Monday, December 16, 2013

Well. Damn.

This has been floating around the web for about a week now (well, probably longer...what do I know?)...and I finally got around to watching it. And realized that that whole last post, where I bitch (if we're being honest) about my family members not living their lives, was coming from a place of sympathy (if I can even be accused of going anywhere near that emotion), rather than a place of empathy.

It's interesting to recognize this, because we talk and talk about how the family members in question are addicts, so they're not going to get help until they are ready and willing to do so. But it doesn't stop us (well, me) from coming at the situation from a perspective of "at least."

You're hurting, so you neglect your daughter. At least you have a daughter. You hurt so much you think you can't get out of bed. At least you have options, if only you were able to recognize them. At least you're alive, not strapped to a bed unconscious, unable to wake up, unable to hold your daughter.

And that's where the emotions become so damn hard to control. Just thinking about it brings up hurtful words, adjectives like "you miserable, selfish, lazy excuse of a..." and my Irish temper goes red and wishes I could shake sense into the person I'm "speaking" to...

None of us are coming at the situation from a place of empathy, and that's why nothing will get accomplished if a "talk" occurs. And that's a shame, but it's also inevitable, because the one person who needs to exercise the necessary empathy to make changes, isn't strong enough to do so, and wants those around her to do it for her instead. Which ain't gonna happen. We have our own lives.

I own Brené Brown's I Thought It Was Just Me. I admired her work and wanted to start at the beginning. It sits on my bookshelf next to the bed, alongside other "important" tomes (like The Way of the Bodhisattva), that get occasionally flipped through, but haven't been "read" yet. It's definitely time.

Meantime, I'll do what I said I would. Let my feelings be known to the people in question, so I won't choke on hypocrisy while there; and pour my love onto my niece, not in that order. The holidays are about the small ones, giving them joy. Everything else is a choice, whether or not we engage.

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