1) A new goal is that I live less inside my own head.
Each day, absorbing other people’s stories. Attempting to set down my own perspective and feel from another’s, instead. This is something I’ve neglected far too long. Other people are infinitely interesting, funny, wise…. everything. Taonga.
2) The other day D said “It’s pretty obvious what was making you crazy in the past. The results since you got rid of your family speak for themselves.”
(Yeah. D is the kind of person who uses phrases like ‘got rid of your family’…)
What he said was really affirming and kind. Like a pat on the back; ‘Things are coming along nicely’. Of course, the impact of my healing on our relationship is not to be overlooked.
Last week marked 15 years since D and I first got together. During our latest wedding anniversary I grieved our sense of disconnection from each other. Though it hasn’t been long beween then and now, our relationship has since shifted – in a positive direction. We’re feeling more and more like a team, and our communication has improved.
So there was the affirming statement D made – then the other night we went to see D’s brother and his girlfriend at their new flat. They just moved in together. D’s mother is back in the country for a while and was staying there too.
D’s mother has a Machiavellian personality. Highly controlling, obsessive, manipulative. This has created much friction between D and his only sibling over the years. D’s mother has been living overseas since shortly after she was caught out in a major, life-course-altering, soap opera level, lie.
This has given D and I the space to figure out some of the mechanisms of manipulation his Mom employs (and so neutralise them). It’s also given D and his brother an opportunity to get to know each other without regular blow-ups slyly triggered by their mother.
The dynamic was different this time we all got together. It helps that my brother-in-law’s new girlfriend is a firecracker of a woman – just lovely to be around. We ate, played board games. There was much laughter; victories scored around the table. Stories shared in the kitchen. I saw a humorous side of D’s brother I’ve never seen before.
When D’s weight-obsessive Mom commented on 13-year-old A’s ‘giant appetite’ in front of everyone, I very quickly put the brakes on that line of discussion with an affable but firm response. I’d never have been able to do that with ease, before – before I learned how to back myself and loved ones.
It was a great night. The kind of simple, fun time I always wanted to spend with my family of origin. Looking back now, it’s becoming clearer and clearer to me that my family of origin is a seriously sick unit. I’m starting to understand this not just on an intellectual level – but at the heart/gut/soul level (the most important parts).
Today D took me out to a local park. Ducks live there, and at one point we came across three ducks behaving strangely. At first I thought two of them were abusing the third. It eventuated that one of the ducks was unwell, and the other two appeared to be coaxing it to move.
The thing is, when I got out of my wheelchair and went to have a closer look, the two healthy birds did not leave behind the sick one, even though I could have reached out and grabbed them at that point. Instead, they prodded the duck more urgently as though warning it to get away from the human intruder.
I moved away again and watched. The two healthy ducks spent some time looking at the other and as we left they had huddled on either side of their sick friend, heads bowed together.
An animal behaviourist might say different, but I think those two ducks were protecting their ailing friend. I believe this by the way they did not scatter when I moved up close – but instead tried more urgently to move the ill one. That was protective behaviour; potentially endangering themselves in the process.
If ducks can have each other’s backs…
This was the third signpost. D’s statement, happy time spent together as a family, and then these beautiful ducks looking out for a friend.
I don’t believe I’ll ever return to contact with my family of origin – my immediate family of origin have all committed punishable crimes against me, and never apologised for it. They have not shown any desire to change. My mother expected to reinstate contact without anything being different from before.
But I am different. My heart is opening to the truth and I know better now.