I thought my brother and I were getting closer after my mother's death, but when I made an off-hand reference to one of several times my mother admitted to her part in the abuse when I was growing up, he verbally attacked me in public. When one of my very good friends stood up for me, he attacked her as well.
I struggled for months with what to do. I tried to reconcile, but I did not go to the lengths I went to with my mother--lengths that left me far more hurt than before my attempts. He clearly wanted to blame me, not reconcile. I was finally able to chalk it up to his own grief and let it go.
With a great deal of help and support, and with--I strongly believe--no small amount of spiritual intervention (I am one of those people who believes G-d is at work in the world, though maybe not in ways we'd expect, or even hope), I have a sense of who I really am, an idea of maybe who G-d wants me to be.
My counselor offered this in her interpretation of kibud av v'em--honor your father and mother: "Parenting, at its root, means helping your child become the best person s/he can be. So the best way to honor your parents is to be true to yourself, and become the person you were meant to be, the person G-d created you to be." I needed to hear that, right then. It finally clicked.
I feel like I am finally accepting who I am--who I really am--even with my flaws, my mistakes, the possibility that severe anxiety and/or depression may once again visit. And I am okay. Yes, I can do better; there's always a place for introspection, evaluation, and improvement. But my core, my essence, my Yiddishe neshama, is accepted and loved, and I am worth loving and worth acceptance. I don't have to disappear from my makom kavua because someone else is more worthy than I am. I can sit in my fixed place (where I have sat for sixteen years now) and invite others to sit with me.
This is all a huge change in perception for me. And for the last 17 days (it's that new) it has stuck. I pray it sticks forever.
In fact I have felt so accepting of myself that I have toyed with the idea of dashing my anonymity (whatever of it I have left) and coming out, so to speak. I didn't when I set up this blog because I feared what others would think, that I would lose my credibility, my job, my friends, if I owned up to what was really going on inside of me: the depression, the anxiety, the fear, the hurt, the wounded child.
Now, I don't worry so much about what others think of me because my opinion of myself is the one I have to live with (did I just say that out loud?). And for the past several decades, it's been a pretty negative one. Perhaps because it is a more positive opinion now, I am going through a sort of honeymoon period. For that reason, I will give the idea of "coming out" some time. There still may be things I don't want to admit publicly, under any name other than Rivka.