My therapist often points out to me the heavy cost that caring and connecting with my family can bring. I was made even more aware of this on the weekend before last when, after meeting my sister I absent mindedly banged my car into a car I didn’t see behind me when reversing. My mind was in a bit of spin at the time and I wasn’t paying attention. I often find connecting with family means I have to operate on two levels, there is a longing there that has a grief underneath it that can never be fully expressed together, I often come away brimming with tears.
After I hit the car of this younger woman that is what happened, my eyes brimmed up. I apologised and owned my lack of attention that caused the smash, “Its my fault”, I said. “No, she said, it was an accident!” This made me cry even more as I know my PTSD trauma condition often brings other traumas to me. It’s close to the anniversary of my older sister’s death and my therapist often says how important it is to be careful around anniversaries. I had the major smash up of 2005 where I sustained a serious head injury on the one year anniversary of my husband telling me he was leaving me.
Just a few weeks before while rushing to get to a funeral for a friend of my mother’s mother I didn’t realise I was in a school zone and got booked by a speed camera for doing 53 in a 40 km zone, and I very rarely speed, so it bit me. In the end going to the funeral cost me a $257 speeding fine and it wasn’t really essential that I attend. The excess on my insurance is going to cost a fair bit, but I’ve fronted up with it. In considering things and looking at the chain of events that led to them and my own motivations shows me how often I strain to be connected and when I do there can be a backlash that costs me dearly
It is something my therapist brings up a lot. She often makes the comment that connecting with my family comes at quiet a cost. Entering their world I have to operate to their likes and in trying to bond I need to show an interest in things that interest them. I do have a voice though, but there is always a lot more going on under the surface than meets the eye and at times I come away feeling that something has been taken or I have moved just a little bit outside who I really am and what I really need as a person.
The positive thing though for me these days isvthat I do connect more with others. I just have to remember that I don’t have to strain so hard to be connected. I think all of this is coming out of what I really felt that I had to repress growing up.
I think as a youngster I was naturally happy and joyous and full of life. I loved music and dancing and connection but in a much older family that was work and duty bound I had to rub a lot of the shine off. Added to this was the fact that as a very much younger sibling I was effectively like an only child. I remember crying so much at my closest sister’s wedding which took place at 14 that I embarrassed her. I never got a comfy hug of recognition. I remember my sister kind of looking down on me with shame in her expression. Should I really have been made to feel ashamed of needing and wanting to be connected?
It appears to me I learned ways to bury and hide that longing even from myself and my addiction covered it over in so many ways but was also a mixed up way of trying to connect while trying to keep my by then exquisite longing and vulnerability and fear hidden!
These days my heart does a little leap of joy in my chest when someone reaches out to me. The other day I was at the dog park and lost my keys. I had made a new friend and she helped me by taking me home to get my spare key and then dropping me back to the park. I was so touched by this help. Yesterday she rang to see how I was and see if I wanted to go for a coffee. At the coffee date she asked me all about me. That was such a new experience for me, but I was also aware of not wanting to take up too much attention at the same time, and as I write this I am aware that it is part of my programming not only from family but from a Catholic education in which I could be shamed for drawing attention to myself.
Well how interesting. A post that began about the cost of caring and connecting has somewhere along the line had a shift of focus. These days though something is calling me to become more aware of where I place my attention and needs, and to explore my motivations honestly when I feel the need to reach out and connect. Maybe that in itself is even problematic though. If I am conditioned to feel that connecting and caring comes at such a cost, then at times its difficult to be able to just spontaneously be and reach for connection. I can end up second guessing everything due to past pain without realising that new connections may bring new and different affects into my life. In the end I guess it is about being open and mindful at the same time and not overthinking to the degree that fearful thoughts block the life and love that is wanting me to just be me, trust, open, express and connect in the world free of shame self judgement and fear.