Today I recieved one of those mushy, feel-good chain emails that says something along the lines of send this back....
It was about sisters and the love, encouragement and bond of women in our lives as we grow older. It talked about how as "sisters" we support each other, cheer each other on, love one another when we are down and in pain - celebrate each others joys along the path of life.
It was from my sister.
The same sister who kicked me when I was down.
Who told me that I was an ungrateful bitch who had no appreciation for everything SHE had done for me even though I was not given a "choice" in the matter.
The same sister who when I was in the psych ward at the hospital for the first time after escaping a violent husband would scream at me for having my own opinion, expressing my own wishes or attempt to parent my own children.
The same sister who beat me down to such a low level that I believed that my children were better off without me and I willingly handed over custody of my small son. And proceeded to try to kill myself with drugs and alcohol to numb the pain of what I had survived - not only after escaping my abusive husband but then returning to the "open arms" of a family that degraded me, criticized and infantized me to such a degree that I could not make a decision of my own for fear of their judgement and sure to follow emotional and psychological tirade at how ridiculous I was to have a thought, an emotion or an opinion different than theirs.
The same sister who talks about me behind my back and degrades me to my children and other siblings. The same sister who freely claims my son as hers and laughs at my pain over the losses and abuse that I have survived.
Receiving this from her - pissed me off.
So - while I strive to put the past behind me and live in forgivenss of those who beat me, molested and raped me, stifled any development of a sense of self outside of this dysfunctional family system and then continued throughout my adult life to remind me of how inadequate I am and always have been (I get the role of "scapegoat" in my family)....
Even though I have been in therapy for nearly 20 years in an attempt to resolve theses issues within myself and learn to live my own life and let go of the past...
Shit like this is a trigger for me. A HUGE trigger. A trigger that can initiate the flashbacks, the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A trigger that reminds me that the world is not a safe place and that love and family hurts.
Yet today I don't have to stay there in the past. Today I know that I can get beyond this unexpected trigger. Today I can choose to not focus on the movies that run through my head and let go of the resentments all over again. Today I can remember that the world is an ok place and not everyone is abusive.
I still keep my distance from my family. I don't "hang out" with them. I don't talk to them on the phone. I show up at a few holidays over the year to appease that warped sense of family that my children have about these people. I still have not learned to say "no" to my children. Perhaps that is out of the guilt of leaving them to my family to raise when I was shamed, shunned and exiled to the land of slow death by suicidal behaviors.
So today I let this go now and get back to my today. Today I use my tool of journaling to vent my anger, pain and grief. Today I acknowledge the reality of what has been my life and let go of the childlike thinking that I can make my life right if I can control the world around me today. Today I accept what is and let go of the "why me" that serves only to fuel that place of perpetual victimhood that prevents me from creating my new life.
Today I can cut myself some slack knowing that I did the best I could with what I had to work with in the past and today I know I can do better but I never again have to be "good enough" to be loved and accepted - by anyone.
Today I simply am and I am at peace.
And oh yeah - I didn't send it back.