While it is true that I have tapped into the magic of self love, this by no means is an expression of being perfect or finished or in love with myself. It means I recognize my worthiness of connection, wholeness, peace, and kindness of people who value me. I no longer doubt and dislike myself enough to subject myself to the painful brand of love-and I have for now stopped begging for it to be different, with my family of origin. Without self-love, I was willing to come around, to dine with people who name call and behave in ways which are diminishing to me- creating unnecessary hardship and loss of innocence for my children. I realize how I came to marry my children’s father, emotionally and morally vacant, concerned primarily with appearances. Not knowing what being loved and nurtured felt like, I chose more of what I knew. As I have recovered; learned what it means to offer, receive, and welcome wholesome love and nurturing, I no longer tolerate or take blame for others whose behaviors and words I experience as foul.
I was deeply ashamed for being “overly” sensitive and “causing” everyone’s rage. Clearly, I did not develop a healthy sense of self. And, people with the best of intentions, would tell me “Nobody will love you more than you love yourself.” BUT in my first 40 years, I had not learned to love myself. In my family of origin “Love” rages, name calls, and demeans others, treats people as unworthy, shames, bullies, confuses and causes self-doubt. Or totally favors those who are pleasing or serving their purpose. Pleasure and power are derived from the contrast between treatment of the favored vs. the unfavored. In charge of punishments and presents or weird compliments. So sick! It is damaging when people causally lecture to those suffering with low self esteem how “nobody will ever love you until you love yourself”. For those of us raised BY untreated addiction and mental illness…all we learn is self hatred….and shame. I am unlearning it all one day at a time as I take the time and space to reparent myself.
My sister’s predictable affinity for my ex has rolled out exactly as anticipated, I divorced them both, rejecting their requirement that I play small for them. My mothers’ insistence that I should not be hurt by the unwholesome alliance is just the icing on a very shitty cake-called my family experience. My hope that my ex might be more dedicated to harmonious co-parenting with me than aligning with my sister at me, had no basis in reality. My sister’s breach of family and girl code is by far, more appalling than his choice to indulge her. I am angry. I think it is bullshit. I want better for my children. Sister and ex can enjoy their shared frustration over failing to get me to do and be as they have demanded, unmotivated by fear or gifts, they just never managed to gain control of me. I am grateful for little to do with each of them. I can see how them, having each other,might soothe the burn of rejection by a shitpile like me, right?
Love is a verb. Above all else, love is intentionally kind and benevolent, not just to those whom are favored or esteemed. I never experienced my ex or my sister in these ways(vain and opportunistic, social climbing and phony, pawing at every low hanging fruit), so it pains me to think of their collective impact on my children. Posing as friendly, social, put together, free from all bad feelings, does not even begin to double for kindness or wholesomeness. Trying not to judge. Failing.
My #12stepprogram teaches my lil family what it means to love and to be supportive emotionally. It is our design for wholesome living. Without it, the cycle would surely continue. Having static principles to guide us has offered a more sane existence than being directed by the erratic moods, gestures, and punishments of those demanding control and reverence. One day, I may be recovered enough to feel ambivalent or even compassionate for them. That day is not today. Just by thinking of them, I have soiled my heart and missed out on something more satisfying. Waste of time. Utterly–if not for the healing of getting it down on paper to share, for those living a parallel existence.