Reality Checks & Balances

This weekend I had a much needed reality check to balance things out.  Last month marked 2 years of the estrangement with my mother, my brother and his wife.   I’m feeling more acceptance of it, though I  still feel some flares of anger over it.  Fortunately, the sadness I felt over it from November-April seems to have abated and I’m functioning a lot better.  I’m not sure why,  but I have an easier time being angry than being sad.  My guess would be it has something to do with power vs. powerlessness.    This weekend I had a flare up of the anger.  Normally, I save my rants and vents for here and keep Facebook light with things about coffee, commuting and the weather. 

But I guess Father’s Day was bringing up feelings about family and my anger at how things were such that I couldn’t even contact my bro to wish him a Happy Father’s Day or that it was one of the days we’d check in with each other as it was also near the anniversary date of our dad’s death. 

So I was listening to music.  Even though Sinead O’Connor’s Jealous is about a romantic relationship, I feel some of the lyrics apply to any relationship.  Particularly the ones  about not deserving to be “punished” by being made to feel lonely, etc.   I’ve put the lyrics I relate to in bold and have included a link to the video. 

You’re jealous
You just can’t stand to see me get along without you
Like I do, you told me to
Now you’re jealous
You don’t know how hard it was to be alone without you
And wanting you, like I do
I would have stayed if you’d wanted
Would have been willing
But you said I treat you so badly
I can’t be forgiven
You know I would have done anything
To make it through with you
But I don’t deserve to be lonely
Just cuz you say I do

I don’t deserve to be so lonely
I don’t deserve to cry
I don’t deserve to be lonely

I’m still  not sure why I didn’t go here and post about it, but I posted a link to the video and some background on the estrangement on Facebook instead.   Then after a couple of hours, realized it wasn’t appropriate and took it down. 

I felt myself obsessing over it the next day.  Did anyone see it?  Are they going to judge me for it?  Are they going to think less or me, not want anything to do with me? 

I’d vented inappropriately twice before on Facebook, once right after the estrangement and again when I found through one of my cousins my brother rarely talks to that my niece had been born.  I deleted those too within hours.  I was beating myself up, saying how could I be so stupid to do that again, etc.   I was berating myself for doing that 3 times within the space of nearly 3 years.

Then I realized, I’m not perfect.  I did something wrong, so what?  And I realize it’s something other people have done on Facebook as well, some even far more frequently than others.  Which made me challenge my conclusion that people were going to judge me.  I thought about how I felt when I read peoples rants/vents on spouses, divorce, family drama, etc.  I didn’t judge them or dislike them, usually what I feel is mainly concern and compassion for them and the pain they’re in.    If it’s appropriate, I’ll reach out to see if they’re ok and if they need to talk. 

Once I thought of it that way, I realized that if anyone had seen my post, they’d probably be feeling concern and compassion for me, not judgment or hate.    And that I could feel these things for myself instead of beating myself up.   It just shows how entrenched that conditioning is that it’s still popping up.   But with the old reality checks and balances, it can be undone. 

Reassuring myself, I was able to calm myself down instead of getting into an escalating spiral of anxiety.   And I spent less time obssessing over than I would have otherwise.  I actually went on to enjoy the rest of my weekend.

2 thoughts on “Reality Checks & Balances

  1. That’s great that you could enjoy your weekend! I agree that self-compassion is a much more constructive response than beating yourself up. It’s based on much more realistic expectations too. Everybody screws up once in a while. That’s just life. If you only made that mistake 3 times in 3 years, you’re ahead of the curve. Particularly since you noticed and fixed the problem.

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