Sometimes the best thing you can do is give yourself the permission and the space to mourn those relationships that have ended, or the ones that never existed in the way you’d needed and wanted them to. If you arrived in your parents’ world at a time when one or both of them did not possess the tools to love you well and put you first, for example, I think you’ll have to grieve the childhood you never had, the loss of your innocence, or your ability to feel safe, nurtured or protected. The loss of your belief that your feelings mattered, or even registered anywhere. Once you’ve grieved, you can put it to rest and begin to build a life where you honor what you feel, and you do feel safe.
The thing is, life is full of beauty and pain, joy and heartbreak, love and fear. We all face losses, some people’s worse than others, and we have different levels of resiliency. What tears one person down in a household, may not affect their siblings in the same way. Sometimes we look at a person’s actions or inaction, and find the situation incomprehensible. How could someone do that, or say that, or feel that way? How could they reconcile a choice like that? How can they be okay when they face their reflection in the mirror, or put their heads on their pillows at night?
It isn’t your job or mine, to figure out what someone else is doing or not doing. I know that’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s the truth. Our job is to figure out how we’re going to respond to what we’re given. Our job is to keep our own side of the street clean, to work on how we show up for ourselves, and for the people in our lives, which is plenty of work for any of us. We really don’t get to know where someone else is coming from, unless they decide to tell us. You can’t force closure, you can’t look at a chaotic or self-destructive environment and think you can fix it or solve it with your love or your logic. You can’t save people from themselves (although I think you ought to try to help in any way you can without making yourself unsafe).
If someone is horrible to you, understand it’s a reflection of where they are on their own journey, and not a result of anything lacking in you. When people treat us with no respect, decency, kindness, consideration or compassion, it’s because they don’t have these feelings for themselves, on a very deep level. You can wrap your head around that and try to wish them well, or get them support if appropriate. You can do your best to communicate honestly and openly, but you can also decide this is not a person you wish to have in your life. Sometimes we compound a painful feeling by denying ourselves permission to feel what any reasonable person would feel. We get bogged down and pierced through by our “shoulds”, when really, we ought to keep our eyes trained on what is.
Whatever has happened, has happened. These things may have shaped you, and they may have left you with scars, but your past does not have to define your future. You are free to create a life that feels good to you. You are free to create boundaries. You are free to understand if a person is horrible to you, you can walk away, and you do not have to feel badly about that, or miss them or want to try to fix it. You could simply let it go so it doesn’t weigh you down. You are free.
Sending you love,
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