I hesitate to share when things are going well because if I recap more than a single minute, I easily get spun up in the axle –the entire history of it all, IT: being the “dynamic” of my (FOO)family of origin. I was, for a stretch, enjoying the perks of total estrangement from my FOO and all affiliated, with the exception of my ex and our children, when my mother’s sister emailed Wednesday with an invite for breakfast this weekend. Both anxiety and grief were my immediate gut reactions. It is too a complex a relationship for each of us, full disclosure and authenticity are not well tolerated and our connection is not blessed by the others, which creates hardship for her. I believe she and I are similar in unmentionable ways (sensitive and vocal about being sensitive which troublesome to those who are not(the rest of them)) and it is just too elephant in the roomish and eggshelly for me. I am no good at that and forcing it feels more difficult than wise.
I think I am supposed to feel like an asshole for declining her invite. I said NO, with total love. The reality is my weekend is already hectic and I am not able to meet her. And this– reminds me of my sister’s insistence on a dinner Thanksgiving, 2 years ago to include my young boys at a time that was too late for us, insisting that we come and that we come at THAT TIME, also her “invite” 3 weeks before my niece’s graduation on a date in which we already had tickets (purchased 3 months prior) to attend what would be my first concert in more than 5 years. To me, there has always seemed to be the message, “Be grateful anyone would even allow you”. Saying NO has resulted in publicly diminishing me with words and behaviors, oh and Ghosting me- all of which goes uncontested. Like, How dare I?
Possibly my habitual suffering over this haunting dynamic will last a lifetime, but so will my unwillingness to engage. I am not an asshole. I may at times behave as one, because I am human and I get scared, hungry, tired, irritated and I am still learning. Being an asshole, to me; is knowingly doing and saying things that are unkind, harmful (I feel as though I wear out the word “diminishing”–but it really is the most accurate descriptor and my first choice word for the behaviors that pass for normal in my FOO-maybe the synonym makers can get busy on that)
I am grateful to have gained enough healthy respect for the difference between being harmful and being displeasing- that I am able to model and share with my sons—making that powerful distinction, AND choosing to be guided by principles rather than reactions and opinions of others. This is regarded and treated as subversive and grounds for war in my FOO, the ultimate betrayal. Whatev
Good Orderly Direction is our G.O.D.
My hair stands on end as I recall my sister proudly declaring that she raised “pleasers”(Don’t speak up and don’t speak out-unless you are told to). It is 100% the opposite of what I teach and want for my boys. We must care what others think but–not allow it to guide OUR decisions for ourselves . Our jobs are not to please others. We are here, on earth, to discover who we are, our gifts, needs, limits, strengths,responsibilities and then to honor all of that. Other people’s opinions and desires are not our Higher Power. Conditional Love is not what we strive or hustle for. NOPE. Not Us! We strive spiritually, not socially.
This living is diametrically opposed to both my family and my sons’ father’s family cultures, in which it is more important to please the right people and diminish or discard the “wrong people”. My ex and I experienced frequent conflict over my lack of need to submit to and to please his sisters, at the expense of our family or our relationship as a couple. He was not able to honor both them and our family at the same time. Poor guy, always seeking approval from those with images and money whom he hopes can get him further down the path he chooses.
Anyway, my aunt’s honest invitation to meet for breakfast begged me to spiral down the rabbit hole- to recall, in detail, all of the things that have felt scary in similar ways. Thank goodness, I have unshakable faith in a spiritual practice that tells me when to say yes and when to say no, each without justification.
So, while I mentally justify my right to live, to myself, I dare not offer that to those who want to judge, diminish, or control me. My behavior and living life require no justification. Living my life and striving spiritually, not socially–I am allowed to do that. I am supposed to do that. I say yes to what is possible and prudent. And if I find myself justifying and defending, I pause to check my motives. If I am clean, I carry on without justification. When I have faltered, I can amend my behavior. No justification, ever, in this way of life.
So interesting to note how some people never consider reflecting on/amending their own behaviors because where they have faltered, justification and blame are their solution… that energy is no good for me—not prudent and not possible for me, to thrive under those vibrations.
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