Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Are You Happy?

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There was a day when I realized that I had HAD to be honest and true to myself.
No matter what.
I far far  far prefer love and peace, especially within my own family. But I lived years of my life with entire swaths of my family rejecting me for my life choices, and, in those years, I fought and fought for their love. I don't have it in me to be quiet and subservient and hidden anymore. I did that for years and it did nothing except for bring me a huge lack of confidence, give me a mumbly way of speaking, provide me with a complete lack of self-respect, give me a feeling that, surely, I was invisible, and heap upon me sincere intrapsychic pain.

The Real Me
It was painful and it was hell knowing that these people didn't, couldn't, love me. I simply could not fathom NOT loving; I still can't understand it, really. And even more painful and difficult to get, but ultimately healing, to realize that their opinions and choices are absolutely not my business and completely outside of my power to do anything about, as Elizabeth Kubler-Ross told me.
These people counted on me to be quiet, submissive, agreeable, approval-seeking. They expected me to back down to their aggressive behaviors. They counted on me to stay in my shell and to accept their world views, their dominance and aggression, their total disrespect, their daily discounting, and their complete inattention. These people would not help me to save myself. They would not, could not, offer acceptance and love.
One day, I began to realize that every single time 
I sat quietly, I lost a part of myself. Every time 
I dissolved into impotent tears they felt superior to me. Every single time I allowed them to speak over my voice, I became less likely to speak up again. Every time I allowed my vulnerability to show, they saw it as weakness. Every time I exhibited unfulfilled need, it strengthened them and gave them more reason to look down on me. I saw that no one was going to give me personal power. It became clear that their agenda had absolutely no reality in my own life. And I saw that, somehow, I was moving towards a place where I  lived, a place completely separate from them, a place where integrity was essential in my life.
Not Just "Hanging On"
I began to see that the power that I did have was to make healthy choices in my own life, to figure out what healthy choices looked like. To let go of affection-seeking but ultimately destructive behaviors. To populate my life with people who were learning, growing, curious, uncertain. 
I began to move slowly towards a place where I could actually look into a mirror, looking into my own eyes. To admit that I needed help. To get deliberate about language and word usage.  To hold unpopular opinions. To have the power to not accept words that I heard. To be able to say I don't know. I began to see that loudness, aggression, and certainty were often masks for insecurity. That in order to have any personal power, I simply had to take it. I remember, specifically, thinking I can't live in their house, but I can be outside of their door if they are ever able to have a healthy relationship.
And guess what their response to this explosion of personal empowerment was.
Yes, in the healthiest growth spurt of my emotional life, my family members were completely rejecting me!  
Today, I am quite separate from my family.  It still surprises me because I think of myself as a real Family Person.  And sometimes, it still has the power to bring me to tears even though it is completely my choice to live outside of their doors.
I look around my life, and at the choices our family has made, at the truly amazing people who are in my life, and I know beyond a shadow of doubt that it is WORTH IT 
and that I AM HAPPY.

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This I Believe 
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  1. This is so brave of you to share this. <3

    It's so easy to listen to the negative from others, to incorporate it, to believe it-- and it's bull. We all have to unlearn that habit. Sounds like you have. :-)

    Go Karen! (Hug)

    1. Thank you, Bridget.
      I was writing it thinking how crazy of me to post it... It is quite personal.
      But I'm still glad it's out there.
      It is thanks to friends, online and IRL, like YOU, that I feel confident enough to be honest...

  2. I can identify with so much of this~ congratulations on choosing freedom and love, and making your own life.

    1. The same to you, Sophelia!
      You are such a cool person and I love reading what you write!

  3. I just came back here and read this almost five years later...STILL glad I wrote it! <3


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