Our values and beliefs, both conscious and unconcious, are at the root and are illuminated by the choices and actions we take. How do we come to hold the values and beliefs we do? Mine are still being formed and changed, even as others seem to be set into the stone of my being and psyche.
I think one of the reasons I am not willing to write anyone off, just because they are “difficult” people, is because I have been written off by others who felt I was too difficult for them to be around. I have experienced and witnessed the pain and bewilderment that happens when, for whatever reason (valid or not), someone you care about decides you are no longer worth the effort. Sometimes it was because I was genuinely clueless to what I was doing that was wrong and no one felt it was important enough to let me know what the problem was. Occasionally it was because I was too intent on what I knew to be true and mine was the only voice I would hear. Other times it was because they only had part of the story and assumed they knew the rest of the story and just didn’t want to listen. The most painful times were when I understood exactly what the problem was and had done everything I knew how to do to grow, change, or be different and I was still stuck inside of myself and the attitudes and actions that were problematic for the other person and they just cut me off.
To my way of thinking we are a bunch of rocks that have all kinds of dirt and sharp, rough edges to us and we are in this big rock tumbler, all jumbled together. We are being tossed and turned up against each other in various ways, all the while we are hitting and bumping into each other’s sharp edges and brushing up against each other’s dirt. By the time we get out of it, we are going to be beautifully smooth and polished. If we avoid the process and don’t let others and their sharp edges touch us, then we stay rough and dirty.
As long as there have been people and society, there has been change: for the better and for the worse. It works on a pendulum. When people in a society see an injustice and decide that it’s wrong and something needs to be done about it, then there is a catalyst for change. Sometimes, it generates a catalyst so big and so strong that the perpetrators of the wrong, then become the victims of the next generation.
This is how I viewed my family of origin, for a time. They were the perpetrators of great wrong. I needed to cut them out and cut them off. If they hadn’t done this, then that wouldn’t have happened in my life and I would have been able to stay in school, move into college, and become “successful.” Because the adults in my life didn’t act in the caring and responsible way they should have, I had to grow up too soon and fend for myself.
What I have come to understand, through my own journey and efforts with my children, is that I was less than equipped to be the caring and responsible adult they needed. I tried as hard as I could and am continuing to try, but because there are things inside of me that I haven’t changed or can’t change, and my rough edges and dirt are still there, I have done and may do things that bring them sorrow and pain, despite my efforts to also bring them love and caring. So it was/is with my family of origin.
I’ve recognized the family patterns of addiction: substances and relationships, as well as the patterns of depression. What I’m beginning to see are the patterns of lack of attachment and disconnectedness. There are patterns and histories that point to something beneath the surface of the addictions and depression. Something that is undefined or undiagnosed because it is unrecognized. Our world looks at people who have these kinds of issues and judges them for being weak, lazy, stupid, ignorant, etc. We look at people who on the outside looking in seem to be “whole” and “healthy” and decide they are choosing to be the way they are.
If someone is depressed, they should “choose” to count their blessings and look on the bright side. They should just get out and enjoy the moment and enjoy the day for what it is. I’ve got to tell you, I am blessed beyond belief. I am in the process of having good relationships with both of my adult children, that I wasn’t sure I would ever have. I have a bright, beautiful, happy and healthy three year old who is engaging, curious and brightens the room just by being there. I have a man who, despite our issues, problems, and history, is doing his best to provide for our family, even if it means he’s away from home and the light of his life for a month or more at a time. We have all of our basic needs met and I know there are people who love and care about me, outside of those things. Yet, none of that penetrates beneath the surface of the depression. I ache and just want to cry. I hurt and just want to hide. I can’t think and remember and remind and appreciate myself out of the depression.
Recognizing, acknowledging, and appreciating these beautiful things in my life does benefit me, because it keeps me from going into a deep and suicidal depression. Taking care of Luna means that I do leave the house, if only to get her to and from her school program and that I make some kind of effort to maintain the most basic of nutritional standards and sanitary conditions…well, the sanitation definitely needs work today. Knowing that Marco is letting me back into his life and including me in it means that I make more of an effort to stay present and available so I can be responsive if he calls. Getting the random opportunity to hang out with LaLa, means that I take advantage of the opportunity to get out of my head and listen to what is relevant to her and what’s happening in her world. Knowing that Jerry is going to video call in order to see and talk to both Luna and me, means that I stay connected to the passing of time throughout the day and to do my best to pay attention to the little things that she says and does so I can share those things with him. Every one of these things requires effort on my part and is only possible because these people are engaging with me in my life.
So, I value human interaction, even with difficult people, and I believe that if I didn’t, I would sink to the bottom and continue to remain in a dirty, rough and sharp state. I also believe that by persevering on the path to stay in relationships, that perhaps, I’m helping others in the ways I’m being helped.