my awakening consciousness

Preamble: Mess of Family Crap Dynamics.

Filed under: daylilies — waterlily at 2:28 pm on Thursday, August 25, 2016

I really don’t think I’ve ever known – or even encountered – any family without some sort of “dysfunctional” facet, some more glaring and obvious than others, but it seems to me those families at the very least get it all out in the open; the most toxic ones act SO normal and loving and considerate, then behind closed doors begins the horror of everyone being fake – albeit snidely – nice, (or at least civil) tension in the air thick enough to slice, punctuated by a nuclear explosion every now and then.  There is wasteland laid bare.They pile fake niceness on top of it till the next family war. Like a perpetual cycle of cold war and really hot war, that erodes and snuffs out anything positive.

I’d rather just get stuff out in the open if I have a grievance ……why the hell is this not socially acceptable?!?!

I don’t mean ever by using violence, I mean airing your true feelings in a calm manner, respectful of the feelings of others, and knowing it is almost impossible never to ruffle any feathers. Believe me, some people’s feathers get ruffled because it’s Tuesday, or their neighbor runs the lawn mower at the ungodly hour of noon on a Saturday…..and an endless giant smorgasbord of blah, excruciating minutiae with which to hold on to those grudges.

I know I’m making lots of broad generalizations here, based solely upon my own observations and my personal interpretations of them. But who made me the friggin’ Queen of All Knowledge? I’m just sayin’.

From what I’ve experienced and seen in retrospect plus what I remember from basic college psychology  and sociology 101, every family (or any group of people) has a different dynamic, which to me seems somewhat like a pecking order.

This dynamic is established early on, and everyone has their place. You know, the strong one, the funny one, the quiet one, etc. I was the screw-up one.

So, forty years later, when one of the group (let’s use my family as an example!) is forced to change drastically by stopping self-medicating i.e. getting clean and sober, it upsets this comfortable and entrenched dynamic. However much the members – in my example, three brothers, one sister, and Mom and Dad – may love and want the best for the changed member, subconsciously it is so uncomfortable for the others, they sometimes behave in ways to re-establish the familiar equilibrium of this microcosm world. They struggle to keep their status.

My older sister was always the dominant, outspoken and no-nonsense personality. I always wished I was more like her. So did my parents, usually. She was beautiful, did well in school and looked like my mother; same dark hair, brown eyes, and very petite. They both acted very prim, proper and ladylike, as a general rule. It was like having two mothers who were so radically different from me, physically (I took after Dad, taller, light haired, blue-eyed) and in temperament – often I could feel their twin brown stares of disapproval boring holes through me.

I resented being expected to behave in a way that was so not me, it required a lot of exhausting contortion of mind and soul (and sometimes body). And it wasn’t just behavior. The worst was clothes shopping for school. A day at the department store with two moms. They had very similar taste in clothing, of course. They called it “conservative.”

It was just too fucking prissy for my taste.

Of course I could never utter such words to them. I think my birth mom would probably swoon. They would purse their lips and regard me with the same look as something they just scraped off the bottom of their sensible shoes.

They sort of did that when I tried to pick out clothes that I liked, when I was a teenager and wanted to be a hot babe, look cool and conform with my peer group and most importantly, express myself – you know – like humans do.

They would invariably exchange a look that said: ‘how can we be tactful about this?’ It was at least interesting to see what line of condescending bullshit (so transparent, as if I had an IQ in the single digits) they thought was “tactful”.

Insulting, infuriating to be sure, but if I didn’t want to off myself or get drunk (started when I was 15, for some unfathomable reason), I had to try and find the humor in it. I just wanted to pick out my own clothes and I felt like I had such trashy, slutty, low-life taste in clothing.

This post was started SO long ago and has digressed so far, as the memories come flooding back. Tip of the iceberg, too. All the venting (it’s so therapeutic though) will have to be reserved for another time because I need to learn how to organize my thoughts and writing and post often – like, every day!

Just started new med which is supposed to help me with this, but too early to tell really.

The whole purpose of this post was to relate how I did something so alien to my nature, I NEVER did it before in over half a century of existence on this earth.

I realize now that this stuff I’ve been venting about looks so freakin’ whiny when I finally get it down onto “paper”; everybody has little interpersonal shit like that with their family members.

So anyway, back to the present. I’m glad I’ve grown and can recognize some of these things that seemed so enormously disturbing for so long were but parts of everyone’s life, pretty much.

I spent many years self-medicating with well, just about everything and have all the baggage that goes along with being a known alcoholic/addict, no matter how many years of quality clean sobriety have gone by. It’s never exactly the same as before you started lying and all the other adorable behavior you perceived as necessary for survival. People – especially family and all loved ones – no matter how forgiving and trusting they are now ALWAYS have that possibility in the back of their mind, and you and I would too. I get that.

It’s been 25 years, since I stopped that life.  I’ve been through things grown men can’t begin to handle. I’ve survived every kind of abuse and my soul has been crushed, anesthetized and I thought it was gone and dead. It isn’t, it never was, it never will be.

I stopped because I met an angel who demonstrated through his every action the meaning of real love. It took me 2 years to trust him. We spent 23 wonderful years together in the light…he’d led me out of the darkness. Sheer love conquers ALL. Not even addiction with it’s insidious, brutal power stands a chance in the face of  pure love. (You regular readers know that Mark passed from this life in 2013)

As it turns out, calling drug addicts garbage, treating them as such, and throwing them into a cage over and over is not the answer. Who would’ve guessed?

I digress again. It’s been 25 years and I still don’t expect it ever to be the way it was before I started down that road and deceived everyone, including those who loved me in their own way.

In these 25 years my family was at first not supportive because they simply didn’t understand and know how to support someone in recovery; it was something they had never really dealt with before. Not having grown up chronologically -you’ve heard of the concept (it’s fact) that whatever age you began self-medicating i. e. seeking a “normal” mind/emotional set to deal with life and it’s overwhelming obstacles, it’s terrifying, alien people who behave and speak in strange ways you cannot relate to – that’s the emotional age you are when you stop. I tried to grow up fast, seeing how regressed and childish I was emotionally, without the basic coping skills my earth people fellow baby-boomers had learned and refined long ago.

I’ve digressed so far from the original intent of this post originally entitled “Confronting My Sister for the First Time in 50 Years”. What started out as a brief background/intro rambled into an entire, too long, disorganized post for which I’ll figure out like, “Scrambled Preamble, Family Crap Dynamics” or something like that.

Promise the big scary confrontation with the big scary sister will be the next post, because there’s plenty of emotionally charged action and excitement there. It’s “tumultuous”. It’s on, bitch!!