A couple days before Thanksgiving I began to wonder about the people that didn't have anywhere to go for dinner. The homeless, the family-less, the ones who couldn't afford to attend dinner with family far away. Even more so I was reminded of my own estrangement from my family. I was all too familiar with the feelings of isolation that holidays can bring for some of us. Even though I do have a wonderful husband, and 3 great kids to spend holidays with I still feel a tinge of sadness to know that it will be just us together celebrating without any other family, even though I do have parents, and a sibling that is alive in the same state.
It's been about 9 or 10 years now that I haven't celebrated any holidays, or birthdays with my side of the family. As time passed it turned from what used to be a festering, painful wound down to what now feels to be a dull ache. There's something about being nominated the black sheep, the unwanted, and wrong by your own parents that causes a deep down sense of self-doubt. It whispers from so far deep inside your psyche that the toxic voice gets indistinguishable from your own. They eventually turn into one in the same. You don't know why, but you feel out of place everywhere. You question your sanity, and worth as a person in everyday small ways that don't seem like criticism. It's just the way you perceive yourself, and your life. Every year this voice becomes closer to the surface, as your defenses fall, until one day you second guess it. "Wait," you say to yourself. "Do I think that? Is that my view about myself, or is that the way I was taught to see myself?" The hurt ego falls away to allow you to begin to get to know the you without all the pain in the way. Our fears get in the way of this process, but dealing with them is just part of the process. Being the scapegoat of the family often lends us a feeling of threat being around every corner. It can truly feel this way when you're a child in this type of environment. What kept us going, and surviving as children hinders us as adults. I know that I learned to identify anything out of place, or threatening in my environment as a way to protect myself. Problem is, is that this way of coping turned me into a negative radar. Always anxious, always preparing for the worst. My defense was my demise.