Let go or be dragged

A while back I came across this old Buddhist quote. It just reappeared in my vault and suddenly had so much meaning.


You may not have come across any of my other articles here and that is ok. I’ll make a quick summary for you: in the last couple months, I had to deal with my dad’s eyes surgery and treatment, the passing of my aunt and most importantly the sickness of my aunt in law. The later has me commuting from home to London, every other week, as my partner and I have been taking turns by her side. We also had to deal with her house, numerous urgent repairs and piles of unpaid invoices as well as hospitals, consultants and solicitors.

It has been draining. Physically, mentally and financially.

We have been trying to help her, get her in a better place, get her to simply drink and eat. We have done everything we could but she isn’t cooperative. Indeed she is sick but she is also her worst enemy and has been for years.

Some of the people in her life had escaped this, some had set boundaries for themselves and had refused to get dragged. They had understood earlier than us, how toxic and manipulative she is.

We were far and didn’t suffer from this too much. We went to visit 2 or 3 times a year, had a good time. We didn’t always pick up the phone when she called, only doing so when we were capable of handling. It wasn’t so bad. Almost unknowingly, we had also set boundaries.

But our boundaries got smashed and we got thrown into her drama, when she got sent to the hospital. There was no one else to deal with it, so we did. It spiralled into a nightmare.

Now we need to let go. We both know it. We don’t know how to do it and might not succeed entirely but this has become too much.

You reap what you sow

This is another quote that comes to mind when thinking about her. My aunt in law has drained everyone around her. Using people until there is nothing left of them and then moving on to the next one. We had recognised some of her technics and were mostly immune to these.

Now? We are the ones that have been sucked in and on the verge of breakdown. But what I’ve mostly been feeling is that that she really is reaping what she sowed. As she is still almost unconsciously holding on her old patterns, her condition is getting worse and worse. Her acts of rebellions only get her to be treated exactly the way she was trying to avoid.

However, while I recognise maybe a little too easily that she is reaping what she sow, I am unfortunately unable to see the link for myself. I’ve been wondering again and again: what did I sow to reap such rewards?

You see, I’ve been tending to older people for a few years now. My mom, one of my aunt, my dad, now my aunt in law. I seemed to always be the one ending up doing it. Oh, how many times have I said it before: I’m too young to deal with this sh$@!t! There are decisions I had to make which no one should ever make. Thinks I had to do, that no-one should have to. Obviously I know I’m not the only one. People handle worst everyday. I don’t feel equipped to do so.

So why is it so?

I feel there are practical reasons here and one is because I am childfree. My brothers and others have been using the excuse that they need to do this or that for their children, so they can’t be there.

Some others used distance as an excuse. However I’m usually the one who lives the furthest, so I’ve always wondered how they could say that straight to my face!

And then there is the fact that I’m independent. Their 9 to 5 has often been an excuse. Sure I’m independent but it means that I don’t get paid when I don’t work which is something they don’t seem to understand. I’ll admit that my situation has evolved as for the past year, I do have more work but also more flexibility.

Overall, the freedom I created for myself seems to backfire on me!

But again these seems to mostly be practical reasons.

This leads us to my next question: am I selfish enough?

There are different views on this. Here I feel like arguing that selfishness could be an act of self preservation. Then again, maybe there is a different word for it when used that way. Anyway, used this way, I’ve been wondering if I’m selfish enough and therefore smart enough?!

Yes, at this point, I feel almost stupid for putting my life on hold to deal with other people’s problem. My health, my projects, my goals… everything get derailed, paused and sometimes forgotten. It has to stop.

So I’ve wondered: Am I doing this in the hope that someone will do it for me, if I needed it? Am I actually sowing good deeds to reap a reward? This would be done unconsciously and indeed next level selfish!

Sure, it will remain a possibility I’ll keep exploring and digging into but for now, I’ll confirm I doubt this is it. I honestly think that with climate change and all, by the time, I need this sort of help, no one will give a sh@!t!

So what is your problem when you deal with other people issues more than you deal with your own?

Well, apparently it could be a sign that you have mommy issues! We have all heard about daddy issues but mommy issues are also a thing!

I came across this article on the topic when I was writing this one (talk about synchronicity!) and thought damn! this is it!!

And all was said.

What’s next?

I’m going to own my sh@!t and let go… slightly.

First, I’m not going to blame my mom for my issues. I refuse to do so. Sure, some of the ways she handled my education were questionable. But I’m a firm believer that at one point or another in your adult life, you’ve got to own your sh@!t and deal with your issues. You just got to stop blaming your parents, for they probably did the best they could with what they had/ knew.

In any case, some of our issues might have been build on the foundations of childhood traumatic experiences, but such issues probably kept growing with time and the way we handled some adult experiences and as long as we refused to deal with the underlying issue.

I know for sure that I am who I am partly because of my parents and partly because of my own choices. You are too. Sure we may have been built on wobbly foundations but isn’t it our job to get better with the cards we have drawn?

Recognising our issues is a first step and then we have to take the next ones. I’ve certainly been working on this for the last couple years and made tremendous progress.

On one side, I refuse to become a selfish asshole so I know I’ll continue to help my family when I can. I certainly will continue to help my dad as it got me closer to him and I cherish the relationship that has developed from this.

On the other side, I do have to set firmer boundaries to not be drag into everybody’s drama. It is harder than it looks but it is necessary.

As for my aunt in law, I’m afraid she will be on her own, at least for a while, as I’m not ready to spend Christmas in a London hospital.

Let’s end our conversation on some insightful pub wisdom!

Pub wisdom

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