Friday, August 30, 2013

    Rule 27: Start actively nurturing your most important relationships. – Bring real, honest joy into your life and the lives of those you love by simply telling them how much they mean to you on a regular basis.  You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be everything to a few people.  Decide who these people are in your life and treat them like royalty.  Remember, you don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends you can be certain of.
    Certain things have occurred in my life these past few months that have led me to reevaluate who not only my true friends are but also my true family. I've said before that the problem with family is that you are forced into relationships with people you often have little in common with and sometimes wouldn't even like if you weren't related to them. If one blessing has come out of this latest "episode" in the drama that has been my extremely malfunctioning family for the last 57 years I've been in this world, it is that I finally see the dynamics and personalities clearly for the first time. 
    A few days ago, I was driving back from a visit with my dearest, oldest friend who is dying. Her sweet brother, who is also like a baby brother to me, had just told me that the hospice nurses are saying she probably only has a few more weeks. I tried to remain strong and supportive in front of her but I lost it on the way home. I was driving that twenty miles of extreme curves with blurred vision and a distracted mind. But it wasn't sadness and grief that was occupying my thoughts or making me cry. I started having vivid flashbacks of when we were kids. I saw her sitting under the old mimosa tree that sat in our front yard and she was talking about her dreams for her life. They were very bittersweet memories. 
    I felt like I was experiencing Post Traumatic Stress because her's weren't the only memories that started to come back in high def clarity. For the rest of the evening, I kept getting flashes that almost felt like enlightenment. During this entire rejection, exile that has been imposed upon me by my sister and enforced by her by what ever means and lies I'm sure she has to tell to turn the rest of the family against me, too, during it all, I've had such a tangle of emotions. I can't sleep at night, I wake with a sense of dread, a heavy heart and my stomach feeling as if it is tied in a hard square knot. I'm sick every day, I'm tired every day and all when I least need to be. My chest and head both hurt constantly, I feel foggy brained and light headed most of the time and all of this is happening when I'm both trying to be as much help and support for my friend and her brother as possible and also trying to launch a new other words, at the worst possible time. The worst part has been the tangle of emotions that feel to me like all of that tangled mess of ivy that covered my yard and house last year and seemed such an impossible task when I first attacked it. I thought two things on that night of flashbacks, one: I'd been wasting my time feeling guilty over upsetting my sister because however unintentional and however misinterpreted my words were, she was twisting them around and using them to her advantage and I could defend myself till the day I die and everyone else involved would still have their doubts of me. So for get that, can't do anything about it and besides there is realization number two: looking back at my life and how I've always had to tap dance to my sister's whims and manipulations, I realized that I was the one who should be resentful and angry. Her emotional "injuries" were usually only imagined or all part of her "I'm the only one who matters" mentality. I was always the one who couldn't lie (she's told so many that I don't think she knows what the truth is and she's told them so many times that even she believe her lies are reality.) I was the one who bent over backwards trying to keep her happy and not angry at me and tried to sooth things over when she was angry at someone else for some slight she perceived.  I was the one who she resented and was jealous of for anything I got or did even though I had to work my ass off to achieve whatever it was. I was the one who didn't get to attend a lot of the activities in high school or get to go off to school after high school like all of my friends and had to delay college until I could pay for it (which my oldest sister still resented) because my parents were supporting that same sister who told me that I should give up on my little art projects and get a regular job and that it wasn't fair that I didn't have to go to work sick like she does. My parents were paying off all of the bills she ran up, the damages from a wreck she had, even the bills for the births of her two daughters. My parents allowed her and her family to move into the apartment behind their house and my sister later told everyone that she'd moved in to care for my parents and none of the rest of us would help out. I even had someone I'd always considered a good friend tell me that she was proud I finally came to help when my dad was dying. I told her that I'd been helping out for at least six months and she said, I know better because your sister said none of you would help and I would have seen your car in front of the house....not when my sister told me that I had to park behind the house because she didn't think there was room for me in front. Like the trusting idiot I am, I did just that without question even though there did seem to be plenty of space in front and even though I had to walk through the dark, unlit alley every night to get to my parents' house. Yes, she is great at lying and convincing people that she's not only a better person than what she is but that whom ever is her adversary, and it seems like I'm on the top of that list now, is considered as vile and evil as possible. 
    So, in summary, my eyes are finally opened and I've decided that she can play all of the games she wants to. It's her choice for me not to be in her life and that both hurt and upset me....even more so after she turned her daughters who I love so much against me, too and then no one else in the family seems to be talking to me. I won't lie, it hurts. It hurts even more for knowing that it is all based on lies but I'm through making myself sick over it. I've decided that I'm the one who has a righteous reason for anger because trust me, not only is her reasons from turning against me unjustified but there is a laundry list of things that she has done to me over the years that should have angered me, should have hurt me but I continually turned the other cheek and then tried my best to be loving and supportive to her. I guess, both of our true colors are showing in the end and I'm much happier with who I am than who she is. Yes, there are people I've cared about that she's lied to and made them think I'm someone I'm not but I've truly found out who my real friends are. There have been so many who have told me that they believe in me and they love me. So many true friends out there and one who lives here with me, my husband, Steve. He listens to me patiently and he sees the situation more clearly than I do. He's helped me to view not only this incident but my entire life and familial relationships with much more clarity. So, as for those tangle of emotions.... the guilt wrapped around the anger and hurt.......I've finally realized that it is all just a game to my sister, a way of getting exactly what she wants through manipulation and control and I've also realized that my guilt over my anger and hurt are just part of her game. I fell right into it for sure but I'm not giving into it. If she wants me to walk away, that is exactly what I will do but I'm leaving the guilt and anger behind with her and the rest of them. Strangely, once I toss those off, the hurt and the sadness and the grief disperse, too. I have my life to live and I refuse to be anchored to the past. 
    As for Rule 27, I am definitely doing that now and it is much easier since I know who my true friends and true family are. 

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