Friday, May 9, 2008

Did I do that?

Did I excuse everything she said with "we're different"?

Maybe. I think everything you folks said was right on the mark. And I think at some point, she's going to feel this loss intensely. Maybe she's intellectualizing it or something now.

In my family, I'm the feeler. We spent hours in group therapy when my mom was dying trying to figure out how to work together, to come together. Because I felt things, painful things, and expressed my feelings (often through tears) I made others uncomfortable. They thought of it as falling apart. Actually being weak. I'm not exaggerating when I say I think it was a revelation for multiple family members when the therapist said that it was actually a demonstration of strength. To get it out. To express it. And then, after I got it out, I could go on. I actually *was* strong. I didn't fall apart, like they all thought I would.

But now, it seems, I have fallen apart. Or rather, it hasn't been so easy for me to just get it out, get it over with and go on. Which would make everyone much more comfortable, I think. I wonder if they are thinking that I have actually fallen apart. Sometimes I think my dad understands. But I know I make him uncomfortable, especially when I go on about how I won't pretend to be okay for my grandmother when she calls. I think he's struggling to trust that I haven't gone to pieces like he always feared I would.


I fucking hate all this family dynamic shit. And I wonder how much is my projection. Because for a long time I bought into the whole S___ is weak because she cries thing. Hard to let go of. I thought I had, but everything regresses in times of stress.

No, I won't excuse the inappropriate comments. I will try not to accuse, either, though. I will just try to take care of myself. And I think that involves distance for a while.

It occurs to me that, after the initial fallout from our conversation, I am actually mad. I'm mad because it seems there is little acknowledgment (from some corners) of just how far I've come since January. That I actually *am* doing better. I didn't even realize it. Just surviving this. As lousy as I feel. As stricken as I am. Recognizing the enormity of our loss. The enormity of the pain. And while I am not "back to normal" (and will never be) I am living through this. I'm getting through it.

And I am not stuck.


luna said...

I think some distance would be healthy for you under the circumstances. there are family members I still can't deal with because of things they said or didn't say,. things they did or didn't do, etc. and I don't have the emotional reserves to keep fixing things (e.g., other people's perception of me, etc). I just had to figure out for myself what I was capable of handling, and disregard the rest by distance or whatever.

I do think it's a sign of strength that you are so in touch with your feelings that you can express and articulate them so well. and yes, you feel it deeply and that does make people uncomfortable. but sometimes I just find myself saying eff them, you know? see above.

Aunt Becky said...

I think that whatever you decide to do will be the best decision for you. Sometimes pulling back is the healthiest thing that you CAN do.

CLC said...

Honestly, I prefer to be around people who can express their feelings, even if that means crying. So much can be misconstrued when people don't talk about what they feel. Try to keep telling yourself it's a strength, because it really is. Few people can do it.

And it's amazing to think how far you have come, even though most days still feel like shit. But you are still here, and that is a huge accomplishment.

Ya Chun said...

I think it does take a certain strength to express your feelings. People do tend to express themselves differently while other repress it. They may repress their feelings because they are afraid to face their issues or darkest thoughts or because they are afraid of what others would think.
I have some issues with my family now too. I don't know why. They don't know what to say, or what. I am from a family of stoics. Basically, I consider it their problem. I lost my baby and that is my problem. If someone is actually there for me, great, but I certainly don't expect anything from anybody, because I would surely be disappointed.
I'm sorry there are so many tough things in your life right now (I didn't comment on all your recent posts). Hang in there. You and you hubby are in our thoughts.

Busted said...

You're right, YOU are not stuck. You are feeling, grieving, working through your pain. Crying and thinking about and talking about your pain is a good thing. It's not good to just ignore it and pretend it isn't there.

I don't know your sister and I don't know how she usually reacts to things, but I think there is something very "self-denial" about saying you are "bummed" to lose your babies in the 2nd trimester. Maybe soon she will recognize her pain and need you, and you won't feel judged or put into a category anymore.

I think though, for now, if it is what helps you it is totally ok to get some distance. Don't let how others react to tragedy affect your perceptions of your own grief and progress.

Many, many hugs.

Antigone said...

I've had similar struggles with my family. They're all a bunch of stiff-upper-lippers. I'm the only one who has ever tried to talk openly about feelings.

S, as you know, it's especially hard for us when our family isn't open to talking about and validating what we've experienced. It's even worse when we role play for them. I'm glad you're able to stand up to them and acknowledge so much.

luna said...

hey, it's me again. thinking of you today. I know how very hard this day must be for you.

oh, and I gave you an award. you can check it out when you have the chance. it's to go with your tulip.

niobe said...

As I'm sure I've said before, I'm probably more like your sister. I tend to intellectualize things and to think rather than feel. Though sometimes I wish that I were different, I try to accept that that's just the way I am.

But I can certainly understand why you might need to pull back for a while and I would hope that your family could understand too.