Email from Brother1 – my responses are in italics
Hi Irrational Persistance,
Thanks for this
I don’t remember how old I was when Dad moved out, though there was no snow on the ground. It’s not upsetting anymore,
I’m curious how you have processed this event. I have never had a chance to talk it through with family, so I don’t actually know how people dealt with it: what they thought, how they felt, how they made sense of it. For me, the actual event is no longer the issue, but the effect it had on my sense of feeling connected to family members continues to this day. I know that it effected how I was able to connect to family members in the aftermath, and I have never had a chance to talk to anyone about it to forge new connections. I have found this situation very difficult and painful.
For example, in our conversation the other evening, you made a comment that went something like, “That is just what Irrational Persistance does.” When I asked you for clarification, you said, “You know, shutting people out.”
I wanted to follow that up – When did you first sense that I was shutting you out? I mean, what was the earliest example of that behaviour that you can remember?
but at this stage also not encouraging reminders.
I find this contradictory to your previous statement, so I am confused. I am curious about why you do not feel comfortable talking about it? I’m not saying we have to talk about it, I’m just not able to make sense of the two ideas. I would like to understand what you mean.
How can you say that you are not looking to blame anyone for events that happened in the past?
It is very easy to say I do not blame anyone for events that happened in the past. As I continue to work on my healing journey I learn what is important and what is not. I have learned that blame does not resolve past injuries. I have also learned that events from the past contribute to the way we think about things and the things we do in the present time. Sometimes, in order to get clarity and actually make positive changes in our lives, we have to track back to the original moments when certain views or behaviours were first formed, so we can see how they are still active in our lives and relationships today. That is why I want to talk about events that happened in the past.
Of course, I can’t make anyone else want to talk to me about events in the past. However, I can put forward the idea that it might help us grow a more healthy, current relationship if we can actually do that.
This is not easy to trust,
I get the sense that you do not trust me or my motivations in trying to grow a healthier, more mature relationship with you. Is this true?
sounds like a familiar agenda
Could you elaborate on what you think my agenda is? What agenda do you see me bringing to this conversation? What do you think my motives are? Why do you think I would pursue such a course of action?
against dad that I am at odds with.
I’m curious how you have come to the idea that I am against dad. Could you share your thoughts on this? What is it specifically that you think I have against dad? And why do you think I would pursue such a course of action with you?
On relationships with other family members: You think at times you’ve removed yourself from the family, for whatever good you decide it should be for.
This is a deep topic with many layers of thought and feeling. The reason I brought up the time period when Dad left Draycott Road is I can mark that as the first time I became convinced that my only course of action was to escape from the pain of being in the family. I have never had any family members to talk to about how painful I find the psychological and emotional condition of our family. My efforts to try to build new relationships and new connections have not been successful. I’m really not sure what else I can do about this condition, except to continue to try to put my needs into the mix and see if anyone has the capacity to take them into consideration.
But I think you’ve underestimated how hurtful it’s been over the years to be removed from your family.
I don’t think you have any idea how hurtful it has been to feel disconnected from the family. I don’t think you have any idea of what it has felt like to be in the position I have been in, in this family. I don’t think you have any idea, and I wonder if you have the capacity to empathize with my experience.
I bet most others don’t feel so different Irrational Persistance.
I have no idea, because it is very difficult to actually have conversations of any depth about family relationships in our family. I don’t find many opportunities to broaden perspectives and deepen understandings, and perhaps, through that process, change perceptions and practices. I have long felt that my only option for belonging in this family was to fit in a very narrow pre-conceived notion of who I am and where I belong. If I am not willing to fit into that role, then I am not welcome. I have never had any family member ask me about what is going on in my life, what my interests are, what my challenges are, and what the difficulties are that have led me to maintain my distance in relationships that I feel disempowered, disrespected, and alienated.
If accepting of my opinion on this, then I have ideas on how to change that if you’re interested.
I am interested in your ideas. I know that one thing I can do is continue to attend Al-Anon meetings to help cope with the perpetual feelings of alienation and disconnection I feel with this family.
I know I am not blameless in this situation, I also know that I am dealing with a family system that is entrenched in its ways of sustaining coherence. Unfortunately, that family system has been extremely harmful to my well-being and I absolutely cannot be a member of that system as it stands. I also realize that I am only empowered to change myself, and in that mission I continue to work everyday.