Someone said this to me recently. The person was talking about letting go and moving on. Moving on? It’s not as easy as it sounds, I thought, but I didn’t want to argue. It was not worth it, especially for someone I love and respect. I should have moved on from that conversation, but it bugged me. I thought I was doing better? Was I really still under control? Ugh–I don’t want to be!
Later, I asked my husband what he thought. Was I still under my dad’s control, even after four years of no-communication with him? I thought I was doing much better. He thought about it. “Hmm….you kind of do. He still does affect your relationships with others.” That is true. I still find myself falling back into old patterns or back to feeling like a child when confronted with a narcissistic, or a gaslighter.
In fact, I’m feeling a little bit like that right now after dealing with some drama in a online, volunteer-run resource website, where the founder and manager does feel a bit narcissistic to me. BUT, instead of wanting to cry and hide under a table, drawing blankets close to me, I instead am using my sudden surplus of free time to write more, take some Coursera and Udacity courses, learn how to do Tunesian crocheting, and otherwise expand MY skills instead of fluffing up the founder’s resume. The best revenge for a bad “breakup” is to make yourself better.
Still, even though I have made progress in my coping skills, it’s not necessarily easy to just move on as the person recommended, using a personal story about how they moved on after cutting ties with a toxic person.
As my therapist pointed out, I still am very much connected to my siblings. That’s exactly how I felt when the well-meaning person was trying to help me. I’m still connected, especially since they don’t have the free will to make their own decisions regarding their relationships with me. I could care less what my oldest little brother thinks. I still care about him, but I don’t worry about him.
I do wonder and worry about my siblings.
I remember their birthdays. I cry if I need to. I dream about hanging out with them. Girls’ day out. Making cookies with the boys. I guess what they’re doing. One’s 15 now. How is driving lessons going for her? Has she done homeschool prom or homecoming yet? One’s 14. Does he still love math? Does he have friends who understand his hearing loss? One’s 11. Is she hanging in there? Does she have her Shadow-y now? One’s 10. My goodness, he was only 5 when I last saw him. Is he still mischievous? Playing soccer?
I don’t think I can stop worrying about them until they are old enough to make their own decisions. Until they go to college. Until they decide to take a risk and reach out to me, for good or for ill, to reconnect or to vent their anger that I couldn’t be there.
Even though I can’t be there, I am here. I will always be here if they need help. I need to be here. I am the only one who has lived the same thing AND on the “outside.” If they decide to go the route of their older brother, then that will be their decision as adults. If they want to strike out for freedom, that will also be their decision, which I will support as I can. As much as I can.
For some reason, this reminds me of the poem I’d sing to them as one of our bedtime songs whenever I put them to bed. It’s the poem from Holes, by Louis Sachar, and I’ve pretty much made up my own tune which is probably horrific to anyone else, but my little siblings didn’t seem to mind it. (In the original text in my book, it’s supposed to be “The bark on the tree was a little bit softer,” but I changed it so it rhymed.)
If only, if only, the woodpecker sighs
The bark on the tree was as soft as the skies
While the wolf waits below, so hungry and lonely
He cries to the moon, if only, if only.
If only, if only, the moon speaks no reply
Reflecting the sun and all that’s gone by
Be strong, my weary wolf, and turn around boldly
Fly high my baby bird, my angel, my only.
It’s complicated. And I didn’t think I could fully explain this complicated feeling to this well-meaning person at the time. Yes, there are still bonds connecting me with home…but it’s not because of dad. It’s because of my love for my siblings.
Fly high, my baby birds.
Filed under: Abuse