A close friend of mine, has told me, "Your family left you far before you left them". And it's true. They left me eons ago. As a child I was left, abandoned and neglected. As an adult, they would have me in the room with them but they were never there for me in any real way.
Sadly so many of us try to have a family but there is really not one there. We have a family in our imaginations that really does not exist. NC will progress even after a few years into it, as some of these realizations come to light. My last vestiges of guilt over being no contact evaporated with this revelation. When I visited years ago, I was not wanted. Duty, obligation and control are the only reasons I was merely tolerated for the short and sporadic visits that I made to them. It was sad for years I was NOT wanted. Having people ignore you chips away at your soul while you are stuck in the fog of pretending they are a "family" or that they love you.
I think of the many events:
1. "You're Not Invited!" Invitations for me were short in supply which tripled teenage angst when it came to any rejections. Their hatred seeped into my bones. There was one time as a teen when I was lonely, my mother screamed at me she didn't want me going to the bowling alley with her and told me to "get my own friends". Once my mother invited my sister, two aunts, and other cousins, and nieces and nephews to go shopping in Chicago and to lunch. I was left out. There was no idea of renting me a scooter or wheelchair if they were concerned about my mobility. Perhaps I would have still said "No", but the offer was never on the table. They would go out for meals I never heard about until it was too late. Even last year for one family party, which my mother was not going to, one relative told another, "Peep doesn't want to come." without consulting me. We can guess who set that up! I probably didn't have money to go anyhow. There were at least 10 other family events over a series of years where she invited the entire family to dinner or had parties of co-workers and other relatives mixed together where I was no invited or found out about the party from another relative by accident.
For one party in 2003, I showed up uninvited, there were lavish plates of food laid out on several tables all over and at least 60 people including several of my mothers co-workers and friends I never have met. My mother totally ignored me and did not say one word to me while I was there. Our only contact was when she gave me a vicious look as I stepped over the threshold. One weird event was meeting this one lady who told me she had been diagnosed with Cushings, and this was during the time I had just been diagnosed with pseudo-Cushings. Isn't it odd my mother befriended other fat people?
2. "Drive By Ignorings" I live one mile off the highway, my mother has to drive 150 more miles to get to my sister's house and vice versa. I could go two years without seeing my nieces and nephews asking my sister to stop by and she would say "No". In fact this happened the week, I went no contact with her for good. It provided the catalyst for me to cut ties and to say why. She told me later in an email, "I was considering the best interests of my children", like she was going to show up to find me raving drunk or smoking a crack pipe. The fact that I was kept away from her children purposefully definitely came to my attention.
My mother who never stays home, drove by my apartment building constantly. I got two visits from my sister in 8 years where she stayed for 10 minutes, nose up in the air, looking around my apartment with a haughty air. I went to go visit my sister for a week in 2003, staying in a hotel which would amount to most of the contact I had with the nieces and nephews for life. Two hadn't been born yet and I am basically a stranger to the twins.
It was obvious my GC sister did not want me there. Thank God I was staying in a hotel. I'd do something like merely touch the counter, and she would bring a cloth immediately to wipe it as if I had cooties to share. The crazed neat freakery scared me, she actually had raised things a notch over my mother and she ordered her children to wipe and dry out the sink in the bathroom after every use.
My mother ignored me too. It occurred to me it was unfair that someone as sick as me who needed home health and nursing care who was homebound at least 5-6 months of the year, was the one who had to visit her. No one ever came my way. My husband would drive, and bundle me up in the car, do the caretaking and take care of business here but the visits were painful and hard. No one was giving me a place to lie down. I often got leg infections or ill while visiting. The last two times I projectile vomited so hard, it scared me.
I saw her twice at this apartment in 8 years before I went no contact. She was always on the way from somewhere else where my home was "on the way". It was never a visit where visiting me or my husband was the main event. One time it was my birthday and I felt lonely having just moved and still in the fog and begged her to come. She was visiting someone in a town north of me and was driving by anyhow and stayed for an hour. The other time was the Christmas present drop-off where she walked in and dumped presents and walked out, refusing to even stay to talk.
It bothered me for years, that they never would visit. In some ways I was relieved of course, no cleaning and stress but the rejection stood out. It felt weird. Other people saw family members who were further flung. Other people had their families as part of their lives. I wondered what was wrong with me? For years when I lived in my more remote rural town--they had to drive by a highway 25 miles from my house 100 more miles to get to my mother's out of state relatives, I let them use the excuse of "You are too far out of the way". Moving to a resort town right on the main drag didn't change anything for me.
My mother by the way, would visit Aunt Scapegoat each and every month, to check on her. She never missed a day of hers in the hospital. Aunt Scapegoat lived double the distance from her.
3. "The Coldest Time of the Year". They choose the annual family gathering to be the third week of December, the week before Christmas which was always too cold, for me to travel or see anyone. This was why I did not see most of these relatives for now what has become a ten year duration. One year I asked if they could hold it earlier, right after Thanksgiving and was turned down flat. No one cared that I wasn't making it to these gatherings. After all I didn't have money for tons of presents to hand out to everyone like my mother. So my mother was picking the date along with Aunt Denial and making sure I was kept well enough away.
In my final NC letter I pointed this out. I was purposefully being kept away. When I lived in my rural town, there was a route one could take close to my town to see the out of state relatives, but I was never offered any rides. I made the mistake once of talking her into it. That was the 2005 visit, the last time I saw the out of state relatives that my mother has seen at least monthly for years.
4. "We Are Too Busy" I heard that from many of them all the time. Emails would be ignored for months. Phone calls and phone messages not returned. Some I would approach and be sloughed off immediately. There was very little time given, even long distance.
There is a level where people are really busy and will talk to you later, I get busy and behind too. But when people tell you over and over, "We are too busy", that means they do not like you and don't really want to talk to you. The me of today, doesn't go where I'm not wanted, and well I was not wanted in the family long, long ago. They threw me away long ago.
It makes me sad today how I scrambled for their crumbs. I was set up to be so needy, lacking love and any care or attention it is a sock in the gut. This is why I was so desperate. There are times we have to face reality and see what IS. It's so sad, how I tried so hard for years. One relief for me over these last few years of no contact has been not having to try anymore and putting work into the investment of empty relationships. It is a relief, my energy needs invested in taking care of myself and others who are actually part of my life.
It was true, they had LEFT ME FIRST. I spent years, trying to win love and affection from people who had none for me and who took me for granted and didn't care if I lived or die. I believe when an ACON makes the decision to go no contact, that most often the "no contact" in the way that matters has always been there. They checked out first and lacked true connection. Our going "no contact" just really underlines what has already happened. They left me first! They left you when they didn't love you.