Molly’s Blog.

The Perils of Visiting Family

I am still reeling from my family visit last week. I am not reeling in a good way. I am contemplating never going back, like I do every year, but then June comes along and I do it again. A year passing makes it easy to forget.

Parts of my vacation are enjoyable and the company is pleasant, but other parts are not. I am reminded on a visceral level how much I was not loved. I come to terms each time with how my mother was really unable to love me. She cannot help it. Old patterns are ignited as if they were streams flowing through deeply grooved earth. Those pathways if not redirected through persistent practice remain fixed. The synaptic beltway flows as it always has and is reinforced every time unless…it isn’t.

Putting myself in this toxic environment, or what feels like one, gives me perspective on how far i have come. I put my reactional life to the test. I enter the lion’s den equipped with all of my weapons and I prepare to see.

Lord show me what I cannot see.

I teeter between shutting down altogether and losing it. The sadness within me is overwhelming. How can I contribute to a better situation? How can I show love and compassion in the face of what feels like abuse.

All I can muster within myself is a sheer veil of tolerance. I can’t arrive at the Jesus state of pure love or anything close. It is all I can do to just not react. I work to hold a calmness within me. Inside, there is a play back and forth about what is really going on. I cannot see objectively whatsoever.

The only thing I can do is not talk too much and not interact and in doing so I feel shut away. I cannot connect. I am not myself but a shell of a person just being there.

There is then the fight with self pity and the way things are. My mom acts differently with my sister. There is some kind of trust and respect even though my sister is able to tell her off when she gets out of line. I cannot imagine what would happen if I did that.

So I move along in this holding pattern seemingly not making any progress or connection but certainly not backsliding either. In the going back and forth in my mind, I try to recall if I displayed unskillful behavior. Have I spurred all of this on?  I have my children there to cross check. They too are bewildered by the ill treatment and the toxic environment.

In the end, it is better for me to be in it and discover more, rather than avoiding it. Perhaps if I were there more often, the pathways could be moved. In the meantime, I have to see when those pathways are activated from other situations and work with them at that time. It is about all I can do.

In the end, I have come away not devastated or crushed.

I am not filled with depression and sorrow. I am simply saddened by what I see and what I realize was the same state when I was growing up. I understand how I looked for love in all the wrong places as a teen. I realized how I married someone who didn’t love me and frankly couldn’t love anyone in his narcissistic zone. I see how I recreated that toxic environment over and over in my lifetime, until I didn’t.

When I go home, it’s a check in. It’s a contrast. It’s hard.




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  1. Oh, Honey, Get a grip! Aunt Milly was always a bit wacko, Uncle Sid always a bit obnoxious , but from my cat bird seat of 82 years, it is typical family and one excepts them and in time enjoys their differences. Of course, there are deviations which are not acceptable which I assume one can eliminate from family gatherings or if that is not possible, I guess the best thing is to avoid them altogether. Wishing you well. Life is too short to get caught up in family grievances.

    • Hi Pat,

      Thank you for this wonderful response. You are right, life is too short to get caught up in grievances!


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