It’s been 12 days since I’ve seen A and I won’t see her for another two.
And I feel fine. There have been a few moments where I wished I could speak with her about what is going on but nothing desperate. Even after my brother’s email… I didn’t so much want her for comfort but needed help processing – so I went to my friends, to you guys, to my husband and actually to myself. I was able to challenge it on my own and, yes, it took me 24 hours – but I did it. I only shook for a couple hours.
I’m wondering if I’m coping really well or if I’ve become emotionally numb near the end of this break. Another option is now that Christmas is done, I don’t feel as lonely without family. Additionally, I’ve reached out to friends and have told them things I’ve never told anyone in my real life before. I’ve received support and affirmation from people that I am not wrong in the choices I am making. That my brother’s behaviour is abusive. I’m adding to the list of supports in my life. I’m so glad I reached out to those friends. It wasn’t the same from all of them, but the four or five who have responded well… I’m so glad that they are a part of my life and that they show real desire to be a part of this healing journey with me.
I also have been speaking to my parents who have said nothing about this fight with my brother. First of all, this is good. It gives me hope for a relationship with them that continues despite my brother. It also challenges my assumptions – my black and white way of thinking. It forces me to consider the grey. I had assumed they’d simply cut me out. But it also brings up some pain – last year, when they perceived it was me cutting him off and preventing him from being in my wedding, they pulled all the stops out to get me to reconsider. This year, when they think it’s him cutting me off, they’ve decided that “it’s okay, siblings fight. They don’t always get along.” And that this is fine. So although I anticipate having a relationship with them I’ll be shocked if it is ever more than superficial. And I think maybe that hurts more? That they’re simply ignoring what’s happening? It does hurt more. It’s a hurt I didn’t expect but one I am learning to live with.
He is busy turning my family against me. Aunts, Uncles, cousins. There is a very real possibility I am left with no real connections there. But that’s something I knew going in. He hides who he is. And that’s okay. I’m not biting. I did this for me and have no regrets.
I’ve really come to embrace a couple things since receiving that final communication from my brother. The first is that I really cannot know what they are going to do next, or when they are going to do it. I have the way I wish things were and I have my assumptions about how they will be. But at the end of the day – I have no idea. I could end up with better relationships with them all. I could end up with no family of origin to speak of. But I can’t make decisions based on assumptions. I have to do what makes the most sense for me. I didn’t take cutting my brother out of my life lightly. It was a last resort. But I feel lighter. And all my assumptions about what would happen after, so far, have been proven wrong. At least for right now. I have made so many decisions based on assumptions in my life, and that needs to stop. All I really have is the information in the present moment. And all I can go off of is observing (and not judging!) my emotions in that present moment.
The second thing is to let go of that need for control. It’s so hard and I’m going to slip up 1000 times. But I can’t control what happens in their end. I can’t force things to work out. I can’t make my parents see my side. I can’t control if my brother continues to abuse me or if he flies out here to confront me or if he ignores me for the rest of his life. This scares me. It’s a basic human condition that unites all of us, this lack of control, and we are always trying to control something. To create stability. The best way for me to do that here is be prepared. I have decided to focus on healing in 2017. To me, that means emotionally, physically, and mentally. If things go sideways, if he comes my way… being as strong as I can is my best defence. And that’s something I can control.
I also deserve to treat myself well. I deserve care and love and support from myself. All that energy that has for so long been put into monitoring him and trying to figure out what comes next can now be put back into me. And I think that’s the best form of revenge.
I have worked out 2/2 days since cutting him off. I have eaten healthy 2/2 days. I have dreamt about something that is not him. And I haven’t had a drink. These things are challenging because there is safety in alcohol, and in laziness, and in procrastination. But that safety is short term.
So I ask myself before every decision – is this leading towards my goal of healing? And either it is a no, and it goes. Or it is a no, but I drink anyways and take the recognition as a sign of growth. Or it is a yes. A resounding yes.
So coping/growth? Or numbness. I don’t even know how to begin explaining these last 14 days to A. But I’m pretty sure I’ve been coping. And that makes me feel really proud right now.