An Epiphone

I had a triggering experience this week. It's strange which things will pop up and affect you. Taking the time to process your reaction and examine your feelings at these moments can offer an opportunity for healing and progress. It pinpoints your sore spots. Out of nowhere I got a friendship request on Facebook from my former husbands sister. Why after 3 years she would suddenly add me I have no idea. It felt a bit odd, given that so much time has past. But I did feel it was kind of nice. Disclaimer, I am going to be completely frank in this post and say some things that probably are a bit taboo to admit.

This particular sister is the only member of the family that I liked at all. To be completely honest, I dislike his family immensely. I did try to relate, but I find them very shallow, and was uncomfortable about how they gossip about each other as soon as someone leaves the room. The sister who sent me the friend request is the only one that doesn't do that. I am quite certain, the moment I walked out of the room, the talked about me the same way they talked about each other. It made me very uncomfortable. But bottom line, I do not like, nor did I ever relate to them. I remember once, going to his family home to visit for the New Years Holiday. We got there, his brother and sister went out ski-doing together in a pre planned excursion, the parents took off to a party in town, leaving my then husband and I alone in the house New Years Eve. No one thought to include us in any of the arrangements. This type of thing would occur regularly over the years. I do not feel a loss there. Good riddance. That's friggen bullshit.

I initially accepted the friend request. But I found it stirred up emotions for me. I got a uncomfortable knot in my stomach. Though this particular person never engaged in that behaviour, but it brought back the memories of feeling judged, the memories of accusations how I estranged my husband from his family. I re-experienced the general toxic soup of dynamics that I experienced in that family. To be honest, I do not know how much of my negative experience was real, and how much came from what my former husband told me. He was always telling me how they hated me. There is no doubt that coloured my perception.

Who knows, maybe they are wonderful supportive loving people, and maybe it was me, maybe I just didn't fit in. That happens sometimes. But what I experienced was incredible levels of shallowness, and promises that were never kept. My former husband always seemed to be an afterthought to them. In my opinion they displayed a tremendous amount of false sincerity. Its clear that my formers husbands personality did not develop in a vacuum, from my perspective this was a very toxic family system. I may be wrong, but that was my impression.

In a flash of what was actually a healthy reaction. I set a boundary. I decided I was not going to maintain a connection to this sister. I unfriended her, I felt guilt about it, because I did actually like her and she had never done anything to me. Under normal circumstances, I would have maintained that connection. But really, in this case, what was going to come out of it, nothing but negative memories. It's not like we are going to call each other up and chat or anything. I would never see her again, it would be a meaningless Facebook friendship. Plus it may have been opening up the door for the rest of them, which I really don't want. I sent her a message explaining my position, hoping she would not take it personally and wish her well. After initially responding she hoped I was happy too. She actually ended up blocking me. This action, confirmed my misgivings about maintaining any connection with any of his family. If I were to guess, I would guess that she spoke to someone and they said, Carolynne is hounding him, making baseless accusations, she is lying. And this sister choses to believe that. That is my guess. But really I don't know, and who really cares, it's not like I would ever see her again anyway.

There is nothing to gain there at all. Not only did they not have a meaningful relationship with me, but they didn't have a meaningful relationship with my former husband or children either. It used to really upset and hurt my ex husband. At the time, I was not alone in my assessment. It seemed to be all about image, and perception. It's not what I want in my life. I suddenly realized, its up to me to populate my world. I don't want them in it. They can say what ever they like, think what ever they like. Who cares! It has zero impact on me or the world I choose to live in.

This moment made me realize that is it ok to choose myself. The guilt I felt at rejecting her request, the obligation I felt in accepting it in the first place was a remnant of my training to conform. Try and make sure others think well of me. When really that's a total losing battle. Maintaining relationships with any of those people, does nothing for me. All it does is make me feel bad.

I want good caring supportive people around me, these people were never that. And for me, they never will be. My kids are old enough, they can manage their own relationship with that side of the family. It is my ex-husband's job to foster those connections not mine.

It suddenly dawned on me I can choose. I need to make decisions that fill my world with people that share the values that I do, who will show up in the lives of my children and myself. Maybe someday down the line, they will experience their own personal growth and things might change. But right now, I made a choice for myself that I believe is the right one. It sits well with me. The knot is gone.

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