It was slightly less than a year ago that OC decided that he wanted a life unhindered by parents and rules. It is past the one year mark since I cut ties with the majority of my family. I have learned a lot in that time. About me. About my kids. About what is important.
Over the last year, Hubby has attempted to keep in touch with our nephew because he felt like the nephew was making an effort. For me, it felt like the nephew trying to be a hero and fix things, not that he genuinely wanted to be a part of our lives. When we talked, the one time I agreed to talk to him, the conversation brought up some issues with me. He made lots of excuses for the things said and done. Tried to tell me I was just like my mom. Lots of things that rubbed me wrong at the time but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until a few months later.
There was some drama then with my baby brother (who is a 30 something adult, but will always be my baby brother) that prompted MC to send him a message about how wrong my brother was (it was all related to OC). It forced a conversation between the two of us and it was during that conversation that I got what bothered me so much about my talk with the nephew. The nephew didn’t want to hear what I had to say. Not really. He wanted to get his words off his chest, but he didn’t want mine. I refused to just blurt out stuff that could adversely affect his relationship with my parents, but I gave him the option to hear some of my history so he could understand me and where I was coming from better. He didn’t want it.
When I had the conversation with my brother, I gave him the same choice and he took it. He wanted it. He wanted to understand ME. He listened. He heard and he understood. At least, that is what I got out of it at the time and it helped me to understand why I didn’t want to keep trying with the nephew when Hubby did. It helped me explain it to Hubby. It took Hubby several attempts to still keep that relationship going and not getting any attempt of the same in return for him to really get it, too.
For a while, my brother and I both put in the effort to keep our relationship, but I’m now put back into that place again of not feeling like I’m important or that I don’t matter unless it means I’m doing something for him, something that he needs. He is horrible at keeping his commitments and doing what he said he was going to do. So, I’m struggling with the only remaining relationship I have with anyone in my family (outside of a cousin that they all treated like poison for some reason I’ve never been able to figure out). That has been incredibly hard.
Since he left, OC has only contacted us a couple of times. All of them have been because he finally realized that he needed something. Identification papers and then, finally, money. Funny that he asked for that on mother’s day. We only know the bits about what has been going on with him because he has kept up his online account where he’d been posting all of his pictures. We knew where he was staying for a while, but it is obvious he has moved again (the third or fourth time since he left). The not knowing is hard, but I’ve learned to let go. It is either that or drive myself crazy with the constant worry.
It sounds like a lot of hard and ugly over the last year, but it really hasn’t been. MC and BG have become so much more… them. MC especially has become so much more talkative, actually enjoys sitting down and talking to not only Hubby, but me (when he wants to, he is still a teenage boy). We took a vacation this summer and it was the most fun, relaxing vacation we have ever had. And it was that way because OC wasn’t there.
Damn, that is such a hard thing to type. There is this level of guilt involved in feeling that way. To feel relief that one of my children isn’t around, but seeing how much the other two have grown and opened up, to see how much happier their lives are, it is impossible not to. I’d once said that since he left, there was this peace because we weren’t in a constant battle or struggle, and that is exactly what it is. There is no constant fight over every single little and huge thing. I had started to see some of those things immediately after he left, but seeing exactly how much he managed to smother his brother and sister in his bid to constantly outdo them or belittle them to get the attention… it is relief. This family was becoming strangled in every way. We are breathing again when we didn’t realize we’d been holding our breath this whole time.
The shattering of my family, both from the inside and the out, has been horrible, but it has also been right. I know I personally have an awful lot that I need to work on. I know that it doesn’t take hardly anything to make me hurt right now, even tiny little things. I’m working on trying not to let those things stab me when I know that it absolutely wasn’t the intent. My tolerance for bullshit is zero now, too. That has been an issue in trying to get the help I’ve needed with my creative project. Again, it is something I recognize and I’m trying like hell to work through it.
So while it has been excruciatingly painful. It has also been one of the most peaceful and happy years I’ve ever had. Yes, there have been all kinds of other not good emotions tangled into that mess, but overall, it has been good. We are spending more and more time focusing on the good, on the things that make us happy than we are dealing with the crap and… just… damn! That feels good for a change.