It is easier in some ways. After 8 years, I’d hope it’d be.
I don’t cry nearly as often. At a certain point, the tears fade away, and the heart’s gasps of pain subside, until they no longer fill every single waking day.
But certain days, like a old knee when a storm is brewing, causes my heart to ache and my eyes to water up (as much as I keep blinking them away because it doesn’t feel safe enough to cry.)
Birthdays do that to me. But past birthdays, I’ve just sadly thought of them, but sans tears. Past holidays, too. I don’t cry anymore when I put my siblings’ ornaments on the Christmas tree.
So why am I still so sad?
One of my brothers is one year older.
See, I knew it was his birthday last month, but my silly brain didn’t connect the sadness with the birthday until late in the day. It took a few days for the…pain to fade away. I felt pained with loss.
I thought it would get easier.
It is easier in some ways. I no longer feel so ambivalent about being “No Contact” with my parents. It was what I had to do to save myself, and just like on an airplane, you have to put the mask on yourself first. Then, you can help others.
I still have fantasies about helping my siblings when they get older. When they move out. When they might reach out to me some day. I’m here to listen. I hope they’re receptive to the idea of therapy, because I’m going to help research therapists. I want to fix things for them, like how I’d fix their favorite, hairless-in-some-areas Elmo stuffie when the arm started falling off from too much love.
I want instant fixes. Sometimes I’m too impatient, though. I want things fixed now. To be fixed as soon as is practicable. Including myself.
I’ve been in therapy for what, five years now? It’s not easy for someone impatient like me–I just want to rip off the Bandaid and be better. But it’s not a scrape that happened in a second that can heal in weeks. It’s something that has happened to me for 21 years and will take years to overcome. So, that part isn’t really that much easier. Definitely not for someone kind of impatient like me.
But there are rumblings of hope. Hope that someday my siblings will break free. At least some of them. Hope that my mom will find her way. Beyond my wildest hopes, some relatives had guessed what was going on, and supported me when they finally asked and I finally told them what had happened. Despite hopes, some relatives still don’t quite understand. I hold them at an arm’s length. It’s safer for the both of us that way.
I started writing this post a month ago, but as I wrote, the muse faded away into sadness and embarrassment. What am I doing, talking about all this? It’s silly to feel this way. I’m saying nothing at all. Or am I?
But No Contact keeps popping up in the online support groups, sometimes with shouts of freedom, sometimes in a whisper of uncertainty and fear they don’t have the strength to hold it.
I didn’t have the strength at first. Mostly I was just tired of the abuse. I finally drew the line at apologizing once again for something I didn’t do. I refused to beg my dad to un-disown me. That was a line my father didn’t like.
But, slowly and surely, I grew stronger. It got better. It will always carry a little bit of pain when someone says, “Family is everything. Forgive and forget. But s/he’s your mother/father!”
That pain means it was not a decision made lightly. It’s the pain of the emotional scars inflicted upon you. It means you are a person who cares, who cares so much about others that you worry about hurting them.
It means that you are likely not a narcissist, but that you’ve suffered at the hands of one.
Let that pain serve as a reminder of why you are NC. Let the tears come. Then, when you are ready, think of a safe place. Remind yourself you are loved. That you are worthy of love. Let a soothing light fill every corner of your body–especially the parts that hurt the most. Keep trying. Let it break up the sadness and bring you wise peace.
I thought it would get easier being NC. And it has–but it takes time. Give it all the time you need.
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