Any of you have a family member who makes you feel less than?
You know they love you – they have to – they’re family after all.
But … they don’t do anything that makes you feel loved, much less liked.
Maybe they loved who you used to be. Who you used to be as a child … before you grew up and had your own experiences and insight to offer.
I have someone whose actions leave me feeling as such and being around her has been trying at best.
I walked on egg shells. I stifled my naturally boisterous laugh. I ceased having an opinion or an experience worth sharing. To put it simply: I shrank.
I could not be myself because she does not accept me.
Wow! You’ve really put on weight. God your boobs are huge now.
Have you ever considered having your teeth fixed?
You’re so … loud.
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If this were a girlfriend, we would not be friends.
If this were a co-worker, I would have transferred.
If this were a neighbor, I would duck in as the garage door closed and stay out of sight.
But … sadly … this is family. And when someone in your family behaves like this, they make family feel like the ultimate “F” word.
The advice I’ve been given is, “Oh … just let it go in one ear and out the other.”
But I can’t. Because when I allow her barbs leave a mark, it’s like saying it’s OK to do so.
Last fall, after many conversations with the hubbs, I heeded his advice and took a relationship sabbatical.
I stopped calling.
I stopped engaging. I just stopped.
I waited to see what would happen .. and not a thing did.
I created a void that was never filled. And that, THAT my friends, that was THE life lesson. The relationship I thought we had? I was the glue holding our broken china together. Without my loyalty and effort towards to our shared past.. the pieces fell away.
Was it easy? No it was not.
Pain. Tears. Frustration. Anger. Disappointment. and then …over time, something else crept in. Something unrecognizable and twofold … self-acceptance and …. later, peace.
In the absence of that one-way relationship, I found someone else.
I found myself.
We will see each other again when I visit Mom soon. And this time? This time my shoulders will be back and I will arrive with an opinion, fabulous cleavage, shiny lipstick, sequins and all of the other quirks and oddities about me that annoy the you-know-what out of her.
She doesn’t like me, and I can’t change it.
But it’s no longer as important to me as it once was.
Because I like who I am .. and I’ve stopped asking for permission to do so.
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How about you? Ever had to deal with a family member who “loves” you but isn’t … loving? Can you see yourself in my story?