Breaking Through More Shame and Fear
If only I could have questioned the validity of my beliefs sooner about my family...
Date: 10/26/2007 3:47:18 PM ( 14 y ) ... viewed 2544 times
Oh my! Has it really been almost three months since my last entry? I've been meaning to update my blog but somehow just never got round to it.
Well, I finally followed through on my promise to myself to release the big secret that had been imprisoning me. A few months ago, when all my three girls were here with me, I took them aside and quietly told them the circumstances surrounding my conception/birth. I wanted them to understand why I had no relationship with my mother but more importantly, why I (and they) had no contact with any of my extended family. I revealed my pain to them in order that they better understand me and where they come from. They were sympathetic but somewhat confused. Can you blame them? What a convoluted story! Anyhow, I felt unburdened which is a good thing and they seemed to take it in stride. I had hoped that telling of this story would really help ease my issues of shame. No such luck. Shame is such an insidious thing. There are many layers of it to peel back and heal from. This is such hard work and such a long process - maybe a lifelong process. Maybe I am deluding myself thinking I will ever be totally free of feeling shame. If I can lessen its intensity so it isn't so debilitating and life crippling, I would settle for that. Maybe I have set unrealistically high expectations that one day I will be able to release every last vistage of shame and walk with my head held high.
This past weekend was a milestone for me. It was another significant step in feeling my shame but not allowing it to cloud my better judgement or behaviour. This took major courage on my part and now that the ordeal is over, I feel good about myself. One of my blog entries, entitled WHEN OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS... talked about going to visit my first cousin in the hospital. Well, she died of her brain tumor and she was to be buried in the city where I grew up (a 5.5 hr. drive from where I currently live). Her funeral was this past weekend. I really didn't want to attend because I have not had any contact with that side of the family for almost 35 years. What would I say to them? How would they receive my presence among them? What vicious lies had my mother told them about me and have they believed them to be true? I wanted to get out of this situation but there was nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. My sister and brother (who are estranged from each other) both exerted pressure on me that I must attend as it is the right thing to do. I succumbed - I called my first cousin (brother to the deceased) to express my condolences and to ask where and when the funeral would be. He was surprised, but seemed pleased, that I wanted to attend. I felt awkward speaking to him after all these years but he was warm and nice to me.
I asked my two youngest daughters (who still live with me at home) if they would come too. I told them it was really important to me that they meet my aunt and my first cousins and see where I grew up etc. To my surprise, they agreed. I was so nervous. At first my aunt did not recognize me (she is 86). But once I explained who I was, she was so happy that I came and seemed genuinely happy to meet my children and husband. Even amidst the grief of having just buried her first-born child, she still managed to be warm, welcoming and she took a sincere interest in all of us. I was stunned at how gracious she was. My mother had always portrayed her sister as a cold, jealous bitch and I guess I never questioned the validity of her belief, having been brainwashed by her at such an early age. Meeting my aunt all these years later as an adult yielded a totally different impression.
There is no denying that my mother, who I am ashamed to admit is my own flesh and blood, was (and still is) hell-bent on alientating all of us from 'her' family. She even told my sister recently "stay away from my niece!" (referring to my dying cousin). Both my sister and mother were not well enough to travel to the funeral and my brother was in Hong Kong on business so I was the only one to represent my aunt's sister's family.
I have really come to recognize just how incredibly vile and vicious my mother can be. What a pathological liar! Every criticism she ever hurled at anyone was in fact her own projections. She is the one who has always been jealous of others.
I left my aunt's house filled with regret at not having tried to maintain contact with them all these years. The fact that they never tried to contact me leads me to believe that they probably bought into all the vicious lies my mother spread about me (and my siblings). Maybe they were as surprised as I was to discover they were not (nor were we) as my mother portrayed them (us) to be.
My deceased cousin lived for many years in the same city as I. How I pined for close family relationships, especially during holidays when we were alone like dogs with no one to share in our celebrations. She was apparently a wonderful person and could have been a great aunt-figure to my girls when growing up. Now she's six feet under! SOME LIFE LESSONS ARE EXTREMELY BITTER PILLS TO SWALLOW!
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