With the few cousins, I have to be careful, I feel like they keep secrets from me. They treat me at arms-length, that gets tiring. I have kept the contact very minimal on purpose. It says something to me, that they drive into my state to visit Uncle Narcissist, well one has visited me before and says he might soon again but this is several visits a year for that uncle and family gatherings my mother and sister are not at, that I remained uninvited from. I know I have to remain cautious. I can't go looking for something that isn't there.
I know yesterday's trigger came from a nice local friend talking about a vacation she was taking with sisters and another person going to family funeral. These are good people who are just talking about what is happening in their lives, but every ACON especially one NC from the entire family or most of them probably has those "family triggers" wondering how it went so wrong. With the years a lot of the pain has ebbed away but I still get my moments. I don't blame folks but I feel like the area I live in is far more family focused then many. I found one new older friend who seems to lack a family. This may sound weird, but that comes as a relief to me. Someone like that can understand someone like me more.
On Facebook, I ran into someone posting about ambiguous grief....this is grief for people who are still alive. With narcissists, we grieve the people who should have been there then who really are but many side relationships are lost. I will never see the nieces or nephews again. I lost Aunt Scapegoat years and years before she died. Losing the cousins, may happen. Going no contact means losing people who are living for many ACONS. There's times I tell strangers if they ask or it comes up, "I have no family" and I don't go into detail. It is easier that way, because in some ways the entire family "died" for me anyhow.
I have talked to my husband too about the "loss" over the would-be adoption and if there is a bio-family out there, how there was some grief for me over that as well. It is interesting adoption is listed in the slides as well. I had a mammogram operator ask me if my mother or sister had breast cancer and I gave her the honest answer "I don't know". She gave me a very weird look and I felt off. She pressed me for an explanation but I wish she had not. Remember if I am related at all to my sister or mother, my sister had cancer that was kept secret from me for more then three years. My brother told me she definitely had cancer. Remember in 2013, I was tested for kidney cancer which was negative, obviously the medical neglect boat rides on when it comes to my mother. I was never told what kind of cancer she had.
Being on health group websites for severe Lipedemics, it was painful to see people even in worse states of my condition, some even totally wheelchair bound and unable to walk, surrounded by loving family members and everyone I saw had relatives with the condition. I had more then a few thoughts how did they get a family and I didn't? There I have a weird mixture of loss for the family I may have missed out on. I know these relatives aren't talking. Keep in mind, one could have shut me up sending a picture of Queen Spider pregnant at the right time, or a photograph that is younger then the 6-8 month year old baby one I have seen.
I know some of this stuff has been painful for my husband, we had a conversation where I told him, I know you lacked for in-laws, and needed good ones. The majority of my husband's family is dead, WWII killed them, and his parents died on the young side in their 60s. He has only one living sister left in the entire country. There is one distant cousin in Texas and that's it. The adopted drug-addict cousin has vanished and we have not seen her in the streets here in three years.
I know for advanced no contact, when you are a few years in to get better you do have to accept the ambiguity and the fact there never will be closure. Trying to get closure we know with narcissists is impossible. Questions will never be answered. There will be no meeting of the minds, just gaslighting and lies. Things will not be fixed, and you have to figure out it's not your fault and not spend years and years tearing yourself apart over decisions OTHER people made.
I found it interesting how the ambiguous loss slides spoke of "being frozen". I had struggled with "being frozen" and even wrote on one message board, "Why can't I get them out of my brain" some time ago. In the slides, they talk about the "freezing of the grief process", a reference to mental illness is made, narcissism is chosen but NPD is a "mental illness" is it not? Well technically anyway, they do choose to become what they are. [see slide 10 of 31 at the link] It is an infectious one.
I have been able to come out of more of this stuff. It's taken a lot of thought. I started enjoying life more and had some of my depression massively ease up. I still have troubles in other arenas of life but the clouds did start to lift. It is important to warn ACONS, you may have "ambiguous loss" for the family that never was and the side relationships that were lost. It is important that some solutions for this are offered. You have to be okay with not figuring it all out. You have to get used to the ambiguity. You have to get used to the idea that some answers may never come in this life.