Laying in bed as I wait to fall asleep the things I want to post here easily come into my head. It's only when I get here in front of the computer that I can't remember a single thing. Last night there were more things rolling around in my brain than I can count. Now I wondering what in the heck they were.
I do, however, remember the premise. It's the same thing over and over for me lately. On one hand there is the family I wish I had and on the other there is the family that is real. There's quite a conflict between those two images. Resolving that conflict has been the trial for me this holiday season.
I think that's what has made holidays so hard for me the last few years. I love all those sappy holiday movies about family and love and things working out. However, we all know that isn't reality. Hopefully, we know too just wanting something doesn't make it happen.
I wish I had a wonderful relationship with all my children and my brothers and sister for that matter. The fact is that my values have changed immensely since I did therapy. I no longer function under the scope of those destructive old family rules that governed me when I was a child and dictated how I dealt with people and raised my children until I learned otherwise in therapy. Unfortunately much of my family still function under those old family rules.
Those opposing beliefs, of course, are a source of conflict. That pretty much means interacting with those family members who still follow those old family rules can be pretty stressful and even quite hurtful at time.
Since I cannot control their behavior, nor would I want to, that means I have the choice of either dealing with the conflict all the time or keeping my distance. Because there is such heartache involved I have chosen the later. It has been sad to make such a decision but in the long run it makes my life much more peaceful.
I cannot live up to a standard that is unrealistic and I will no longer try. I am not responsible for their unhappiness. That is their issue and since there is nothing I can do or say that will help there's really no point in continuing to try to make relationships work that are at such opposing odds.
This does not mean that I don't love these people. I love them with all my heart. It does mean that I am letting go of any expectations that we will be the type of family I long for. I know that just is not possible when blaming, lying, manipulating and protecting offenders is at the root of their behaviors and self awareness, responsibility for one's own actions and taking charge of one's own destiny are the last things they want.
I hope they will find true happiness some day. However, the road they are willing to travel to get there is just not one I will ever travel again. I know what works for me and those old ways aren't it. I will never go back to being a victim again, not even for those I love.