I’m having some uncomfortable feelings in my relationships within my family of origin. I know I can handle uncomfortable feelings. I can feel them and not buffer. I can be compassionate with people I love. It’s just so hard!!!Feeling it!!!
I am the only daughter in my family. I am the eldest. I always had a feeling of closeness with my parents and with my brothers when I was young. Now that I and my two brothers are grown (we’re all in our 40s), I notice that I am treated with a coolness that contrasts with the warmth and nurturing offered to my two adult brothers.
I esp find it hard to carve a path for love to flow between my mom and I. Growing up we felt close – or I felt close to my mom when she took me shopping and bought things for me. Or she made nice holidays. That’s a major way she connected. Now she doesn’t do that – and I understand – but we’re kinda left with not so many ways to enjoy each other. She texts me about the weather in the am. She “tries” but it always falls flat for both of us. I want to focus my feelings so that it can be something a little bit better. I am not yet holding onto the thought that might open doors for a little more relationship.
I live far away. My two brothers live in the same city with my parents. My parents recently moved down the street from one of my brothers. They share Thanksgiving and Christmas together. My mom still buys lots of stuff for them bc they live close to each other. It’s not that I want that stuff – – – really!! — but it’s the feeling of being loved that they get to have when she buys them …new wine glasses at Costco, for instance – that I really wish I could bask in, too.
When my parents go on vacation with one of my brothers’ family my mom doesn’t mention it like it might upset me. What upsets me is that she hides it. It makes me feel like an outsider! The not saying anything. At least my Dad and brothers talk naturally about things like that – their spending time together. I want to speak hardly with my mom and say, “Stop it!!! Just enjoy that you are doing these things!! Let me deal with my own feelings. Stop trying to control how I feel by hiding your choices!!” And then I think – well she’s hiding her activities bc she feels guilt over not making more efforts with my family. She’s avoiding making time for my children and my family and she knows it and feels guilty. None of these thoughts serve me.
I can hear Brooke saying: “But you ARE jealous. And you do make it hard for your mom when she tells you she is doing something with your brothers!” I admit that I am jealous that they are all so seemingly close. Really they have some well carved ways of showing love to each other.
What painful about this is that the dynamic hasn’t always existed. It’s been growing over the last 8 years – since I had my third child and we have just traveled less since then, pulled back a bit bc if the demands within our home. I want to adjust the rudder so that we don’t carve out some significant distance.
C – family of origin.
T – I’m treated differently than my brothers are.*
F – Rejected, anxious, insecure
A – Pull back, wonder what they say / think about me
R – Lack of closeness
C- family of origin
T – I love them; they love me. Our relationships can look different and still be loving*
F – love, trust, understanding
A- be consistent in keeping contact in ways that are meaningful to them and to me (visit, email, call, send gifts)
be patient when irritations crop up (“we are all a bunch of humans”)
R- I have my own unique connection within my family!
*The thought shift is so slight!! Before I put my models in writing I hadn’t noticed how small a shift was needed to open the door to more love.
Anything I’m missing?