Blocked

In previous posts, I mentioned that I had a couple emotional weeks.  Part of that was the intense discussions with O and the concern I had about everything to do with that situation.  Another part was the feelings of disappointment as my one year anniversary with A came and went without the connection I so needed.  The final, and most emotionally destructive, part was another conflict with my sister.  

I can’t type it all out, because the truth is, I deleted it all, but even if I did still have it, I wouldn’t want to.  I don’t want to hold on to anger and I certainly don’t want her hurtful words to remain for me to reread and repeat that immense pain again.  

She called me many names, including “whore”, “compulsive liar”, “abusive bully”, and more.  She told me I was projecting, that I was mean, that my life is disgusting and repulsive.  She told me that I was pushing my lifestyle on her.  She told me that I’d been a bully all her life. She told me that I was just whoring myself out to cover up some undiagnosed pain.  She said many more awful things. The final thread, in which she included my parents, had me asking her to stop seven or eight times before I started deleting her messages unread.  She kept saying “See, this is how you treat me, how does it feel to have someone treat you as badly as you treat them?”  After the third time she said that, I apologized for every time that I unintentionally caused her pain and pointed out that she was intentionally causing me pain in revenge.  I asked her to stop.  She refused. At that point I completely blocked her.

The thing is, it’s essential for me to be kind to people. It’s important to me, as a strong, independent, intelligent woman, to be a supportive influence in other people’s lives.  I can be mean when angry, I’m human after all, but I’ve never intentionally hurt someone. Ever. But my sister, someone who is supposed to love me and support me and be on my team, is lashing out at me in the worst way possible.  The most hurtful thing she said to me was that my parents don’t actually support me “fucking so many men, they are just too afraid to speak out because they know you would keep the children from them.”   My parents have been my rock, my stability as I go through my separation and navigating my divorce. They have been there to listen, to laugh, to cry, to hug me when it’s too much.  They’ve prioritized my kids so that they get one-on-one time with their grandparents and feel special and have another safe place to talk about the changes in their lives.  They have spontaneously purchased stuff to fix toilets, bought clothes and boots for my kids, and purchased food for my fridge to help me out.  They’ve been nothing but supportive and nonjudgemental, in everything, including polyamory.

When my sister wrote these things, she started me questioning the way I come across to people.  Do people actually see me in the way she does?  Do I come across as mean?  As abusive? As damaged?  As judgemental?  I started doubting myself.  There were a lot of people who read her words. Each one of them assured and reassured me that I am not the person she says I am.  That no one in their right mind would ever say those things about me. It took a lot of processing to get me there. I had an onslaught of insults, criticisms, and judgements for over a week from her, and it was a lot to process.  In the same way that too much negative feedback influences a child’s security, I was feeling rather insecure. I needed some positive feedback to counteract the doubts in my head.  Fortunately, I have amazing people who do that for me.  In the end, I cried.  I was hurt, then angry, then disappointed, then sad.  At the end of all of that, I realized something very critical – it’s not about me.  Her issues are about her and her only.  The things she is saying are just words and it tells me more about her than it does about me.  What my sister is is a very angry, sad, broken person who needs to blame me for her problems and treat me badly to make herself feel better.  

So I blocked her.  I cut her out.  I can’t let anyone treat me that way, even if she is “family”.  I talked to my parents about it all and they are very concerned about her mental health, but support me completely.  Cutting my sister out was a great decision, although a hard one, but I had to take away her ability to hurt me.  The fact is, my life is better and easier without her.  The truth is, I have amazing people who are my real family, even if we don’t share DNA.  I no longer hold hope that reconciliation can happen, and I’m OK with that.

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The sister strikes again

My sister and her asshattery reared their ugly heads a couple weeks ago.  It hurt my heart and broke my spirit a little to read the things she said about me.  But some good came from it.  I had been undecided about what I was going to do about the giant rift that has been floating around on the periphery of my consciousness for the last year and half. I didn’t know if reconciliation was something I wanted or if I would have to cut her out of my life.  Her tirade helped me make that decision.  Here’s what happened in all its ugliness:

 

Her: “Can you put my mail on a shelf in the garage please? Thank you.”

 

Me: “I think I threw it in a box to go to F’s since you spend so much time with him.  Perhaps you could change your address and forward your mail so I don’t have to be responsible for it anymore?”

 

Her: “I spend so much time with him so I can see the children, he doesn’t spend his time hurling unnecessary insults at me and trying to degrade me every chance he gets and I appreciate that about him.  Can’t say the same about your behaviour. Plus, in the event I have a problem with something he does he doesn’t verbally assault me over how I feel, it’s nice.  If you could apologize for all the insults you’ve thrown in my direction, I’m sure I would be willing to see you too. But alas you will not and that’s your choice.  

I have been meaning to change my address I just haven’t got around to it yet.”

 

Me:  “OK.  I’m sorry you feel that way, but the way I see it, you and I participated in an argument where we both said some hurtful things.  If you want to use your big girl words and talk like a reasonable person, I will happily listen to your perspective and apologize for those things I said or did as appropriate.  I expect the same from you.  Believe me, you owe me many an apology too.  

By choosing my abusive ex-husband and his manipulative girlfriend over working to heal your relationship with your sister, you have repeated history a la Auntie C.  

You chose them. I’m not chasing you.  You want to mend fences, it’s up to you to make the move.”

 

Her: “All you’re doing is projecting your qualities and attributes onto 3 other people and playing the victim.  Take responsibility for your actions and stop blaming everyone else.

What I said was that you were making a mistake and I was right.  I think that an ill conceived plan of adding extra people to  your marriage was a poor idea, and I was right.  I honestly think the only thing that hurts you is that you were wrong.  I didn’t do anything except for voice, my correct, spot on, opinion.

I ask you to not post a picture of me and you do anyways.  I ask no video and you do it anyways.  I’ve had an entire lifetime of being bullied by you and kept down any chance you get.  I’ve been in an abusive relationship and so I have first hand experience in being able to spot red flags, not that you would ever give me credit for any of my education or life experience because that would mean I may know something you don’t and then you would have to admit you’re wrong about something, which experience with you suggests you’re incapable of.

You have gone out of your way to call me racist (unsubstantiated), doesn’t do self-work (unsubstantiated), systematically oppressive (unsubstantiated and your babysitter never said that) and now you’ve compared me to Auntie C whom Auntie E trained you to hate from the time you were born.

You chased me away by disrespecting me, insulting me, being rude to me, doing things I specifically asked you not to and then when I told you how I felt you attacked me for how I felt.  

I’m sorry I hurt your feelings, however, to date you still can’t tell me what I did. So please, by all means tell me what I did to deserve being treated like garbage by you for over a year.  So then I know what I’m apologizing for.”

 

At this point, I showed O the message she sent.  He said: “Don’t respond. Nothing good can come from you responding.  Just let her dig her hole, you don’t need to participate.”  So I didn’t respond.  This is what happened, over the next 10 hours:

 

“Still not going to tell me what I did wrong huh?”

 

“Here is the definition of projection.  Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others.”

 

“Whenever you’re ready to tell me why you’re mad I’m waiting. What did I do?”

 

“Not gonna take your own advice and use your “big girl words” and explain to me what I did that made you so mad?”

 

“Please, by all means, tell me what I need to apologize for.”

 

Then, I guess she must have slept, because when I woke the next morning, this was on my phone.

 

“Why do I owe you an apology or “many an apology” or still no answer?  I’ve been asking for over a year now and you still can’t provide me with a reason why you’re mad.  Cause if you provide a reason then I have something to work with.

Secondly if you were sending my mail to F, you could have sent me a message stating as such.  You didn’t need to handle it how you did.  Change locks. Wait for me to ask for my mail since I’m not allowed in the house (reason 2 for not visiting You). Then when I ask for mail tell me you gave it to a third party.  

Projection and Deflection are in Elementary Psychology books it’s pretty basic stuff. Basic. Look it up and expand your mind stop blaming everyone around you and look at yourself.  No matter how much booze you drink, food you eat and guys you fuck you’re not going to escape from the pain that’s inside you.

If me losing all respect for you destroying your own marriage by your own choices by letting other women fuck your husband warrants an apology from me then I’m sorry I don’t respect you.

If standing up to you because I feel I am being treated fairly because you tend to name call, insult me, and purposefully make me look bad, or purposefully uninclude me.  I’m sorry I don’t like to be called names or insulted and I am strong enough not to be bullied or pushed around.  

If it’s because you use internet buzz words and whatever is “trending” in political smear campaigns against the party you don’t support to describe me and it’s blatantly false and not based in reality as i don’t have those attributes.  I’m sorry you can’t see me for who I really am and you let the internet control your assumptions about those who surround you.  I’m sorry when you’re losing a debate you take the snide lazy road by insulting those you are talking to.  I’m sorry you think that’s appropriate behaviour.”

“If it’s because I refuse to hate myself for the colour of my skin. I’m not sorry. I’m not spending a life feeling guilty for something I had zero control over.

Just fucking tell me what I did that made you so mad.

We did have an argument.  One where I said being a whore was a terrible idea.  I told you to rip off the bandaid now cause you’re getting divorced.  You broke my fucking heart because i knew you were just slow rolling getting out of your marriage. You name called me for hours upon hours upon hours .  For what? I was asking questions about why you woulc consciously decide letting other women fuck your husband was a good idea.  Which even then you couldn’t answer.  But you could insult me over and over and over.  You decided to move forward in opening the marriage that was what you were gonna do, you did it, you fucked up HUGE. You let your man realise that he didn’t have to continue being treated like garbage by you, a reality I’ve gone through my whole life, except those amazing 5 years you were in Sweden.  Miss those days.

Your marriage ending is not my fault.  I warned you against your actions.  I have no respect for you whatsoever now. If you’re going to make a life altering decision that will change the life of children and you can’t justify it beyond your sexdrive….it’s a mistake.  It was a mistake and you can’t turn a fantasy into a reality.  

But then again, had YOU not decided to open up the marriage and invite W and her children into your home then you would have no scapegoats to blame for everything. At least with W in the picture you invited her in to then you can call her names and blame her for “stealing” your husband and manipulating him to leave you when we both know that’s not true. He stopped choosing you. He chose someone else. That’s what hurts. He stopped choosing you and then he chose someone else.  That’s not abuse.

He stopped choosing you. He chose someone else.  That’s what hurts. He stopped choosing you and then he chose someone else. That’s not abuse. Abuse is being picked up by the throat and thrown through a door and then choked and punched until you pass out.  A husband who comes off a night shift and after a 12 hour shift you greet him at the door with garbage and ask him what he’s making for supper and reacts grumpy to that, that isn’t abuse. That grumpy is justified.”

“And one more thing calling F abusive and W manipulative is textbook projection. Additionally it’s just name calling and defamation of character.  It’s completely unnecessary. I was in an abusive relationship and it’s insulting and demeaning to women who’ve actually gone through abuse for you to compare that to F.”

 

And that’s where it ended, because I didn’t respond. O was a huge support and talked me off the ledge of responding. I shared the conversation with A and with G too, and both of them gave me some great words of support.  A told me it was laughable that anyone would say those things about me.  G just reminded me how much she loves me, made fun of my sister and her stupidity a bit, and threatened to take my phone away if I responded to her.  The truth is, I was really hurt by it.  This is my sister, someone who is supposed to love me. Someone who thinks I’m a bully. That I’ve been intentionally mean to her. That I’ve degraded her and hurt her her whole life. She thinks that I’m abusive and manipulative.  She thinks I’m a whore. She doesn’t understand the fact that I’m polyamorous and thinks that is why my marriage ended.  She thinks I’m mad at her, W, and F because F chose W.  So many of these things aren’t true.  It fucking hurts that my own sister would think so badly of me.  I work so hard to be kind, supportive, and accepting of the people around me.  I work to be generous and loving. When my sister says things like this about me, to me, it breaks my heart and makes me doubt myself.

This hurt was the solidification on my decision to cut my sister out from my life.  I just don’t think there is any coming back from this.  I could totally forgive her, but she absolutely doesn’t understand or acknowledge what she’s done.  How she’s hurt me. How inappropriate she is. How hurtful it is to choose my abusive ex-husband and his awful manipulative girlfriend over me and to use my children as the excuse.  So, I decided that it was time to cut her out, for my protection.  The reality is, my life has been a lot easier since she’s been nearly absent from it.

Originally, I had decided to cut her completely out of my life, but then I saw her with my kids on a trip to Mexico with my family, and I knew that I couldn’t cut her out of their lives.  I also can’t open myself up to her toxicity, so I had to reach a compromise: I will set some very strict boundaries that she will follow and I will continue to invite her to family events like the children’s birthdays and major holidays, like Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving.  I won’t be reading any abusive text messages or be engaging in any discussion with her about the ones that have already arrived.  Messages will be limited to logistics only.  I will require her to forward her mail and to remove all her possessions from my property.  I have enlisted the help of my parents if she starts to lose her shit on me to get my kids out of the room to prevent them from seeing her treat me badly.  Otherwise, I will keep my parents out of things, because I would never expect them to get involved or pick sides.

The other day, after our trip to Mexico, I messaged her and said “As per our conversation in Mexico, I am hosting Christmas dinner on Saturday, the kids would love it if you’d come.”  Her response was: “As per previous messages, tell me why you are mad at me.”  I just said “Our parents are coming at 3, you are welcome any time after that, please let me know if you will be coming.”  Her response?  “Lol”.

She didn’t come.  I was relieved. Another affirmation that cutting her out as much as possible is what’s best for me.

This got me to thinking of what I *would* write if I actually thought she would listen to me. How I would like to respond if I could just smack it to her. It would go something like this:

 

Dear sister,

Know this first.  I love you.  I am sorry for every time I hurt you, both the things I really did and the things that you blame me for that are just part of your perception with no base in reality.  While I know I’ve done things to hurt you, it was never my intention to cause you pain.  I have said things in anger and for that, I am sorry.  I have also been accused of doing things that I haven’t done. I’m not sure why you think I would do those things, but I don’t pretend to understand where you are in life.

There are many things that I wish to say to you.  The first is that I am not a whore.  I am polyamorous. This means that I believe very strongly in the fact that no one person can fulfill all my needs.  I believe that the ability to love is infinite.  I don’t sleep around and I don’t have casual sex. I didn’t “invite” women into F’s bed, he dated them willingly and embraced polyamory with me.  No one forced him and he was happy to start dating other women and to have me date other men.  I was there the night he met W.  I was unaware that she was such a horrible person, but I know now. If he had been able to keep any of the other women he dated, there’s a possibility it would have taken a much longer time to separate, but I have no doubt that we would have ended up separated anyway.

The thing is, when I started dating, I suddenly had men who treated me well. They treated me with respect, love, and compassion.  The showed me what it was like to be desired and valued. At the same time, F was intentionally pushing all my boundaries, sometimes physically, he was ragefully jealous, and incredibly angry with me for things that couldn’t be my fault.  Not only that, but W intentionally destabilized our relationship, by spreading rumours about me, and lying to F about what she had “read” on her other partner’s phone and then telling F that I didn’t love him.  You are right about one thing, he did stop choosing me. He chose her and that was what put the final nail in the coffin of our marriage. But I’m not angry about it. I’m not hurt by it. I’m happy to be done with F.  I don’t blame W or scapegoat her, I blame him and I.  We ended our relationship through our actions and I’m glad we did. In the end, I realized that F didn’t want me to be happy.  He didn’t respect me.  He didn’t value me.  In the end, I realized that even if we could get past all the other things, I could no longer be married to someone who didn’t want me to be happy.  Now, I’m dating two men who value my happiness very highly, and because of that, I’m exceedingly happy in my relationships and my overall life.

You have said I’m projecting and implied that I’m manipulative and abusive. That I think that F being grumpy with me because I asked him to help after a hard day with four young kids at home constitutes abuse.  I don’t.  That’s just him being a grumpy ass who didn’t contribute to our family unless asked. Ever.  Being a “single” parent is easier than being married to him ever was, because now he has to parent the kids when he has them.  The things he said, the way he manipulated me, the passive aggressive and outright aggressive comments, the selfishness, the disrespect, all of those things were abusive.  He didn’t respect my boundaries. He told me he didn’t care about my feelings.  He destroyed my property.  He mocked me when I cried.  He broke my spirit and he broke my heart. He didn’t care, because to him, it was all about him.  This isn’t physical abuse. This isn’t the type of abuse you sustained.  It is still abuse.  I’m busy unpacking the many layers of abuse that I suffered at the hands of F and I suspect this will go on for years, in a similar way that our mom is still unpacking some of the stuff our father did to her.  The father that you communicate so similarly to. I am sorry you don’t see the impact of the abuse I sustained as significant as that you did.  I’m sorry you think that my suffering minimizes yours. It doesn’t.

You tell me I said all of these things about you. I did.  You undermined my babysitter multiple times. A babysitter whom I was paying to watch my children while you slept off your party in my basement while living with me for free.  You didn’t contribute to our household and you couldn’t be bothered to respect the person who we entrusted with the care of our kids.  You would say horrible things about our aboriginal population, justify slavery, and no end of comments that show that you don’t appreciate how the colour of your skin and the location of your birth have afforded you no end of privilege. I didn’t insult you for this, I asked you not to say some of the horrible things you said in front of my children.  You support Donald Trump. You argued for his racist policies. I never called you a racist, I argued why his policies were bad.  That they don’t agree with my political views is true, but I make my own opinions, I don’t just follow the platform of my favourite party. In fact, I don’t have a favourite party, I have opinions about many policies and I support the party that represents my interests and values best.  The fact is that me disagreeing with you doesn’t make me mean or insulting. It means my opinion is different than yours. You are entitled to your opinion. I am entitled to mine. It’s OK to not agree.  It’s just important that if I ask you not to say something in front of my children, you don’t.  

You implied that by embracing polyamory, I destroyed my children’s lives.  My children have a much better life now than they did then.  There is no longer conflict in my home. They are happy, thriving, intelligent, loving children. They have two parents who love them, and I can’t speak for F, but they have an extremely happy mom.  I am modelling for them a strong, independent woman who is living life to its fullest. Who is unapologetic about living life under her own terms.  I am a loving mother. I am a strong woman with a career.  I am a loving and caring partner to two wonderful men who love me.  I am valued by incredible friends who love me and would do anything for me as I would do for them.  I have friends who have become family.  Like a sister should be.  Contrast that with you and the things you will say to me, let alone the things you say to others.

You have accused me of doing or saying things I didn’t.  You never asked me not to post that photo, you accused me of posting a photo you disliked intentionally to hurt you. You accused me of intentionally cutting you out of family photos.  But you never asked me not to post it. After you treated me like crap and posted a bunch of hurtful things on Instagram, I deleted the picture and your comments and you from my Instagram and Facebook.  My pages, my choice.  I already apologized for posting a very loving and fun video of you being an amazing aunt. I didn’t realize you were serious when you told me not to post it.  Had you communicated effectively, it wouldn’t be an issue. You passive aggressively attacked me about it, when you could have just asked me to delete it.  

I don’t believe in naturopathy or acupuncture because I’ve read the studies that show they are placebo and in some cases, outright dangerous. That’s not an insult to you or your education, that’s a credit to mine.  It’s not personal.  Just because I don’t instantly believe your “500 things that are good about coconut oil” doesn’t mean I don’t respect your education, it means I have a healthy dose of scientific scepticism and the ability to form my own opinions and make my own decisions. As for me being wrong, I’m great at admitting when I am wrong, I just haven’t been wrong with you.

I’ve never let “the internet control my opinions” or one aunt brainwash me over the other.   I let peer-reviewed scientific literature, my life experience, and my morals and ethics control my opinions. My opinions are fluid and I’m very good at assimilating new information.  The fact that you don’t agree with my opinions doesn’t mean I didn’t come by them through critical thinking and personal judgement.  It means you have a different opinion. It’s not an insult to you or your opinions, no matter how ill-informed they are.  

I haven’t treated you like garbage for over a year, I just haven’t talked to you.  I haven’t engaged you. I changed the locks on my house so you couldn’t come and go as you please because the only time you spent at my house was when I wasn’t there.  I ensured you have access to your possessions, but not to mine.  It’s safety.  You’ve chosen my ex-husband over me, I need to make sure you don’t cause damage to my life in support of him.

The thing is, you consider your opinions to be fact. You have a lot of opinions about how I live my life.  You think it’s acceptable to judge me and condemn me for decisions I’ve made, but you’ve never talked to me about why I did.  I’m not sure why my marriage ending would break your heart, it didn’t break mine.  It was the right thing to do, for me, for F and for our children.  You have no right to tell me that embracing polyamory was wrong. You have no right to call me a whore.  You have no right to call me a bully or imply that I don’t think for myself, that I don’t take responsibility for my actions, or that I make decisions without regard for my children’s welfare.  

What you do have a right to do is to say specifically how something I did hurt you. You have a right to tell me how you feel when something happens. You have the right to an apology if something I did or said hurt you, intentionally or not.  You have a responsibility to act respectfully and with compassion.  You are required to respect my boundaries and take responsibility for your actions.  

 

And that’s it.

 

Those last two paragraphs are exactly why I’m not responding.  She’s treated me horribly and is unlikely to acknowledge it.  So I wrote it out here so it’s out of my head. Moving forward, she is but a challenging family member that I have to deal with at family events. Now, moving on.

 

A poly year

A year ago, I went to bed, happy and fulfilled in my life, at least I thought.  I had a crazy dream that night.  A dream about X that was anything but platonic. That dream prompted me to message X when I got to work the next morning.  And the rest is history, as they say.  He introduced me to polyamory, and changed my entire life.

I’ve been poly for a year.  I’ve never been so certain about a decision in my life.  I am polyamorous.  I have had the most amazing year.  I fell in love with X and felt the intensity of our connection and loved him so completely.  Then it ended.  I met A, and we had the weirdest first date ever, with our bizarre coincidences and crazy connection.  We friend-zoned and were both happy to do so.  I met B, who was a romantic interest in my life for a short time, but has been a steadfast friend as I navigate my divorce and my dating life.  Then I started dating D.  I fell so madly in love with him, in the most intense and amazing way possible.  I had months of a near perfect relationship with him. It ended, in an absolutely awful way, but it doesn’t change how amazing the relationship was.  In the meantime, I unintentionally started the incredible relationship I have with A.  We embarked on an adventure exploring BDSM together.  We supported each other through some pretty shitty times.  We turned to each other when the rest of the world was railing against us.  We just became who we are together as a couple, while being who we are as individuals.  We figured out what worked for us.  I met L.  We are still working on creating what we want in our relationship together.  Committed and cooperative and happy and moving forward together.  

My marriage disintegrated.  It was awful and conflict-filled and I held on too long. Then I stood up, hopped off the roller coaster, advocated for myself, and moved forward.  We are working together to co-parent the most amazing four kids in the world.  We have moved forward as adults and our separation is negotiated.  I hope that moving forward we’ll work together instead of apart.

I dated.  I had coffee dates and dinner dates and drink dates and lunch dates and breakfast dates, and I had first kisses that rocked my world and second dates that ended in disappointment.  I had horrible dates and hopeful dates and disappointing dates and a wife messaging me to tell me I had a liar date.  

Outside of the poly part of me, I had three grandparents die.  My dad was diagnosed with cancer.  My sister cut me out of her life in a hail of fire.  I lost friends, met new friends, and connected more strongly with others.

I told many people about being polyamorous.  All but my sister reacted positively.  Nearly all embraced me and my chosen lifestyle completely, asking relevant questions and supporting my choice.  Most importantly, my mom supports me and my kids support me.  I have told so many people now that I’m almost “out”.  Not yet.  But one day, I will be.  In particular, I came out to G and to my person at work.  I made the strongest connections with two women who will always have my back.  They are better than having a sister.

I loved.  I loved men like I’ve never loved before.  My relationship with D only need serve as an example.  I’ve never loved someone who wasn’t blood so unconditionally.  My love for A is unique too.  It’s the first time I’ve submitted to a man worthy of my submission.  He’s earned a special respect and love from me. That’s something bigger than I can explain in words.  The fact that he doesn’t really ‘get it’ makes it even more important and a little funny too.  These loves taught me about the type of love I should have.  The type of love I want and the type of love I deserve and the type of love that I shouldn’t accept.  Through loving these men and the understanding of what it meant, I loved myself again.  I chose to stop sacrificing my happiness.  I expected more. I demanded more.  I became more.  I became a better woman, a better mom, a better partner, a better person.  I stood up for myself.  I supported the people I love.  I became who I’ve always wanted to be.  

I cried.  I hurt.  I raged.  I cried some more.  I have never felt so broken.  I have never felt so confused, hurt, rejected, unloved.  I cried as I shed my old me and the new me became.

Today, a year later, I’m happy. Truly, completely, thoroughly, uncomplicatedly happy.  My life is full of everything I could possibly want.  The most amazing kids, parents who love and support me, friends who accept me unconditionally, partners who accept me for who I am, two fulfilling, challenging, and stimulating jobs, and so much of everything I could ever need.

Happiness came in a form I never expected, because I had a dream.

Broken

The last week has been amazing in so many ways.  Things are falling into place.  F and I are working together really well.  Our bi-weekly finance discussion went so smoothly this week that we ended up thanking each other for working as a team and cooperating so well.  We laughed about things our crazy kids did.  I offered to do some things for him, he for me.  It was so….functional.  

My job is gearing down for the summer.  This is awesome, because it has been, at times, rather insane, with long days and intense work stresses.  I love my job, but even a job I love gets overwhelming with pressure sometimes.  I  also had a great weekend with so many friends around me that love me.

So everything is shiny and beautiful and perfect, right?

No.

I’ve been really down the last couple of days.  This is completely unlike me. I’m normally a super positive person.  I usually have to focus on something super sad to even cry when I want to.  (Unless I’m angry, I can cry very easily when pissed off).  Yesterday, for unknown reasons, my date ghosted and I ended up alone in the evening.  This isn’t that big of a deal. I like being alone with myself.  I’m great company for myself.  But the overwhelming sadness just wasn’t going away.  I asked A to go out for a drink, but he was busy.  This isn’t surprising, he’s always busy these days, and I’m trying to be cognizant of exactly how much I’m asking of him, which in recent weeks has been more than he can give because I haven’t been coping with life that well. I know that sometimes I need to find my support elsewhere, and working out exactly what I need to do to get what I need and, truthfully, even recognizing what I need, is a challenge.  

So, since I was utterly alone last night, I headed into our gorgeous river valley to feed the mosquitoes go for a walk.  I decided I was going to focus on the super sad things that have happened in my life in the last 5 months, to see which one was the one that was trying to make itself known.  I had 2 grandparents die.  My dad was diagnosed with cancer.  My sister attacked me unfairly in a family text conversation and we haven’t talked since.  D broke up with me via email.  I asked F for a separation and we have had near endless conflict for about 9 months. I figured if I was sad, I probably had one or more of these things still to deal with. What this meant is that I was completely overrun with despair. I walked and walked and stifled tears the whole way.  I was feeling dejected and unloved and unwanted and weak and overwhelmingly hurt.  I can’t explain how bad I felt, I haven’t ever felt the way I did last night.  I got back to my car, sat in the driver’s seat and cried.  Full on sobbing, ugly tears, break-down cried.  It hurt in my heart and my stomach and my head.  I cried for probably a good 20 minutes until F texted me to ask me if I was coming home soon because he wanted to get to W’s house.  I figured if I sat there much longer, someone would call the cops because they would be concerned for my safety, thinking I was about to jump in the river or something.  So, I drove home with tears in my eyes, just hoping I could hold it together while I said goodbye to F so that I didn’t have to explain to him that I was broken but didn’t know why.  

Well, that didn’t work.  I walked in and he immediately asked me if I was OK.  I said I didn’t want to talk about it and stood their crying silently as he talked about the day he and the kids had.  He looked up and realized what was happening and stopped talking and offered me a hug.  I declined and he asked if I was sure.  I took the hug.  It was the first proper hug he’s given me since early February.  It wasn’t what I needed, but it helped. It got me out in the yard to do some work before I went to bed and helped redirect me.

I was chatting with X and K during the evening as they both asked how I was doing and I was honest.  X said he had been thinking that he wondered how I did it all, and he concluded that I am Wonder Woman.  K said that he didn’t know how I held up as long as I did and that I’m superhero strong and a real lioness.  In my weakest moment, two people who I care about deeply said something about me being so strong.  I felt so vulnerable and so broken.  I cried even more then, but it helped to realize that people who actually know me see me as a strong person, and that it was OK that I was sad.

I think what happened, or what is happening, is that life has calmed down.  I’m no longer running on adrenaline, putting metaphorical fires out, bouncing from one stressful life event to the next.  I don’t have constant conflict in my life.  I’m not busy like I was a couple months ago.  I’ve had sufficient, and even abundant, down-time lately.  Dealing with the stresses in my life, on top of parenting my children, maintaining my career, boyfriends, friendships, and family obligations has been overwhelming the past months, and I was just operating on autopilot, because I didn’t have the luxury of taking time to process.  I think my subconscious decided that now that I have time, it was OK for me to feel all the feelings.  All those feelings came out all at once last night.  I broke.

This is all OK. Actually normal.  Of course I couldn’t hold it all together.  Who could?  

My friend, the one who came for my birthday, when I posted about my crying in a group we are in together with four of our mutual friends, said: “ It’s normal to feel some sadness. While there are some great things happening in your life, there is also some not so great things happening in your life. Sometimes it’s great to have a good cry.”

Rock reforms with the pressure of water.  Water carves canyons and creates beautiful creations simply by running over it.  I’m hoping that’s what my tears are doing, helping me reform and create something beautiful.  

 

Positive spin

The other day was a crazy day for me. Between F and Sister, I just wasn’t dealing with what life was handing me.  My mom called me in the evening and asked me if I thought my sister had lost it.  Why yes mom, yes I do.  Having talked to my friends, I’m not sure this is abnormal behaviour of if it’s just an extreme version of her normal though, in retrospect. 

There were a few things that happened because of my crazy sister and sharing with my people that stuck out for me.  In the best way possible.  I felt incredibly loved and supported.  A, D, G, and several other of my besties all were amazing.  

I was having a really hard time and trying to do my job and really struggling and I reached out to G in the midst of all my sister’s awfulness.  Here’s how our conversation went:

G1G2G3

I have a group of friends where I used to live who are among my best friends in the world. I’ve been leaning on them for so much support and when I shared what my sister with them, this is what happened:

friends 1friends 2friends 3friends 4

And then today, in a conversation about my mom asking if I think she’s losing it:

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Later in the day, I invited A out and he said ‘no’, which is a central theme lately because he’s so fucking busy, and somewhere in our exchange I realized that I was emotionally done.  As I was crying in my car, I told him I just couldn’t do the conversation we were having.  It wasn’t even an emotional conversation, but I was having some pretty emotional responses to it.  The day was kicking my ass and I wasn’t coping.  I pointed him in the direction of my last blog post to get the details.  I just couldn’t go through explaining it again.  While I was doing some retail therapy (OK, I actually hate shopping, but this girl absolutely needed some new work clothes and was in the mood to buy something that made me feel pretty after all the badness), I got his response:

A1A2

I had told D early in the day that I went to bed with horrificness from my sister in a family thread and woke up to even more, but he tends to get a little upset about the stress in my life and I didn’t want to bother him at work, so in the evening I sent it all to him.  Here’s how that conversation went:

D1D2D3D4D5D6

I spent a bit of time thinking during the day about what if my sister’s perception of me was accurate.  What if people think I’m a manipulative, mean-spirited, judgmental person? What if I really lack the self-awareness and the problem isn’t with her, but with me?  Having heard some awful assumptions about my motivations and behaviours from F, hearing sister say similar things was really hard for me.  How is it that two people who I’ve been so close to can say such similar awful things about me.  Some of it must be true, right?

Well ya.  Because I’m not perfect. I make mistakes.  I have said things in anger that were meant to hurt. I haven’t always taken the high road.  I haven’t always supported them in the way I should.  I own my mistakes. I apologized for them.  I’ve worked on bettering myself and my communication skills and my patience and I’ve forgiven over and over what they’ve done to me.  That’s the central theme.  I’ve forgiven them.  I’ve forgiven myself.  But they haven’t forgiven me.  I am held to these unattainable standards that aren’t communicated, and then blamed when I fail to achieve them.  They both seem to think that I should be doing all the work to change, with no awareness of their own failings.  

While I was thinking this last part through, I realized how much sister and F have in common.  Then I thought about my dad.  My dad is the prototype for my sister’s dysfunctional passive aggressive and often outright aggressive style.  The lack of self-awareness, avoiding taking responsibility, blaming others for problems, and horrible communication all comes from my dad.  My sister comes by it naturally.  It is both nature and nurture.  Apparently my daddy issues came out in my choice of husband too.  Seems I married a version of him.

Polyamory broke that mold for me.  I entered into relationships with men who know how to communicate.  Who take responsibility for their actions.  Who know how to prioritize the things that are important to them.  Men who can adult.  Somewhere in there, with all the functional, productive and generally easy communication, mutual respect, and connection, I no longer had the capacity to wade through F’s passive aggressive bullshit.  Polyamory broke me out of my daddy issues and years of dysfunction.  F and sister just aren’t handling the fact that I’m happy and can take care of myself.  

I can take care of myself.  But even better, I have a veritable army of people who have my back.  I have six amazing girlfriends who all sent me wonderful messages of support and love.  Who saw what was happening and offered intelligent perspective and genuinely kind and supportive comments.  I have two boyfriends who responded with support, love, compassion, kindness, and anger.  I have people so firmly in my court that they are actually angry at my sister for verbally assaulting me.  Those same people are also very aware of who I am and what type of support and encouragement I need.  Those same people are people I’m eternally grateful for and hope I can one day be even a small measure of support to them in the same way.  I am so very fortunate.

 

Sisterly support?

I may have eluded to the fact that my sister was the first person I confided in when F and I decided to be polyamorous.  Her reaction was horrible. She yelled, screamed, accused, and generally berated me for a week.  What I got from that was that she doesn’t think very much of me.  She thinks I’m a bad person. She thinks I treat her badly, that I’m a bully, that I judge her.  According to her, this all started one night when we were building a puzzle in my kitchen and I tried to move the puzzle to complete the edge. Apparently it was a metaphor for my dealings with everyone in my life.  According to her, I don’t care about the hard work of other people and I just push my way through them, not caring who I hurt in the process.  I certainly don’t think that’s the way I operate. Here’s the thing.  She got mad about that at least four months before she blew up at me.  She was living, for free, in my basement, while I paid for babysitters to go to work, and she undermined my babysitter daily. It was pretty awful.  I should have talked to her about what she was doing, but I was a little busy starting a new job and living my life while she took advantage of my generosity.

I deleted all the text conversations we had, because I couldn’t handle the awfulness.  I didn’t want to reread a long argument between her and I.  

At Easter, my sister was being wicked awesome with my kids.  They were making vinegar and baking soda volcanoes, and someone got the idea of trying to explode a bottle in the back yard.  She headed out to the backyard to mix things up, put on the cap, and ran away.  It became pressurized and didn’t explode.  She snuck up on the bottle and tried to get it to explode, opened the lid and squeezed out the liquid.  I videoed it and it was hilarious. It was so fun and awesome. The kids loved it, everyone was laughing, it was great family time.  I said I thought it was awesome and I was going to post it her Facebook wall, and she said “Then I’ll delete it.”  I posted the video to my Facebook and tagged her in it. I legitimately didn’t understand that she didn’t want it posted. I thought she was joking with me.  I thought it was an awesome family moment. She felt otherwise. Of course, instead of saying something, at dessert, she decided scream at me about how she’d been trying to remove the tag on Facebook for hours.  I just said “Oh, why didn’t you tell me you didn’t want it posted, I can take it down right now.”  She yelled that she had told me.  There was a back and forth that involved me saying that I have enough people in my life not actually saying what they need that I didn’t need her poor communication.  She told me that she “knows the only reason I posted that video is so that my friends and I could make fun of her.” She said that I had intentionally not posted pictures of her at my kids’ birthdays and Christmas and then chose to post something to embarrass her.   At that point I left the room.  I came back and said that she needs to get over herself, she’s not that important, my friends and I don’t talk about her, good or bad.  I told her that I hadn’t posted pictures of her because I either didn’t have them or the ones I had weren’t pictures she’d want me to post.

I had had a conversation with my mom about my will a few days before, and she suggested that I change the guardian of my children from my brother-in-law to my sister in the event of my death.  I said I wasn’t comfortable with my sister having the kids because her lifestyle isn’t conducive to having four kids.  My mom said that she would rise to the occasion in the event that it happened.  She was concerned that my brother-in-law is as passive aggressive as F.  Well, this was an example of my sister being even as passive aggressive.  I told my mom, after this exchange, that this was why my brother-in-law was preferable.  She just said “Well, don’t die.”  I love my mom. It must be so hard for her to see her kids doing this.  

And then in the last 24 hours it got worse.  

My daughter’s 5th birthday party was on Sunday.  I took pictures, and posted one to Instagram of my sister watching present opening.  Then this happened:

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This was between us on Instagram.  I decided that I didn’t need the abuse, deleted her off my social media.  It’s my space.  I don’t let people treat me badly in my space.  She took screen shots and put it in a Viber thread that contains my mom and my step-dad.   This is where it continues.

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I want to respond, but nothing good can come of it.  She’s passive aggressive, mean, and unaccountable for her actions.  She blames me for things that aren’t my fault.  But the things I would say if I thought responding would be reasonable are:

  1. I never intentionally cut you out of pictures or didn’t post any. You didn’t come to Christmas, and those pictures that I did have of you at other times are the types you wouldn’t want posted.  So I didn’t post them.
  2. I didn’t post that video to show a failure or embarrass you, I thought it was a great example of you being an awesome and fun auntie and of us having some good family time together.  It was so nice to have that laugh 24 hours after I asked F for a separation.
  3. I’ve never tried to control you or anyone else.  I’m glad you feel emotionally stable.  I liked you when you showed a small measure of compassion and care for your family and your friends.  I enjoyed being with you.  Fuck, I let you live for free in my basement for over a year with you hardly ever contributing.  Towards the end, I was paying a babysitter to take care of my kids while you slept in the basement, woke up, undermined said babysitter and left.
  4. You are terribly judgmental – it comes out in your reaction to my confiding in you about polyamory, in the way you talk about my parenting, how you criticize my 7-year-old when you think she needs a bath, or when she behaves like a 7-year-old does and wants a friend to herself and you call her a bully and refuse to spend any more quality time with her. It comes out in the negative things you say about natives, homeless people, professional people, and anyone who doesn’t believe in naturopathy and homeopathy.  It comes out when you criticise me for trusting science and not believing in your unproven, scientifically implausible, often times completely discounted natural medicine.  It comes out in the way you talk about your “friends”, their clothing, their choices, the things they say.  
  5. I didn’t decide “to set my husband up with other women”.  I am polyamorous.  I discussed things with him and we decided together.  Much like you, his version of history frequently changes, but polyamory is so much different from what you are talking about.  It’s really too bad you can’t understand.
  6. When you say racist things about Muslims and aboriginals, when you justify slavery in America, when you spout pro-Trump rhetoric, or right-wing conservative propaganda, in front of my kids and in my house, I will always respond. Me not agreeing with a belief you have is not me attacking you.  It’s me not agreeing with a belief you have.  I can love you but still think you are wrong.  It’s not gaslighting. It’s not criticism. It’s not abuse.  It’s not even an attack. It’s me disagreeing with your opinion.
  7. My attitude to you changed when you yelled at me, criticized me, called me a whore, and blamed me for things that I never did.  You spent an entire week telling me everything you have every perceived as a slight. Because I told you I was polyamorous.
  8. I have never asked you if I can post every single picture.  I did ask you when I took them and you lived with me. But I can’t win on this.  If I don’t post a picture, you accuse me of intentionally cropping you out, if I do post a picture, it’s not good enough.  
  9. I am not hurtful and mean spirited.  I never have been and I never will be.  Have I said things in anger that I shouldn’t have? Definitely.  Do I wish I hadn’t? Sure.  But I have never intentionally hurt anyone.  I’m sorry if you feel I have.
  10. I’ve never fought you on your feelings. You want me to delete something I post of you? Say so.  Don’t accuse me of doing things I haven’t done, and expect me to accept your abuse. I never said I didn’t care about how you feel about a picture you don’t like.  You just had to ask me to take it down. Nothing else needed to be said. I thought it was a good pic.
  11. You keep saying that I “intentionally cut you out of pictures”; “posted a failure video to make fun of you”; “post a picture you don’t like” to hurt you.  I literally don’t think about you enough to do any of those things.  First, I’m just not that intentional, and would never do something to hurt someone, and second, you just aren’t that big of a concern in my life.  You aren’t that important that I, or my group of friends, spend any amount of time talking about you and how to do things to you.  It’s very self-centered of you to think that we would.  So when I say “get over yourself”, that’s what I mean.
  12. I haven’t approached you since last summer. At all. Harshly or otherwise.  I most certainly haven’t been treating you badly your whole life.  If you think I have and you are blaming me for some of these things, you should probably reevaluate some of your perspectives.  But if you want to scapegoat me to escape responsibility, go ahead.
  13. You have never tried to fix anything.  You have definitely not tried “everything”. You have never come to me about anything. You have never communicated with me.  I guess if you feel that insulting, criticizing, and generally abusing me is communication, you have.  But I don’t know on what planet you think the way you talk to me would ever be effective in either getting me to have a basic understanding of the message you really want to send or getting me to change some perceived bad behaviour.
  14. I’m sorry I hurt your feelings. I said things in anger, and I shouldn’t have engaged you.  But it’s not fucking intentional and I certainly haven’t done the things you say I have.
  15. Quit making excuses about your language being too aggressive. You insult, criticise, and accuse. That’s not communication. That’s being an asshole.  I don’t care who you work with. It’s not OK.  .
  16. I want to have a sisterly relationship with you. I always have. Those 4 short years where we got along were great.  But somewhere along the way, communication broke down and I just can’t make the sacrifice to my self-esteem to bend over and do what  you seem to think I need to do to make things right.  I love you, but I can’t do this right now. I can’t take your abuse, criticism, accusations, or negative attitude. I need people who love me and support me around me. People who will actually communicate their needs and desires directly. People who will not make arbitrary rules and then get mad at me when I don’t know them and don’t follow them. I can’t. I can’t do this with you.
  17. I hope people out there who say they are my friends aren’t actually scared to talk to me.  But if they are, they aren’t my friends.  I had several people comment on what a colossal passive aggressive bitch you are, but that doesn’t really matter, does it?  
  18. I can’t do this to mom.  She is my rock. She is the person who accepts me without fail, and I won’t hurt her.  Please don’t do this to her.  But if you have to, don’t include me.

There’s probably more.  But honestly, I’m just hurt. And tired. I can’t deal with attacks on two fronts.  Have I made mistakes? Absolutely.  But I’m not the only one who has, I’m just the only one who acknowledges it. I need to take care of myself and my kids.  My sister is going to just have to continue throwing attacks that don’t get a response, because I need my energy to negotiate with F and work out a separation and be there for my kids.  While my sister doesn’t understand this, my boyfriends, friends, and other family do.  For them, I’m eternally grateful.