glad I had made the choice I had made.

    I have gone with Tom on mother's day to see his mother's grave and pray for her and put flowers on her grave. I never met her, but I know she would have loved me and she was good to Tom. I have never been back to see Mom. Or should I say, the woman who gave birth to me.
  9. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    I was one of those that was, for decades, desperately trying to get my Dad to love me. He did some very cruel things to me over my lifetime. He could be very charming and witty. He could also make me feel like a million bucks and the luckiest daughter in the world. But, the cruel behavior was just so vicious and becoming more so as I got older. We would go for a few years without talking, then he would contact me usually. I would melt and want his love and he would play me like a piano. If I could have only seen just how manipulative and calculating he was. He used to rage at me and then refuse to tell me what I did that angered him so much. I often wanted to tear my hair out when he did that.One of his things was to make enormous and grandiose promises and then almost never follow through. Then, he made and broke a promise to Daughter. I was done. I walked. I never said anything to him, I just never contacted him again. Though, I think my sister mentioned to him about me being angry about the broken promise to Daughter. He never contacted me again and died five years later in 2006. I never mourned him and felt nothing when he died. Of course, he died penniless and my sister and I had to split the cost of his cremation.

    It wasn't until a couple of years ago I made the connection that he was a classic sociopath. He fits ALL the criteria. Somehow, that gave me a measure of peace. He was incapable of loving me or anyone. I look back and at times I amazed I came out as stable as I am.

    I don't have a lot of family (that I'm close to due to religious reasons because I won't be part of it) and friends, but the ones I do have are kind and good people. I don't do drama (Got my difficult children for that!) and I'm certainly not going to put up with nonsense from anyone. At 51, I'm not going to live what years I have left walking on eggshells or engage in stupid, childish behavior. I do tend to be very direct and that can be difficult for some people. Can't handle it? Fine. You have my permission to avoid me.

    MWM, you seem to have a thought this through and have decided what is acceptable and what is not acceptable behavior towards you. It seems because someone is related by blood we're suppose to put up with toxic levels of hurtful behavior. I'm happy to read you have rejected that.

    *Peace to you.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Dazed, thank you and peace to you as well. I hope many lurkers who are in our shoes, struggling with unloving parents who they want to please, read this post. You are worthwhile and wonderful whether your family can see it or not. Often, there is a person in a dysfunctional family who HAS to take on the role as everyone's black sheep. I was that person. None of them, the things that they said about me, were who I really was. They had their own versions of how they wanted me to be so that they could justify their meanness.

    I'm glad you figured out that your father was a sociopath. I don't think anyone in my family is that, but I do see lots of mental health issues and a sort of coldness in their veins. Except for my brother, they can all be incredibly mean.

    I like the bumper sticker: "Mean People Sock."
  11. HaoZi

    HaoZi CD Hall of Fame

    A while back a friend of mine posted something on FB that stuck with me about the blood is thicker than water thing, and what it *originally* meant. Water meaning amniotic fluid, or birth family, and blood, meaning those you go to war with, fight with, bleed with, are willing to die with or for. It's really gotten flipped around in how it's taken since then, but this board is one of those places where the original meaning strikes me on a daily basis.