Monday, October 29, 2012

My Family Must be Amish

I am a little obsessed with the Amish, for some reason. I haven't always been. This obsession started about 5 years ago. It wasn't until I was watching a show about these Amish kids that were leaving their orders that I kind of had a light bulb moment. I am obsessed with them because I can relate to them. Not the whole trudging in the snow to go to the outhouse, or the "hey, wheres my cell phone? Oh I forgot, I don't have one because I'm Amish" kind of way. But the whole shunning by your family because you make a choice that they don't agree with kind of way, the shunning I can totally relate to. I had decided that I wasn't really going to write about my family any more, but something happened on Facebook that completely changed my mind. I feel helpless when it comes to my family. I have tried to help them understand my decision and why I made it. I wanted them, not unreasonably, to make an effort because I am their daughter/sister and they "love" me. But in the end, and after years of trying, I have given up. I don't know what my Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins believe about Chad and I, and really I don't care. All I know is that they have reached out to me and tried to close the gap more then my own mother, and they really haven't done a whole lot. I have come to understand that as far as my mom is concerned, the spirit is only working when it is confirming a decision that she already thinks is right. Any other decision and the person isn't worthy to receive Revelation or confirmation of their choice. She actually told me on the way home from seeing my bishop, after he told my mom to but out and let Chad and I work on things without her interference, that she believed my bishop wasn't worthy to be a bishop. (but that is neither here or there, I just want you to understand what I have been trying to work with for the past 7 years) A couple of weeks ago, I couldn't get onto my sister Natalie's Facebook account any more. We had a little argument about something that really isn't relevant, the point is the next day, I couldn't get onto her Facebook any more. But since that is just typical of my family, I skipped it. But then here is the convo I had with my sister Brittny on Facebook yesterday, keep in mind that my family are masters at the whole passive aggressive thing: Brittny: My sweet sister Natalie is going through a rough time with her divorce. Please support my sister by praying for her or give her the love & support she needs. Our own family members r turning on her. She is a great person. I think she's a wonderful sister, daughter & mother. She doesn't deserve the mistreatment. She's the most Christ-like person I know. I love her so much! (I know that this is a wagging finger in my direction for the argument that Natalie and I had, I wasn't born yesterday) Me: that's sad that family is turning against her. I completely know how that feels. Very much so. She is Chad and my prayers. Our whole family, my husband included are praying for her and her girls. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. (I can do passive aggressive too) Heather (a friend of the familly's): Adding my prayers Me:...and can you tell her I love her? I would do it myself, but for some reason I can't get on her fb wall anymore...? Thanks, and love you too :) Brittny:Thanks Heather! You & Mark has always been there for me, mom, Natalie & Zack! I luv u!! (notice the lack of me or my dad's names, and the pointed ignoring of my comments all together) My Mom: I love my sweet Natalie and it is so hard to watch what she is going through. She is trying so hard to do what God would have her do. I also appreciate her brother Zack, who has been a constant in her life and her sister Brittny. Thanx Britt for your prayers for your little sis! (again, no mention of me at comments, or any acknowledgment that I even exists in the family) Me: I understand why Natalie would feel the way she does, especially if her family isn't supporting her. I prayed about a decision long ago and did what the spirit told me to do, and I too lost family support because of that decision. When you do what you know is right, even when the whole world, and family is telling you otherwise, then you find the strength you need and Heavenly Father compensates for your loss. And no matter how hard we pray that things would be different, we all have our agency and you can't change other's choices. Natalie has a loving family that are rallying around her during a difficult time. I wish I had had that 7 years ago and I wish I had it now. I think Natalie is lucky that she has her family there for her, I would love to have my family rallying around me. So many times in the past years that I have wished for just that very thing. Brittny: (skipping over me again like I wasn't even commenting at all)I would do anything 4 my baby sis! I know she's doing the right thing by going through this divorce. She is the most Christlike person I know. I wish I had the spiritual strength that she has. Natalie will find a husband as wonderful & worthy as mine. I look up 2 my baby sister! I love her so much!! Me:(taking the more direct rout) She is lucky to have everyone in her corner, I'm curious, who is this person in the family who isn't supporting her? Brittny: (again, Melissa who? Do you see anyone named Melissa commenting? Nope neither do I) Ur welcome mom! I'm always glad 2 b there 4 Natalie, Karabear & Katiebug!! Drew & I love u all very much!! So at this point, I am tired of the whole 7 years of shunning going on. How can yo fix things if your family pretends you don't exists, unless it is to their benefit to cry on someones shoulder about the "daughter that doesn't talk to them" or the "sister who they never see" But when I actually try to talk to them or make them see, I get literally shunned. So, what am I to do but carry on with my life and love the family I do have? I still want to tell them how I feel though. I have this crazy idea that one day they will go "ohhh...ok. So you did pray about your decision and you got your answer. I get it now! You are happy! Well that's great, come on over for a bbq and we can meet your boys that we have never seen and we can see how big and beautiful your daughter has gotten." But that is just fantasy. It'll never happen. But I did want to let them know that I am here, I do feel, and basically..I'm here(which I know I already said but it's a big deal. It hurts to be shunned) Me: Brittny, whose not supporting Natalie, and what is this mistreatment your talking about? I would like to know since, I too know how she feels, so I am in a unique position to empathize with her. Unless, all y'alls just keep pretending like I don't exist, then how can I be there for my sister who I also love very much. 10 min later... Me again: And off the subject, but still on point, while I got y'all more or less here, even though you pretend I am not commenting..I see all of you supporting Natalie and discussing how god like everyone is. What about me? I'm still here, I still have feelings and I'm still part of this family. Why hasn't any one mentioned my name or offered me support in my hard times? Here in an open forum, reading over the comments with an outpouring of support, no one would know there is another sister. My name is Melissa and I welcome your encouragement the same as you have given Natalie. I was at the same crossroads as Natalie was, but the spirit pointed me in a different direction. Just because you don't agree with it doesn't make it less right. I am strong because I followed what I know to be right and lost all of you. At least Natalie has her family support, and she has mine if she would let me be there. What Natalie is going through brings me back 7 years, and this is the first time that I get to say anything to you guys. Why are you there for Natalie but you turned your back on me? When I said I need you, I lost you. It hurts. It hurt then, it hurts now. I am so glad that Natalie doesn't have to go through this, follow the spirit, and have to learn to live her life without her family there. Yeah, I know. It's a rant, but can you blame me? I just don't want anyone to feel all alone like I do a lot of the time. Call your mom's and your sister's. When you laugh with them, take a moment to appreciate how lucky you are. I think I am strong though. It is easy to do what you know is right when everyone is backing you up, but when you do something you know is right that other ostracized you for, then you really have to know it is right and just do it. Imagine all the things that you depend on your sisters and mothers for, now imagine that they are gone and you have no one to depend on but yourself. I don't regret my decision, I only regret the reaction of others. But they do have their agency, all I can do is live my life. I haven't given up on reconciliation a long time ago. I get met with much of the same as that Facebook conversation. So I am up a creek on that one. Chad gave me a blessing a little while ago about this and he said that it is no longer my burden to carry. I am working on dropping the load, but it is easier said then done. I love them, but I got to let them go. They let me go a long time ago. It's time I did the same.


John and Sherri said...

Melissa, I am really sorry. I don't understand why your family would do that, but i admire your desire to still be there for them and be open to them coming back into your life. Keep your head up, you are amazing!

marshfam said...

Oh Melissa, my heart goes out to you. Your situation must be extremely painful. I can empathize with you in regards to going through difficulties in a marriage, but can't imagine how difficult that would be without the support of your family. I have been fortunate enough to have great support from my family through all of our difficulties. In fact, when I wouldn't even talk to Rob, my mom was talking to him on the phone, making sure he felt loved and cared for, I am so blessed. I wish that your experiences were the same. Clearly, you're very happy with the choices that you have made that have kept your family together and are stronger than ever. It's unfortunate that your family chooses not to celebrate that with you. That they choose to miss out on a daughter, son-in-law, and beautiful grandkids is unimaginable to me. What could possibly be worth giving that up? In this life we will face all kinds of pain, much of the pain will come because of our own poor choices, but some will come from other's choices, things we have no control over. Be grateful for Chad and your children, be grateful for whatever other family you have (in-laws, friends, etc.) Where your family is concerned, set your expectations low and your hopes high. Continue loving them and praying for them, but set boundaries so they can't keep hurting you. Our hearts have an amazing capacity to heal, forgiveness is an incredible gift and it's my sincere hope that one day you will be able to reconcile with your family as you wish. In the meantime, thanks for your great example of working hard at marriage. A marriage/spouse IS something worth fighting for! From my own experience, there is nothing sweeter than enjoying a marriage that has been through tough times. You can't have a clue how much love that is there unless you experience it yourself. Newlyweds ain't got nothing on us, right??