It’s nice to know that some of my words are being read and are valued. As most people are well aware, it is not always an easy task to be heard in your real life, simply because the people you are surrounded by as a natural part of your personal life are not interested in what you have to say for the most part. You are not valued as an individual by the people you would expect the most support from. That used to bother me when I was younger.
I assumed that family had value in my life simply because of its own merit. You are my ‘mother, aunt, sister, brother” and therefore you ‘have to’ care or value my life and my dreams as part of the implied contract of the relationship. Some people learn early that this is simply not the case.
You can not make people treat you in the manner you expect to be treated, simply because you treat them the way you wish to be treated. Eventually we all find people we share an affinity with, perhaps people who were damaged in the same ways that are in different places in their healing processes. Our affiliation helps us heal ourselves and to grow into better people.
We build our own family to support us, to replace the family members who have failed us by their neglect; failure to read our words or to tell us they hear us and sympathize with or situation. We get guidance from them or various points of views we had not considered, simply because we did not have the vantage point they did. We learn that we are not alone and for many of us, it’s a novel concept after feeling that way for much of our lives.
We are not dismissed, blamed, criticized and ignored by our “chosen” family.
Our friendships, real and online, give us mostly unconditional support that our families failed to provide. I used to be angry over the unfairness of it until I realized that my “real” family is simply made up of damaged people as well. I have no right to expect them to support me simply by virtue of being related to them. They have proven that they could care less and as a result I have learned to respect their choices and to build a supportive network of my own.
Why should I hold onto the pain they made me feel every time they chose to ignore me or what I had to say instead of just accepting the support from people who voluntarily chose to give it? People I did not have to chase down and try and promote myself to, in hopes of gaining an audience with them. My family members were for the most part always “too busy” … to visit, to call, to text, to write, or even to remember mine or my children’s Birthdays.
When they did read something I wrote, they criticized and accused either directly or in a passive aggressive manner that held double meanings because it carried the weight of a personal history they had chosen to believe instead of asking me what the truth was. I could always support what I had written, because it was factual, but the veiled attack at my professionalism was something I had to defend and it ended up damaging the delicate relationships; relationships that at their core relied completely on my accepting whatever was said or done without daring to question, criticize or condemn the content. That’s probably why I value the priceless treasure of my friends so much and why I choose to keep very few people close to me.
As eventually happens to most of us if we are fortunate: I grew up. Age brings a simple wisdom that you do not have to search for, as it comes to you as events that have happened in your past, both major and minor, that you have learned from. I appreciate the few family members who have supported me in the past and I truly value the people who have given me support over the years and into the present. It really matters to me that people who can identify with one of my various situation, know they are not alone; because I was … and it almost killed my soul.