family angst


this is my favourite shot of grasses from the bella coola trip – very zen dayna says – taken in the bella coola tide flats

i’ve been feeling rather down the last few days which is my explanation for the absence of posts. i just don’t know what to say when i start fearing that possibly i am depressed rather than just temporarily sad – though now i’m pretty sure the down is just contextual and if i spend some time with friends over the next little while my self-image should be restored and that will help ease the struggle somewhat.

i had four days off over the long weekend, and spent part of that time in cumberland visiting with my mother and a friend of hers. then we came back down to my place and my mother and i spent a couple of days on the coast. it was an interesting, and at times troubling, visit. there is so much weirdness in my relationship with my family that waxes and wanes dependent on events and moods. for the last two years it has been strained on and off, which i am faulted with even though i think it’s more of a mutual affair (ie: family is somewhat dysfunctional in communicating with each other, i think we all have a lot of work to do, however to raise this in any fashion is to be too critical and seen as “blaming them for my problems”). after each visit with my family in the last year, i have been torn between seeing them more often to try to build a better relationship, and seeing them less often because i always end up feeling heartbroken at the state of not only our relationship but my reaction to it (i find myself vacillating between a guarded emotional coldness, and an overly emotional grab for support and understanding – neither of which reflect the person i am in my day to day life).

i know, at 32 i should well be over family angst.

this last visit has left me with a lot of grief – like pure grieving of the type that occurs when someone dies… which makes me wonder what exactly it is that has died for me in this most recent exchange. i’m afraid it might be the hope that things could change, that possibly my relationship with my family is best left at the surface to save us all a lot of soul-sickness.

over the last year of this blog i have not written much about my family, because i feel disloyal to the people who did their best to raise me, and i’m not interested in painting some unfair portrait whereby i am right and they are wrong. i don’t think it works like that in families except in the most extreme cases – that in the main families are a bunch of potentially dissimilar people thrown together by genetics who do their best despite their own hang-ups and neuroses. just to be clear, i was not tortured as a child, or unloved, or neglected – but there were still events, actions and dynamics that started back then continuing through to the present that either i have to resolve in myself or resolve with my family.

of those two options, resolving the stuff in myself is the only one i have any control over and the only one that has any real chance at success – but it also seems impossible to detach from the unresolved hurts at times. mostly i am bothered by a total lack of acknowledgement of a) events and hurts both past and present, and b) my right to have ever been affected, bothered, or upset by any of them. the standard response from my mother has been “get over it”, or to not remember (half our lives apparently didn’t happen because of this selective memory)…

the more i write (and delete) here the more i realize how bitter and sad i am about this impasse both internally and with my family. i am, of course, the outsider in the situation since i am the one who moved away and this is viewed as a rejection in and of itself (thus i am “not interested in a relationship with my family”).

anyhow – to cut this post down from becoming a poor me rant – i realized last night when my friend bear came for dinner that afterwards i felt a whole lot better than i have since the weekend. apparently being around people who i have things in common with and perceive as valuing me – is good for my self-esteem, and in turn i am not nearly so gloomy this morning. i suspect that things will continue to ease over the next few days of work and friends and then some small travels. this still leaves the question mark of what i can do to defuse the tension that currently exists with my mother in particular and also what i can do to protect my own emotional balance in the future – but i’m pretty sure that feeling okay about oneself is the place where it starts.

2 Comments on “family angst

  1. I know what you mean about the feelings of grief even if there is no death. I have my “on” and then “off” thing with Gabe and although I love him like he’s my family I find I often feel grief about him. For me it has something to do with times gone past, innocence gone and realizing we are getting older. I feel more emotionally brittle than I used to and see the need for more carefulness in “what” and “who” I spend time with.

    Maybe it is in the air. I feel very much the same right now….

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