‘Then I discovered that being related is no guarantee of love…’
The quote is from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (1954–2004). The character was describing his nazi collaborator relatives and went on to describe the effects of their abandonment on their children and siblings. The character decided, “I don’t need your approval.”
Attempts to ‘earn’ it cause jealousy among siblings and others who are also self-esteem-based conditional love creatures.
I can relate.
I rarely go on Facebook, the business-oriented family values nazi-network. They shunned me for genius art history paintings that had nude figures for fucksakes. Twitter did as well. Both these businesses are governed by bullying millionaire American puritan conservatives. They use these platforms as an ad buy for the repulsive Republican party and their partners in the IDU which is run by a fired former Canadian Prime Minister, to our national mortification.
So naturally, my relatives feel right at home. Anyway, it’s been 10 years since I looked them up to see their shame-based profiles. No news, of course, no public revealing of feelings, that would be offering something and they have nothing to offer, except manipulation by Fear, Obligation and Guilt. F.O.G.
I have a grand-niece that I last saw when she was 6 months old who is gay 20ish apparently, and a nephew who is now completely covered in beard and tattoos. A niece with a new last name and still trying to define herself and earn approval through business success cult recruitment like her Mom the tantra sex addict guru who will never approve of anyone not willing to fuck her, like me. She really likes my army brother so I can only assume what’s going on there.
When my wife was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease 20 years ago I got myself a family therapist whose advice was to call myself an orphan and avoid these people. Get nicer relatives.
After my Facebook journey yesterday I couldn’t sleep, I was up half the night with anxiety attacks, consequences of the old programming notion that I must be liked and win approval or else I am no good.
Eventually, I used a technique I learned from Albert Ellis’s teaching: deal with the situation as best I can for now, then ignore it and focus on something more satisfying.
For instance, I can walk now. Not stumble along in constant pain but actually take pain-free strides. This took 4 years to resolve. Ignore it after doing the prescribed physio and focus on satisfaction.
So here is my choice: focus on people I’m related to who don’t like themselves very much, have nothing to offer but will gladly suck me dry of my approval because they are too guilty and ashamed to give it to themselves; trying to get approval from them in order to like myself, or celebrate my accomplishments physically, emotionally and professionally gained through learning rational evidence-based psychotherapy.
Originally published at https://jeraldblackstock.substack.com.