Releasing the past in order to find myself

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Coming up for Air

Many, many years ago, when I got my tattoo, the thing I remember most is how the lady kept telling me to breathe.  Not as in, breathe deeply, or slowly.  As in, keep breathing!  Quit holding your breath!

I sat, every muscle tense, fist clenched, and held my breath.

I realized shortly after Christmas that I had been holding my breath all through December.  Waiting.  Expecting.  Knowing that I just had to push through.

I had tried so hard to ignore it all.  I had tried to push through, smile, have fun with my kids.

But I realized, one day in January, that I'd just been holding my breath, not living, frozen in a state of animation.   I realized all the emotions that had been so close to swallow me whole, I'd numbed out.

I was angry.  I was angry that I know knew it was never going to be better.  That I'd never have those "big family holidays".  That my kids would never have that.  That my narcs are never getting better.

I was angry that I even had to have these descrations from enjoy my kids and my FOC.  That I couldn't fully let go, fully relax, fully be present.

I was angry that they are out there, circling me like lions.  Waiting.  That NSis has, ever so discreetly, been swiping out at me.  It's been  months since I've spoken to her "on good terms."  She called me three days after my son's first birthday, which she ignored completely (both on his birthday and that day on the phone) and used me as her personal therapist and discussed her boyfriend.  Months later an extended family member informs my father that my sister has cancer.  The family member learned on FB.  My sister, my very young sister, never calls me to tell me.  She avoids me.  She plays games.  I realized it was getting to a critical stage in our relationship.  I could either be real with her, or go back.  I chose to be real.  She thinks I'm a heartless harpy who has abandoned her at the worst time in her life (I assume from the couple of things she has said and that I've heard from relatives).  She has gone pathetic, begging for a reconciliations she has ignored me, she has responded vaguely to a heartfelt email asking her to relate to me on a healthier level.  She has been curt and short in few texts (the only way we've communicated), often just mirroring my response.  She has layed out minimal effort "olive branches" and I am keenly aware that she wants to just "forget" and move on.  She has no interest in looking at her behavior or building a relationship.  She has kept her distance for the most part (through the holidays and both of our birthdays).  But even before this holiday season, she's been distant, ignoring my son's surgery and his birthday, and it isn't that unusual.  Only now, I'm sure she blames me.

NM has stayed out of it, except for the very recent bait she laid out, relaying some ambiguous information about NSis at the end of an email chain.  NMs been relatively well-behaved lately, something that frightens me in it's own right, as I know fully that she hasn't changed.  But what is she up to?  What's her angle?  She's been too nice.  I've seen a few snipets of her self but all in all, she's been very nice.  In reminds me of when NSis and I rarely spoke in our early twenties, and generally hated and blamed each other for being "so mean to" NM and ruining NM's life.  I have to wonder if NM enjoys NSis and I fighting.

I've been jealous, reading FB posts about everyone's wonderful holidays and wonderful time spent with family and friends.  I've been angry that I feel so lonely, and I wonder if I've somehow isolated my FOC from those "wonderful" family gatherings.  It's been hard to bare the weight of the knowledge of what reality is now.  To fully know it, what my life really is, and the road I'm on and all the really hard work ahead to built up a life outside of my FOO, my in-laws, and toxic, selfish friends has been unbearably heavy at times.  I've felt crushed and small and isolated and depressed.  Very depressed.

I've been bitter.  Annoyed and pissed that the narcs seem to get everything they want.  Annoyed that my BIL can be such an ass to everyone, use everyone to their full advantage (to him), and still be handed things.  To see him handed money and promotions and accolades and knowing how much has just been given to him pisses me off.  He can use people, and people thank him for it.  He can use my in-laws and his in-laws to be is live in nannies, yet he somehow makes it out like he is doing them a favor.  Because he is the "good son" and has the "best" relationships with everyone.  I know that the "everything is awesome" image he presents is phony and untrue, but I admit, I sometimes fall for it.  He has a great job, makes lots of money, leaves his kids with the grandparents whenever he wants (which is a lot), has basically a live-in nanny and maid and cook in his MIL.  He seems so close to his parents and brothers and is admired by people.  But I know it's a lie.  I know he's phony.  I know it's a cultivated image he presents.  Not that he's a bad guy.  He's just...hollow.  And I get bitter when he's handed things that help him maintain this false image.  Knowing that his false image, often held up to my "reality" makes me look like a nut job.  The angry DIL who just can't get a long.  I wish people could see him for what he is.  I wish he could see himself for what he is.

I spent a lot of time wondering why he has pissed me off so much lately.  I came to the conclusion that he hurt me.  Not long ago, I'd had the delusion that, as family, I mattered to him.  That as his favorite brother's wife, he would go to bat for me.  But his behavior towards me in the last few years, the dismissive attitude, ignoring me, playing "let's pretend nothing happened", selling out my kids (that was a huge one, I thought at least they mattered to him), his tossing me aside when he learned he could no longer adjust me to his liking, that I couldn't be manipulated into thinking he was Mr. Wonderful, I became just like everyone else.   Not that he had seen me as anything other than scenery in his life.  The shift happened with in me.  I realized that I had never really meant anything to him.  I was nothing to him.  It sucked to realize I'd fallen for this shit again.

I wondered what in the hell I was even doing with this all.  Was it futile?  Was I making any headway?  I felt more isolated and alone than ever.  I wondered if I should continue blogging.  I wondered if I crazy.  I wondered if immersing myself in all of this just making things worse.

I've decided I have a few more stories to tell.  Mostly for me.  Memories have been popping up lately, bubbling to the surface.  Little islands if information that are finally helping me connect the last of the dots.  I hope you'll bear with me as I flush out a few last rants.

But I need to try and figure out how to come back from this too.  To implement all this new found knowledge into a better and healthy life.  To finally decide I've identified the problem and find the way out for me.  To learn to use all these damn tools to finally cut the ties to the hurts in the past.


  1. "his tossing me aside when he learned he could no longer adjust me to his liking, that I couldn't be manipulated into thinking he was Mr. Wonderful, I became just like everyone else. Not that he had seen me as anything other than scenery in his life. The shift happened with in me. I realized that I had never really meant anything to him. I was nothing to him." This made my heart ache when I read it. I've been there too. The realisation that "we were nothing to them" but pawns in their chess board or "scenery in their life" is really very painful.
    Maybe the brain carries these memories in an effort to remind us of what happened to protect us from being in that situation again but they do feel a bit like sandbags, like they're far too heavy to carry in one's head all at once. Writing them down helps they brain to let go while feeling safe in the knowledge that should you need to check them, the files are there for you. I guess that's probably why people used to write journals in the past, so that they wouldn't have to carry it all in their head.

    1. I like your comparison to the sandbags Kara. And it is so easy for me to gloss over things, when I don't look at them as a whole.

      I struggled for so long to figure out why I was so angry and bitter at BIL. I mean, he's not the nicest guy, we hadn't been "good friends" before he dismissed me. But, as he claims DH as being SO close to him, I thought he could at least afford me some basic respect and kindness. Seeing him trample all over me, all over my kids, all over my marriage and knowing that really there is nothing I can do about it because he could never fathom that he had done something wrong, left me feeling hopeless. Because I don't worship his parents, as he does, I am the enemy. And his wife has recently tossed me under the bus repeatedly. I thought we could have some sort of relationship with them, but I know now that I can't trust them at all.

  2. Good to hear from you too, sisterfriend.

    I still believe that anger is such a healthy and necessary part in all of this. Like after you've made your painful realizations, it's okay to just be angry about it for a while. Nothing wrong with a little (or even a lottle) anger if it's directed at the right people.

    And boy, is it.

    For me, I just don't "get" the willful ignorance. How the hell can they just ignore the facts, ignore their own bad behaviors? How is that possible? Are they that weak? That shallow? That pathetic? That they can't look inside and just DEAL with all the heartless acts of cruelty they've dished out over the years? They can dish it out but they can't take it.

    Sounds about right. They really are weak people. The weakest. They can behave in such cruel ways, but never have to know any suffering themselves.

    My first guess about your mother's angle is that she is getting off watching you and your sister be at odds. I think maybe she's hoping she'll get to step in eventually as the mediator, or else she's excited by the prospect of continuing to stir the pot behind the scenes. I'd stake my life on the fact that she's involved, at the very least in dropping those odd little remarks about your sister to you - but I'd bet she's dropping MORE of them (and more sinister) to your sister.

    NM doesn't want to lose her control over either one of you, but she's quickly losing the control she has over you, and (as with DH's sister) she'll lose the control over your sister eventually as well - I don't think either one of those girls really has it in them to "survive" any of this. They'll both probably die depressingly young.

  3. I'm livid that your sister's only "response" to your heartfelt and agonizingly thought-out email was nothing but a couple of texts and a pathetic, mostly meaningless email. She didn't even TRY to relate to you or understand. That really pisses me off.

    A lot about this pisses me off actually.

    It usually does when I'm reading about narcissists.

  4. Hmm - One (of many) important realization that you made: that anger comes from a place of hurt. My therapist mentioned to me a long time ago that anger always has one (or several of) three motivating feelings behind it: fear, sadness, or disappointment. Just something to think about when we feel blinded by our anger, I suppose. At the root of it, there's a lot of pain.

  5. "To finally decide I've identified the problem and find the way out for me. To learn to use all these damn tools to finally cut the ties to the hurts in the past."

    You and me both, sisterfriend. You and me both.