For inexplicable reasons there are individuals in my life that I need, to assess my quality as a person. A thousand more people, family, friends, acquaintances breeze into and out of my days, leaving a pleasant warmth in their wake. But somehow a tiny few slip under my shield, and inflict deep and lingering pain.
Now, I’m no expert on interpersonal relations, but I know enough to see my part in the dynamic. I can see enough to watch myself set up for another emotional blast. Perplexing as it seems, I continue to come back for more, with this miniscule group of perpetrators. And what annoys me most is that I’m so pleasant in return, because I don’t want to escalate any rows.
Well, enough about me. We all know that taking crap from loved ones is just one more inevitable, invisible gift under the tree.
Unraveling family interplay in River of January forced me to fall back on my own experiences with loved ones. My female protagonist, Helen, was helpless to change her relationships with family members, so ingrained was her role. The unthinkable pain of even trying to declare independence from her mother made the act impossible. She simply could not see herself outside her position as daughter, trusting her mother’s judgement without question. Any defiance was impossible, because Helen had no identity or definition without her mother. This matriarch was the center of her universe.
Manifesting her predicament, Helen trusted her mother’s decisions and directions, believing those decisions were for her own good. As is true for the rest of us, she was blind to the manipulation behind her mother’s choices, such as keeping away suitors because Helen was to dance, not marry. The girl never had the perspective to see that she was more a pawn, moved about by a stage mother who was equally blind to any harm she inflicted.
I often try to apply resolution to these postings, but when it comes to family interaction I’m not sure that exists. We begin our lives together, mothers, fathers, children, and build from that starting point. Most of us have no notion of the bad decisions or actions we take that hurt other members of the household. None of us start out with a pain inflicting agenda. It’s as though we fall into roles, behave as we read others expectations. Helen acted in a way that pleased her mother. She grew to please audiences, and tried to please her husband. All that pleasing backfired, and in that there must be some kind of life lesson.
I’ll let you know when I’ve discovered the secret to perfect interpersonal relationships. Happy Holidays.