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Life Goes On (was Oh Well?) Part 3

Old 11-17-2020, 12:11 AM
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I am not close with my former brother (now my sister) and she had a similar relationship as FMN describes between her bro and mother.

I am trying to think how I could help her if a similar issue arose. I think I would reach out but knowing my help would be rejected.

My sister was also angry all the time. Turns out that may have had more to do with her gender issues than what she directed her anger at, but she still blames me for pretty much everything that has ever gone wrong in her life. In a way I am happy to be the punching bag if that what she needs, but it means we have no relationship and it makes me sad sometimes.

Watching recent events unfold makes me realise how important blame is to many in dealing with life in this complex and changing world. But its unhealthy for all the obvious reasons -- I have been thinking a lot about this lately because I think many of us, including me, don't blame others, we blame ourselves, which is worse. But acknowledging there is no one to "blame" then we just need to do the next best thing, that can be terrifying.

Net net, I would offer an ear -- all that anger is really fear... you don't even have to couch it in terms of the drinking, just a general offer of an ear and see what happens. I know what my sister would do, but people surprise us.

X
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Old 11-17-2020, 07:07 AM
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O,
May your daughter find peace and sobriety. Yes, she will want to leave. We all do. No one wants to be in rehab. Just like no one wants to go to AA but we are doing what is necessary to correct the course. 28 days is a blip.

I think eventually people want to do the things that provide sobriety (AA and such) due to the benefits. It takes a bit of soul searching to get there though.

Thank you for being here, O. I so look forward to reading your thoughts and adventures. I appreciate you immensely.
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Old 11-17-2020, 02:13 PM
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Au contraire mon frer, I want to go to AA. I found the right groups and am a little disappointed when I have to miss them. I used to not want to go before I found my own sail, but I can sincerely say that it's a pleasure now. I don't have to go to stay sober, but I find it useful to go as an adjunct to my own journey into being a better me.

^^^ This from a person who definitely did NOT want to go for the longest time - even while I was going.

You're dead on about the soul searching. Took a lot of that for me; not easy, but the payoff has been tremendous.

I'm so pleased that you are back in our midst, Mizz. It goes both ways.
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Old 11-17-2020, 02:15 PM
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Hey Drops.
You're a good un.
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Old 11-17-2020, 03:27 PM
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Eldest called today from her counselor's office. There wasn't really much to say, but we chit-chatted and filled up some time just making contact. I think I did fine until the very last. She told me they'd not allowed her to have her books (I really think that's wrong - they were recovery materials. I experienced similar censorship in the first rehab I went to.). Knowing that meant all she had was the Big Book, I said, "ok read that then - You know what I say: the first 164 pages; the rest are just stories." If I'd not told her what to do, I would've been fine, but I think that last part was off-putting.

Oh, well.
I do the best I can and it's pretty easy for me to recognize right away when I'm off the beam. That's something, right?

Originally Posted by fini View Post
how do you experience what you see as your otherness in the context of being part of a group? the “lone wolf thing” and the “belonging thing”? .
I don't know quite how to describe it without invoking the "everyone feels that way" response that seems to be automatic when I try to express this, fini. But I'll try, and maybe you'll relate a little bit.

First off, my response to the oft-stated "everyone feels that way" is an internal scream that's muted now that I've come to understand that most people will never comprehend how very "other" I feel. And that's ok. It's not their job to understand that - it's mine. On the other hand, it's pretty lonely not being able to find others who understand. It's not something one talks about in everyday life, after all.

(Looking inward to make sure I'm being honest and not overstating my case here...)

The only two times I can remember feeling like I truly belonged in any group (including my family and my birth family) or relationship are the times I was on the ground floor of a new enterprise. I believe that being a founder is the only thing that ever made me feel like a legitimate member; I was there first, I had a hand in how things go, so I belonged. I think maybe what I felt is that I had some kind of ownership. This lasted the entire duration of a decade or so at my former job and it's happened periodically throughout the years during my current employment. Perhaps I only feel I belong when I have some control.

At least until recently. There is an AA group where I feel like I have been welcomed with open arms and will one day fully "belong" I don't really know what that means or when I'll recognize it, but I do think it's possible. I'm not in control there, but I feel very compatible with that group of people - even the few who are kind of annoying. Thinking about it now, I do think that part of my sense of belonging is rooted in the format of the meeting. We're all remote from each other. The social cues and customs are muted or curtailed. I don't have to experience that thing where I hang out after the meeting and inevitably feel on the outside of things. Approaching a group of (or a couple of) people and not being greeted or even acknowledged, then slinking away in self-conscious shame.

In literally every other relationship or group that I can think of (including my families), I've always felt an other-ness. Like that celebrity worship thing. I never understood why girls got a crush on the quarterback or went all dreamy over a teen idol. I couldn't even pretend to join in on that kind of stuff. Like the sports thing. I like the Packers as much as the next guy, but I honestly only pay attention to them when they're in the Super Bowl (sometimes) or if I want to "belong" by ribbing someone around here about the Redskins. Like the soccer mom thing. God, I couldn't do that At All. My kids played soccer. I watched. There was no community for me in that. Like the book club thing. For the life of me, I don't understand what's fun about discussing a book in a group - that seems like torture to me. Like the church thing. I don't feel it. I don't feel that communal goodness others seem to feel when they worship with others. Like romantic relationships. Or even friendships with other women. I can't relax. It never feels just right like it seems to for other people. I don't mean perfect companionship ; I'm pretty sure that doesn't exist - I just mean the comfort one feels being in the company of someone without needing to be self-vigilant at all times.

I guess that's the thing, fini. I don't feel it. I feel connectedness to the whole of humanity, the whole of nature, and yet I don't feel like I belong anywhere in particular. And it's not a matter of "fitting in" - I can fit in anywhere I make up my mind to do that. But it's all an act. Do you know what I mean? I'm just alone and don't know if I'll ever be able to connect with another human (much less a group of humans) in the way I know I'm capable of connecting. There's something "other" about me that seems to prohibit that.

This all sounds very lonely and desperate as I read over it, and I suppose maybe it is. I mean, for sure the lonely bit. But I'm learning to be ok with not belonging in a lonesome (as opposed to lonely) way. I'm learning that perhaps I am essentially more "other" than other people are? And I'm reconciling to it - losing the desperation that required drinking to escape my discomfort with being "other." I don't know, maybe this lack of bonding that feels genuine and safe and true is common to everyone. I sure hope not - if everyone was just acting, that would be very sad, wouldn't it?

Does any of that make sense or approximate what you feel?
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Old 11-17-2020, 10:49 PM
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O,

You are so much better at this than I am with my daughters. I cannot seem to stop myself from trying to fix things for them, not even sure how hard I try not to do it. I know that is probably not good for either of us, so maybe I need to try harder.

Your post about not feeling a part of things really gave me food for thought. I have more friends than anyone I know and a nice partner etc etc, but I wonder how much I really feel a part of them or fully accepted (they would fall over if they knew I said that BTW). You said -- if everyone was just acting, that would be very sad, wouldn't it? -- I think to some extent we all are, and that is more true for addicts than others because that otherness, whatever causes it, is often part of what led us to become addicts.

My guru lady said something during a meditation the other day that made me think of you. She said, accept your birthright -- your right to be here.

I think to some extent that is my issue. I have always felt that I needed to earn my place in this world, rather than accepting that I have a right to be here just as much as everyone else and no more, and that no-one gains by me playing small. Relationships should not be transactional, we each have our place and if we just do the next right thing as we see it, everyone wins. Sounds trite, but I think it is a core issue for me related to my procrastination etc etc.

What you said about being at a start-up also hit home. I also have it when I am working with a group on a big issue -- it is that feeling of being in the flow, having a common purpose. I don't have it often, but it is a great feeling.

XX
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Old 11-18-2020, 06:42 AM
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I would like to add to the "otherness."
I'm not sure if this applies but here it goes......

I have ALWAYS felt like a visitor. Not a permanent dweller here on this large round thing that is circling another large round thing....
All of this is fleeting. I also have never felt "home." I have driven the same streets for the last 13 years. I know the ins and outs. the secret this and that, but I still feel "detached" and ungrounded in some way. When I hear people speak of this area being their home, I "feel" like they have the ownership of that statement and I do not. Taking my seat and "owning" where I am is very foreign to me and I do not know how to "own" it. I have the same "ownership" rights as everyone else. I just find myself in the "separateness" of IT all.

This also applies to friendships and family.

Ive asked my SO if he "feels" like is from here. I've asked if this giant ball of a planet is the place that is his home? He has responded with an emphatic YES! I don't identify.

Life is surreal to me and I think about its bizarreness everyday, to be honest.

The above may or may not apply. Its all I've got
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Old 11-18-2020, 09:35 AM
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yes, O, i think i know what you mean, and what you are describing makes sense to me, in the way of recognizing.
as does what Dropsie and Mizz say.
wow.
what a conversation.
does "other"equal "outside"?
and does feeling this way mean it IS this way? who gets to define "inside/outside"?
i don't remember my very early years too well, but remember clearly my elementary school: two classrooms, one for grades 1 to 4, the other for grades 5 to 8 . (this was in a very small german village, different school system). grades 1 to 4 : we had one teacher in that one room, for all four grades, about 25 kids in total, sitting at four different tables, depending on grade. somewhere in grade 2/3, teacher and my parents decided i should skip a grade as i seemed bored and ahead of others academically.
it was a deathknell, of course. socially, i was an outcast: moved from one table to another, equally detested and found just too odd by those whose table i left and the ones at the table i tried to join, but never really could.
and i simply wasn't emotionally prepared for that, and it followed me all through highschool, being the youngest by far, never really "getting" where the other teens were at.
who knows how that impacted everything later...not sure. no matter. belonging, i think, has been the theme in/of my life. not belonging. though that is not the same as fitting in.
one of the impactful statements a guy i talked with a lot on my old forum made was to the effect that he decides where and to what group he belongs, whether the group thinks so or not.
this was stunning news to me. still is. it tells me that "feeling belonging" is not the requirement. at least, not for everyone.
and what changes if we ourselves decide where we belong? and if/when we/i decide this is the feeling different? which then impacts, again, how we might act?
i'm going off on tangents...too much to talk about and think about all at once
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Old 11-18-2020, 02:30 PM
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Yezz, Mizz - it definitely applies. I was just thinking the same type of thing earlier today. That I could live the rest of my life (maybe 30 years?) in this neighborhood where I've been for the last 15 years and would still never feel like I belonged, like this was "my" neighborhood. It came up in the context of my brain thinking about moving somewhere else. I thought, "Oh, but I'd never be part of that new neighborhood." But it doesn't matter if I don't feel part of this one, right?*

And that makes me think maybe there's some freedom to be found in this feeling. If I don't belong anywhere I could "be" anywhere. No need to let my shoes gather moss (or clay, or whatever it is that shoes gather).

fini, that other-ness you describe when moved up a class is akin to how I felt starting in first grade. I didn't feel other in kindergarten, but when I switched to the new school - bam! There is was. I don't know why, just was. I was never smart enough to skip a grade though!

That guy who decides he belongs - why do you say "feeling belonging" is then not the requirement? When you tell about this guy, I get the sense he does feel it. He decides and therefore he feels. Done.

* In all fairness, I have no desire to be a part of this neighborhood. It doesn't seem like the type of neighborhood I'd like to live in long-term. Ha! I'd say of course I didn't leave after the girls got done with school - I was too busy drinking myself to death. But then again, had I left, maybe everything else would have all played out differently. There's no way to know. But I do know I don't really have a desire to leave or to stay because it doesn't seem to matter. I'm holding out hope that might change. Like, you know... ten months ago I had this passive death wish and today I have a slightly more than passive life wish, so that's a change right there.
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Old 11-18-2020, 02:47 PM
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Drops, I'm dumbfounded that you think I'm "better" at this mothering thing than you are. Highly unlikely. I'm just doing my best to stay far away from all of the land mines hidden out there. Plus also they've walled themselves off from me emotionally to varying degrees. Which has increased (or reinforced?) the transactional nature in which they interact with me. Having stripped away their trust by disappointing them so sorely for so long, I don't feel much like a mother at this point - more like the person they could always rely on for rides and tuition and cosigning a loan.

But really, in context with the previous discussion, that's pretty much like I've always felt our relationships have been. Even middlest, with whom I have always shared this special bond... that's there, but we've very rarely talked about feelings - hers or mine. Her forte has always been social contracting - something I admire, but not in an "it brings us closer" sort of way. Eldest has been leaning on me, but I keep my distance from her in some ways because when she gets too close, she starts trying to "own" me. "Mom, you should just xyz." "Mom, you need to moisturize." "Mom, you never have any fun - you should come do aerial silks with me."

So that part of feeling disconnected, feeling other; it does make me sad. But I think that's probably a holdover from the relationship I would have always liked to have with my mom. fini is right, tangents abound.
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Old 11-18-2020, 03:14 PM
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something bad(?) would happen if you let her 'own' you?
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Old 11-18-2020, 04:10 PM
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I elaborate a little bit. Sometimes, a very good gift to give someone is to accept a gift given by them. If your daughter is trying to help you, in her way, why not let her, in her way?
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Old 11-18-2020, 08:33 PM
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Aerial silks.
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Old 11-19-2020, 04:34 AM
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Thank you all for your insights after my brain dump (heart dump?) on O's thread. I might just reach out to my brother. Maybe just a text. He's not ready for more. And I have no desire to get bitten. Hearing the things he says to my mother, all the while insisting he's sober, makes my heart sick. He's abusing her and taking advantage of her desperate wish to have all her kids be okay as she heads towards her eighties. He's flinging mud and making up memories.
I do have the knowledge and experience that *might* help him, but oh my goodness he's so angry. Perhaps it is fear, Mizz.
In another thread, some time ago, I was struck when someone said alcoholics basically stop evolving emotionally when they start drinking heavily. That's my brother. His behavior reminds me of a sullen, pouty, foot-stomping, door-slamming teenager. I want him to grow up already. Which of course isn't possible when alcohol is in the picture.
I don't mean to be hard on him. I have piles of empathy for him. It's just my Mom and her role in this that makes me sad, and I have a sinking feeling this is what it's going to be. Forever. She's a grownup and I can't tell her what to do, but that doesn't mean I'm not carrying a low-grade sadness all the time. Imagine how SHE feels. Blech.

Fini, regarding your forum friend—hands up to him. I'm just now realizing, mid-forties, that I actually get to decide what group I want to be part of. Which mostly is NO group. I've got my work and home pods and that fills me up just fine, thankyouverymuch. I'm just recently able to say, "No thanks," when I'm invited to do something and recognize I don't want to do it. It's such a shame that it takes so much time, doesn't it? I spent so much time trying to belong everywhere, and it turns out I can choose to only belong to me.

O, I got a kick out of arial silks. I have a sister who is constantly trying to get people to do silks with her. It's annoying. I'm sure it's transformative (as she tells EVERYONE, CONSTANTLY, on her social media pages) but it's just not a group I want to be part of (see paragraph above).
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Old 11-19-2020, 09:03 AM
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"That guy who decides he belongs - why do you say "feeling belonging" is then not the requirement? When you tell about this guy, I get the sense he does feel it. He decides and therefore he feels. Done."

i don't know if he feels it. i don't agree that we decide and then, therefore, feel it. certainly, that is not what happens to me.
and i wonder if it is a requirement because...well, because i don't know. can i know i "belong" without feeling belonging? can i intellectually know this while actually feeling apart and other?
thinking now of how i decided to live in a co-op, decades ago, where i still live. talk about being other while being a longtime member and belonging without feeling belonging
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Old 11-19-2020, 02:46 PM
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Grymt, I feel like she seeks to "own me" because she is telling me what she thinks would be good or fun for me through the lens of what she thinks is good or fun for her. Simple example - "Mom, let's have a movie night at your house!" I agree and we end up watching a movie she wants to watch even after asking me what I suggest we could watch. (Every choice of mine rejected.) So I watch what she wants to watch.

"Mom, you need to start dating again," despite knowing I was still drinking and even I knew that was a bad idea. Aerial silks? I am awkward, not in the least bit athletically inclined , have no upper body strength, and am very self-conscious about my physical self. Would I like to go to a smelly loft and play around with a bunch of lithe and nimble 28 year old people? Not so much. But I did try it once.

I know I should let people do things for me and I'm even ok with asking people to do things for me from time to time, but this type of "doing for me" feels much like breakfast in bed for Mother's Day. It was not enjoyable for me - it was something I did for my children because they wanted to make it a special day for me. That's something you do, a mother does, for small children. But I think there is a time for children to grow up and actually think about things their parent might want to do or enjoy doing.

Don't you think?
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Old 11-19-2020, 03:13 PM
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fini, I'm not suggesting you can decide that you belong and then you can feel it. That's not how it works for me. But it's feasible - and I'd venture even likely - that this is indeed how it works for him. In general, that seems to be a male way of being, doesn't it? I think we can belong even if we don't feel it though. Present situation in my household is a good example - I don't feel like I "belong" with these people who are living here, but I sure do belong in my own house. When I feel disrespected or slighted by their lack of regard for how I like to keep my house, I can assert my wishes confidently and expect them to be responsive. In the past, living with my daughters, I felt awkward and out of place much of the time. Still my house, but I sure didn't feel like I "belonged." Which leads me to think it's all a matter of how we think of ourselves in relation to others, perhaps especially how we think of ourselves in relation to ourselves.

I don't think I belong with aerial silk people and that's ok - I have no longing to be part of that crowd or scene. I've no idea if I'll ever feel like I belong with another person, am truly connected to any person in my 3D world (aside from Daniel, who I pay for the privilege ). But I'd like to think that could happen. And I'd also like to think I could create a small close community one day. That could happen too. But I don't know if I'd ever be able to join such a community and feel belonging/true connection. That's definitely got to be one of my shortcomings, I think. Has to do with ego for sure - too little of it expressed in a way that looks like too much.

Like Groucho Marx, I'd never want to be part of a club that would have me.
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Old 11-19-2020, 03:26 PM
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FMN, it sure sounds to me like your brother is full of fear. Of course, that's no excuse for the way he is treating your mom, but you're right - it's ultimately her choice to enable him as she does and there's nothing you can do (or maybe ought to do) about the decisions she makes. It's circular in a vexing way, isn't it? When you see someone you love enabling another person and then getting taken advantage of even more, it's like watching a crazy confusing scene where someone just needs to Turn Off the Strobe Light, fer God's sake!

I'm typing on this tiny keyboard I got to go with my tablet so that I can do personal stuff in a place that's NOT my office where I work all day long. So I can't remember what else you said and don't know how to not lose this post while I try to look back. But I do know you said "maybe I'll text him." Would that be meaningful to him? No need to answer - I just am thinking it might be best to know what you expect to give him (or yourself?) if you do decide to reach out.
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Old 11-19-2020, 07:34 PM
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O, i don’t even have a clue what aerial silk people are and what they do.
sigh.
i will have to google now.
which is okay, since i’m on the couch. which is exactly where i belong.

not trying to make light of what you said or the conversation in general. just kinda tired.
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Old 11-19-2020, 07:36 PM
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oh i see!
yes, i have seen folks perform in aerial silks. fantastic stuff!
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