FAMILY vs family

photo by Patricia

Lately, for weeks, the miracle of sleep comes without several waking’s. It could be because work unconsciously needing to be done is complete; the book, then sharing it with friends, then much harder, letting siblings know. Those repercussions shocked my system. One in particular, Seth who lives in California across the continent from me, was particularly telling.

“It must have been cathartic, but why put our family’s dysfunction out there for all to see,” he writes via email, without ever reading the book, even accentuating or bragging that he nor the others will ever read it.

Laying during meditation my heart beat so fast anxiety ramped up the pace. An ambulance came taking me to the ER then an overnight stay. No evidence of a heart attack. But on the ride to the hospital a flurry of words left my lips about my family’s reaction along with tears to the caring attendant. A heart can break in many ways.

Even now I mustn’t speak of ‘it.’ Well, fuck you Seth, though it took a long time to get to a place where that wound healed and detachment took its place. 

Some nights waking occurs and the instant panic moving in is questioned, “Is everything alright?” and the answer is yes, you are OK. You’ve done your work. You love the siblings that never touched you in that way, and they know it. 

To love in the face of non-acceptance is a statement of power. Keeping distance strengthens me. There is little contact, and in Seth’s case none other than a Christmas card from me signing off, “Love you.”. And that is OK.

The relationship with another sibling living much closer who was a father figure is not much more. And my younger brother Stevie- the same. I know they all mass email with others, including Tom who is losing his wits, even adding me to his emails with jokes until somebody must have told him not to. He really believed that his young self was innocent due to his youth. No apology ever will be coming.

It is in the quiet dark of night that I think of them. 

Sleep comes again with reassurance from the older, wiser me. 

8 thoughts on “FAMILY vs family

  1. I feel ya. For those who never knew, the shock and then denial is always so palpable, destroying their fantasy. And for those who perpetrated, their anger, fear, and discomforts is all about them. But of course, because they are labeled “family” the world dictates we must love them. With me and my perpetrator brother, I will never have feelings of fondness and affinity towards him, yet I have been able to see through his eyes just enough that my heart has been able to find a place of empathy for his disconnection, such that the pain of having been violated and disappointed is out of my heart for the most part.

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    1. Though I remove myself from the this group called ‘family’, the craving for one still exists.
      Traumatized in childhood ought to bring those not involved closer, gathering to protect, offer solace and loyalty. Instead, ostracization occurs.

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      1. I hear you! Those not involved most definitely should gather to protect, and I’m so very sorry that you’re not getting that support. I had a cousin, when told by my little bro about what happened, ask if I was mentally ill and making the whole thing up (because he was so shocked and couldn’t believe that my parents and I and older bro could have kept such a thing so hidden). Wish I could help you pull that thread of ache, longing and expectation out of your heart.

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  2. I love your response to your self-question, “Is everything okay?”!!! You are anazing, Patricia!!

    I’ve been wanting to tell you that the difference between you and what you call “normal” people is that you are aware of your inner reactions and responses. They are not, but it doesn’t mean there is no reaction. You are able to connect with your higher self through nature and by becoming the observer even in the midst of anxiety as in the dialogue above. You are a true mystic (saint), Patricia! You are able to tame the most difficult to tame: ourselves!

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  3. It’s not their dysfunction you are sharing, but your function in spite of it. Your courage and awareness and your strength to reach out to comfort and support others. It isn’t about them, it’s about you. You get to have it be about you, as it should have been in the beginning.

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