While I think my urgent desires to bake for the neighbors and deliver emergency goods to the homeless may have reflected a subconscious concern about losing my sense of charity, they were subconscious at best.
On a more deliberate level, when I remember to meditate I am more likely to choose to do a loving-kindness meditation. It is kind of the one that works best for me, but also I don't think it hurts to think about different friends, family members, or acquaintances and to think about them being well, and safe, and living with ease.
That may have made it even more surprising when I found myself reveling in thinking "I hate my family!"
I don't, really, and I know that I don't. That's what I told myself the first time the thought came, but it persisted, and it felt exhilarating. So I thought it louder, and louder, multiple times. So later, at the dinner table, and frustrated again, it was very easy to just think "I hate you all".
I know. This is not amiable.
And I don't like that it's not accurate. Precise communication is important to me, because there is so much that gets misunderstood and miscommunicated already, and I like words and understanding, so I don't want to be a part of the problem. I suppose some of it is connotation.
When teenagers scream "I hate you!" to their parents, it is generally understood that this is not a well-thought out statement of belief, but a sloppy expression of anger and strong feelings, not necessarily completely pointed in the right direction. I know that, and I could recognize my thoughts as just general bad feelings exacerbated by the relatives. My general philosophy is that I should be exploring those feelings, but there's no exhilaration there. Frankly, I'm due for some.
It felt good to put it on them. It wasn't even really on them, because it was just thought and not spoken.
It made more sense later, after another exchange of words.
First of all, I sacrifice a lot for my family. It is more obvious now, with the care-taking, but I have put the needs of others before my own for many years. There have been benefits all along, but especially now - since everyone loves our mother - there should be some acknowledgment and gratitude that what I am doing is good for her, and better for her than various other options would be.
Not only do I not get that - instead getting a lot of blame and resentment - I frequently get this retort when I try and point out that some people have it pretty good: "I work."
You work? I never stop working! I put up with so much, not perfectly, no, but so much more than they even try to manage, and they are still critical of me when I am a freaking hero!
I just broke through somewhere. People (not family members) have tried to tell me before how they don't know how I do it, and I am amazing, and all of these things, and I have shrugged them off, because you are supposed to be modest, and I am only trying to do what's best. Except, lot's of people don't try to do what's best, or they fail harder, and yeah, actually I am doing pretty well.
So I think what embracing the hate did was allowed me to be angry with my family for sucking, which is not all they do, but is nonetheless something that they do a lot.
I have written before about always feeling like there was something wrong with me. I'd identified at least part of that as being because my father was never happy with any of us, and that was not us, it was him. Mentally I was at least partly there, but I hadn't realized how much I was still letting everything be my fault for everyone else. It's not.
I won't deny there's some danger here. If I decide everything is everyone else's fault, and everyone else is bad, that way lies psychopathy. That's not really what is needed.
I have been such a good girl for so long trying to do so many good things. There can be good motivations for that, but hoping to earn the kindness of selfish people is a fool's game.
I have been carrying this burden around where it has always felt like my job to fix everything, and knowing that I couldn't never really took the burden off. The intellectual only gets you so far. But the anger, and the hate, seems to have worked. Something is repaired.
It's questionable how much it will lead me to act differently. Certain family obligations are still necessary, at least while Mom is alive, and even after that, there are the pets. And, I don't truly hate them, most of the time.
Ages ago, when I was trying to figure out what I needed, I wanted to be able to see the good in myself. I could look at it, but I couldn't really feel it, because I was hanging on to this false sense of wrong about myself.
That appears to be fixed now, and it may have taken giving into the dark side to get there.