Hi Brooke and posse,
I am feeling some shame coming with this question as a diamond member. I did not do the Relationship work last year – it’s my biggest shadow and to be perfectly frank, I had a lot of resistance to it but am ready for it now and headlong into it this time around, feeling all the feels. I am definitely in the river of misery. Swimming in it. It has not been my favourite week in SCS but I know this is really necessary for me.
I am stuck on my relationship with my grandmother. I would describe our relationship as ‘non-existent’ but I know better and since I am writing to you about her, I realise that there is absolutely a relationship there.
Here are the facts. I have sought to neutralize this to the greatest extent I can.
She is my paternal grandmother.
My father committed suicide 14 years ago.
In the time since, I have seen her 4 times. The last time I saw her, I left the house and sobbed in the car outside it before I could drive home. Prior to my father’s death, it was about once every 2 years.
On each of these occasions since my father’s death (my wedding, one subsequent visit and then to introduce my children to her subsequently to being born), I initiated the contact. I do not hear from her between visits.
I send her a Christmas card every year with photos of my children.
Last year I decided not to send a card because I never hear anything from her in acknowledgement to my Christmas card. At the time, I gave this decision a lot of thought and was happy with this decision.
I thought I was still thinking of her with love, albeit from afar (I do not live in my home country). When I do think of her, I think ‘I hope she is doing well’, ‘I am happy for her that she has her family (meaning her daughters) around her’
I do not plan to visit her when I am ‘home’ this Summer.
However, writing out thoughts about my relationships, this week, she is very much here. Clearly in my relationship sphere. The unintentional thoughts which are coming up are ‘I am a bad grand-daughter’, ‘I should do more in this relationship’, ‘She won’t be here on earth forever’, putting these through models, I get:
C: My granny
T: I am a bad grand-daughter
F: Shame, worthlessness
A: Push Granny out of my head
R: No progress on relationship building
C: My granny
T: I should do more in this relationship
A: Think about how to make’amends’
R: Consider re-visiting her this Summer
I do not want to visit her out of a place of guilt and I know that this is a terrible reason to visit someone.
What I realized today is that the circumstance ‘Granny’ causes me a completely different thought than ‘My father’s mother whom I see once every two years’ or
‘My paternal grandmother’
I do know that we should not expect to change circumstances to get a different result
but when I put kindness in the R line of the Granny models, I do not get there in a way that I can believe. I know that this is because I have a manual for how a relationship between a granny and grandchild should be. I also know that I have a manual for myself and how I should behave towards someone with the title ‘Granny’.
The following intentional model works for me
C: My paternal grandmother
T: I wish her well and hope that she is doing very well
F: At ease
A: Think of her with positive intention
R: My paternal grandmother comes to mind rarely, but when she does, I can think of her kindly
I have put kindness in as love feels very constructed to me in the context of what it is I do in my ‘relationship’ with her. I do not see her in person or hear from her.
I know this is semantics but I would really like your feedback. I do not want to indulge in shenanigans.
Is it that she is my granny and she is also my paternal grandmother so am I in cognitive dissonance and need to practice the paternal grandmother thought more?
Any advice really welcome.
Many thanks for all you do for us.