I see myself in the interactions from my family and recognize that same fear and dysfunction that have marked so much of my behavior. It is good, healthy, for me to stop jumping each time they push the buttons, and it is encouraging to see clearly the destructive behaviors I learned in that collective. BUT it is deeply, profoundly sad to see how frightened and angry and unhealthy they all remain and to know how much I harbor those same problems.
Our patterns are so well engrained and normalized through a lifetime. This cycle and mixture of supercilious sweetness, false fellow feeling and mutual interest, talk of love, care, shared values, mutual concern and cooperation all as a feint, an effort to placate that, when unsuccessful instantly transmutes into sarcasm, anger, attack, rejection and refusal of the simplest or most reasonable request. Though they all fail to mention it, my withdrawal from the joint tenancy has them all at a loss and afraid. But now, for the first time in my life, some of them privately and in sotto voce say that they too are seeing the ugliness that has been my daily diet from the others all my life. Some more constant and virulent than others, of course.
I see so much of this same pattern in my relationships with men. When I move beyond self-destructive or self-denying relationships, a rarity, the barbs emerge. But I am guilty of the bait and switch, the lure and rejection, the come-hither and get-the-fuck-out. I too carry hostility garbed in concern and anger cloaked as love. But through this past decade, and increasingly each year, I have begun slowly, slowly and with much back-sliding to move beyond these worn and worrying patterns and to begin to reshape myself, to remove my very skin and peel off this false face that years of practice have melded to my own and to find myself, my soul within.
Photo by Asher Legg on Unsplash
March 28, 2009