May 1, 2024

family relationships, not being included, hurt, dealing with hurt
                                                                                                                                  photo: Prime Women


I become numb when people treat me unkindly.           

It's one thing if a business owner or a casual acquaintance is rude or thoughtless.  I don't have to deal with them again.  But when it comes to family, it's a trickier matter to deal with.  

Over the years my family does not include me in celebrations, holidays, and get togethers.  It never occurs to them to invite me. I learn about these gatherings from an aunt who lives hundreds of miles away.  

Though I could speak up and say WTF, there's very little that can be done about it.  I can't share how hurt that makes me feel.  I've tried.  No one wants to listen.  No one seems to care.  This has been going on for years.

I'm not the only one who has noticed. 

Close relatives and friends have commented about my family's lack of self-awareness and arrogance.  The weird thing is, my family has no clue.  They believe everything is peachy.  They live in their own worlds and are blind to the reality of how their actions affect others.  

I would guess most families have their share of differences but they probably get along and enjoy being around each other.  

When my husband and I drove to southern Indiana to watch the eclipse, we met some relatives of friends.  One aunt in particular told me because her family lives far away, they stay close by talking regularly on Zoom.  I told her how lucky she was and how it's exactly the opposite for me.  My family lives close by and we rarely speak to one another.  Such a contrast.  She reminds me how families ought to be.

My family's behavior used to make me feel small, invisible, and worthless.  I used to grieve, cry useless tears, and ask questions that could never be answered.  I'd end up in an angry, sad place.  

But living in that angry, sad place helped me to arrive at a happier place and I began to see more clearly.  One, I did not want to be around people who treated me unkindly.  Two, I wanted to associate with people who are more caring.   

I have finally reached a point where I grew tired of being ignored and unwelcomed.  That my feelings didn't matter.  That my opinions meant nothing and a difference of opinion was seen as threatening.  Being numb became a shield that kept hurtful actions at bay.   

My family situation is incredibly difficult to write about.  And to live with.  

No family is perfect, but some cause heartache and pain.   

Our bodies tell us pain is a signal that something is wrong.  Something is also wrong when there's emotional pain.  And when it gets too heavy to bear, it's time to act.  For me, being numb is a good defense mechanism.  Like a shot of Novocain, it keeps me from feeling pain.  It keeps me safe when others hurt me.  It keeps me away from that angry, sad place.  I can't change the behavior of others, but I can change how to react when darts of unkindness are flung my way.  I will deflect them, and I will feel nothing, no nothing at all.

À la prochaine!  

"This writer is of the firm belief that our tears become holy in the form of ink on a page.  Once we have spoken our saddest story, we can be free of it."  Taylor Swift

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