The word is weighing on me today, and yesterday. Dancing on my tongue. I think about my time here, and how even though there have been many frustrating and dismissive moments… everybody pulled together in the end.
About how we are slowly getting better. How my brother is working on himself and I’m working on me and we are breaking barriers.
About how my mother and fathers upbringing left them no real alternative for learning to communicate – other than the way they did learn. About how many barriers they’ve overcome.
About how the way my family ended up is nobody’s fault.
There was no malicious intent. Nobody means to hurt anybody else in our home. We do, and I’m sure I’m not innocent in it. I used to be mad only at my brother – my parents have finite resources and it seemed they all went to him… that I was always the one sucking it up and never getting what I needed emotionally… and it’s true – I missed a whole piece of the emotional puzzle.
And then I learned over time that I was the product of my environment and with patience and guidance from Em I learned that lying was how I coped and was a learned behaviour. And if you follow the logic of that – my brother is a part of his environment as well. An environment we shared. The difference is his anger was always directed outwards (usually at me) and mine inwards.
So then I spent a lot of time being mad at my parents. The ones who were supposed to be the adults. The ones who really should have seen the patterns and behaviours… but if I’m just learning to see the patterns and behaviours and it’s this hard undoing them at 28… and I didn’t see them before – then maybe my parents didn’t see the patterns either. And the idea of facing that much when your coping mechanisms are so ingrained in your 60’s? That seems impossible.
My one parent crossed war torn borders at the age of 2 and didn’t speak until he was 6 because of the trauma… and my other was adopted at the age of 9 after witnessing her father commit suicide and living in an orphanage for years. One had hardworking parents who didn’t have time for them emotionally and the other had no example of parents at all. So how were they supposed to learn about emotions and processing them if it was never modelled. Talk about generational trauma and dysfunction.
All in all, they both did amazing considering their upbringing. Better than their siblings. Two degrees apiece, amazing careers and long term jobs. And I don’t list these things as an excuse because there isn’t one – neither of them have ever sought help and I truly believe that is an error they should own. I also believe that they need to take responsibility for the burdens that fell on my brother and I. I’m not out to make excuses.
But I’m considering this idea of forgiveness and compassion. Because maybe it would be better than being so angry… and maybe it would help me unify my childhood experiences (some of which have chunks of time missing) with who I am now. And maybe it would allow room for empathy and understanding… which would pave the way to healing.
It still seems like a mighty proposition – so it’s simply an idea that I’m going to let sit. After all, I’ve considered forgiving myself for years and haven’t managed that yet. I’m not sure I ever will.
For now, I strive for understanding – hoping it paves the way for forgiveness in the end.