One of the worst feelings I’ve ever experienced is alienation.
Being alienated is one of those feelings that just packs a punch…and that punch is not only stronger than a double shot of Everclear; it’s complex. For me, it’s akin to one of those whack-job drinks at chain restaurants with five different types of alcohol and a sidecar of another: It’s pain and insult and degradation and condescension and rejection with a hint of loneliness that only gets stronger and stronger until it becomes the most prominent.
But worst of all, if it catches the victim in the appropriate climate, it can make one question themself…be ashamed of oneself…feel like everything they are is wrong.
It can make one want to crawl out of their skin.
If you’ve read through my blog, you already know that self-esteem used to be a very prominent issue for me; being without confidence and struggling with self-loathing made alienation something that was equal parts devastating and terrifying…it’s just one of those situations over which one cannot exert control, no matter how much one tries. If a person or a group wants to alienate you, there’s not much you can do.
Alienation, though, was the worst when it came from somebody for whom I had strong feelings…such as romance or brotherhood.
A group of bastards who I don’t know, wanting to exclude me from eating lunch with them? Phfft. Go fuck yourself.
Somebody who I had forged a friendship with or I’m attracted to or whatever is a different story.
I grew up in a divorced family, and my father just completely checked-out when my mother left him; he treated both my brother and I not unlike a monster from a German fairy story, and I could never understand why. Things only became worse for me once he had his new wife move into the house with him. I was very comforted when he’d told me that we were NOT guests in his house, but that soon became a bit far-fetched once his adult stepchildren moved in, usurping our rooms. It took me years to figure out that he hated me because he couldn’t bear the pain of being reminded of my mother every time he saw me, when all he wanted to do was forget about it.
The behavior became worse and worse: My brother made the decision to no longer use his visitation after he and my father had a fight, so I, having a pronounced sense of empathy and prone to gut-wrenching Catholic guilt, had to endure the brunt of my father’s unpredictable wrath.
The toxicity didn’t manifest primarily in physical abuse (even though there was the occasional instance of being hit with a belt); mental or emotional abuse was his poison. I could give examples and go on and on about this shit, but I won’t. I’ll tell you, instead, of one instance, and put it in the form of a question:
Have you ever been left out of a family picture…while you sat there and watched it happen?
Look there: Didn’t even need a metaphor. No wonder I had self-esteem issues, right?
The example is somewhat extreme, but no matter what kind of relationship one is alienated from, it still hurts. When you’re shut out, or it’s very obvious that you aren’t wanted in somebody’s ‘super special club,’ or you watch as others are welcomed into the same position you are banned from…you feel like a child again…a child being put in the naughty chair or stuck with the babysitter or banished from the swingset by their friends.
This feeling’s been kind of rearing its degrading head again lately and, strangely, I’ve decided to challenge this fucker instead of curling into a ball and hiding from it.
As I’ve been going through my ‘personal revolution,’ I’ve come to understand the importance of personal strength, confidence, and self-respect. The answer to the pain that comes with interacting with others usually leads back to having love for oneself, and this issue was no different.
So, please do allow me to tell you what I told myself:
Listen, bitch: Pull yourself together.
They want to play ‘clubhouse?’
They want to behave as if you aren’t ‘important enough’ to let you in?
They want to not take the responsibility to acknowledge the things that they should be acknowledging?
They want to make you the scapegoat, and hand you the short end of the stick?
They want to keep you out because it makes others ‘uncomfortable?’
Well, fuck them.
And that’s not in an angry way, it’s just putting your foot down: Fuck them.
There are people who will make room for you in their lives, and there are people who won’t: You know who they are, and you know what they’re doing. Acknowledge that. Embrace that. You’ve refused to make room for people before, and you know what that means.
So, stop with the pity party you want to throw, stop making excuses for them, and don’t even think about feeling ashamed of the way you run things.
Do you have everything that you’ve ever dreamed of?
No. But this is YOURS, and it’s special and unique and you try to do right and be a moral, honest person, no matter what.
And most importantly, YOU don’t need to toss anybody out of your life to make sure it stays on the straight and narrow, or to please anybody, because you bow to nobody, and you try as hard as you can to work through every issue you may encounter with people who you love because YOU value them.
Do you really want somebody close to you who wouldn’t do the same?
No. You don’t.
They think their lives are so wonderful, but they can’t negotiate themselves because of your presence; they want to shut you out because you can’t step to them? That’s cool. Maybe they can’t step to yours, either, but hey; at least YOU’RE not being a bitch about it.
But most of all, if they won’t make room in their lives for you, they simply aren’t worth it, no matter how much room you’ve made for them. Use a full reversal, and take yourself back from them, because somebody who is careless with you doesn’t care if you break.
Use the effort for somebody who will reciprocate.