Thoughts by Richard Bleil
As my readers know, I’ve been going through a rather stressful time of late with the passing of my father. Yes, another post about that, but stay with me because I think it’ll all soon be finished.
My brother-in-law and sister have collected my father’s ashes a few days ago and invited me to choose a day that would be most convenient for me to go back and attend a very small personal service. They even informed me that the estate would be able to pick up the tab for me to travel. Today, I informed him that I cannot attend the service.
The very real problem is that I feel like I’ve been regressing and I’m struggling with who I have become. My readers know that every story has two sides and I can only justly present my own. Without going into details, yes, I felt the old triggers again, triggers that caused me to throw up my defenses. But I don’t like myself when my defenses are up. In fact, they’re defenses I’ve tried very hard to tear down.
Obviously, I failed.
My defense involves a great deal of passive aggressive behavior. I can honestly say that I told nothing but the truth since my sister first called to tell me that she feared dad would be placed into hospice. Every statement I said, including that the plan, or at least the original plan, was to distribute the ashes without ceremony. Like I said previously, I do not know if there was a change in plans, but I was informed that there would be no ceremony from a reliable source. When I wrote the texts I’ve received, I really did write them, verbatim and in their entirety.
The problem is that, even though I didn’t opine on the texts or plans, embellish or lie, posting this was, in fact, an act of passive aggression. Nobody reading these posts know my brother-in-law or sister (to the best of my knowledge) actually know who these two are, I also knew that one, or both, of them would read these blogs. What’s more, I also knew that they would not like the way their words and plans would look in writing. This makes what I wrote an act of passive aggressive behavior.
My brother-in-law at one point said that I need to look at my own actions. The reality is that I do, frequently, and with disgust. This post in part a confession, hopefully one that will prove to be cathartic and alleviate my angst over my own actions. Yes, I have lost nights of sleep, ironically only for telling the truth. But maybe some good came out of it. If I am correct in assuming that my sister and brother-in-law decided to collect dad’s ashes and do a little ceremony because of my posts (which I admit is not necessarily the case), then I’m hoping that finding a home for them will prove to be a nice closure for my sister. After all, we are both struggling, so I hope it helps her with the healing process. I guess that’s up to her now.
But I mentioned that there were two purposes to tonight’s blog. The second is so that if any of my readers are facing a similar situation, maybe, just maybe, it will help them out. I am guessing that it’s human nature to have defenses, and a side of them that they don’t particularly like, so, what do you do about it?
For me, there are several states. First of all, I am not only aware of the person I have become, of the reasons for it, and most importantly of the actions that this person tends to carry out. Personally, I believe you can do nothing if you lie to yourself, which is something that we all do, usually as a critical step in self-preservation.
Second, in recognizing these behaviors, and being honest about them, I opened up about it. Frankly, I’ve been feeling like I need a therapist lately, but what does a therapist do but let you speak? So, I’m communicating. Congratulations, dear readers, you are now my therapists.
Finally, I’m apologizing for it. I know my sister and brother-in-law are reading my posts, so they’ll read this, making it as public an apology as the acts of passive aggressiveness were themselves. Is this an apology? Well, I’m thinking it is. I’ve heard too many hollow apologies where the words are spoken but the action repeats at another date, but this is an acknowledgment of the actions and regret for them. This, I believe, is more likely to reduce the chances that it will happen again, but, of course, I can’t promise it. I’ve learned, and I’ve realized that I don’t like this person I am, but given similar triggers, well, hopefully it won’t happen again, but who knows. Only time will tell.
And the good news is that there have, in these exchanges, been very nice and promising moments. Among the anger and the sniping, I’ve paid compliments, or at least tried to, to both my sister and brother-in-law, and in the end, they have given some nice gestures. Are we back on track? No, the anger in these exchanges are still too fresh, but perhaps, just perhaps, a pathway has opened up for the future.