Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Change of Dysfunction

If you are interested in today's read....you might get yourself some tea and sit back and relax...cause this could take awhile. This may seem a bit like whining....or maybe even a lot like whining, but the reality (I believe) is....that I am processing through writing.

I have spent the last 48 hours wondering where my happiness went. Friday and Saturday I felt REALLY happy and then I hit the ground face first. What is going on? Where is my bliss; my joy; my happiness? I believe it was sucked out of me along about Sunday afternoon and this action continued until about 11 p.m. last night. I know what the situation is and I think I know why.....I just simply don't know how to change things. Or maybe it is that I just don't have the energy to change things,. I am not sure which it is.

Where in the heck am I going with all of this....and more over...why you might ask? Because this blog is about struggle. It is about how hard it is to make a change...whether it is a change in how you eat, a change in your life, or simply....a change of mind. Change is hard and it becomes infinitely harder when you have a lagging or non-existent support system and you continually get dragged through the muck.

I started this particular blog because I knew I was not the only one with issue out there and when you combine those issues with an effort to change.....there can be problems, stumbling stones, and great big crevices in life that cause you to question why you are even trying to change. Sometimes though, knowing someone else is also trying to beat the odds and conquer their personal demons and issues....and actually see them succeeding helps to make your own journey easier. I was hoping that maybe this blog might do that for someone....some day.  Maybe that is why I think it is okay to sort of bare my soul here and allow others to know that I fight internal battles just like everyone else....and contrary to popular belief, I am neither strong nor amazing....but merely weak and human!

Let me admit right up front that I am as dysfunctional as the day is long. I took my first breath amongst dysfunction and I have been breathing in the fumes of the dysfunctional ever since. It just is what it is. I grew up with a father whose beliefs about women made cavemen look progressive and because of this I was taught by him that women were weak, incapable and pretty much a pain that men put up with for the sole reason of furthering the family lineage. In fact the words "You will never amount to anything"....still fly from his lips on a regular basis when he is speaking to me.  My mother too had some outdated beliefs, but she always made it a point to support me. She set the example that anyone could do anything they had to.....because they had to. I grew up with a mom who could garden, cook, clean, repair and plumb. Not because she liked to, but because she had to. You do what you have to do. I thought my mom was Superman and Wonder Woman all wrapped up in a neat little package. It wasn't until I was much older that I learned that the visual Mom gave the world of herself....was a far cry from whom she was on the inside. On the inside....she struggled. She fought her demons and she lived with a man in her life who never once supported her and who always made her feel that her best was never going to be near enough. The difference between Mom and I was, she fought the notion that she wasn't good enough (because her up bringing had been far different and she had been brought up with the belief that with an education...anyone could do anything). I on the other hand fell hook, line and sinker into the muddied waters of belief that I wasn't good enough and never would be, and that I would always need someone to take care of me and no matter what I ever did, I would never be worthy of  praise. Not until I met the man who would literally turn my world inside out and who showed me that it didn't matter what anyone else thought of me....only what I thought of myself did the shadow of dysfunction start to lift. Thank you my dear Tim....I only wish you were still with me to help me keep that lesson fresh in my mind.

Now where are we going with all of this? Oh yeah! I have fallen back into the dysfunction pit! I am allowing those around me (whom might I add are as dysfunctional if not more so than myself) to dictate how I feel about me. It is ludicrous....and yet...it is what it is.

Since the first of this year I have been trying to make change. REAL change!  I am trying to change everything from my health, to my looks; how I react to David's seizure's and David's health; and how I view the world and also....how I experience it. Since these are all fairly significant changes....I have truly tried to avoid those that can bring me down or derail my positive efforts. This has meant a lot of staying away from family. This is a double edged sword, as my father is in his 80's and staying away from him means losing time with him in his last years. It also means the kids missing out on their grandfather. I have jumped through hoops and tried gently to make my father understand that his words and actions cause pain, drama and extremely hard feelings. Apparently he doesn't care....as he has no desire or plans to change and it leaves me stuck between a rock and a hard place where family unity is concerned.

There is also a sibling involved here...whom I am not sure what to think of. I know he has always thought very little of me, and has never evolved to the maturity level where he understands that at 40 something....I am not the same person I was at 20 something. In his defense in my younger days....I probably was a raving b!tch. I wanted things my own way and I rebelled every chance I got. I also grew up. It wasn't too long ago that he sat in front of my father and my kids and out of the blue....proceeded to tell me that anything bad that has ever happened to me I brought on myself and I deserved. You can imagine my shock to hear those words come from a family member. He even shocked my dad that day. Who thinks like that? Who honestly believes that another person deserves to lose people they love? Apparently I am irredeemable in his eyes. Sad too, because even with all the drama he apparently likes to keep going....I really have tried hard to cultivate a relationship there. I wanted my kids to know their family and to have a strong support system. My efforts always fall to the way side with this person.

Then there is the son. I love him dearly...more than he will probably ever understand....but honestly there is a wall there. I have seen this child through drugs, alcohol, bad choices, bad behavior and somehow in his eyes....it always comes out as being my fault. Somehow his bad choices always come back to me. Even when I try to help, he tells me I am  mean, rude, and yes...he even called me immature. Again....my efforts seem to constantly be in vain and really.....it can wear on a person.

Many conclusions can be drawn from all that I have expressed here. Perhaps the men in my family are just not quite right (although I still hold out hope for the two youngest). Maybe the issue is me. Maybe the men in my family and I just don't mesh. Maybe we will always be oil and water and in order to have a relationship I will either have to ignore it all....or simply walk away. And maybe and I honestly believe this to be the case....my father grew up and has remained an unhappy person all of his life. He in turn passed this on to my sibling through his own special brand of dysfunction making my sibling feel like he was somehow less, inadequate and like the only way he could feel better about himself was to find someone to use as a verbal punching bag and ultimately....to stand in judgment of others. And finally....the son is a product of years of being told by the elder men in his family that his mother was somehow lacking, unfit, and unworthy to be listened to and respected and yet neither of those two men want to take credit for their work. In fact both have turned their backs on  him viewing his indiscretions as my fault and mine alone. Yes...I would say family unity is but a distant dream in this dysfunctional unit.

Again...where was I going with all of this? Oh yes...my happiness! Yes...I allowed my happiness to be robbed in the last 48 hours by not one of these men...but all three. I allowed myself to feel somehow less through no fault of my own because they are unhappy individuals who need the drama of causing grief in my life to keep them feeling good about themselves. Harsh? Absolutely...but sadly true.

I have allowed them to derail my efforts at eating right (yes...there was cheesecake involved), getting to the gym and over all how I feel about myself. If I continue to allow this, then I have no one to blame but myself for going backward instead of forward and I am just as guilty if not more so than they are for the fall out. Since I obviously have issues with these men and their effects on my life.....I must draw boundary lines. I must do it for myself and the two younger ones living under my roof. I must use what my mother tried so hard to teach me and realize that it is not me that is lacking...but them. Perhaps my efforts at change make them feel less, yet I have never tried to make any of them feel that way. I am just striving to be the happiest me I can be. I think I deserve to give myself that.  Whatever the case though....moving forward sometimes means letting go of anchors and cleansing ones soul of the impurities that clog the heart. While it sounds rather unpleasant to call family members anchors and compare them to impurities.....I have no other adjectives that seem to fit better.

So what do I do? Today I move forward. I let go of the ambivalence and move towards what is healthy and good. I don't just look for my happiness....but I must have faith that I will find it and once found....that I will hold onto it.

Change is a good thing....and understanding the need for it is even better. Maybe now I can move ahead to a less dysfunctional me....and a very happy tomorrow!

Til we meet again....thanks for listening!

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Did you go in my brain and pull this stuff out? I know - it took me a long time and many tries before I finally just distanced myself from it all. I long for the happy Beaver Cleaver family but alas that was not my life. However - as my husband just told me last night - you don't have that family anymore, you have our family. Thank the Lord for that! You are a rock star, keep up the good work, as fly lady says "you are not behind, don't try to catch up, just jump in where you are". Proud of you! Sorry for the sadness and disharmony.