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The Weekly Muse

The muse is full of blank spaces this morning.  I've been feeling uncomfortable in my own skin lately.  Deep inside I can't seem to settle into a place that is relaxed - my soul is squirming.

And I know why.

In one short week it will be one year since I received a phone call that would shatter my world, leaving me breathless in a sea of irrationality.  A phone call that would push me so deep underground I never thought I'd see light again.  A phone call that would redefine my view of family.

I buried myself in the aftermath and to some extent I am still buried.  And I believe that now, after a year of painful soul-searching and devastating realizations - I feel it is time for me to come fully into the light.

I'm still angry. I'm scared.

In that single phone call one family member - an aunt who had been more of a sister to me my entire life - decided she was king of my life; it was her responsibility to tell me all my faults, to tell me how much my entire family disliked me. She became judge and jury, pronouncing me to be a selfish narcissistic bitch who cared more about herself that anyone around her.  Any attempts on my part to defend myself against the avalanche of lies was met with derision, taunts and insults.

"Why don't you shut your fucking mouth" - will likely be the last words I ever hear from the aunt. Those words drove me underground a year ago. Each time I've tried to fully surface the memory of those words drives me back down to the safe haven of silence and - blankness. Sweet soft blankness that blots out the ugliness.

She "...dared to tell me who to be"; and she certainly "...had the talking down, just not the listening."

I have made references to this phone call over the past year but I've never really revealed too many specifics. In fact while I tried to fall off the map my family stalked and haunted me, revealing far more than I ever would have.

Since that phone call there have been very intermittent contacts from my mother - demanding my time then pulling the rug out from underneath me.  I would agree to her demands only to have her pull back at the last minute.  Fool me once shame on you...Fool me twice shame on me.

Quite memorably - at least for me - on my old blog she and the aunt took me to task for failing to fall on my knees in gratitude for their help during my recovery from hip replacement surgery. All the while hiding from the harsh light of the truth of their own despicable behavior.  That episode revealed their true selves to me and there has been zero contact since then.

All my life
I've tried
to make everybody happy while I
just hurt and hide
waiting for someone to tell me it's my turn
to decide.

I spent my life being the good girl, trying very hard not to ruffle anyone's feathers, allowing my family to call the shots and dictate what happened and when.  I talk a good game but in the end I just want everyone to be happy - even if that comes at my own expense.

My family forced me to take my turn - and decide that my happiness and peace-of-mind is more important than anything that they want, than anything they think I should be. And while I say those words with all the force born of the pain - there is part of me, that little girl part, that wonders - how could they do this.

That they believe the lies they spewed is more painful than the actual lies. Calling me a bitch was hurtful; showing me that they actually believe it is a pain almost too great to bear with my sanity intact.  Being told that the entire family believes that I never loved them hurts far less than realizing that in fact - it is they who never loved me the way I deserved to be loved.

The pain of all this lurks around every corner.  For weeks after the phone call I would come home and eagerly go to our house phone system, hoping for evidence of a different kind of phone call, one that showed that they really do care about me, that they do love me. 

It never came and it never will, even though I still have that tiny spark of hope. Suddenly I feel like there is an elephant sitting on my chest.

I'm scared.

That I will never see them again.  The aunt has a pattern of this in her life with other people; if you offend her delicate sensibilities or fail to show her in every action that she is the best thing ever born - she cuts you out. She's done it to friends and other family members over the years; she never sees her husband's family anymore. I never thought she'd do it to me and yet here we are.  This is how she rolls.  My mother has chosen her sister over her daughter - there is no amount of time that is going to erase the pain of that knowledge.

I'm scared.

That my life is OK without them.  Things are calmer, I am calmer, life is more peaceful without the endless drama of my mother's need to be the center of attention and the aunt's need to be acknowledged as the best of everything.

The entire experience has brought The Oracle and I closer than ever - and trust me we have always been close. I suppose this is one of those things that could have driven us apart from for the force of the pain brought on both of us - yet we clung to each other as if our lives depended on it.

Which I guess, in some manner of speaking, it did.

I'm scared.

That the truth of the matter is that quite honestly I find my friends to be better family to me than my actual family.  Our friends sheltered us, gave us a safe haven to retreat to in the early days of this nightmare. They still do.

I'm scared - and it's OK.  I'm coming to terms with all of this as I slowly emerge from the underground bunker I have sequestered myself in for the past year.  The good days and good times far outnumber the bad these days and this is a great good thing.

I am still angry - and it's OK.  While it's been on the ragged edge for a long time now, my sanity has at least been kept in check with the anger.  I am working hard on letting the anger go, which is no easy task as it is the one thing that has kept me grounded and helped me deal with the pain.  But let it go I must - it's unhealthy to hang onto all this anger and it gives them the kind of power over me that they always had.

And I reject that power now.  It is my turn to decide.  Because I am the king of my own life.

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Reader Comments (6)

Ah, Kris. Hang in there, Girl. You have Good Things in your life and they are at least equal to the pain, if not exceeding it. IMHO.

I know it's not politically correct to say "hang on to that anger" and it's not in the psychological canon but sometimes that works. In time the anger subsides to a simmer rather than a roiling boil and it becomes manageable, as opposed to all-consuming. But anger keeps you centered; don't ask how I know.

September 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBuck

You have Good Things in your life and they are at least equal to the pain, if not exceeding it. IMHO.

Buck - thank you, this is actually quite true. For the most part I have learned to live beyond this pain and enjoy the life I have. It's not been easy and that makes it incredibly rewarding for me. And I know what you mean about the anger - and why you know, I am so sorry - and I do believe the anger I've had really has allowed me to survive this. Losing my entire family in one phone call - for no reason - is a pain that I don't think I could take unfiltered. I do want to let go of the anger because I don't want them to have that kind of power...but I won't let it go until I'm sure I can live with the unfiltered pain. And that's not going to be anytime soon.

September 18, 2010 | Registered CommenterKris

I remember the day for sure. Just because they are family does not give them free license for sure. They had many chances and they blew it not you. Sometimes holding onto the anger helps keep things in perspective of how you got there in the first place. You know I am speaking from experience.

September 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

I always find revelations of this sort puzzling. I've never had anyone in my family ever belittle me or my accomplishments, and overall I've had little other than cordial relationships with every relative. I guess I've been sincerely blessed in that regard. I always hear everyone saying that every family has some sort of dysfunction, and when I say that mine doesn't, they tell me it isn't so. But, it is.

God bless you.

September 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSuldog

Sarah - you were there for me that day in very profound ways, mopping up my tear-washed face that morning and being with me for the weeks to come. I will never forget that.

Suldog - I believe that all families are dysfunctional; you have to talk about degrees of dysfunctionality. In your case, perhaps the dysfunctions are small and everyone in your family is willing to give everyone else a "pass" on those things - and in that case you are truly blessed beyond measure. In my family I always knew we were dysfunctional; I just never realized how cruel the dysfunction was until last year.

September 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKris

Oh,my. How that must have hurt.

Prop 8 ripped my family to pieces and I can't bear it. I would do anything to have everyone forgive one another but it is not going to happen.

I just want to hug you. ox

September 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLoralee

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