Originally written Feb. 17, 2014.
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?