Today is my 55th birthday and somehow I expected to feel a lot wiser by this time.
Instead, I find I am still the same whiny and needy person I have always been; the difference, of course, is that at 55 I have learned to hide it better so I don't have to regurgitate my fears of loneliness and rejection onto everyone around me.
There is an old saying in my 12 step program - alcoholics do not suffer well, and we do not suffer alone. I have found that is as true today at 55 years old and 18 years sober as it was at 1 year sober and 37 years old.
I am so hurt by not getting a Christmas present (or even a card) from Nephew and I am really hurt that there was not a birthday greeting from him on my Facebook page.
I understand he is at war, I know I just want what is best for him and I want him to pay attention to what he is doing and come home safe, but it feels like it did when my father always forgot my birthday. It feels like it did when I would shop for hours to get something unique and special for my brother's birthday and he would announce to everyone,"My sister is really weird, look at this gift".
And now I sound like the big victim, right?
Well, no. I think what is necessary for someone who fights the disease of alcoholism is to never EVER pretend they do not feel sad or angry or depressed. Admitting we feel bad helps us to really think a situation through, to run the tape all the way to the end, so to speak. When we do that (and if we have given our lives to God, depending upon Him for our sobriety) we can get to that part of acceptance that says, "Nephew is who he is - you love him anyway and you do not expect him to be anything other than who and what he is, now go to Mass".
I am not his parent - yes I had a lot of influence on him but not enough that he would grow up and escape the narcissism that seems to permeate some people in my blood line. They are not bad...they just don't get it. It is difficult for them to think outside of themselves. If there is a big emergency - they are the BEST...because it is kind of loud and sexy and allows them to shine. But the every day stuff, the tough stuff of remembering to tell someone to have a good day and that they love them - it is really difficult for them to remember.
My brother has grown a lot in the past few years and does his best to 'resist the darkside' of the Shaw nature (I think I am the same way - of myself and by myself I can be one selfish and self-centered bitch). I think, and this is where I have an advantage, he would do better if he had Christ and His Sacraments to help him out. I know that if I did not get to receive the Eucharist, go to Reconcilliation and be able to sit quietly before Him in the Blessed Sacrament, I would be just a clueless as Nephew when it comes to thinking of others.
Anyway, enough whining. I am going to watch the Niners have to play the Rams - GOD I want this season to be over - and then I am going to take myself to see True Grit. I miss my Dad, which is normal for children of Narcicists to miss the parent that hurt them the most because when he was 'on' he was the best and besides we shared a lot of similar tastes in things. Then, after the movie I will get to go to Mass on my birthday.
Father Illo told me that it is normal to be hurt when someone is forgotten by a family member they love but he also reminded me that I get to offer it up in union with Jesus Christ. He is right, of course, because that is the genius of Catholicism. I get to put this 'suffering' to good use.
I also got to hear the Holy Father preach his Christmas homily and I think of my suffering brothers and sisters in Iraq and China...that is TRUE suffering. Those incredibly brave men and women who teach and preach the Faith, who brave guns and bombs and murderous Islamic fanatics to receive the Eucharist.
They are my inspiration - because if they can carry on day after day, I can accept a day without a happy birthday from my nephew.