I wish I could say that I quickly and easily listened to my brother and ran to my Dad. The fact is that many years passed – too many years of trying “harder” – too many years of falling short – too many years of being afraid.
And I learned to play those games we all play to mask our pain in acceptable ways. I learned them well. In all of my circles I could put on the smile and pretend all was right, everything was good, and enjoyed being accepted because I could play my part.
If ever I temporarily lost my mask the group was there to “encourage” me to put it back on. I took note. Stopping the game somehow threatened the stability of the group. So it was either play the game – conform or risk being rejected. Rejection was already a big problem for me so I played my heart out.
And I threw myself into my work, or into this activity or that. In any spare time I would veg out on the couch in front of the box. I would read. I would run to the frig… anything to keep from feeling that pain.
I searched for answers from this expert and that but found nothing to make the pain go away. Looking back I see now that I was willing to do anything but that which I really needed to do… that of which I was most afraid.
But, as I told you, my brother never stopped loving me. He never stopped encouraging me. He never gave up on me. He never shamed me or scolded me. He was always patient and kind. I know now that he knew I needed to reach the end of my rope.