Coffee, Conversation, and Detaching

Updated: May 9

Morning coffee, a conversation, and I always learn a little more about myself. My sister has a way of seeing everything as it is; I see everything as I want it to be; how's that for a morning eye-opener. The way I have cycled through the last twelve years (grueling Pisces time) has been this way to the extreme, which works well when you design or visualize a renovation. Not so much for relationships. Ahh, the lesson and one reason why I was compelled to move to Maine for the summer - for healing.

Former "military brats," we moved to Massachusetts in 1979. My biological father was having an affair, very apparent as a child, and did not come back home with us. A separation that, to some extent, I had difficulty resolving and pushed down for many years. But that experience resulted in fewer relationship difficulties than what I would learn had plagued me my whole life.

I love my mother; she is my hero. Her mother passed when she was eight of breast cancer, and she and her four siblings, for the most part, were raised by a family of alcoholics. She is a hard worker, always with two jobs. She was raising two kids in 1979; my biological father and the state did not give us aid, and family support was minimal. As a result, we always got what we needed, not what we wanted. We grew up in a town of old money; we were relatively poor compared to the friends we grew up with but rather happy kids. My mom didn't have a car for many years; she walked to work, I can't remember how many miles, and if she were lucky, a customer would pick her up along the way. And hopefully, neither of us got in trouble at school because we'd be doing that walk home too.

My mother was stubborn, practical, emotional, but emotionally unavailable. Yes, a term I would never have used until thirty-something years later, having learned through many failed and abusive relationships. So, what type of relationships have I picked? Hard-workers, stubborn, practical, jealous, controlling, emotional, but emotionally unavailable. It's taken me all these years, therapists, and paid support to get me seventy-five percent of the way there, and my sister has now become the twenty-five percent left.

Remember I said, "I see things for what I want them to be?" My deeper search has been for intimacy, connection, and nurturing (words of affirmation, anyone?). Without going into all the psychobabble, for those of us searching for these connections, it is often a painful, relentless search for "love." Most often, we hear others say, "You need to love yourself first." Then we think, "I do, that's why I give, and give, and have so much to give." But the truth is, we were never taught. Instead, we learned to react or respond to others' needs in an unhealthy, codependent way. So, it's relatively trivial. It's why so many searching for this gold find themselves in awful relationships and circumstances and are blindsided in the end.

I've been repeating this pattern for years because I still yearn for that connection with my parent. But, unfortunately, I will never have it, which is why I enjoy coffee and conversations with my sister. My sister has been pointing out and showing me how to see things for what they are, cope, and let go of an idea I continue to believe can be achieved because it's holding me back from making genuine, meaningful connections with others.

There is so much grief in letting go of this "dream." And while there is genuine love for my mother, I'm forced into reframing it into a business relationship of sorts (luckily, I'm fairly good at work). As a highly-sensitive individual, it hurts to read the words or hear her say "I love you," knowing that it has meaning to her at a surface level, but does not address by deep yearning. My inner child is still deeply craving and wounded simultaneously, and I am now in charge of reparenting myself in a relatively brave new way.