I hold grudges. It’s far from my most endearing quality. But, I do. And, because of that things fester within until there’s a breaking point. It might come early. It may take years to show up. It’s one of the big downsides to holding grudges. One that’s been festering for a long time concerns my family.
There’s not many of us left. Sure, there are lots of cousins and such, but the immediate family is pretty small. My brother and his wife and now the families of their two kids. I’d think with so few persons, and having done as much personal growth work as I have, grudges and festering would not be an issue here. But, they are. Makes me sad. And sad’s bodyguard is anger. That’s usually where it starts, until I give it time to tell anger to get out of the way so I can just be sad. That’s from where I am writing this. Just sad. Anger is somewhere else, but not here.
This grudge, this festering, is about feeling ignored. Feeling left out. I am certain it was not done with malice. I am also certain a part of this is due to me being a single person in a family of families.
It started a few years ago. My brother and his wife have been doing a Hawaiian vacation for about 20 years, give or take. In all that time, I’ve not once been asked if I’d like to go. Friends of the family, another couple, were always asked to join. Just not me. What I make up about that is couples like to spend time with other couples. A lone wheel just doesn’t fit in the equation. Also, another possible factor. A few years ago, I didn’t have the financial means to attend a family gathering. One of the other family paid my way. I am forever grateful for that. It was just how things were then. They’re not that way now. I believe there is some resentment (and maybe fear) about that. I do acknowledge a stumbling block may have been created by it.
Several years ago, I asked for what I wanted. I asked if I could join the trip. No problem. It all seemed great. Except, there was a complication. An injury to one of the family ended the trip before it began. I understood. Really, I did. I figured in a subsequent year, someone would remember the trip planned with me and ask again. Nope. Not one time. But, you can be sure the other couple continued to be asked every year since. I choose to think it’s being the lone wheel. Or the money thing from before. The end result is the same. It simply and purely makes me sad.
There’s an extension of this, too. When my brother turned 70, he organized a trip, again with the Hawaii friends (whom I really like, by the way.) It seemed like a really well thought out, fun time. Skeet shooting, golf (which I don’t play,) learning to fly fish and all at a great, fun resort. Again, I allowed myself to be sad as once again I was not invited. I told myself my brother only turns 70 once, it would have been a way to show him how much he means to me by celebrating that milestone with him. Instead, I allowed this to cause another fester to dwell on while I did a “poor, poor, pitiful me” routine. I don’t really like that about myself. And, I haven’t done much, yet, to change it. But, I think the time is coming. I don’t like wallowing in my own misery. I want to find a way to take care of myself without being unkind or mean to anyone else.
I don’t want to go on and on. There are other instances where I’ve allowed something to have more power over me than I should. Another trip. Other persons invited. Invited myself. Some words said to me which weren’t thought about before releasing them.
Make no mistake. I believe words to be powerful. Both for good or bad. Once uttered, there’s no taking them back. It’s simply left to the one hearing them to decide, consciously or unconsciously, how to deal with them. And, at this point, for myself, almost anything spoken or done, whether innocently or perhaps just without forethought, I’ve allowed to fester and the grudges to grow bigger. Damn!
So, how am I changing? How will I allow this and myself to move forward instead of just festering and causing more pain for and by myself? I’m thinking one way is to distance myself from the sources. It’s not likely my family will change, so one answer might be to interact less and thus avoid the end result even though that end result is mostly self-inflicted. Not the perfect choice, but certainly one to consider. It is said, “Time heals all wounds,” so maybe I just have to find a way to let time heal what I’ve inflicted before I can interact again. It’s worked before with someone significant in my life. So, why not with my family?
Another way? Perhaps just realizing I’m not as important a character in the play my family performs in their lives and allowing that to be OK. It’s not really a measure of my importance or lack of my importance, it’s about how I choose to measure my own importance and not allow the festering to even begin which continues to result in poor, poor, pitiful me over and over. No one inflicts this festering or pain upon me, I simply & purely do it to myself. AND, I WANT TO STOP IT!!
It’s time to get off this merry-go-round of self inflicted stress and distress. Let my family make their choices whether I’m included or not and continue this life journey until Spirit decides it’s time to leave. Possibly my favorite biblical quote should be my beacon moving forward:
“I have set before you life & death, the blessing and the curse, ” Moses concludes. “Therefore choose life, so that you may live.”
Thanks for spending some time with me.