Archive for December 28th, 2007

Pink flower (c) Lynda Bernhardt

Over the holiday season, I have spent a lot of time with dysfunctional family. Let’s just say that I am really missing my (functional) friends right now. It is really hard to spend a lot of time with dysfunctional people. These are people who I love, but I can no longer connect in the way I used to. Or, it is probably more accurate to say that I am now more aware of the lack of connection that has always been there.

When I spend time with my functional friends, we talk about all sorts of things. We can talk for hours about things that don’t matter and, more importantly, the things that do. We enjoy connecting by spending focused time together. Contrast this with my time with dysfunctional family. What do we do together? Watch TV shows and make snarky comments. With one of these family members, we can talk about important things over the phone, but it is all very shallow when we are together in person. It makes me sad.

I am noticing more of the ways in which my dysfunctional family members are clueless about the basics of interacting with other people, and I keep asking myself how they could not know these very basic things (like saying, “Thank you,” when somebody does something nice for you). I have to keep reminding myself that the real question is how **I** now know these things. They are not the ones who have changed – I have.

I find myself grieving, but it is hard to pinpoint specifically what it is that I am grieving. I do not want to go back to being emotionally unhealthy. I am very grateful for my health. However, my emotional health has come with the cost of losing relationships that were once very special to me. I now see how dysfunctional they were, but they were special to me nonetheless.

I guess I am realizing that we no longer really fit into one another’s lives any longer, and that hurts. I have already lost so much throughout my lifetime, thanks to the abuse, and now I am experiencing more losses. But then I have to ask if there was ever anything to lose. The relationships were probably always this empty, but I was just too emotionally unhealthy to see it. So, then, what exactly am I grieving? The loss of innocence about these relationships? The loss of what I thought those relationships were?

All I know is that I have a heavy heart today. I am going to let myself feel the sadness so I will not have to carry it around with me. I know that I only have to hang in there for one more week and then life will get back to normal.

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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