“I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’ … There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”
Nearly two years ago, I was in a car accident, and it was at that moment when the hidden facets of many of my family members and friends revealed themselves to me. In one smash, I went from being the superstar in my own life to disabled. I couldn’t read, walk straight, be in areas with lots of visual or noise disturbances, and I would even have to plug my ears before flushing a toilet because the sound would send my head spinning and would throw me to the bathroom floor. My boss thought I was faking it, and on one occasion he actually pushed me to see if my balance was so bad I’d fall to the ground. I couldn’t stand being around my kids, and I was so desperate for rest, quiet and darkness, I wanted to hide in my closet with earplugs and an eye mask…and a giant protein bar. My extended family…OH they were the worst. Excluding my dad and sister Gina who genuinely seemed to care about my well being, many of the others invalidated my suffering and treated me like nothing happened. It’s not like I was hoping they’d ask how I was doing, but I guess I was expecting that when they’d call me up or communicate with me in some way their only intent wouldn’t be to throw their problems on me or spend 60 minutes venting about how shitty their life is. In worst cases, I was getting harassing calls with lists of expectations of what I should be doing for them. Imagine that?
One by one, I made decisions to detach from their lives. It has not been easy, and I’ve received a lot of hate mail during this process, but I’m sure I’m doing the right thing.
Recently a family member sent me a message and said, “You know I love you, right?” I was completely bewildered. What? This particular person has abused me for many years. This person’s actions show that the only thing they are capable of doing is manipulating and abusing. Love? No. Surely this is the kind of person Maya Angelou was talking about.
The truth is, many of my family members don’t love themselves. How do I know? They participate in activities that are unhealthy to their minds, bodies, and spirits. They make decisions that lack compassion, and thus, they cause more pain and suffering for others. They fail to acknowledge or apologize for their wrongdoings. They blame the innocent for their own self-created problems. They defend their actions by pointing at other people who are in completely different situations but might engage in similar behaviors.
So, remember that old cliche, “If everyone else was jumping off a bridge, would you do it too?”
In my family, pretty much everyone jumps off the bridge. They’re so afraid to question the way they think that they all just go along with the crowd. Even if the crowd is inflicting harm on others. Even if the crowd is going against their own religious beliefs. Even if the crowd is separating itself from itself. It’s easier to say yes to jumping off the bridge than ask, “Why is jumping off the bridge a good idea?”
Over the last few months I’ve been an active witness to a lot of destruction in my family unit. People are choosing the allure of the material world over compassion and healing relationships. People are pointing fingers at others instead of at themselves. People are speculating and creating their own wild stories based on the sinister nature of their own thinking.
Even when I attended a court event to sit and meditate for peace outside the courtroom, I was verbally crucified by people who didn’t like the way I walked in, sat down, and meditated. Even though a family member who made a surprise visit to town didn’t tell me she was coming, she didn’t have any problem complaining that I didn’t make time to visit her (when she never contacted me or tried to arrange something).
That is sinister thinking. It’s ignorant, demonic, and not of compassion.
I’m still medically disabled. I can’t do much for people, but I do what I can. I give 100 percent to myself, overflow onto my children and my husband, and the rest I give to others. People (including family and friends) who are actively trying to improve themselves, showing compassion and peace, acknowledging their mistakes, being vulnerable, and those learning to love without condition are the people I make the most time for. They are the ones who have the greatest potential for growth. Their sights are set on the stars, and the love they have is never overshadowed by ignorance.
Please don’t tell me that you love me and that you “have a weird way of showing love.” That’s an excuse for treating me badly. That’s manipulation, and I’m not buying it. I forgive you, but I do not accept your behavior, and so I continue to chose not being in your lives. I know it goes without saying that abusing a disabled person is even more heinous than someone who is healthy, but clearly you don’t care about that either. …especially when you just finished saying that children need to take responsibility for being abused by adults.
In essence, I have chosen to separate myself from the pack that’s headed for the bridge. I’d rather be a farmer. But, if you like that bridge idea, that’s cool with me. It’s your life. Jump if that is your desire.
I’ve learned such a valuable lesson in all of this. Sometimes people love you because you’ve given everything you have to them without boundaries, but when you have nothing to give, and you need to set boundaries for your health and survival, you’ll see their true colors. You’ll realize their love has always been conditional, and the only way they’ll love you again is if you agree to go back to being their doormat. That just makes you co-dependent and enables their dysfunctional behavior. Don’t do it. Free yourself.
With all my love,
The Guru Girl