Last week I reached out to a friend I hadn't seen in a while and asked if she wanted to meet for lunch and meet Baby. We got together yesterday and I had a great time, it was so worth the initial anxiety of leaving my comfort zone. It was so good to have someone to really talk with-actually taking turns listening and sharing!
It wasn't all roses though. This friend is a family friend, a coworker of my mother's that became a part of our lives many years back but lately there has been drama between my mom, my sister, and her. When I moved north with the hubby I didn't see much of her and I certainly wasn't involved in whatever precipitated the falling out but I knew of the tension.
She doesn't know about my sister's pregnancy and despite a micromanaging text from my mother telling me not to talk about my sister, this friend and I were both feeling torn up and we had a decompressing session-and I managed NOT to spill the beans. It felt a little gossipy but mostly therapeutic. Neither of us wanted to "talk about" anyone, we care about my sister and my mom, but we were both suffering and needed to talk it out with someone, and it was perfect timing that we got together.
I ended up feeling validated, which we all know is a rare thing for me! I also felt a little embarrassed about my role in my first family; how tolerant I've been, how I've taken so much for so long, had the wool pulled over my eyes, and blamed myself for issues that aren't my fault. I've felt like the fragile one, the crazy one, the charity case of the family and now I'm finally seeing a different perspective-a perspective that feels more true than the skewed angle I've lived with and been miserable with for so many years.
My sister's issues and my mom's difficulties aren't my responsibility. It's heart breaking but very likely that my mom will continue to enable my sister with her crisis reactions and patch jobs, preventing my sister from getting the help she needs and from taking responsibility for herself. It's also likely that my mom will end up picking up the pieces when my sister self-destructs with even more on the line-baby and hubby and so forth. Even Superman couldn't help people who don't want to help themselves and I can't be expected to fix problems this big-or problems of any size that aren't mine!
I hope someday my sister will find a better path. I hope that she'll get back into therapy and stay for more than a few sessions, that she'll go to doctors and listen and care enough about herself to make changes in her life instead of letting her physical health suffer and mental health issues run rampant (she seems to have a rougher case of bipolar than I, undiagnosed and untreated). I don't know if her current situation (the rush to the altar/oops baby) is all related to her neglected health but I'm sure it's connected to some degree. She had plans and goals; marrying young, having a baby in college and out of wedlock wasn't in the script. I have a hard time thinking that she did this on purpose, that her pregnancy is a cry for help, but the thought is there and it haunts me and tears my heart. I have my doubts that marriage and baby right now is what she really wants.
I felt bad about feeling so negative about my sister's situation but I realize now that I don't have to. They're just feelings, an opinion that could be wrong, and just because I view the situation a certain way doesn't mean that I don't support and love my family. I love and support, but with limits and boundaries and my own point of view... and that's okay. It's messy and confusing and feels strange, but change is good. It's okay. I'm growing some backbone, taking a stand and I'm okay. The strangeness is worth it.
I hope to see this friend more often now. I felt a burden of family fidelity but my sister and mom's side of the story never made a lot of sense to me. I assumed my family was right but now I'm not convinced. In reality, it doesn't matter who was right or wrong or what "side" I'm on-there are no sides, just losers. Everyone loses with a stupid situation like this. I hope lines of communication open up again but if not, I'll see them all separately-I certainly can't afford a friend with my limited stock! And regardless this gal is a good friend. I'm sorry I ever felt like I needed to "stay clear."
Changes are rolling out....