So here’s the deal.
“We can only understand life by looking backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
Wait. Isn’t that an apparent contradiction?
No, it’s the truth. By examining our family history, we learn more about ourselves, not them. It isn’t genealogy. We may know our family tree backwards and forwards. That isn’t what we need to learn. Where we came from is important, and it’s quite a hobby now days.
To understand ourselves and our choices in life, we must examine our past to find out why we do what we do. Why we are who we are. And especially where our feelings come from. It’s a lot of hard work. Many of us don’t want to do it. If you’re like me, and feel as if you didn’t fit, you were different, and still don’t understand some things we feel and why we’re where we are. It’s very hard. You may not like the answers. But you have to ask the questions.
The key to all of this investigation is to do it with compassion, understanding, and forgiveness. We owe that to our parents, grandparents, and our children. My dad’s family was different, so was mom’s. And you take two people who don’t know each other’s inner lives, they marry, have a family, and then you learn about each other.
The kids inherit things from generations back. Things like never talking about feelings, keeping secrets, and being so stoic you hold back even love, out of fear, fear of others falling short again, not loving you as you need to be loved. Toss in a man’s PTSD from serving in two wars, and a woman’s dysfunction from being an adult child of two alcoholics, and you really have an interesting concoction, to say the least. They did the best they could.
I am stating facts here, not being judgmental, whiny, or looking for pity. (Pity is the last thing I want). By examining your past, you come to understand yourself better. Sometimes, you realize a parent is toxic. Other times you learn how to still deal with a family member who uses you. You learn to set boundaries with your family, which can be an absolute necessity with some family members. If you can’t imagine this kind of situation, I’m so happy for you. It’s the reality of many, many people all over the world. I’m glad you’re not one of them.
For those of you who do understand, I’m sorry you went through this. And, I encourage you to learn how to overcome this bad treatment. It is hard, but so worth it. If you are care giving to the person who belittled you, you are a wonderful human. You have forgiven them enough to offer them the help they need. You need to have boundaries as to how they treat you now. It’s necessary.
Having a person who understands the situation helps you get through this. Talk with them. Let them help you realize your loved one cannot help how they are until they want to change. Yes, it’s obvious they need to. But they won’t simply because we point out their shortcomings and abuse. It’s always our fault.
I promised my dad, as did two of my three brothers, that we would watch out for Mom. Mom was 59 when he died at 64. I was 37 at the time. My heart hasn’t recovered from that. He was my champion, my biggest fan. No, I was not a spoiled brat of a child. I’m glad. It all helped make me a strong woman to weather all the storms of life, keep my shoulders squared, my head up, and walk through fire. No one ever knew I felt like unset Jello, wobbling all over the place inside. They couldn’t see that. I’m grateful to God, every second of my life, and how we arrived here.
All of this said, I love my family. I love Dad for being the man he was, son of a father who was in an orphanage for many years, an Irish woman who had a mean father but a heart of gold; I love Mom for the years when she would put such love into Christmas and Thanksgiving, help me with my kids as a single Mom, the daughter of two people who were raging alcoholics in their younger years but were loving grandparents; I love the memory of a brother who is estranged from all of us by his choice; I love the brother who checks on Mom many times a day, who has a sense of humor that was built on Loony Tune Cartoons; I love the brother who is constantly conquering his addictions, he has grown up into the man Dad always said he would be.
It’s a risk, sharing all of this. You don’t end up satisfied with life by forgetting the past. You only end up grateful and happy by working through things. Avoidance always gets in the way. Guaranteed.
Find your way through the past and focus on what’s in your present and future. It’s the only things we truly can have control over, by our attitudes, intentions, strength, and knowledge. Finding out what’s important to you, who you are, and who you want to be. Work hard. You won’t be sorry, trust me.
Have a beautiful day today. It’s new and exciting and yours, not theirs. You’ve come this far. Keep going. See you tomorrow! I’ll tell you all about the outdoor musical we’re going to tonight, “Don’t Stop Me Now,” another production from Rave On Productions. Praying the rain passes by us.