Gabrielle's Life and Writings

Gabrielle Lawson, writer of Fanfiction. I will use this space to keep a journal about my writing, the progress I'm making, stories I'm working on, writer's blocks I'm having, our adoption process and progress and just life in general.

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Location: Missouri, United States

I'm multifaceted and highly educated. I have a BA in History and an MA in Museum Studies. But I couldn't make a living in a museum, so my hobby--computers--became my living. I'm now a charter member Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician. I aspire to be a professional writer and/or poet. I am a Christian and have been living by His grace for the last four years or so, despite the MegaStress and now the GigaStress. He keeps me going, and displays His glory still, in my life.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Sister #1 called....


Did you hear the ominous music playing the background? (Figuratively, I mean.)

Well, at first it was fine. She was calling to say that her husbands daughter was coming to live with them. Which is great news! But then she stepped over into inviting me up for Independence Day.

That required a response. And I did try to temper it. "I don't know where we stand." She didn't take that well. "We were fine until you said that." Well, no. We weren't fine. We were civil. We were acquaintances talking about a person we mutually care about. Going up to see them on Independence Day is something entirely different and well, we're not sisters anymore.

So that opened up quite a kettle of worms, as you might imagine. I can't even remember all the dialogue. I do remember saying several times that we should have this talk with Pastor Joe. Mediation is a good thing, not a bad thing. At one point she agreed only if it wouldn't be a session of telling her off basically. I asked her how much she respected Pastor Joe. I think she was trying to dig at me, but she was putting down Pastor Joe. Either Pastor Joe is a fair, impartial, wise person whom be both respect and who loves and respects us both...or he's just a patsy in my pocket. No, I didn't use those words with her. There's a lot that goes on in my mind that doesn't make it out my mouth. Which is probably a good thing. Either way, she had to ask herself how much she respected Pastor Joe.

And she fell into her usual pattern of accepting blame if only it's shared. "We both said stuff...." Well, I've gone back over every e-mail in the whole exchange. I didn't read every word yet, but I could. I didn't see a single time when I insulted her. She called me cold, incompassionate, and more like a corporation than a person. She thought I was a loveless automaton of some sort. I didn't say those things to her.

I presented my evidence, stated my case, and gave my perceptions of things. She railed at me for how things "felt". Try using that in a court of law. Feeling isn't fact, I told her in one e-mail and I'll hold to that line to my dying day. Feeling isn't fact. No one better dare punish me on how it "feels". Punishing me for fact is fair. For feeling is not.

I struggle with forgiveness. I really do. I think I've done it and then something comes up and all the anger at mistreatment comes back. I think I read somewhere that forgiveness is a process, something you are doing. Not something you are ever really done with. At least, it's not a single instance, but maybe you have to keep forgiving and forgiving...for the same thing even...until you have finally gotten fully past it all.

Anyway, she didn't like my answers to her questions. She misses certain aspects of me. (Nice that she doesn't miss all of me, isn't it?) She said she'd been to a counselor and she was thinking about making a step forward to me. Calling to tell me about my neice was one way of doing that. No, that's sweeping it under the rug. Pretend that nothing happened. Nothing new with sister #1. I pegged that right at Brendan's birthday party. Anyway, she asked if I want a relationship with her. "Not a dysfunctional one. A functional one, yes." She didn't think that was a straight answer. "I don't want one like we used to have." Nope, didn't like that either. "Not enough to have a dysfunctional one." Nope.

She tried to steer things away from the whole incident with Sister #4. But that's where it all came from! Or where it all came out, rather. She didn't like how I dealt with the situation. I reminded her that she didn't have any sympathy for me. Unfeeling? I was crying on the phone...to her! She even said I'd be angry one day, yelling at her, and crying the next. I tried to tell her how close I was to going insane, the toll it took on me. Not being able to read, for example, should be a huge red flag to anyone. Nope. Sister #4 deserved some charity. Hold that phone! I'd given her charity for two months. I was going broke! And Sister #4 was really treating me like dirt. She didn't say thank you. She smarted off or snapped. I gave God the $962 she owed me and I didn't so much as get a "thanks". Mentioned that to Sister #1, but it didn't even get a response.

In the end, it was this: "I'll go on one condition. I'm willing to change some things to have a relationship with you. Are you willing to change, too." She didn't like my answers again: "I'll change what God tells me I need to change. Not what you tell me I need to change."

So far, from what I've seen, I don't think there will be a relationship. Who knows, though. It wouldn't be the first time God worked a miracle through Pastor Joe. Still, barring that I'm left with what I can see. I can't see a change in her. I can see the same old patterns in her. I can see she's still upside down.

I have set my boundary and I will stick to it. No more dysfuntion. I had a right (and still do) to decide what to do with my own house and my own money. I had a right to cut off someone who wasn't working, wasn't paying her share. And I have a right to decide who I will have a relationship with. I will not change and mold to fit the shape she wants. She will either take me, love me, respect and honor me as I am, or she will not. It's her choice. She has a right to that choice. She doesn't have a right to change me.

So, you might be saying, why do I have the right to change her? I don't. If you were saying that, you weren't reading right. I don't have the right to change her, but I have the right to not have a relationship with her until she decides to change herself. She has that same right in relation to me. And she can wait until Mordor freezes over. She can't turn me into a clone of her. She seems to still not realize that just because I'm different from her that I'm not defective in some way. Just because I'm rational and logical does not mean that I'm unemotional. And she is throwing away a whole lot of evidence to the contrary when she tries to make that case.

If I have only one vice (of course, I have more....), it's stubbornness. I can hold out a LOT longer than she can. If it takes 40 years for her to get right-side-up, I can last that long and longer. Right-side-up or no relationship. I did as well as I could do in that whole situation with Sister #4. And for a person teetering on the wall between sanity and insanity, I think I handled it exceptionally well! I finally managed to stay on the side of sanity.

And this is what it all comes down to: I'm not going back. I'm not going to conform to her up-side-down idea of right and good. I'm not going to stand there and be villified when I don't live up to their cockeyed insanely high standard of perfect they hold me to, knowing that I have no choice but to fail. I don't think they realize the standard they hold me to. But it's higher than the standard they hold themselves to. They wouldn't want to admit that even if they did realize it. They would think it would give me a big head. No, it gives me a big headache. I'm no more perfect than anyone who isn't Jesus. And I'm not even striving toward their standard, but His. His is a right-side-up standard, it doesn't fall in line with theirs, and so, of course, I am not hitting their standard. And here they come attacking.

And it was the three most dysfunctional people in my family who did the attacking this time: Sister #1, Sister #4, and my birth mother. Sister #3 had enough of her own problems and realized it. Brother #5 (only brother, but he's #5 in birth order) doesn't think he has any issues, which might be an issue in itself, but so far, the evidence shows he's living up to that. Sister #6 doesn't have a whole lot of contact with the rest of us and is still closer to Sister #1 than to me, but still, she didn't join the rally and gang. Sister #1 and Birth Mother did though. True to form.

Well, I'm not going to fall into that old pattern. Dysfunction doesn't give you a choice. Not a real one. It's the "stay and like it or leave" choice. The only option to get back in the graces of those who rally and gang is to admit they were right and you were wrong. Which would be a lie. I don't care for their graces enough to lie. I'm not a cold, unloving, incompassionate automaton, no matter how much Sister #1 wants to think I am. I found this in one of the e-mails: What she thinks I am has no bearing on what I am. What she perceives does not equal truth. God knows me. And His opinion is the one that matters.

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