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Author Topic: Feeling nostalgic for the family I never had…  (Read 117 times)
Couscous
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« on: November 24, 2021, 11:32:30 PM »

This is going to be my first Thanksgiving that I am not spending with my uBPD/NPD extended family. The reality is sinking in. I feel like an orphan. And maybe I have always felt like an orphan — I can’t really tell. And it really sucks.

Even though last Thanksgiving was such complete train wreck that my husband and I vowed that that was the last holiday gathering we were ever going to attend, here I am, feeling nostalgic. And for something I have never even had — a drama-free Thanksgiving with a family that I actually belong to.

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Methuen
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« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2021, 02:35:06 AM »

Sigh.

I think it’s to be expected to have these feelings Couscous.

On the one hand it’s loss - loss of family - and acceptance of not having the family you deserve - a healthy family that isn’t perfect but still treats you well.

But it’s also complicated by a new isolation, which also hurts.  Maybe this is a crazy analogy, but it makes me think of teenagers (especially girls) who victimize by isolating - not letting a chosen victim into the group.  Excluding them. Badmouthing them.   It’s a form of emotional abuse.  And it hurts the victim to be excluded.  This is different because you’ve excluded yourself and chosen not to participate with a group of people, but they’re still your people, even if they’re dysfunctional, or mean, or hurtful.  So  it’s still a loss of a sense of belonging.

Not being part of a group hurts anytime, but especially when that group is family that is hypothetically supposed to be supportive according to social norms.  

I suspect its not really nostalgia (because nostalgia implies good memories and feelings of something positive), unless it’s  nostalgia for a lost fantasy.

I encourage you and H to do something special on Thanksgiving, and move forward by creating your own new traditions and memories.  Look forward, instead of back. Virtual hug (click to insert in post)
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LongRoadAhead

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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2021, 04:59:01 AM »

Even though last Thanksgiving was such complete train wreck that my husband and I vowed that that was the last holiday gathering we were ever going to attend, here I am, feeling nostalgic.

[/quote]

Couscous - so sorry you feel this way.

We've hosted many family get-togethers in our home, but my uBPD mother has spent YEARS sabotaging every Christmas/birthday/meal out etc, etc, and we say 'NEVER AGAIN', but we do it anyway the next year!!! 

I feel EXACTLY the same way as I plan food for Christmas. Rather than look forward to our first Christmas in our new home (just myself and husband) I feel empty and sick and can't summon up the enthusiasm. We had thought about inviting parents to spent Christmas with us, but after their recent visit, which was horrific, we've decided NOT to invite anyone this year! But I still feel 'bereaved'.
I hope your Thanksgiving day is extra special and that you have a special day with your husband, instead of ungrateful relatives. Virtual hug (click to insert in post)
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BabeRuthless
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« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2021, 09:07:16 AM »

Couscous, I so understand where you are. As LongRoadAhead commented, I'm feeling empty, sick, and bereaved. I'm cooking dinner for my husband and myself and then getting ready to have at least 30 people for dessert -- hubby's large fam. Blessings abound with my husband's family, yet I am lonely and sad and missing my own people, dysfunctional and at times pathetic and aggravating as they are. In middle age, I still long for some sense of belonging in my original family and can't really accept that it's not going to happen.

Often, I ask myself why I can't just "join" my hubby's fam and be grateful that they're there. What happens is that when I'm with them, it takes me back to the train wreck/deprivation chamber that my family was/is, and I start wondering how two human families could seem like they came from different planets. 

It's not intentional, conscious thought...It's more like an intense flashback of a frightened, isolated emotional state. So I sometimes avoid being around my hubby's fam, even I though I like and need them. Withdrawal and avoidance have always been my coping methods, but needless to say they don't serve me well in middle age.

I have complex PTSD. At times, I'm able to look forward rather than back, and not be plagued by painful emotions. Other times I feel depressed, lonely, and scared, and don't take care of myself. I know these are very old residue, and I do my best and have enjoyed some healing, but sometimes they just flood back. Holidays are a huge, and predictable, time for this. Yet every year this phenomenon seems to reappear and take me by surprise.

At times, the best I can do is not to beat myself up for these normal human feelings of sadness and longing and not being able to control much of anything. Trying to learn to just let the emotions be there -- accept them -- and "talk to" my inner self with gentleness and compassion. To re-parent myself, as discussed in many healing programs.

Am feeling especially out of sorts this year as having trouble now with my BPD identical twin who didn't invite us to dinner, and my uBPD mother is coming to visit next week from across the country...And my older sister just passed away. My father-in-law died in September. And I'm trying to hide from everyone my lack of self care since the pandemic started. I feel like I'm in a down-cycle and don't really have the energy or will to do anything but go through the motions. But I'm sure that, when bedtime comes tonight, I'll be so glad and grateful about the good company of the day. I'll recognize there's good with the bad.

Just wanted to let you know you're not alone. I, too, am longing for something I never had. And just as real, for me, I can feel the damage that sometimes makes it hard for me to embrace the love that is there. Please be gentle with yourself today...Will be thinking of you. 
« Last Edit: November 25, 2021, 09:21:22 AM by BabeRuthless » Logged

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Couscous
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2021, 12:07:11 PM »

Thank you all for your encouraging comments. I’m definitely going to make a concerted effort to focus on what I do have — my H and two sweet boys. 

We were able to book a last minute getaway to a nearby lake resort last night after our hopes to go to skiing were dashed due to the weather. I think getting away will be a great distraction, and maybe we need to make this a new tradition. I was amazed at how booked up all the accommodation was — maybe there are more people out there than we realize fleeing from their families for the holiday!
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zachira
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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2021, 12:33:33 PM »

The first Thanksgiving without the family will likely be the most painful one. I could not spend Christmas anymore with my highly dysfunctional family and the first year was terribly painful and the following years there was some sadness and I was mostly okay.
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Woolspinner2000
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« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2021, 07:02:48 PM »

I think that the holidays are so typically difficult for anyone having a person with a PD in their family. I remember pretty clearly how tough they were when I was a child experiencing the fallout from my uBPDm dysregulating every single Christmas. I have huge holes in my memory surrounding Thanksgiving, so there are probably reasons why my childhood brain protected me from remembering that holiday too. Christmas is scattered; some memories that weren't pleasant, and many holes once again.

We are human, reaching for healthy soul connections of love, kindness, and caring. In our family of origin, we suffered a lack of those basic needs. We still crave them, no matter how old we are or how long we've been away from that childhood home. By starting a different tradition, we offer new healing opportunities to our wounded inner children. The yearning for what wasn't won't go away, but the pain from it can ease through the new comforting traditions you create.

 Virtual hug (click to insert in post)
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There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.  -C.S. Lewis
Methuen
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« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2021, 10:18:52 PM »

We were able to book a last minute getaway to a nearby lake resort last night after our hopes to go to skiing were dashed due to the weather. I think getting away will be a great distraction, and maybe we need to make this a new tradition. I was amazed at how booked up all the accommodation was — maybe there are more people out there than we realize fleeing from their families for the holiday!
  This sounds wonderful...a breath of fresh air!  I hope you have a wonderful weekend Couscous!
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