I’ve Already Lost

I was doing well today. And I was gearing up for tomorrow’s session with determination, ready to walk in and own it and show up and not avoid A. And then, I get a text from my Dad, warning me that my brother is still really upset about being excluded from the wedding party and “its been a rough night over here”. And not to let on that he (my Dad) contacted me. To “stay cool – don’t contact anyone unless they contact you until this blows over.”

Um, really? Excuse me? What?

My reaction was swift and immediate and visceral. Self harm urges, “wheres the alcohol”, and this general absolute panic, and guilt. That I’ve let them down or caused a problem. I messaged a really close friend and shared the text.

“What do I do?”

“Nothing. The wedding is over. There is literally nothing you can do. It’s an error on your Dad’s behalf to say anything. He should be telling your brother off in the first place.”

“I suck at letting things slide.”

“Don’t respond.”

“It makes me mad. Like, what does telling me accomplish.”

“Literally nothing.”

“Some days, I hate them. I hate my inability to think for myself. That, and my lack of ability to define my own emotions or what I need comes from CONSTANTLY watching them and trying to anticipate how NOT to upset them instead of working with my own feelings. I’m 28, for fucks sake. This is shit I’m supposed to know how to do. I’m supposed to know not responding is best for me, I’m supposed to be able to shrug it off and move on. And I can’t, and its their fucking fault, and now I’m left to fix it.”

“If you messaged back: “I don’t think its appropriate for him to feel that way or for you to tell me that”, what would they say?” 

“I tried having that discussion, that its <husbands> choice who is in his bridal party and nobody has the right to dictate any of that. And it didn’t go well, all I got was ‘that’s wrong, he should have included him’. Their special little snowflake needs to feel included and because he’s not its MY fault.” 

“It’s tough, these issues feel so black and white to me, I wish I could have this conversation for you.”

“That’s when I start to think IM wrong. And I try really hard to back up my husband. It was a great wedding, a great time, my Mom and I had that talk THIS MORNING. Why do they have to ruin it? Also, why do I let them ruin it? Also, this isn’t even ruining it – gah, they derail me so easily.” 

“1) They shouldn’t take sides. 2) Even if they did, you guys win – its your wedding. 3) It shouldn’t matter who was making the decision as long as it wasn’t your parents or <brother>”

“This is when I start to feel invisible in my own family. It doesn’t matter what I say or how I feel, <brother> is always right, and I’m constantly left standing there, feeling completely irrelevant and illegitimate, and its something I’m working so hard to get through” 

“It sucks, but their voice is only as loud as you allow it to be” 

“It feels so unfair. I know. I know you’re right. It just hits me so hard – all the things I thought were wrong with me as a child. All the reasons I don’t understand emotion, or how to set boundaries. All I can do is accept that it sucks and that this is my reality and I’m doing what I can, and that I can’t control them. I feel like I’m screaming at a brick wall when I try to explain things to them – I know, I’m only responsible for myself and my action. I don’t think <husband> or I did anything wrong, and yet, I feel incredibly guilty and responsible and like I need to go punish myself. Fuck. I’m sorry, my family gets under my skin and I’m still learning and practicing how to not let them – and I can’t tell <husband> because it will just make him more upset than he already is about these unnecessary shenanigans.”

“You’ll get there, I believe in you.”

“I do too. It’s just hard. It’s a lot of work for something that was never my fault in the first place and it feels really unfair. But at least I’m at a place where I recognize the pattern and step away from them, and talk to a neutral third party (thanks, by the way), instead of harming myself or entering the fray. And I know that I’m right, even if the conditioned side of me is going ‘family is everything, you are betraying and ruining your family. How dare you. Too late now. You should apologize. Make it better before its too late.’ I’m in this weird middle place where I can see the patterns and maladaptive behaviours, but I can’t change them or stop taking ownership for things that aren’t my fault. It’s a really fucking uncomfortable place to be.”

“In reality, its your family doing YOU a disservice, not the other way around.” 

The conversation helped, but from one text message, my workday was derailed, I was knocked off my feet, I feel guilty and angry and hurt and frustrated and all these other things. Like, how dare my Dad tell me who I can and can not talk to? Don’t message them until things have calmed down, he says.

I hate that they have this much control over me. I hate it. I am trying to step back and simply notice the reaction and not act on any of my feelings but things are so swirly and I want to respond and then I never want to speak to them again and I want to go self harm or drink and then I want to take excellent care of myself as a FU you have no control over me.

It sends me into a deteriorating spiral. One text message. One text message implying that I’m the reason for my brother’s breakdown. One text message saying that if I had included him, we wouldn’t be here. One text message saying that it doesn’t matter what I want for my wedding, because he is related to me I have to give him what he wants.

Its like they all forget there was a time – a year ago – when he swore at me, and kicked at me, and then didn’t speak to me for five months, and he begged me to be the emcee again. And then my parents didn’t speak to me, and then I got guilt tripped into inviting him back and having him be the emcee and NOW its not good enough that he got to do that. 

Nothing I ever do will ever be good enough for them. Nothing I ever do, will ever be good enough.

Its a losing battle. I’ve already lost. I don’t really know what I’m doing still fighting it. Anyone have a time machine? Who am I kidding, if it wasn’t this, it would have been something else.

It’s amazing, the crushing self-hate and loathing that a simple text from my Dad can bring on. I honestly don’t know what to do with myself right now.

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18 thoughts on “I’ve Already Lost

  1. It is so hard– how one word, one text, one statement can send you spiraling back. For me, it’s my mom giving me the “act appropriate” and “you are embarrassing me” look. But really, it’s not just one look. It’s all the years of looks piled on top of that one look. And that’s hard. I’m sorry you feel so confused. It is confusing, but I think Rachel is right that these are little PD feelings. I hope that today is feeling better. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Today is – but I talked to my Dad cause he wanted to follow up and ended up completely confused.

      He was like “sorry for the cryptic text” and then “your brother was set off about being excluded” and then “but you and should do what you need” and then “but don’t tell anybody we talked about this..

      The little PD feelings makes so much sense to me – if adult me is confused then I can’t imagine how little me felt.

      Like

      • That is all very confusing! It sort of seems like your dad is straddling both sides of the fence. He is maybe trying to be supportive of your choices “sorry for the text, you should do what you want” but then on the other side of the fence he is doing the same things he’s always done. That would make anyone’s head spin!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It is quite alarming and confusing and scary, in those moments where one act or situation or word can send you into such a spiral of shame and self-doubt and judgment and complete uprooting from internal security.
    The way I view it, what happened shows me how completely unsafe and terrifying you felt as a poor innocent little girl, versus any ineptitude now. These are little PD feelings, not current PD feelings. And they were that bad, back then. Which is so sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just breathe. This is hard and learning to deal with our emotions and set boundaries is hard when we’ve been taught otherwise. All we can do is breathe, because we will get through this. You will learn how to do this, A can help you. It’s not your fault for not knowing. Sending support

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. I talked to my husband about it, it seemed to help. He actually noticed progress in how I was dealing with it. It’s just so confusing – like, to me, I don’t know what to do with it. I just have all these emotions that come out of a single text message.

      And then I get my sneak peek of my photos and I feel like I can’t post them on social media because my brother isn’t in them. And it’s like, wth.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad he was a help and that he’s noticing your progress. I think for now, just noticing everything that comes up is good. Just notice it, you don’t have to know exactly what to do right now.
        They’re your pictures, and your social media account. And I know you’re worried what he will think or feel. That isn’t something you can control. But I know how hard it is to believe that.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. One thing that was suggested to me that was quite helpful was to have pre-prepared scripts to use in these sort of situations, written down for myself or even saved ready to use for text and email, that I could use to help set a limit and then disengage from the situation. I find it extremely difficult to think on my feet in emotionally charged situations and have a script to follow or rehearsing beforehand seems to help.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This could be your dad stirring things. Yes your brother might be upset and still grumbling about it but it doesn’t mean that he is on the floor. This could all be made up. My parents are great at deflecting onto my brother and I. Sounds like your dad is doing the same. You can’t possibly be responsible for your brothers breakdown.
    I wasn’t a bridesmaid at my brother’s wedding and it hurt me a lot. But I have no self esteem and it was my sister in laws choice.
    I have built a relationship with them both outside of my parents where we can be ourselves.
    I totally get how you have spiralled downwards because of this but I can also tell that there is some rational thought too.
    Please try not to harm yourself. Talk to your colleagues or boss. Go home after work and have a bath to relax. Take care x

    Liked by 1 person

    • I talked to my husband about it and it helped me. I don’t think my Dad is doing it on purpose – but you’re right, I have no idea how my brother actually feels.

      He is totally allowed to be disappointed and hurt, but we do have to work on developing a relationship. I don’t know. It’s hard.

      Thanks for your comment

      Like

  6. The biggest thing that bothers me is I thought we were good last week. It hurts that maybe they were just faking it and it SUCKS that I can’t trust what they say to my face. It makes me not want to trust anybody. It sends me right back into “being by myself and emotionally cut off is safest.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is incredibly difficult, PD. You say, “the crushing self-hate and loathing that a simple text can bring on…” – but in reality, it’s not “just a text” causing that self-hate and loathing. It’s years and years of being forced to deal with this kind of terribly painful stuff on a 24/7 basis. And the text is like a little glimpse back into that. I know that doesn’t make the pain you’re feeling any different, but just please know you’re not having an emotional reaction that’s “too strong” – it’s completely and utterly valid.
    I wish there was something I could do to be there for you. If there is, let me know. Otherwise I will just say, this sucks. You’re doing a fantastic job coping with insane amounts of stress over the past few weeks. And as always, I am thinking of you. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lily. I know it’s going to take time and work and I think it’s worse when I think everything is better – they were all great to my face when I was there and I was naive enough to think hey, maybe we are getting it together. I should know better. I’m not sure what the healthiest thing is at this point when it comes to them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m going to pull an “S” (my DBT therapist) on you and say… could both be true? Could it be that there were parts of your wedding when people in your family were genuinely having a good time, genuinely happy for you, genuinely caring for you – while acknowledging that there is also dysfunction going on – which, might I add, is not your fault?
        Also, it’s okay to not know what the healthiest thing is at this point when it comes to them. I think the healthiest thing at this point, that you need to focus on, is when it comes to you. What’s healthiest for you – not what’s healthiest for them. Right now, that could mean just acknowledging the situation feels completely awful, setting it aside and doing some self-care, and then coming back to it (in an hour, day, or week – as long as you need). You don’t have to forget about it (that’d be impossible) but turn the focus more to being kind and loving to yourself. Because contrary to how they make you feel… you matter. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

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