Choose (your) life

People can change, they just need to want to…

As these are meant to be about change in some way or other, I would like to first speak of making a choice. As I have mentioned in a past post, some changes can come about organically. Yet I understand this is still a choice; one must be open to that change, whether it is of an emotional, mental, physical or spiritual nature. I am grateful every day to now be in a place that, though I’m still human and in no way perfect, I am living in a state of fluidity. I allow myself those moments of stubborn resistance when they spring up, but I am self-aware and push myself to resist the urge to dwell in those moments. After all, familiarity is comfortable and easy, no matter how negative it may be. But I choose to live my life now, and no longer to make others happy, or keep the peace, or because it’s what I ‘should’ be doing. That means that the fluid nature of the way I feel now opens up a lot more options to change and for me to embrace them with open arms.

I was a carefully chosen recipient of an email this morning. I wasn’t the only one, but this email was a crazy response to a discussion and misunderstanding between my father and his youngest sibling. Needless to say, I deleted it, checked in with the uncle in question as well as their brother of reason, and kept moving. But I had seen the recipient list, a malicious dig at the “weakest”, or seemingly more sensitive, within his immediate family most likely to react to his ‘rebuttal’ (in the sender’s view. Trust me, I’ve spent years dealing with this stuff, I could write a research paper off the top of my head). It must be said at this point that, for reasons I will cover another day, I have not spoken to or had contact with my father (to call him ‘dad’ would imply affection, which only applies to childhood stories and memories) for about ten years now. That’s just under a third of my life, which is a recognition of time passed I had not had until this point.

To be fair, he has his reasons for being the way he is, and I would never deny him the pain or recognition of his hardships. What I cannot move beyond is his choice to live his life dwelling on these points, not taking responsibility for his own actions not connected to his traumas, having the professional and emotional help and support and choosing to walk away from it. As a result of his choices to remain in the world of confusion, anger and agony, he has become a person I no longer know. He is resentful, angry, sad, bitter, and completely self-focused. Not a tiny bit like the person I clung to as a small child. In this newer version, I have encountered lies, manipulations, half-truths. I have been the bearer of his confessions, his unwilling counsellor, his emotional punching bag. Until I cut him out of my life and recognised instantly he was one of my biggest barriers to getting better myself.

This is not a sob story. Had I not experienced the hardships, trauma and people I have, I would not be the same person sitting here now. I am proud of myself for being able to reflect and react as healthily as I have, a milestone for me. Instead, I wish to acknowledge that we have all, most likely, experienced people like this in our innermost circles. People we believed in and trusted and supported and loved, only to have them choose the lower path. Time after time. I hate to think of how many people reach their breaking point, as I did, and still cannot shut the door for fear of the unknown. Or who continually think they have shut it, but it did not close properly (I was one of these for many years). These people who choose to remain as they are, who choose to continue exhausting their friends and family to the point of no return, they do not make your choices for you. Mostly, people like that prey on the emotionally supportive, compassionate and empathetic. It makes them feel better about the world they live in and have ‘no control over’.

This is called abuse. Let them dwell in their misery, punch the walls and try and get under everyone’s skin. It takes courage for you to recognise they are immune to your help and support and to walk away. It is OK to do this, the world will not end. If they haven’t taken heed yet, they’re not going to. If they need to lose everything and everyone in order to see clearly, then so be it; it’s not your fault. No one says you need to stop loving them, just love yourself more.

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