Home > ambivalance, anger, family, hate, pain > That’s enough now

That’s enough now

I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment; actually part of being overwhelmed is not really knowing how I’m feeling. And not sure where to start to explain, so this may be a bit round-about and confusing. Bear with me.

The past two years have just felt like one crisis after another, we’ve had some major things happen in our family, as well as my husband having health problems. He’s been hospitalized three times in the last six months for atrial fibrillation (he’s doing fine and it’s under control; there’s something just inherently scary about having your husband in the Coronary Care Unit). The last hospitalization took place while on vacation, which kind of put a hole in the whole “rest and refreshment” aspect of the trip. On the upside, my husband is retiring on August 1st, which is a good thing and I think will help both of us in our self-care. But it is a major life change.

Dealing with all of this on top of my own health problems, weight and body issues has brought up some very difficult themes in therapy, so I have been working very hard on healing. There’s been a lot of progress. Ironically, my last session was about understanding my motivation to be “superwoman” to ensure that I wasn’t abandoned and needing to accept an ordinary life, that even when taking care of myself and attending to my own needs, I am worthwhile. At some point (ha!) I’d like to write some longer posts on this part of my work. So I am trying to downshift, but life isn’t really co-operating.

There have also been a lot of goodbyes. Both of a dear friend’s parents, whom I was very close to, died a couple of months back. My boss of 19 years, whom I deeply respected and consider a friend as well, retired and left the company. No sooner had I got back from vacation then I got a call from another friend in the company to tell me he was leaving for another job. He’s much younger than me (by 22 years) but we had one of those weird friendships which spanned any differences. And I am in charge of throwing the goodbye parties at work, so I end up dealing with logistics in the middle of the emotional stuff (A task I am giving serious thought to stepping back from. I’ve done it for almost 20 years, might be time to let someone else give it a spin.).

I became estranged from my mother a few years back (I’ve blogged about it before), which has continued to this day. The estrangement was not my choice. I did try to mend fences, but my mother refused to acknowledge the contact, let alone try to work through anything. Once a year, on her birthday, I send a card, to let her know I’m still here, which is also ignored. She lives in Florida, on my older sister C’s land, next store to her. I am very close to my oldest sister, S, who has also done extensive therapy; we have grown together through our healing. C has never really dealt with growing up in the disaster which was our family. Like my older brother, she has turned to substance abuse to deal, while also being almost constantly enraged. I have had a … difficult relationship with her for a very long time. It’s a long, very complicated story, but the result is that we are not really in touch at all. My last attempt to contact her, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of years ago (right around the time my mom cut me off) was ignored.

My sister S called me yesterday to let me know that C had a major heart attack Sunday night. They found a huge blockage and ended up doing emergency heart surgery and installing two stints. Evidently she needs a third one, which will mean more surgery down the road. C did tell my mother to let S and I know, so mom called S. I called the hospital yesterday and they said she was stable (she was still in the ICU and had no telephone) and that they expected to move her out of the ICU and into a regular room today.

Hence the confusion. She’s my sister and I do care about what happens to her. But I also have no idea what to do in this situation or even how I’m feeling. All I can come up with is a vague feeling of “upset.” Stressed and weepy come to mind also. I really feel like a session with BN would be useful to sort through this, but it’s summer time and we’re on a two and a half week break. I see him on July 13th, then he’s off for another three weeks.

It feels like I should be getting more upset, but I’m just burned out. My body has already pumped out all the cortisol and adrenaline it’s capable of, so I just feel “eh.” But I may be fooling myself and just holding off my feelings at a distance. I’m planning on sending flowers to my sister once she’s in a normal room. I am hoping that reaching out might work this time, but am prepared to be hurt again (a good bet with C and my mom).

OK, I just realized what I need to say. I HATE my family. I hate that it’s so complicated, that there’s all this pain and anger and hatred mixed up with the love. That it’s NEVER simple or clean or clear to deal with them.  The truth is that my life is better, or at least a hell of a lot less complicated and painful,  without  my mom or C in it, but that doesn’t mean they stop being important. I wish I could make them be not important but I can’t. And it’s just shitty. I’m ok, I get that everyone has stuff to deal with and in my case, it’s my family and I’m getting healthier about doing so all the time. But it’s unfair, and crappy and I want to acknowledge that. Any good thoughts or prayers would be appreciated.

  1. June 30, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    Isn’t family fanstastic? I hope you find rest and comfort in whatever you’re going through.

    Also, don’t judge your emotions. You’ll feel what you need to feel when you feel it.


  2. June 30, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    ” Isn’t family fanstastic?” LOL, well put Judy! I can see you “get” it. And thank you for the reminder to not judge my emotions! xx AG


  3. Moto
    June 30, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    AG when I got to the last paragraph you typed I actually cried. (Which is a tremendous step for myself, ok it was more of my eyes welled up with tears and I stopped that real quick.) I think I can understand what you are going through. We do care about our families and want the best for them but I also hate so many of mine. For me much of the frustration comes from knowing they could have peace and comfort if they would just acknowledge what is there. Like the elephant in the room…I mean we all see it why are we tiptoeing around it?

    “I wish I could make them be not important but I can’t” I wish I could figure this out myself! But we can sit together in the confusion and frustration. It really shows your character and your strength to continue to reach out to them. I think sending flowers is a wonderful idea as long as you expect it to go unnoticed. I am afraid that didn’t come out the way I wanted it to so I will try to explain better. When I would reach out to my ex during the separation and divorce I didn’t get anything. No acknowledgement, no fuck you, no your crazy, nothing! This would hurt worse then what I was originally upset with. Once I accepted the fact he couldn’t or wouldn’t respond I was ok with it. I quit expecting something and have saved much stress on myself.

    I am so sorry all of this is happening during your break with BN. There is no other way to put it than it sucks!!! I think you are handling everything wonderfully! I know you probably don’t see it that way but you are!! Just go grab sadness and give her a big squeezy hug!! I will be praying things will ease up for you and for the strength to handle them!


  4. June 30, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    (((Moto))) Thank you so much for your understanding and support. I also very much appreciate the advice. I am very aware that I am risking being ignored again when I send the flowers, but I also know that I can handle the hurt when it happens. So, you’re right, I am doing this not because of any expectation of return, but because it’s the person I wish to be. I am clear that it would also be ok for me to chose to do nothing. But that doesn’t feel right for me. So I’ve made my peace with the fact that I will get hurt, but with the understanding that being hurt is not the end of me. Which, ironically enough, makes it hurt less. Acceptance tends to do that. And I think hugging Sadness is a great idea! (OK for people who haven’t read our thread on the forum, we sound like crazy people! For those of you who are confused, I bought a Sadness doll, one of the characters in Pixar’s new movie Inside Out. Which I highly recommend you go see, no matter what your age!) xx AG


  5. Michelle
    June 30, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    G-d bless you, AG. Sending you a huge HUG and wishing we could have coffee together because I think we have so much we could share with each other. There have been many times where I end up not commenting because I think I’ll wait til I’m home at my computer and then, no surprise, end up curled up on my couch instead but that’s another story. 🙂 anyway, so I’m typing on my phone at lunch at work…

    Family. You put it so well when you say that your life is less complicated but they’re still important. I’ve been estranged from my father (I’m his only child, btw) for over 10 years. I received no reply from him when I sent him pictures after his 2nd grandchild was born nor after I sent a heartfelt letter trying to mend fences. I’ve kind of accepted it. I say kind of only because last week in therapy we started talking about my self-image and feelings of unworthiness that I got from my father and things he said while I was growing up (I’m 44). Whoo Whee! Did that bring up some emotion including (almost) door slamming, walking out of session for a few minutes, some borderline screaming – stuff I rarely do in session. I saved my journals since Jr High and I read some stuff a few weeks ago that reminded me of why our relationship is like this (or not as the case may be) and that gave me a reality check. It’s not ideal but I am surrounding myself now with emotionally healthy people. My father is not one of them. Now for my mother. We re established contact a little over a year ago with the agreement that we wouldn’t talk about the past, that we would just look forward. I was OK with that until I reread stuff that reminded me, again, why we had also been estranged (parents divorced 25 years ago). Had I read this stuff before contacting her, I wouldn’t have contacted her. Now I feel kind of stuck and while we may not talk about the past, her behavior patterns are the same.

    This is a very long-winded way for me to tell you that it’s not easy dealing with family feelings, issues, etc. it’s such a sensitive topic that’s never made any easier by society’s messages. All I can do is tell you that I totally understand. And each individual has to decide what works for them. I’ve never met you but please know that I send you positive healing thoughts all the time. Your words have been such a source of support for me and I wish I could do the same for you.


    • June 30, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      It’s a helical process dealing with our families. I make my peace, only to circle back and find deeper feelings that then need to be dealt with. It sounds like you are allowing yourself to become conscious of the realities of what your relationship is with your parents. It’s painful but oh so necessary. But I am sorry as it’s also hard and painful. i remember talking with BN once about my mother before the estrangement and saying that I just needed to find my balance (we had been discussing how I wasn’t going to get what I longed for) and BN very gently said “Yes, but AG, you shouldn’t have to find your balance with your mother.” It was a very poignant acknowledgement of how reality needed to be accepted but that it was painful and hurtful. It felt very honoring. And as far as your mom, it’s ok to change your mind, and step back out. That’s the problem with ignoring the past, it tends to live on in your future when it’s not dealt with. Thank you so much for your kind words and healing thoughts. And you just did the same for me! xx AG


  6. Liz
    June 30, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    I could copy almost all of your post and just need to change the initials… It’s sad, it’s bitter, it’s hard work, it’s life.
    One things worries me a tiny bit, the bit about hoping this time sending flowers ‘would work’. Maybe you can send the flowers because it’s what you want to do. And not because you want a response? It would make you kindness more free from expectations, and your hopes wouldn’t get shattered, whatever happens next. Just saying: I’m sorry you have this health problems, I hope you will get better soon. Full stop.

    But it’s still a sad sad situation…
    take care AG,


  7. Liz
    June 30, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    ah, we all seem to comment on the same subject at the same time! 🙂


    • June 30, 2015 at 12:45 pm

      Thanks so much! And I should have explained better. When I said I hoped, that was more an acknowledgement that it’s hard to completely stamp out that hope. So I’m being honest with myself that no matter how I wish to deny it, the hope is there. And it’s more than likely going to be disappointed. So I am sending the flowers without wanting a response, but still hoping for one. But knowing that not getting one is something I can handle. But I like you’re suggestion on the wording. 🙂 Thank you! xx AG


  8. June 30, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    I 101% relate to all of this! Sending healing thoughts.


    • June 30, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      Welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting to lend your support! I appreciate it. Sorry you can relate but thank you for understanding, I feel less alone. ~ AG


  9. Ms. Sharkey
    June 30, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    It never rains but it pours. That all sounds really hard. I want to say that I totally grok the feeling of having a love/hate relationship with your family. My feelings about my family are similarly complicated and I hate it too. hugs


    • June 30, 2015 at 1:07 pm

      Ms. Sharkey,
      A fellow Heinlein fan! 🙂 Thanks for understanding and sending hugs. xxx AG


  10. saba
    June 30, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    Hope you have wonderful days and months and years ahead of you

    i have been in physical pain for last three years and now i feel broken. I am in early 30s and i feel so weak… I realy need to talk about this feeling in my sedsions. But t relates them with emotional pain and believes my pain is emotional in the first place. I hate that. It doesnt help me at all. It discourages me to work for getting better. And i cant work through the impacts of my health condition on my life and future…
    Its good that you can work on your physical confition related issues with bn…


    • July 1, 2015 at 10:23 am

      I really want to encourage you.I have really noticed a marked difference in my physical health as I have healed emotionally. The truth is that if we are cut off from our feelings and do not let them move through us, they have to find some outlet. We experience our feelings in our body and when we hold them in, or deny them, it takes a toll on our bodies. As I have become more aware of my feelings and able to express them, and express my needs, I have found that I get ill much less often and my asthma has practically disappeared (stress is my worst trigger). As much as we hate it, we are a whole person, which means our emotions and bodies are closely tied together. They are both part of who we are and we experience our feelings in our bodies. So when we cut off our feelings, we cut off being connected with our bodies. It’s hard to take care of something that you are trying to remain unaware of. I would urge you to try to speak of your feelings despite the fear. Start small but pay attention to what happens. Every good experience makes it just a bit easier to do the next time. I do know how terrifying what I am asking can be, but I also know that you have the strength and determination to learn to speak. ~ AG


  11. June 30, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    I’m sorry you have to deal with the fallout of these sorts of family dynamics that are so confusing and painful. It’s incredibly difficult to reconcile what kinds of relationships you deserve and rightfully long for vs the reality of what is. It’s definitely a grieving process, but it feels like it becomes all the more complicated to grieve a live relationship, one that you always carry a hope for change, vs grieving the loss of someone dead.

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately of my parents, because even though my dad has been out of my life for years, my mom has carried on spontaneous contact, until this year. It’s the longest she’s gone without communicating, and I agree that the sadness is deeply unsettling. I’m sure there’s a lot of young feelings that play out for us that are more difficult to articulate. Keep reaching out to those who understand and empathize. And feel proud of the fact that you are doing what you can to mend things, despite how unfair the situation is.

    Sometimes I think when I can’t identify what I’m feeling, I’ll later recognize that there was a sense of carrying responsibility for whatever was going wrong, and that led to my overwhelm. Don’t know if that could apply to you here too, but remember that you are not and can not be responsible for how your mom and sister choose to respond or behave. That’s where those boundaries come in that weren’t there in childhood…

    Sending you big hugs of support xx


    • July 1, 2015 at 11:52 am

      (((Armored))) I really agree that it’s a difficult process to sort through what we deserved and long for, versus the reality of what we’re actually going to get. But coming to terms with reality, as painful as it is, is also really helpful. For an example, in this situation, I am certain I will not hear from my mother, despite the seriousness, so there has been no wasted energy hoping to hear from her, or even getting upset about not hearing from her. It is what it is. The grieving process helps you face the pain, so that you do not continue to get hurt going forward I think. Or at least not as much.

      And thanks for pointing out that young feelings are evoked, it’s a timely reminder. I know that my life is actually easier in many ways not being in touch with my mom and sister (adult feelings) but I can still feel hurt about them not being in touch (young feelings) because it evokes the feelings of unworthiness and being unloveable from when I was small. It’s much easier to deal with the contrast when I realize where it’s all coming from and that the adult can have compassion for the young feelings, understanding their source while still making decisions based on my adult understanding. And yeah, I think that sense of responsibility kicks in because along with those young feelings comes that desperate longing for some kind of control, even if that means blaming ourselves so there’s a possibility of fixing it. I think the most freeing thing I ever realized with my mom and sister was that how they feel about me and act towards me really has nothing to do with who I really am. They don’t know who I really am. They see some kind of caricature they’ve erected in my place upon which they heap whatever evils they need to. It means I have to recognize my powerlessness to change them but it also sets me free from thinking it says anything important about who I am. Thanks AH, I so appreciate the support and your help in clarifying my thinking. xxx AG


  12. GreenEyes
    June 30, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Hugs AG. I have no contact with anyone from my family of origin and while it’s the safest and most caring thing I can do for myself it never stops being painful and difficult. I dread a moment like you’ve described where a family member is seriously ill and I’m not sure whether to make contact. Perhaps it worth thinking about what you expect to get from yourself by sending flowers – if you know that external affirmation/validation is highly unlikely, how can you support and validate your own caring intentions and have that be enough to hold up your self worth? It is a generous gesture and I hope you’re proud of being able to display compassion to another who has hurt you, that that makes you an extraordinary person no matter what your family say or do xx


    • July 1, 2015 at 12:18 pm

      (((GE))) I know you really get this. Thank you for understanding both why the estrangement is reasonable and how it can continue to be difficult despite really grappling with it and making our peace. And thanks also for a very good question! I realized that I am sending the flowers because that is the person I wish to be. She’s my sister, I love her and I certainly don’t wish her ill. (Oh dear, the first version I typed was “I certainly don’t wish her good” eek My subconscious may have other things to say about this.) It’s important to me that I acknowledge what happened and that she knows I still care. But beyond that, I have no expectations. As I’ve said in other replies, it will actually be easier in a lot of ways if there is no reply. She’s coming home from the hospital tomorrow (I heard from my other sister) so I ordered a bouquet for delivery tomorrow with no expectations. Thanks for your support, as always. xx AG


  13. liz
    June 30, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    I feel you there, AG. Often I find myself thinking the same thing (even if my situation is obviously a totally different one). I honestly have nothing useful to say to you; it is so hard to learn how to slip out of family dynamics and try to forgive and manage to find love behind all the rage and frustration and exhaustion. Sometimes it seems like a neverending battle. But I also believe there is peace to be found somewhere among all the mess, so hang in there. I send you a really big hug and I hope things will get better.


    • July 1, 2015 at 12:20 pm

      I’m going to have to beg to differ about you having nothing useful to say! 🙂 Just knowing that you get the situation and normalizing that the emotions are varied and complex and hard to reconcile, helps immensely and lets me know I’m not alone. Thank you for responding to my cry for help. xx AG


  14. June 30, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    AG I having been reading your blog for
    quite awhile. You cannot begin to
    imagine how you gave me clarity
    to the confusion I experienced after
    a ruptured therapy. Many thanks for
    your words and sharing with your
    readers so much of your journey
    Now let’s get to you. You have
    been going through so much and you have had so many challenges and you have managed to
    work through them. Your sister is in the
    hospital and I am sure she is being taken care of by her medical team. It sounds like your body is telling you what it wants. I have been there and have experienced the effects of cortisol
    and adrenaline. The fatigue and emotional drain can be overwhelming
    I have been in situations where I could just feel my blood pressure elevate. During those times I had to learn to let go and care for my self. It is hard to do because every part of your being says I have to ,fix everything that is wrong and make it better. I have been going through a similar situation with my siblings. When someone in our families
    becomes sick or passes ,old wounds often come to the surface and we are faced with the child within us. All our anger ,deprivations,betrayals and abandonments. This I found to be true.
    for myself. My brother and I are estranged and he manages to trigger me It has taken me awhile to set things aside until I felt better. My body will tell me. “Slow down,get the lavender diffuser out and put on some Bach”. There is nothing I can do to change my
    brother. There was nothing I could do to make my mother love me the way I wanted her to do. You are the number one person now and you require attention When I had to send flowers to my brother ,my sister and I sent them
    together and that way there was less pressure on us. I pray for your sister’s
    recovery and for you AG
    I am writing this from my iPhone paying
    no attention to the grammar that the good Sisters of Holy Trinity taught me. Apologies go out to you and your dear readers.
    I will end with a favorite quote from The Help. “You is kind. You is smart You is important” My best. CV


    • July 5, 2015 at 9:22 pm

      Thank you so much for the kind words, and your understanding and support (and your writing did the sisters proud! 😀 ) It was a blessing in disguise but I had a molar extracted on Thursday which laid me out for the whole day and required me to rest a bit more this weekend (it also delayed my answering these comments for a bit!). I sent flowers to my sister and got quite the response. My sister sent me a message with her phone number and asked to talk. I am giving myself time to call, we’ll see where it goes. But I am keenly aware of the need to exercise self-care, so I will be approaching this contact with a grain of salt and a great deal of caution. I thank you for your prayers for both my sister and I. She had a third stent put in before she left the hospital but is home convalescing now. xx AG


      • July 6, 2015 at 8:11 am

        AG. I am so glad to hear your
        sister is in recovery and moving
        towards good health. Ouch ! to
        having a molar removed .
        I don’t do well with dentist and
        I am sorry you had to go through
        all of this when you were dealing
        with such difficulty. I know what
        you mean when you say ‘enough is enough’ You made it I don’t
        know if you ever listened to that song by Melissa Ethridge “Into the Dark “. I have had a lot of those enough is enough times
        and during these times I am

        reminded of that song. It is not
        a sentimental song but one that
        speaks of a fire . The fire we experience in life. We all go through it I don’t know why that song brings me comfort. I some how feel stronger and not
        alone in my feelings. There have been many times when I have been unable to put my feelings into words. I guess that
        is why I love music That is why
        your words have meant so much
        to me. You made me aware of my child feelings. Something I kept hidden for years. When I was in therapy I was unable to realize there was a little girl inside me that needed attention Well I have met her and I now know why I felt the way I did in
        therapy and why it was so difficult. This is truely one of those times “if I knew then what I know now”. I may have saved
        my therapist and myself a lot of grief. So many thanks AG. You
        are doing some great work inside the consultation room and
        Have a good week. Mamawoman


  15. Fullmoon08
    June 30, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    My family drives me crazy!! I understand!!
    I would do whatever feels right to you & don’t worry about what anyone thinks . You’ve been through a lot with your family ..you deserve some peace with them.
    I’ve reached out to siblings who are not the healthiest emotionally & it backfired because they did not meet my expectations of what was going to happen of be for us in the future . So Keep in mind no expectations, & do it only because u want to.


    • July 5, 2015 at 9:25 pm

      Thanks so much, families really can be crazy making, can’t they? And if there is one thing I have learned at this point is to have no expectations. As I mentioned above, my sister wishes to talk. I appreciate that she is reaching out but know that it does not necessarily mean anything will change. Yet another chance to practice my boundary setting. 🙂 xx AG


  16. drgeraldstein
    July 1, 2015 at 7:42 am

    Very sorry to hear about your sister’s illness. Lots of crazy families out there. Your work in therapy sounds like it has produced some very useful results; not being thrown overboard by your family, among them.


    • July 5, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      I’m sure you have some interesting stories about crazy families. 🙂 As I like to say, we put the fun in dysfunctional. Thank you for the affirmation of my growth, I definitely hold my own with my family much better these days. It’s amazing how much it helps just to be able to recognize how little their behavior and attitude towards me have to do with who I actually am. There is a lot of freedom in knowing you can never get it right; the only thing left is to do what you think is right.


  17. July 1, 2015 at 10:48 am

    It is unfair. At times like this, when i feel all that unfairness, i just want to lay down in the middle of the floor and throw the most giant toddler temper tantrum ever. It’s very unfair that your family is so complicated and messy. You have been doing some very amazing work and hard work in therapy, and you are healthy. That can sometimes make it even harder to deal with the unhealthy people who are related to us.

    I am sorry about your sister, and will send prayers for her recovery and for your strength to do whatever you choose to do. Any choice you make in this situation is right. I hope whatever you choose, you can feel some peace about it. I’ll,pray for that, too.


    • July 5, 2015 at 9:31 pm

      You’re right, it is unfair. But I am very grateful for the healing I have been able to accomplish and even more grateful that I have one sister who has also worked so hard to heal. And thank you for your prayers both for my sister’s recovery and my peace. It’s going to be ok, not completely sure what ok will look like, but I know it will be there. xx AG

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Ann
    July 1, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    AG, I understand your visceral hate. I often fluctuate between, “I want to kill my family” and “My family is trying to kill me”! You have gone through a lot of emotionally painful situations recently. My advise for you is: tread lightly. You have been hurt and rejected frequently by some of your family members. I would hate to see you triggered again.
    I hope you can think slowly through what your expectations are. I’m sure your gut reaction is “I need to reach out and help my sister. Most people would “expect” a sister to reach out to an ill sibling.” But, most people are not going to have to deal with any potential fallout that could occur! What are the possible scenarios that may occur if you do this and what specific responses do you hope for in return? Can you continue to remain safely emotionally detached while reaching out to your sister in case your family starts to hurt you?
    I hate that you BN is going to be gone while you are making such difficult decisions! Can he refer you temporarily to a therapist who can help you navigate these dangerous waters while he is gone??? It is so important for you to be emotionally protected and supported while you tip toe back into a potentially volitile situation. It sounds like you are already emotionally spent. I want you to be safe. Will you be safe?? Please use all the support you can get. Of course you can always e-mail me to rant or to help you feel connected.
    You are in my thoughts and prayers as you create your game plan and develop a safety net as you decide what is best for you and your own family. Xoxo Ann


    • July 5, 2015 at 9:39 pm

      Thank you, as always, for your thoughtful input. After my initial reaction, I have been feeling fairly detached. My sister contacted me right after receiving the flowers with her phone number and said she would be home all week. I replied but explained I had a molar extracted so it would be a few days before I could talk. It was true, but also provided me a chance to slow things down. I did email BN just to give him a heads’ up and got a reassuring reply (it’s amazing what ‘I’m here’ does for me. 🙂 ) and I know I can contact him if I need to. He does have a backup therapist whom I have spoken to a number of times both on the phone and in BN’s waiting room (their offices are next to each other) and I both like and trust him. I am not feeling the need right now, but I have resources if I should need them. I have very much appreciated the support and understanding here. Knowing you all understand helps so much and everyone being so protective of me, very much including you dear Ann, is so heartwarming, especially considering the lack thereof in my family. I promise I will proceed with caution and paying attention to my self-care. Honestly, I wasn’t all that happy that my sister reacted the way she did. My best guess is that nothing has changed so I have no expectations around speaking with her. And BN will be back in a week. 🙂 And thank you for your prayers! much love, AG


  19. Robin
    July 2, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    I am so sorry you are going through all of this. You need some peace in your life for sure.

    Family can be so difficult. I cannot imagine the frustration you must feel when it is these people that should be apologizing to you as opposed to shutting you out. But, it is what it is. My advice would just be to do whatever you need to do for you. If sending flowers makes YOU feel better, send flowers. If kicking back with a glass of wine makes YOU feel better while reading a book and allowing this stuff to go on in the background, then do that.

    I know BN is gone for right now, but you can do this without him! Get in touch with what YOU need, and do it. You have a good heart and you are bound to have vacillating emotions. Roll with them and take care of yourself in the process. I know its hard because you are such a giver, but you can still be a giver to yourself and others.

    Just my two cents… Best wishes and will be thinking of you.


    • July 5, 2015 at 9:42 pm

      Thank you so much for the support, I very much appreciate your trust in my ability to navigate these waters alongside the reminder that it’s ok to pay attention to my needs and desires (and a glass of wine with a good book sounds like a very good plan 🙂 ). xx AG


  20. July 2, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    Oh, I so understand that whole, “I love you, but I hate the mess inside you that you refuse to deal with, which makes any real connection impossible! I hate not being able to freely love my family the way I want to, but to have to be self protective.” Much support.


    • July 5, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      ((Cat)) You have an uncanny ability to put my feelings into words. “I love you but I hate the mess inside you that you refuse to deal with” is absolutely perfect. Thank you for understanding and being able to articulate it so well; it helps to know you’re there. xx AG

      Liked by 1 person

  21. July 5, 2015 at 12:05 am

    Oh, AG, I so get this. My mom passed away 3 years ago and my father has been estranged from my brother and oldest sister for about 20 years, leaving my other sister and me to deal with him. My oldest sister’s relationship with me and the rest of the family has been complicated, to say the least. There have been countless times in the last 20 years when I half-wished she would just go away entirely, as I’ve always thought it would just be so much easier without having to figure out how to manage her.

    A couple of months ago, she had a major stroke and passed away. It was a shock, of course, but once that initial “surrealness” passed, I have to say, I’ve felt a bit of relief, too. It’s horrible to think of it that way (and yes, my own boundary ninja has heard a LOT about it), but it’s true.

    I wish you peace.


  22. July 5, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    Thanks for understanding, although I am sorry you get it so well. I truly understand your feelings about your sister dying. I lost my older brother two years ago to a heart attack and honestly, it was a relief. We grieve when we lose those close to us, sometimes for what we had and sometimes for what we never did. So I don’t think it’s horrible, I find it very understandable. Thanks for being open with your experiences to help me put my reactions in perspective, it was very generous of you. ~ AG


  23. nataliabasiat
    July 31, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    I am so glad that I stumbled onto your blog! So much of what you’re going through resonates with me. And this is your space, so I won’t dump my baggage here, but I will say one thing about your post above; at a certain point in my life, knowing the hate that I had for members of my family, and yet still caring, and still feeling that I wish it were otherwise, I settled on telling myself, that it’s not about them, it’s about me. I want to be a good person. What would a good person do in that situation? My father was dying, so I called, listened, was sympathetic. I helped him if he needed something. I did what a good person would do, and neither my hate, nor my unfulfilled needs controlled me.


    • August 4, 2015 at 10:47 pm

      Welcome to my blog and thank you for commenting. I am glad you found it also. 🙂 I very much agree. I can still remember hitting the point where i realized that my mother and one sister’s perceptions of me and reactions to me had very little to do with who I was. Which meant nothing I did was going to have any impact on them. In which case, what was left, was to choose to be the person I wished to be. You made the choice to be a person who was not controlled by your hate or unfulfilled needs. I believe that is how we truly win and succeed. ~ AG

      Liked by 1 person

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