The Long Year of Silence: And Other Tales of Dysfunction…

February came and went. Silent to begin and silent still to end. To say that I’m entirely surprised would be a lie since I know how these family dustups go. I know that they linger like the annoying stench that clings to the bottom side of a trash can lid; hidden from sight but still funking up the air with the cloying scent of unresolved anger and delusion.

Last year, at this same time, I had a tremendous online, voicemail and text row with my younger sister over what? I’m still not sure what her intentions were when she publicly insulted me, my dear partner and my even dearer daughter online. “They aren’t welcome in our home,” became the flash point proclamation over a post about the senseless loss of children due to gun violence which she assumed was AIMED at her and her husband. It was not yet, here we are.

If you can’t find the energy to defend your actions then don’t expect to make it to the winner’s circle anytime soon…

Ah, assumption, the ultimate guess that certainly makes one look like an ass when one is incorrect. And incorrect they were but, the damage is done and a half-hearted apology will not cover this wound. I am still angry about the words my sister, brother-in-law and other unknowing siblings chose to assign to me, my daughter and my partner. Snowflake! College Educated Liberal! They Think They’re Better Than Us! I have a sinking suspicion that these words had been on their minds for a long time. Words that they didn’t and still don’t have the guts to say to our faces. Was it worth it?

The Psychology Behind Sibling Estrangement

The more I think about it now the more I see just how one-sided our relationship was to begin with. For years I tried to re-engage with both my sister and her family by visiting, emailing, sending cards or texting as much as possible. I sat and listened to her complain about our parents, our other sister, nieces, nephews and so on. In looking back I have no doubt that this scenario played out similarly on the flip side and I was the one that was being complained about but, that’s okay.

We were raised with an “every man for himself” attitude and the MAN that always bested us was our father. Or, rather, he contributed to our emotional destruction and continued destruction of one another. Why be loving and kind when you could be sneaky and manipulative? Did you hear what SHE did? No! Did you know that HE did/said this or that? It’s amazing that we were able to hold it together as long as we did given the monumental amount of shit we talked about one another.

How I would love to tell each party the things that were said about them while absent but, I won’t. What’s the point anyway? I most likely will never see them again so it would be a hollow victory and I don’t need that bile in my life anymore. Tired of the drama, tired of the hatred and tired of feeling guilty for wanting and finally achieving a happy life when so much wrong has gone on in their lives over the many years.

And, despite this, I still jumped in to defend those who were being abused by our parents still as adults only to be lumped in with the very people who created the damaged familial menagerie to begin with. Thank you but, no thanks! I jumped too far for too long and now I’m done. I have to be. What other choice do I have?

But, what will you do when your parents die or if something happens to the other family members you aren’t speaking to????????

What would YOU do? Would be bristle at being asked such a guilt laden question by someone who did not walk in your shoes like, EVER? Would you pretend to feel sorrow for the loss of those who literally wished out loud that you were never born? Would you mourn the loss of someone who punched you with full force between the shoulder blades on more than one occasion? The one who used a handful of your hair to pull you across the room to view a “mess” you didn’t make but were still being accused of? The one who used the bible to justify this physical abuse along with molestation?

No love lost. No sorrow to feel on the parental front for many other reasons but, I do feel sorrow now about the loss of contact with my younger sister, her family and my oldest niece. That loss was sudden and without warning so I am still experiencing the grief process over losing those relationships.

I was angry. I’m still angry and I WILL write about it despite how much this pisses off those who created the rift. Actions have consequences and all, you know? And so, I keep moving into this new year of continued silence. Will anything change? Not unless I make the move to do so because that’s how it’s “always been.” Courage is in short supply in this family while false bravado doth runneth over!

So, now do I continue moving forward in peace without them or take two steps back into a landmine? Sometimes choosing peace is the smartest move and hopefully that move will trigger growth, self-reflection and forgiveness on the other side. I hope…and that’s all I can do.

© 2019 L.A. Askew

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Would you care for a truckload of veiled hostility with your cup of manipulation?

Why is it so hard for some people to differentiate between unresolved personal resentment and social outrage? Why do some view manipulation, insults, and threats as viable persuasion tactics?

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/toxic-relationships/201704/are-you-being-manipulated

Are they simply superimposing their inner anger and insecurity over the top of current events as a veil to shield themselves from introspection and personal responsibility? Or, are they really just truly shitty people who want everyone else to feel as shitty as they do?

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201901/why-narcissist-will-never-back-down

Are they nasty human beings that actually hate others because of their geographical location, skin color, religious/non-religious beliefs, political/non-political views, socio-economic standing, sexual orientation or gender identity? Or, are they damaged mentally and emotionally by years of personal abuse that they refuse to seek help for or publically address for fear of unfair judgement?

Take that in for a moment…

There is the possibility that they judge others harshly because they fear to be judged themselves?

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/i-hear-you/201710/10-reasons-why-people-refuse-talk-therapists

What?

There is a fix for that you know?  It’s called therapy. It’s called personal insight. It’s called being sick and tired of being sick and tired. It’s called doing the opposite because everything you have done up to this point in time has not worked George!

Haven’t you had enough?

I write this piece because I once lived in a “swamp” of unresolved resentment, anger, and fear over how others might perceive me. I was raised to care more about how others viewed me than how I viewed myself because to be sensitive, thoughtful and kind was weak. I was taught that everyone was out to get me and that it was every “man” for themselves in this dog eat dog world. I knew that was crap and a lame attempt at shifting responsibility but it still corrupted my world view for many years.

Newsflash: NO ONE IS OUT TO GET YOU!  The only enemy you have is the enemy within. But, if holding onto rage fuels your soul then good luck with that. I for one would like to live without the worry of dropping dead from a rage induced heart attack or a stroke. I’d like to live to see my future grandkids.

Why is this so hard to understand?

When you think you are right but you are hurting everyone around you=WRONG!

I have many, many questions about the current state of affairs; why people cling to misinformation, fear, myths, lies, and prejudices.  Is it a dirty badge of honor? Is it some sort of reward for having gone through hardship?

Everyone goes through some hardship at one point or another in their lives. Some dwell on it, reveling in the tales of fights with family members and how they were the victor in an imagined battle of wills. What trophy did you get? Fewer family members or friends and a prospect of future personal isolation? That isn’t a trophy I want and will gladly concede defeat in the great War of Manipulation and Imagined Hurt.

Does this mean that those who pull back and refuse to engage further are weak? Does it mean they are losers?

Sure, I lobbed a few bombs back at first, in defense, but retreating now holds no shame when it protects peace of mind, physical wellbeing, and self-respect. I respect myself for having the courage to voice how I feel and will not apologize to anyone. Speaking truth to tyranny is never offensive because truth is power and those who take exception to my speaking out should be disappointed in themselves for refusing to be honest. It’s not like others don’t already know bits and pieces of your personal drama so you might as well own it. You aren’t fooling anyone.

And, it totally is stupid shit, isn’t it?

The world contains enough negativity. Choose to engage with the positive side of your soul and learn to forgive yourself, others, the world…whichever you deem most deserving. It’s time.