Why is it that I have known for so long what to expect of my JW relatives, and they continue to exceed my expectations for crazy-making behavior, yet still sometimes, I am blindsided by a comment so out of left field, so removed from the way that I see my world and the way that I live my life (or try to)...why does it still hurt?
I have posted before about my sisters. I have two. The oldest is a pioneer and elder's wife. She is super-everything; super driven, super demanding, super 'spiritual'. She has scolded, berated, degraded, and demeaned every single aspect of my being since the moment I was born; all the while telling me that it was for my 'own good' and that she 'loved me so much'.
I spent the first 25 years of my life desparately trying to please her. There was no doing so. When I was small, I was just an annoyance as soon as I was old enough to walk and talk. In the way, underfoot, and undesirable to be around.
When I went through a phase where I wanted to be just like her, she went to my parents and demanded that they insist that I stop imitating her style of dress. She was my father's favorite, my mother's cause of jealousy (as Mom was aging, my sister reminded her of what she used to see in the mirror) my second sister was hell bent on being the antithesis of the first, and she was, even in hair and eye color and stature. By the time I came along, it was a little stale having so many girls in the house...and mostly I just got everyone's sloppy seconds when it came to my parent's attention. Or worse, the back of my father's hand (I was the only one he ever hit).
The only people who didn't treat me as a third class punching bag were my grandparents. Rest their precious, precious souls.
Anyway, as I got older and began to find my own identity and things I excelled at, my oldest sister would scoff and say "I did that before you did, and I was better at it." There was nothing original under the sun, the great Diva had done them all prior and there was no way I could go back and be born before her, so she was the Winner For All Time. Game Over.
She seemed to change a bit, at some point in my life where I realize now that I was dancing as fast as I could to the beat of her very specific drummer. If I did what I was 'supposed to' (dressed modestly, kept my nose in a book, didn't get any attention from anyone and let her have the spotlight) she approved of me. When I stood out, did something well, or rebelled in the fashion of hanging a poster on my bedroom wall (idolatry!) or wearing the wrong haircut...she withdrew affection.
I kept jumping through these hoops until finally, I knew that trying to please her and staying in the religion would cost my sanity and my life. She had a short time of extreme clarity; she was so close to grasping the 'truth' about The Truth and then she panicked and ran back into it, deeper and farther than ever before. Where she had supported me at first leaving my ex, she stood by when I married my dream man, and then afterward, when I didn't get reinstated and began to object to her trying to indoctrinate my child...she turned very nasty.
Fast forward now; it's been almost four years I think since I've even spoken to her. This was not my choosing.
Her elder husband laid down the law and told her she had to cut me off. She did, and when I refused to let them have unlimited access to my child, even cutting off her access thru my ex (who she can't stand, but would gladly use, as a means to her end) she full on freaked out. She is so crazy now, even when her JW friends et all convinced her finally to get some therapy, she quit. She tried blaming everything on me in her sessions, and I guess she didn't like that the therapist kept trying to turn it back to her own life.
She is even telling everyone now that everything that happened in my first marriage, and the subsequent divorce, etc, was all my fault. She knew more than most people about what I actually lived through; to think that she could say that now, to paint me as being to blame, stabs me in a way I didn't think even she ever could.
I'm rambling on, I know, I apologize. I just don't get a couple things.
I don't get how I can be the cause of the misery in her life when she hasn't seen or spoken to me in years, by her own choice, when the last words out of my mouth to her were "I love you, and my door is always open to you." all she had to do was show up.
She has spread all kinds of lies about me (even worse in many ways than what my ex did to trash my reputation) and persists in doing so, which get back to me through the second sister. The second sister, who is being lambasted by the first for having any contact with me at all, which she does when she feels like it. The other day she says to me "Well X (first sister) says that you're the connection to evil in her life and that because I talk to you that the evil reaches her' (or something to that effect, my hearing went fuzzy after the actual 'connection to evil comment'. At first I laughed out loud; anyone who knows me knows that my life is so fricking boring that no one would ever call it evil.
Bless my husband's heart, when I said to him "Hey honey, guess what, apparently X has found the axis of evil and it's me!" he said "Hmm, lets see, which part of you would that be? The part that (he mentioned a large charity project I work on here) or the part that (he mentioned another of my long term ongoing charity projects)? Which of those is the evil part of you?
I realized that if I never got to see myself through his eyes, that I would never have any clue (in these moments where she can still reach out, across miles and through other people, grab me by the throat and shake the heart right out of me) who the hell I am or what I'm about.
I know I am not evil. I know that I try to do my best, have done and will do for my family.
I know that I am not what they think me to be. So why the hell am I sitting here crying about it days after the fact? Why do I give a care what she, or the rest of them think of me?
On my better days, I don't. Tonight...I have to ask myself why it still hurts so bad.
Recently, my mother said to me "You never could please X, you know. No matter how hard you tried. The religion has nothing to do with it. Even if you were reinstated, she'd still be this way." That floored me. I wished I'd heard that years ago. Also, second sister said to me "This feels like it's a sibling rivalry thing; more than anything else.' It never has been on my part. I just stopped dancing to her drum.
She cut my parents off when they refused to stop seeing me and my child. Yet she knocks on doors convinced that she will be able to save anyone's soul. I worry for hers; because she is a tormented person. I can't let her torment me too, I know that. But some days...nights mostly...it's like I'm four again, standing there just wondering if my eyes were brown and my hair were darker if my parents would love me as much as they loved her.
When it comes to her, I will always be four years old and on the other side of the door, knocking to get in. But at least now...when the moment passes, I find more than one set of hands waiting to take mine, and lead me back into the daylight.
Thanks for listening.