Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hard Truths

The truth can be rough but the more I embrace it the easier and more comforting it is. I generally subscribe to being truthful, with myself, my friends, family, across the board. Hiding makes me anxious even if it numbs me for a short period of time.

Of course it's tough sometimes to admit things. You like someone you shouldn't, the family stuff is harder then you want it to be, your life isn't totally where you want it to be. Phewww deep breath now doesn't that feel better? A little bit...

Last week in family therapy it was just my brother and I, my mom had class or something. I am starting to grow more comfortable being around him after a year and a half of separation. However, it's still a dicey situation. For extended periods of time he is totally fine, making valid points and then all of a sudden it's like someone threw you into the deep end with no floaties. I don't know which way is up or what I am really supposed to react to. The only thing I have is my truth. The only thing I can do is be patient, kind, and humble. I can do my damnest to really hear him and try to empathize extracting the meaning of what he is saying.

That being said, I believe mental health is a fight. Some fight harder then others, or have a harder fight but we all fight for it. His pain is no worse, or more valuable then mine. It's his. He talks about accountability and responsibility while saying it's my fault he never expressed himself. It's difficult, it's exhausting, but I see someone who has very little sense of self, very little truth and a lot of fear. Finding the balance of where compassion and boundaries are is a difficult week to week balance.

In trying not to lose my own lessons in someone else I thought about how I seek out clarity, truth and directness to a degree that has to be watched. A word that comes up again and again with me is win, I say to my brother I don't know what you want me to do how do I win? I don't think our relationship is a game, but word choice is revealing. This weekend in a weird situation, I thought to myself, hmm not sure what to do next, how do I win?

There is less vulnerability in winning. You stay ahead, safe, controlled, focused, you move forward. For me there is safety, and containment in winning, and managing others. I look sometimes at my family and think what if I didn't contain, or manage myself constantly? Would I be like them? Would I be like my brother, out of control and blaming everyone but himself? My mom, someone who cannot own any actions of her own? I have no idea. That's not entirely true actually. I am not like my mom or brother in many ways. Many good, and some more negative, but I am not like them at the core. It's worth containing less and exploring more to see what happens.


  1. As someone with a plethora of family issues, this post REALLY REALLY touched me. I am currently trying to work through a lot of the suppressed stuff that has greatly impacted my sense of self. I am not sure how big you are on reading, but I am currently reading "Will I ever be good enough: Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers" by Karyl McBride and it has really been revolutionary for me. I think it definitely applies to more than just Narcissistic Mothers. It is an easy read, and very engaging. As always, Thank you for sharing your vulnerability Anna :)

  2. Girrrrl one day we need to get together, have some cocktails, swap stories, and then clean up one another's eye liner from cry laughing. Just sayin' #notacreeper. I read a lot so I really appreciate the book suggestion and will have to check it out. I think it's this mix of suppression, and also that's just what I knew and how it was. I don't feel like I actively suppress memories, but it's like that was awful, I'm not going back and this is what I've learned to prevent returning. At this point though it only robs me.

  3. How long have things been bad between you and your brother?

  4. @Ami, really good question. He's always been volatile, like since he was a small child. Lots of behavioral issues, continuously. He stopped speaking to me about a year and a half ago though and resisted and all attempts to resolve it. I had no idea what "it" was and even now I do and don't get it. For the most part in my opinion minor things, that most people could shrug off or go hey not too cool when you do this, but his inability to express himself in any healthy way and then to keep piling on the hurt and anger made it into a big big deal. This whole unraveling of the sweater though has given me so much insight into how he operates, and why we break down where we do.

    1. Family dynamics are deep and tough. I hope you and your brother are able to experience healing, at any level, someday.

    2. Yes they are. I think in some degrees what has been helpful for me is saying this is a temporary state. We can't exist and maintain this forever. It's not realistic. I feel hope for the first time in a while that we can get to somewhere that we can maintain and is healthier then what we've had. That in itself is a step towards healing and has benefited me to carry around instead of resignation and resentment.