Thursday, October 6, 2016
Four Little Words
*Ironically, this post was written before my most recent blow up with my family. Things are even worse now than when I wrote this, but I’m going to post this as a first step in forgiving myself for allowing them to hurt me again*
Were they ever proud of me?
As long as I can remember, I longed to hear one thing from my mom or dad.
“I’m proud of you.”
If it was ever said to me, I can’t remember it now.
I recall speaking to my dad about it after my mom passed away. I felt like it left a gap inside of me. It wanted to hear it so badly. He told me she was, but it’s not the same.
It’s something that I struggle with regularly. I try to surround myself with good, caring people but that doesn’t always work out. In fact, it almost never works out. There are people out there, even in my life, that are incapable of giving you the validation you feel you need and deserve.
I was watching Dr. Phil the other day, and he was talking about something that resonated with me. This young woman in her 20’s or so was coming face to face with her mother that abused her as a child. He said to the daughter, “You want an apology, you want the validation, but you don’t need it to move on with your life.” Some people just aren’t capable of giving us what we need, and boy have I ever learned that the hard way.
Those of us with big hearts know this all too well. What Dr. Phil said next just clicked for me. He said, “It’s like asking me for your car keys. I don’t have your keys, so I can’t give them back to you. Maybe your mom is the type of person that will never be able to give you your keys.”
It was like a light bulb went off over my head. I’ve wasted so damn much time trying to get people to like and understand me. Most of them don’t nor will they ever have the capacity to do so. All of the years spent desperately trying to keep our family together were a complete waste of time. They never had my keys, so I never got what I needed from them.
Now that I’ve had this epiphany, I have to figure out how to be proud of myself. I can only allow people into my life that truly do like, understand, and respect me. I know I say this a lot, but I’m so grateful for my husband. I can always rely on him, and I hope he knows he can always rely on me. We’ve both been hurt by many people in the last 15 years of our marriage, and I think we’re both at our breaking points.
I feel like I might be thinking more clearly than I have been in the last two weeks. I still have a lot on my plate and a great deal of stress and anxiety to deal with. However, I think I may have finally convinced myself that I’m not responsible for anyone but myself. I can only be me, and if that is someone you don’t like, so be it. I don’t need you around.
I’m not going to struggle day after day to be a part of the lives of people that can’t be bothered with me, are rude to me, or just flat out ignore me. I won’t subject myself to family members that refuse to acknowledge that I have something very serious going on in my life, except to say, “Well, do you ever ask about us?”
I’ve shared my struggles and my triumphs with family members, only to be brushed to the side so they can compare their life to mine. It’s what I like to call “the pissing contest.” Oh, you’re getting tested for breast cancer? Well, let me tell you all the ways that I have it harder than you do. It’s ridiculous, and I refuse to engage in it any longer.
I guess it’s time to let go of all of the favors I’ve done for people. It’s time to stop expecting that they have the same heart as I do, and they will return the favor, or in some cases even say thank you. I’ll be brokenhearted every time.
I am carrying around an epic amount of stress and fear, and I’m doing everything I can to keep my composure, but it’s getting harder with each passing day. I don’t think I’ve ever been this angry before. Especially when there are people in my life that just keep on poking the bear to see how long it takes before the bear snaps its tether.
The entire time Joe and I have been married, people have always gravitated to him and ran screaming from me. I guess it’s time to accept it and move on. I am the common denominator, after all. I’m not Joe, nor will I ever be. Most people don’t even give me a chance, and that’s fine. They weren’t worth the effort.
Right now, I have to focus on holding it together for the next few weeks. I can’t be worried about whether a certain person cares or if anyone is proud of me. I have to hope for good news and forget about the stress. It would be nice to have my family by my side during all of this. However, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that they are just my “family.” They aren’t friends, and they never will be.
I’ll never hear the “I’m proud of you” that I have so desperately wanted all of these years. The sooner I accept that, the better off I’ll be. However, I can be proud of myself, and I hope that every day, I’ll get a little closer to being able to say that.
About the Author: Jason M. Holland, Ph.D., currently serves as the CEO and Editor of Lifespark , an online well-being magazine focuse...
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