Why am I trying to belong?

I knew I was going to find my dad’s birthday tricky. Any sort of anniversary tends to churn things up for me, not least the ones connected with my family. I didn’t want to have to talk to him, or give him any sort of special attention, because our relationship is not in a good place. But I didn’t expect it to be as bad as it was.

I didn’t go to work today, because work is rubbish at the moment and it’s not doing me any good. My boss is being rude and unsupportive, expecting unachievable quality in short timescales and giving mo gratitude when I exhaust myself trying to meet those demands. I also had a run in with one of the directors this week, who was disrespectful and made me feel small and insignificant. It’s all wearing me down, whittling away what little resilience and strength I was clinging onto.

Despite dealing with all that, I resolved to deliver the obligatory birthday phone call to my dad while I walked home from the office yesterday. That would mean I’d get it out of the way instead of dreading it all afternoon. I talked myself into thinking it wouldn’t be too bad. It would just be ten minutes of faking I cared about what sort of day he was having, and feigning interest in what he’d been doing.

Pretending I wanted to talk to him was challenging, but I’ve done it a lot before and it wasn’t too bad. It made me nervous, but then talking to my dad always makes me nervous these days. The conversation isn’t natural, because the relationship is strained and forced.

What threw a spanner in the works was the sudden sound of my brother’s baby playing in the background. It really distressed me. My stomach knotted and my heart beat harder. I felt all this anger boil up and I just wanted to tell my dad to f*** off. I didn’t know if my brother was there with him, overhearing our call. I hated the thought that he was. I hated the reminder that everything is hunkydory between them all and my parents take pleasure in spending time with the man who abused me.

Clearly, it isn’t the baby’s fault. He’s innocent of course. He didn’t ask for any of this. But I can’t help but feel angry even towards him – a little one who’s not yet a year old. When I spoke to my mum, it transpired that they were babysitting their grandson for the day. I know this happens. I know they love him and have a relationship with him. But it still felt like a twist of the knife, to have to hear him laughing and squealing as I talked to my parents.

My mum kept me talking, even though I was desperate to get off the phone. I just wanted to detach from the situation and the horrible, painful feelings it was evoking. I don’t want to feel all this about a tiny child who has no real connection with his father’s crimes. It’s hard to admit it, and it makes me feel like a terrible person, but this baby’s mere existence hurts me. His being in this world is a slap in the face to remind me that none of this is fair, and my brother will never suffer like he deserves to. He will never suffer like I do.

I got home and I was struggling to keep myself safe. I wanted to do everything reckless and harmful. I wanted to get so wasted I didn’t have to feel anything anymore. I wanted oblivion. I can’t figure out how to keep feeling these feelings and live with that. Nobody – literally nobody – can understand what this means for me, what is brings up, where it leaves me. It’s so incredibly lonely, and it makes me feel like I am totally insane. It doesn’t help that J is on holiday at the moment and I can’t work through any of this in therapy.

Once I was home yesterday, it didn’t take long for me to be fully immersed in my hermit response. The safest thing for me to do in this kind of situation is to shut down and dissociate. I was foetal on my sofa, wrapped in blankets. I didn’t feel much comfort, but I also didn’t feel capable of anything else.

Then I stupidly glanced at Facebook – and it all got worse.

My dad, who never posts anything on Facebook, has posted a photo of my mum and her grandson napping together. She was cuddled up with him, both of them cosy and asleep. It knocked all the air out of my lungs to see that. And to see it when I was already feeling so low, vulnerable, worthless. To see her giving my brother’s child what I so desperately needed in that moment was horribly painful.

That photo was the first thing I thought of when I woke up this morning. And that sense of rejection and abandonment. It hurts. I can’t find words for how much I am hurting right now. I love my family, and I want to feel loved by them. But they consistently cause me harm. Being involved with them repeatedly tears open all my old wounds.

I just don’t know what to do. I don’t want to keep going through this, but I know they are not going to change. The only realistic option is to cut my losses and walk away from it all, but I don’t want to lose the possibility that one day I could belong with them again, one day I might find them nurturing in the way I need. It’s so hard to negotiate all of this, without reaching the conclusion that my life is never going to feel like it’s worth living if I can’t find a place with my family.

I know that this is all very juvenile, and I’m angry with myself for not moving past it. I am an adult. I am capable of creating my own ‘family’ of people who do love and accept me for who I am. People who make me feel valued and who won’t keep putting me through this kind of pain. But that doesn’t feel good enough. Nothing could ever feel like a good enough replacement for being accepted by the people I love most of all.


Image: Daniele Adami, Creative Commons.


9 Comments Add yours

  1. DV says:

    I am so sorry that you’re having to deal with all of that. From where I’m standing it doesn’t look irrational or juvenile. It doesn’t make you ‘ungrateful’ to grieve for not getting the love and care you needed from your parents, just because you’re loved by other people. They’re different things.

    I also don’t think you are a terrible person to have negative feelings about your baby nephew. Those are very difficult feelings to admit to in a world that overwhelmingly expects people to show only positive feelings about babies, but those feelings are real and they are understandable in your circumstances. I know a little bit about how this feels, very different reasons from yours but I struggled a lot with the emotions around my own brother’s baby and with guilt for having those negative feelings. My therapist at the time helped me to reach a more compassionate view of myself about all of that. I hope you can find a similar gentleness in your heart toward yourself, and hold on until you are able to let J help you with this. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Thanks DV. I thought of you when I was writing this actually, having read about your struggles around your brother’s little one. I think I am just getting weary of dealing with all of this. I could talk about it for years with J and I’m not sure I’d feel any better. Somehow I’ve got to figure out how to distance myself, whether that is physically or emotionally. But that feels impossible when they’re still in my life.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. manyofus1980 says:

    you aren’t being juvenile. It is a normal response your having. I am so sorry you don’t feel loved by them. I know that hurts so much. I am sending hugs to you hun. much love and many safe hugs. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Thank you for the reassurance that I am not being totally crazy. And for the hugs of course. Laura

      Liked by 1 person

      1. manyofus1980 says:

        Hi Laura, my blog has gone Private, if you’d like to request access please go ahead, I just needed to control who was reading it, please request access if you want to xxx šŸ’

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Laura says:

        OK. Hope you’re alright x

        Liked by 1 person

      3. manyofus1980 says:

        Yeah doing well thanks, just had to go private because of some negative comments I got from people who didn’t really know me but wanted to judge me on my therapy process


      4. Laura says:

        I’m sorry to hear that, glad you’ve managed to protect yourself from it. Rubbish that you had to have that experience though.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. These feelings are NOT juvenile. You are reacting to the truth of your abuse then abandonment and rejection. Your truth is important and your voice matters. Their lies are devastating.

    Liked by 1 person

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