“Stepping Up” to Be Disgraced and Shamed: The Intro

So I’ve been chipping through some hand written journaling to post here. It’s a slow process.  There are about 8 pages, sitting to the left of me right now, half of which I’ve transcribed and have sitting in a draft post.

I have been struggling to write commentary because I’m not sure of the time line of when I wrote those things. It looks like it was at the beginning of the chaos and confusion. But I also remember some of those things coming up in the midst and then some may have been ongoing, until I finally just gave up and accepted my assumed role.

I think it was actually at the point when I found myself feeling the need to defend myself, just before jumping in to please everyone, because the (what I thought were) friendly conversations about the situation, turned into attacks from each corner of a triangle. My brother, mother and sister.

What I’d done is write down a bunch of points I wanted to cover and talk about to someone, most likely my mother, as I addressed both my brother and sister in the third person in my “script.”

There is one telling thing that pretty much gives away the approximate time line and that I was writing these points out to confront my mother. This had to do with my availability through each week that I’d planned to present to her. It had to have been after the initial call I’d gotten from her. The one where she’d guilted and shamed me about my reluctance to “step up.”  The one where she threw an ultimatum at me to “step up” or walk away. The one where she blatantly let me know that it was my responsibility because he was my father. The one where she was clear on how she was exempt from any real responsibility because she wasn’t married to him anymore.  The one where by the end of the call, I was agreeing to think about my availability and when I could be there with my father.

She’d blind-sided me as well because I could tell by what my mother had said, that my sister had likely called to complain that I was not “complying.”

There were plenty of indications from what my mother said to me when she called. I also know enough now about how my sister and mother triangulated against me. I understand much more about that type of manipulation now than I did then. In addition, there was a past incident of my sister and mother triangulating against me, that helped me piece it together, after I’d come out of the fog of so much gas-lighting throughout the period that followed.

Thing is during the phone conversation with my sister, we both talked about how we didn’t want to be nurse to our father full time. My sister told me that she wanted to get my brother to back off a little* from spending so much time over there and needed me on board with that**, so that our father would be more open to the idea of getting home health aids to help him out.

My sister and I hung the fuck up in agreement. She was even the one to repeat the whole premise before ending the conversation. “So neither one of us is available full time to take care of dad.”

And the next thing I know, I’m getting a phone call from my mother shaming me for not being willing to “step up” to care for my father.

I was so busy defending myself, while also feeling that guilt and shame she was dumping on me, that I didn’t even think about that conversation with my sister.

My mother gave me the ultimatum during that conversation with her, to either “step up” or walk away.

My brother had already given me the same sort of shame spiel about a week before I got it from my mother and in that phone call with him, he also gave me that ultimatum. His came across a bit friendlier though although such an ultimatum is not friendly at all. However, there was no pressure to actually “step up” from him. Well, unless you consider the ultimatum being pressure and it was. But I don’t know, he was letting go, letting me decide, at least at that point. He wasn’t always so passive and has rage issues that he demonstrated on me. But this particular thing, in the beginning, he just waited. My mother and sister were hell bent on twisting me in nasty ways to their wishes.

Later, I had an additional “conversation” with my sister again and she was all over my shit for not “stepping up” and handing out more guilt and shame. Speaking at me with a condescending tone and telling me all about how awful my character is.

I’ve gotten into the detail of that conversation before on this blog, so I’ll spare you (and me) the repeat.

This is pretty much an intro to the next 8 or so written pages I want to transcribe and add some commentary to.

The plan is to write out each point as its own post and add commentary to each one. I think each post will have the same name and broken down into parts.

I’ll see how it goes. I only know that with starting to type it all out, one post was too much. Too long.
This is also therapy, so bear with me. It might take a bit to get it all out. The plan is to get it out quickly, but we all know what happens when we’re making plans. I also have other things I want to do and other things that I need to do that are not blog related. So it will likely take some time.

I know I tend to ramble, but that’s because there seems to be so much to all of this. One piece leads to the next. And there are layers to it.  I just don’t know how to organize it all when I write it out.  Although I’ve told parts of this before, some things have come up that I’d forgotten about. I certainly forgot about writing these points to present to my mother, like some script I needed so that I could stand up for myself to a point. So that I wouldn’t forget anything.

The reality is that I was explaining…over-explaining myself to try to make others understand that I am not such a bad person, just because I was reluctant to ‘step up’ and care for my father on all their terms.

I shake my head and even cringe with disbelief in writing and then reading some of this, particularly the total 180 turn around, from agreement from my sister to being beaten down and treated like dirt. Cornered, essentially.

Anyway, stay tuned…to be continued.

*Notice the control type language there. She wanted to “get my brother” to do something, to be a certain way, to behave in a way that she wanted him to.

**She also “needed me on board.” Triangulating language.  Her main choice of manipulation it seems.

Edit: I’ve decided to make a a whole different category for these pages I’m transcribing called Series: Stepping Up to be Abused.” I started to include links at the end of each post, to lead back to the previous posts. I’ll leave the ones I already have up but I won’t continue with that. It’s too much work. Instead, it’s just as easy to refer to the category in the sidebar.

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Ground Hog Day Kind of Argument

teapot-on-fireI went to the kitchen this morning while Mr. B was putting the stuff from the crock pot away and noticed he’d gotten the tea pot out from its storage space.

I became upset, angry and somewhat defensive.

About a month ago, he’d left a very small amount of water to heat on the stove. As small as the amount was, only he’d know why the fuck he’d even walk away from it. But he did.

This was not the first time something similar happened. In the past, he has left bread to burn TWICE in the toaster oven. In fact once, the toast actually caught fire.

Another time, he had been heating some water for tea in a small pot, went upstairs, got into a conversation with me and forgot about the pot burning away on the stove.

When we both started to walk down the steps I smelled it right away and we walked into the kitchen to a blackened and dry pot.

The last time, here at the apartment, I walked out of my room to the smell of something burning. He apparently couldn’t smell it (?) because he was sitting on the couch working at something on his computer with no apparent sign of getting up any time soon.

I said, “What are you burning?”  That’s when I saw the burner on and figured, once again he’d forgotten about it.

I lifted the lid and sure enough, no water. It had evaporated into nothing.

After I’d finished yelling about it, I said, “You need to figure out a solution to this. So this does not happen EVER again. You are playing with fire, literally, and I don’t want to burn to my death.”

His solution was to not make tea here anymore. He also mentioned that whatever there is at work, there’s no danger of burning anything or the water evaporating so he’ll just drink it there.

It’s a bit on the martyr side, but fuck it. If that’s how he wants to keep us from burning up, then so be it. No tea for him at home.

So this morning when I saw he’d had the intention of making tea, with the same pot he’d forgotten on the stove top to burn away a month ago, I was pissed.

In an accusatory tone I said, “So you’re back to making tea now?”
Mr. B: No, I changed my mind. Decided not to.
Me: Why?
Mr. B: Because I knew I’d have to answer to you.
Me: Fuming and silent. shaking my head.
Me: So it’s my fault?
Mr. B: No it’s not your fault, it’s reality.

There was no way I was going to let him put this on me. He’d almost set our place of residence on fire numerous times and he’s gonna turn this around on me. Fuck that.

I told him if he expected me to keep my mouth shut about almost setting the house on fire, he’s crazy. If you want to go without tea as your solution to the problem that’s fine. I’m not going to try to convince you otherwise.

But (I also told him) that if he wants to have tea he needs to use something that’s going to whistle. You don’t use the same pot and same method that contributed to the problem in the first place. That’s insanity.

I said other stuff too in my own defense about his comment about “answering to me” too.

So I got an apology on both counts and no tea has been made.

I have a glass pot that whistles, whether he uses it or not, is up to him.

Frankly, I’d prefer he stay away from the stove.

This man can be quite passive-aggressive, which is quite manipulative and in my opinion what he was doing is a form of gas-lighting. In the literal sense as much as the psychological sense. I can’t fucking escape it.

An Article on Gas Lighting

Ever since I watched that video I posted a few days ago, I’ve been preoccupied with my realization of what gas lighting is and that it’s my family’s form of abuse against me. I’m still kind of in shock about it.

In addition to that, the past couple days, I’ve also been questioning whether writing out my past is really the most healing thing. Who am I kidding? I’ve been wondering that for years and as a result I’ve been slow about doing it, all the while still sitting on the fence. What I’ve got posted here so far is barely touching the surface and many posts are distractions and some are insights.

Being on the fence though is keeping me back. So I know I need to decide one way or the other. There are so many other things I want to do besides think about what my parents and siblings did to me. I feel like I’m letting them stop me from doing productive and good things in the world.

I began thinking that maybe I should stop reading on the topic. That maybe I’m on overload and instead of continually looking outward to blogs, books, videos, etc, it might just be a good idea to shut down all those things and go inward. Do a lot of meditating. Start exercising. Spend time with myself. Maybe write about something else. Read about something else. Find someone who will let me take their dog on hikes.

But alas, I’m addicted to the internet and I’ve been thinking about how hard it’s been to recover and that I’ve just learned a lot more about gas lighting and that it’s likely the reason I’m having such a difficult time. I mean even if I do turn away from all this reading, I am still dealing with rage issues, self-isolation, a problem with trust (including self-trust) and plenty of other things.

So…

I googled “how to recover from gas-lighting” and found this article.

It’s by the author of In Sheep’s Clothing and Character Disturbance, Dr. George Simon. He has a whole blog on his website. And when I googled my search terms and came up with the list page, I happened to click on his link.

I’m so glad I did because his books seem to be relevant to me. And although they were before, when I’d come across them during searches on Amazon, I didn’t realize how relevant.

The quote below is from this post by the same author. It describes perfectly what I went through with my sister, brother and mother. I feel traumatized all over again. I want to cry. But the tears still won’t come.

“Gaslighting has come to some prominence lately because several authors have highlighted it as one of the more crafty tactics psychopaths use to disadvantage their victims. But many character-disturbed individuals, most especially the aggressive personalities, are prone to using numerous tactics, including covert techniques, to get the better of their targets. Their goal is always to win or secure whatever it is they want. And they’ll do whatever they have to do to get it. Sometimes the most effective way to do that is to avoid red-flagging their intentions but rather get the other person to unwittingly but voluntarily surrender. Instill shame, instill guilt, instill fear, or instill great doubt, and the other person will likely back off the stance they really wanted to take.”

I found In Sheep’s Clothing in one of my local library systems so I will be picking that up in the next day or two.

Please check out his website through the link above. He writes about more than just gas-lighting.

Edit Thursday 10/26/17: As for on the fence. Being on the fence can be a good thing, particularly if it’s a high fence. It gives a wide perspective. I keep on the back and forth about writing, not writing. It’s a struggle. But I think I finally see that there will be breaks but I will need to come back until I get through it.

Reading the comments that Bethany wrote below, helped me come to this conclusion just now. I didn’t agree with her at the time they were written because I thought then and have thought at other times that I just need to stop, completely. And I don’t think that will happen until I feel that I’m finished or I’m dead.

You Rearrange Me Til I’m Insane (Gas-Lighting Video)

The real lyrics are “You rearrange me til I’m sane” as heard in Pink Floyd’s song called “Brain Damage”

But mine fit better, concerning what I’ve learned early this morning.

Gas lighting

That is what my family did to me. My entire life they did this. But they amped up the intensity when it was time to care for the dying chief of the gas lighters.

Well, he wasn’t exactly chief anymore. He was weak and had become fearful of his own children at this point. Reaping the seeds he had sewn throughout our childhood. My siblings had become nasty narcissists, acting like three year old children in adult bodies.

It was scary for me. As they became full of rage or otherwise manipulative, toward me at any attempt I made to set a boundary.

In addition, my mom had done her job well in teaching how to gas-light, probably without knowing it. But even as I write this, I have my doubts now. When I think about the things she’d done and said, I realize how callous she was. I’ve used the word apathetic in the past to describe her, but now it seems that the word ‘callous’ works better in describing her.

Edit Sunday 10/8/17: I think they both work.
Apathetic. (The definition according to Google): “showing or feeling no interest, enthusiasm, or concern.”
Callous. (The definition according to Google): “showing or having an insensitive and cruel disregard for others.”
Some synonyms of the word callous: according to Google as well.

  heartless, unfeeling, uncaring, cold, cold-hearted, hard, as hard as nails, hard-hearted, insensitive, lacking compassion, hard-bitten, hard-nosed, hard-edged, unsympathetic

I would have never used some of those words to describe my mother in the past. But fuck if it’s not true now. And maybe it was always true. I would say that it has evolved though. She may have always been apathetic and callous but through the years that callous just kept hardening. Makes sense since that’s what callouses do.

A particular video I saw on gas-lighting (linked below) changed everything for me. It changed the way I see them and it changes the way I feel about them too. And I can even feel it changing the way I feel about myself.

I perceive the situation as evil. True evil. And I’ve never been one to think this way. Giving all humans the benefit of the doubt. Even not being Christian, I tend to think in terms of, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Despite my anger, I have still thought this way when it comes to my family. I have thought that they are simply unconscious and completely unaware. But that is also a contradiction in my thought and belief that even those in denial, know the truth somewhere in their being.

Until I saw the video (linked below) that I found in the wee hours of this morning, I never realized how insidious gas-lighting was and never really knew the real meaning of it. I knew it was one of the most dangerous ways to abuse someone. And I had some idea of some examples.But I didn’t know that my family had done it so well and so blatantly to me. I didn’t know that what they were doing was actually gas-lighting.

This explains why I’ve been feeling the way I’ve been feeling. It explains the difficulty in recovering from the abuse of that situation even after close to four years. Gas-lighting is serious psychological abuse and more than what they illustrate in the movie.

I don’t know whether to be relieved or devastated. But I no longer feel so guilty and ashamed for ignoring my mother after her attempts to reel me back in with her birthday cards each year. The things written in them were also gas-lighting, so knowing that now, helps to relieve the pain of my feelings of being torn and confused. And even feeling ashamed and guilty of choosing not to respond.

The woman in the video, I’m posting, at one point talks about how giving advice when someone just wants to talk about and be validated and acknowledged for their feelings, is a form of gas lighting. This explained to me why I got so pissed off and agitated at the attempt of someone recently doing just that after I’d gotten frustrated with a situation in trying to meditate, although this person’s advice came off as arrogant and know-it-all to be honest, so that certainly added to my response as well.

Coercion is another form of gas lighting and can come across as well meaning, but I no longer see it that way. In fact I never did. I just didn’t understand the feelings of apprehension that would come over me when it would happen. However, my body felt it.

I hadn’t known what it was when it happened to me, but now I understand completely.

Below does not have to do with my family, but someone who had been ‘serving’ as a therapist of sorts. We became close as a result, through email. But it eventually blew up and I believe that it has a lot to do with boundaries being blurred as well as someone trying to help in a way that she should not have been. If someone is going to serve as a therapist, they should not also be your friend. If someone is going to serve as a therapist, they better fucking have done enough work on themselves to be able to handle what comes their way. That being said, I still know I said and did nothing wrong, thanks to an actual therapist who helped me through my guilt and shame over something that was not shameful. I was simply trying to express my feelings about the situation and how she came across. And my therapist friend became defensive and did not allow for those feelings, taking them completely personally.  What I explain below is something a therapist should be fully prepared to deal with. And this person was not.

I was going to delete this story and give it its own post as I edit this on Sunday, 10/8/17. But after reading the comments, which refer to this part of the post, I decided not to do that. I do have the email exchange that I will probably give some ‘air’ time to, but not here. This fucker is long enough. The most important thing here is about the gas-lighting first. But buried in this post as you can read is the message that you need to be careful as to who you choose as your help through healing. Someone who is still suffering from their own trauma, who is still writing about the injustices, who is still hyper-vigilant, who is still trying to reconcile their own self-worth, is not ready to counsel others dealing with the same shit.

Back in 2013, during the time of the care-taking of my father, I found a blog by a woman (I’ll call her Cathy) who was writing about her own trauma with a broken toxic relationship with a narcissist and with her intensely abusive family. It got me through so many of those painful days and I read her blog from the first post to the last post. I also contributed a lot by commenting.

We got to know each other and she eventually offered to talk through email if I wanted or felt that I needed some extra support other than therapy.

I took her up on it and we built a bond through these emails. We learned that although our abuse situations were different and unique to each other, there was also a lot in common.  She was a big support for me when I had things on my mind and either didn’t have a therapist at the time or if something came up before seeing the therapist again.

A few years in, Cathy started a group on FB and invited me to join. I did. I enjoyed it and I learned from it. But I reached a point where I didn’t want to be part of it any longer and wrote to tell her this.

She wrote back telling me that I should stay and that it would not only do the group good for me to stay, but also would do me good to stay as well.  The last time I’d heard that from someone, it had come out of a boss’ slimy mouth after I’d told him that I don’t want to talk dirty to him over the phone. (We’ll call him Bill.)

This, I have learned, is classic coercion.  You know…when someone tries to “twist your arm” to do something you don’t wanna do? Yeah.

I didn’t have the word for it, but my body didn’t feel good when I read her response. I knew I had to call her out on it for my own sanity and wanted to do it respectfully, in a calm manner and  yet get my feelings across.

But I didn’t know how else to do it but to compare what Cathy had responded, to my wanting out of the group,  to Bill’s response after I’d told him no.

It was simple enough to use the example of Bill as a comparison because she knew the whole story.

That lech of a slime ball wanted me to call him periodically and talk dirty to him because his wife refused to satisfy him anymore.

So when I wrote back to Cathy, I told her that I had a similar feeling of when Bill had said the same thing to me, only about a much different activity.

Cathy wrote back angry and offended that I had compared her to Bill.

I panicked thinking I was going to lose her and although I did explain myself a little, it wasn’t as clear as I’d want it to be now.

As I said, Cathy was pissed at me for comparing her (as a person) to Bill (as a person). But that is not what I was doing. I was comparing what she said to what he’d said. Little did I know at the time they were both attempting to coerce me to do something I had already made known I did not want to do. Not the same exact thing of course, but it was coercion none the less.

And if I’d been able to put that word to what Cathy was actually doing, then I would not have even had to used Bill as a comparison point. As I said, I was trying to highlight what he’d said as an example of something I could not describe but apply my feelings to it.

So it could have been anything as an example, even something non-sexual. But the point is the same. The feeling of trying to be coerced and talked into doing something I already told her I didn’t want to do, is the same fucking feeling.

So the only part this woman took in, was that I was comparing her to Bill. She became blinded to how I felt about what she was doing.

When I sent the apology, I did say that her responding with trying to talk me into staying, felt disrespectful to what I was choosing to do. and her response after telling me she accepted my apology, was that she does respect my choice, further elaborated and said that I need to do what I think is right for me. And then told me she’d closed the group.

So all that trying to push me back to the group and you close it? Where’s my apology? In fact it felt like if she hadn’t closed the group (because of other things she wrote and the way she came across) she would have again asked me to come back to the group. But this is only speculation.

I had written about this experience with this blogger/surrogate therapist before. But I’d felt too ashamed to share it. I still felt, even after an actual therapist told me I had not done or said anything wrong. I had actually taken the email exchange in to my therapist at the time and read the whole thing to her, because I wanted to be sure she got an accurate account and I wanted honest and real feedback.

But I still felt too ashamed to write that I’d compared her to a lech. But now I see clearly that I did NOT compare her to him. I compared what she said and her way of saying it to what he’d said and his way of saying it.

And I’m no longer ashamed, because:
1. I did not have the vocabulary (I did not know the word coercion) at the time to explain to her my feelings of ickyness about her trying to talk me into doing something I’d told her I didn’t want to do.

And

2. I wasn’t the one who did anything wrong. I expressed my feelings about what I wanted to do and she was the one to disrespect that. Not me.  My feelings of anger toward her in the first place, were completely justified. So were those intuitive feelings of being unsettled with what she’d tried to do.

Some additional notes:

-My reaction of panic was my codependence. I was worried about losing her as a friend. Worried about how she felt more  than how I felt.

-As for giving advice to those who simply want to talk about their feelings and hardship, I have been guilty of this. Now that I know it’s a form of gas lighting, I will be more aware and careful not to do this anymore. And I will be apologizing to those I can remember who this happened with.

-I also had experienced some coercion from Cathy a couple times before the experience I explained above as well. One pertained to getting me to blog and the other was about getting me to start commenting on her blog more again. I’d been doing that a lot during a period of time but I’d stopped because I didn’t have anything to say then. But she’d included in one of her emails that I should be doing that because it helps me as well as the other people reading.

 

Waking up is Bitter-Sweet

Originally written Feb. 17, 2014.

Waking Bittersweet

I’ve been asleep. And now I know it’s been all my life. Sadly, I’ve adjusted accordingly and even “reacted normally to abnormal situations.”

Waking up is bittersweet (for lack of a better word) as well as has been gradual.

There have been times that I’ve made a discovery about a betrayal by someone I thought would never do such a thing. More specifically, learned that the behavior was indeed a betrayal, having not realized it previously.

And that’s because in many adverse situations or confrontations, I just figured it was me, since I was the common denominator.  Well it turns out that in certain situations when something bothered me I was actually being reasonable.

The sad thing though is that I had to ask others about it, because I didn’t know. Sometimes the asking was with the expectation to be right…or was it hope? And other times I fully expected to be told I was being an unreasonable bitch.

Then there’s the boundary thing: Not knowing what they were, really and not understanding how to draw them. Being told I was selfish by my mother when saying no to a request had me second guessing myself. In other instances my sister would whine and let me know that she needed what she was asking for and why…however insignificant it was and certainly not thinking of my needs.

Being liked and loved and keeping the peace was more important to me than my own authenticity and well-being. Because what anyone thought of me dictated my well-being…or so I thought…and not even consciously.

I came out of situations when I said no at first, feeling ashamed that I hadn’t said yes to begin with.

That would be “People Pleaser Syndrome. (Richard from Spartan Life Coach talks about PPS on his YouTube channel.)

During the time my father was terminal, my mother became a flying monkey against me for my siblings. I still struggle with the pain of her actions with feelings of frustration and confusion.

There was another time, many years before my father became ill that my mom was a flying monkey for my sister, but I didn’t realize that’s what was going on at the time. And so I question whether there were other times as well that I don’t remember or am not aware of.

Scary to think about that, knowing now how I normalized so much crap that wasn’t. Many more situations, incidents and things that happened, and times I felt like dirt at the end of an incomplete argument, which had actually turned into me being berated.   It explains why I felt the need to go back and ‘rehash.’

That’s because I was simply looking to resolve the issue and now in addition, address the hurt feelings I felt after the so-called discussion was ‘over’. I wanted to move on but I didn’t feel the peace that I was sure was supposed to come with resolving arguments. It never worked out that way, and since I was the one ‘holding on’ to the argument, I just figured I was the one with the problem.

More and more, when I attempted resolve I’d be attacked for not letting it go, for living in the past, and at times, the person I was attempting a discussion with for the purpose of resolution, would then use something from the past to throw in my face and assassinate my character.

It made my head spin but now I see the scapegoating and double standard in so much of the family dynamic, even the gas lighting and why I was so confused and unsettled.

I was usually being the one projected onto, to feel like something was wrong with me, so the person pointing their finger could feel superior and be in the right. According to their twisted mind, they weren’t part of the problem at all and I was all of it.

Thankfully I was able to confide in someone who’s been through a lot of abuse herself. (I’m not thankful that she was abused, but for her presence in my life.) Thanks to her, she played a huge role in helping me to understand how abuse works. How covert and insidious it can be. And how that was taking place in my own family and how each member scapegoated me and how they were doing so as a group.

Not so sweet really. And so very bitter to wake up to the fact that your family doesn’t love you.

Even in learning about all of this I still denied a lot. I still made excuses for them and thought that maybe they wouldn’t have done ‘this’ if I hadn’t done ‘that.’ After all, it turned out my mother believed the entire toxic dynamic within the family started with me.

The sweet…which truthfully isn’t sweet at all, but more a matter of relativity, is that upon the beginning of waking up to the bullshit, I learned the truth and I was awakened to reality.

Reality is all I ever wanted to deal with. I wanted to be real around my family and be safe doing that. But I became too afraid to, as I realized the consequences. I felt trapped among them, whether I was around them or not. I wasn’t free. And as bitter as that truth is, there is still something sweet about being aware and awake to the truth whatever it is.

I prefer this truth that I have awakened to, not to be the truth, but it is and it’s what I have to live with and accept.

I guess that’s where the phrase “It is what it is” came from.

I prefer not to be ignorantly blissful. I wasn’t blissful though. I was constantly miserable. Stressed. Angry. Worried. Exhausted.

I did not see the truth all at once. Sometimes I wished I’d seen it all on the wall in one big informational download. But who wants to accept insidious and covert and even the overt abuse from family?…The people who are supposed to love you. I know I didn’t.

As toxic as it was, I had a role, an identity of sorts. Now I have to learn who I am without them, without that role.

It’s good to remember though, that it was not an identity. It was adaptation to an assigned role. It came to a point that I needed to stay safe within the family also, so to accept it and act accordingly, I believed was helping me do that.

In reality it was making me sick.

I got pummeled time and time and time again. There were times between, that things seemed to be fine. There were good times and we laughed.

But when it came to drawing boundaries, stressful situations and making agreements, the whole facade fell apart.

I do wish I’d known years ago, at least some of what I know now. If nothing else, maybe I could’ve at least used certain situations with my family to learn how to draw boundaries.

That is not to be at the moment though. It’s been a rough time to getting to know who I am without the need to defend, bend and appease.

I’m glad to be awake but at the same time, sad that this is my family. It’s frustrating that so much time was wasted under an opaque veil. I was blinded and was subjected to so much toxic sludge. I put up with so much crap and didn’t know how to set boundaries. Hell I didn’t know anything about boundaries really.

How do you utilize something you don’t know exists?