|One of my favorite places|
One of the most difficult parts of life for me is sitting with uncomfortable feelings. Yep, just sitting. Not saying or doing anything, either overtly or covertly, to manipulate situations more to my liking and comfort. I had opportunities to practice just sitting in the stew on this trip. It wasn't like things were bad, they weren't, but I was aware of so many of my tendencies, of my past behaviors in response to others. I didn't act (out) upon them (much ;-)), but instead I was just aware of what was happening around me and how much I wanted other people to change so that I would feel better.
I am still struggling for balance in my familial relationships - to be able to be with them and love them where they are - without trying to change them. Attempting to change other people, even for their "own good" just doesn't work. It doesn't work with an alcoholic, it doesn't work with a drug addict, and it doesn't work for any kind of addiction/disease model. Everyone's journey is just their own and I have no business trying to make it mine. I do feel so badly that my sister is doing so much of the heavy lifting (literally and figuratively), but she's an adult and is making her own choices. Watching that dance is really the most painful for me, but I can only save myself.
This trip had me on the horns of a dilemma and I don't really know how to proceed. It will certainly take some more thoughtful meditation to determine what the best course of action to be. At its' very basic level, our family function primarily manifests itself in debilitating lack of self-esteem. In order to maintain the "balance", each person is required to prop up, support, deny, enhance, do whatever it takes to ensure the emperor doesn't ever find out that he is buck-ass nekkid. So for me, it comes down to this 1. I can't do that anymore. I just can't. and 2. I don't know what to do instead of. By withholding, I'm perceived as being critical, but I absolutely can't go along with the old behaviors. People change at the rate of pain and if I'm always buffering the outcomes, nothing changes.
My first objective on this trip was to be of service, but to do so in a way that did not lead to any resentments. That was the best I could do. I tried to set my boundaries and equally important, to respect others right to set their own. And I don't feel any resentments, just more sadness. I don't know if the pathology itself is actually getting worse, or I just see it much more clearly and certainly feel some level of shame and embarrassment in knowing how I must have looked when I was playing the energy-sucking vampire in full-out "all about me" mode. I got to see what some of my worst character traits look like when in full bloom and I can certainly see the roots of my social/friendship difficulties originate. How much of this is actual pathology or just learned behavior, I don't know? But I am happy to say that I am working hard to change this way of relating - and it's even coming a little bit easier. So for that, I am grateful.
Healthwise, I made good choices until Friday, when I went off the rails and stayed that way for a full 24 hours. I seem to always struggle at the end of travels - especially on the return home day. And yesterday proved to be a trying day, with lots of time spent in airports. I finally got home at 5:30 am this morning.
This wasn't a vacation trip for me, it was fully designed as service work, in order to help better manage my expectations. And that proved to be a good strategy. I don't know if they are getting worse or if I'm getting better, but the distance between where we are is growing and that is not comfortable for me.
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.