The past is the past : building bridges


I don’t like being told not to look into my past for I do believe the past is the soil we grew out of and some of us didn’t get a lot of good fertiliser.  At the same time I do need to remember that the past is now past.  It did have a massive influence on me (and still does), but just because certain things or relationships were some way in the past that does not necessarily mean that they are that way now.  And often if I assume they are I can miss out on new gifts and possibilities in the present.

I had lunch with my sister today.  Our relationship hasn’t been as close as the relationship I had with my older sister who died a few years ago.  Also my sister has had a lot of her own challenges and losses too and at one point she was really struggling with these at a time I was in another desperately lonely, abandoned place.  My marriage ended first and she didn’t show much empathy at the time.  We also had a history where for the later years of my adolescence she was my boss and so it wasn’t possible to have a cosy friendship as I was constantly being forced to perform to standards that did not really suit me.  I am not really a very business minded person though coming from a business family that has been forced on me.  It doesn’t really sit well with my true nature.  And as I have shared in other blogs and poems I was forced away from my more romantic, artistic, poetic side when I was maturing and it was a big wound for me that is still healing and a cleave too.

My sister had over 5 separate hospitalisations for depression following her marriage ending in a very painful way about 8 years ago.  She went through so much, including Electro Convulsive Therapy which is something I would not want my worst enemy to have to go through. I blatantly believe it doesn’t help heal the older traumas and in the end it re-traumatises the person.  Often, too, it is undertaken from a very desperate place when they feel nothing much else is working.  Seeing how she was stunned into silence and near catatonia over 4 years ago was so painful to witness even though we were never super close.

So to see my sister doing so well now and really making such an effort to live her life alone I am very humbled I must say.  I feel so proud of her while also feeling sad that her true feelings good and difficult haven’t been validated well either by family.  Today at lunch she was sharing some things that made me realise how we have both carried similar wounds, similar but different and how often I have related to my sister from that wounded place when she hasn’t validated my feelings much.  In short I felt a kind of cosy healing with us today.  I saw how much I longed for from my sister that she wasn’t equipped to give but also how she has done the best she really knew how considering the circumstances of her younger life were a bit easier than mine I don’t feel she had it as hard but maybe it was hard in different way.  The family was more connected when she was growing up, than when I was.  I used to feel so sad and angry about this but now I see despite how hard it was it was just the way our life was, I carried the wounds and scars from it and so does my sister but in different areas.   Nowadays we can have a closer relationship freer from the burden of unrealistic expectations of each other, I hope.

Growing to emotional adulthood for me means being my own best parent.  Seeing and feeling and making sense of the wounds of my past that led me to here,  knowing that the past did have an effect but is now past leaving me with liabilities but also the promise of healing or at least becoming aware of more productive healing ways to go about things. Being supported in my decision to not go forward into the new house by both my mother and sister has meant a lot to me.  It feels as though I am finally being seen and my wishes and needs respected.  I am very grateful for that.

As I was just outside sweeping up some autumn leaves I was thinking of the image of building a bridge over a huge chasm.  I was thinking how its never too late for disconnection to be healed.  We just have to be willing to reach out, to make a tentative step forward, often on trust that has not yet been proven to be warranted. Sometimes we will fail to connect again, sometimes we may get hurt again, but sometimes we won’t and as we make difficult progress we come to know ourselves better.  We will then have more tools to cope with whatever outcome we meet on the bridge that we are working to build over the chasm of our past.



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