I saw a fortune teller at the local markets on the weekend. Mel, who loves that kind of thing, went to get her fortune read. I, in spite of my love for ghosts, witches and the like, have always been skeptical of fortune tellers. To me it seems like they are clutching at straws, everything is caged in such general terms that their predictions could apply to just about anybody.
Mel was thrilled with her fortune.
You are now with a man who is the love of your life and it will last forever. You will travel the world and have a rich, fulfilling life.”
Sounds like the blurb you read on the back of those cheap romance novels you get in the sale bin at K- Mart.
The fortune teller wanted to speak to me. ‘Yeah, right,’ I thought. ‘I bet she says that to everyone who comes to the markets with a friend.’
The thing is, she didn’t want any money for telling me what she wanted to tell me. I was sure Mel had slipped her something, but I listened nonetheless. She described my sister and her husband in quite accurate detail. She called him the broken man. And warned me not to dance with the devil. She said that for my own health I should stay away from both of them. She told me I need to laugh again.
The freakish thing is that she is right.
Lately I’ve been overwrought. Friends have noticed. Some family members. It’s like I’m waiting for something to happen that doesn’t, but because it doesn’t happen I have to keep on waiting. It’s a suffering of sorts.
What do you say when a member of your family has her husband arrested for domestic violence and then takes him back three months later? What do you say when she expects all of her family and friends to take him back too?
My parents, who initially resisted and rejected the reconciliation, have now decided to sanction it. To keep my sister happy. They want us all to sit with my brother-in-law at Christmas dinner, discussing the weather like strangers.
My Aunt Jo has had enough. She is going back to Ireland for Christmas. My other sister, Shelley, who was meant to be coming from America for Christmas has changed her plans. ‘It’s the economy,’ she says lightly, but I know she doesn’t want to sit at the same table as the man who beat her sister and pretend nothing has happened.
It’s a difficult situation to traverse. Here we are, a room full of grown adults, and not one of us can say what we really think. In case we stoke the fire that really is just burning low in the grate.
I’ve been dwelling on all of this a little too much. I feel it is sapping my sense of humour. It is all I can think about. At my writer’s group last week I wrote a story, a really dark story about pain and revenge and turmoil. About a woman who systematically destroyed a man who had wronged her. The act of writing it left me drained. I cannot go on like this. The revenge motif is killing me.
When I got home from the markets my sister, Shelley, had sent me an email, apologising for not coming home for Christmas. ‘I am angry at Millie for forcing us to pretend yet again, she said. ‘I am angry that she can’t see that her behaviour makes us victims just like she is. I’m not going to let her get away with it anymore. So I’m out. For now. No more drama.’
No more drama. She is right. Sometimes you get to a point where the only thing to do is step back and let time take its course. Aunt Jo has got it right. So has Shelley. I have to follow suit. There is nothing to be gained from pushing and pushing for things to be different when it’s obvious they’re not going to be. Not yet, anyway. Sometimes you have to be like the leaf that falls from the tree overhanging the river and let the current take you where it will. Sometimes it’s best not to offer solutions, sometimes it’s best to just be.
There is a quote that I like by Wendell Berry –
Laugh. Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.”
In a strange kind of way I feel my encounter with the fortune teller has given me permission to do that.
It is a relief.
I have worked for years with women who are living in violent relationships. I don’t want you to be discouraged, but on average women have to leave those situations anywhere from 5-7 times before they truly leave for good.
On my blog at Love My Journey, http://www.sherrieh.wordpress.com there are some strategies that might help your sister to begin loving herself enough to believe she deserves a better lifestyle.
As well just a forewarning, the Full Moon in Aries is tomorrow. I don’t know whether you are able to influence your sister to leave for a couple of days or not. See my astrology blog at http://www.astromoon.wordpress.com. This Full Moon time there usually is a dramatic increase in domestic violence issues. Actually anytime the Moon is transitting a fire sign, but especially when that Moon transit is a Full Moon. I’ll say some prayers for your sister. Many blessings!
It’s kind of like finding the controls on a runaway car. Now YOU are in control, and even though the road may be full of turns and unpleasant scenery, you’re the one who chooses whether or not to linger in the bad places. Or even go to them in the first place.
The fortune teller is right… sending you big hugs from across the pond. Oh, and an e-mail.
There’s a lot going on in this blog. First off, it must be very frustrating to witness and experience this and not be able to do anything about it.I like that you’re going to just “be” this is probably very wise to do for yourself.
Being on both sides of the coin at different times in my life, this is a very tough and very complex issue. Have you ever thought about calling up a DV advocacy group and not only vent about your frustrations but also get some advice on how to best help your sister while not alienating her and not feeling like victims yourself?
With other family members not showing up for the holidays—there is a power struggle at play. Her husband is getting his way because one thing abusers are so good at — are alienating their partners from friends and family. He probably doesn’t like you guys either. So by not having them over or not showing up–he wins. Perhaps instead of making your sister feel like she has to choose, perhaps you can alienate him instead. All spend holiday together, but don’t talk to him. Don’t speak to him. Tell them both in advance that you don’t condone DV and that you refuse to acknowledge him.
I hope this helps. But seriously, consider talking to a DV counselor about what to do. You might be really surprised at the advice. If you want to discuss this further, just email me…
How did the fortune teller do that?
I always thought they worked a bit like Sherlock Holmes … you know: ‘That man walking down the street was a Sergeant in the Royal Marines, and he can’t make up his mind whether to knock on my door or not’
Or, do you subconsciously fit your situation to what he said? … for instance, a fortune teller told my wife we live in a house by a lake, surrounded by trees. In actual fact, we live near the top of a hill.
However, this does fit the description of my father’s house … OR the next street is Coniston Close … named after a lake.
But, this is spooky … however she did it, though, you were well advised by her!
Sometimes our sources of the good advice that we should heed come by way of a strange/unusual path. I do believe that many people can predict future events. Whether this woman was the ‘real deal’ or not does not discount the fact that what she told you is very good advice.
Love the crystal ball pic btw!!!! 😉
What your sister said is exactly right – Millie is making you all victims. It’s OK to acknowledge that and let yourself be angry about that.
It is also OK to refuse to be a victim. Understand that she won’t see it that way for now – but the WORST thing you can do is play into the distorted reality she is building for herself right now.
Let yourself laugh, honey. It’s the best thing you can do for both of you.
Now that was a good fortune, and definitely for your own sanity and health you have to put that chapter of your life behind you. It is really hard because she is your sister, but as one of my dr’s said – we do not need to surround ourselves by toxic people. Just because they are family doesn’t mean that they aren’t toxic too! We need to think about ourselves first and heal first. It would be nice if you would be able to spend Christmas without all his drama – what if you didn’t go too? I’m sure your parents would understand. Talking to your sister will do no good because she is on her own planet and right now in the me me phase. No matter what you say she will take it the wrong way…which is sad but true… I’m sending you positive thoughts and big hugs!
Never underestimate the healing power of laughter, and make sure you are finding some joy in your life.
Ireland for Christmas sounds like a wonderful idea. Well, if you can’t make it all the way to Ireland with Aunt Jo, you could always do Melbourne… 😉
“Sometimes you get to a point where the only thing to do is step back and let time take its course.”
Yes. That is EXACTLY what you need to do. And, find your LAUGH again.
Well, I’ll tell you what I would do – and this is based on personal experience. I would remind myself that whether or not I spent the holidays w/my sister and that loser, it will make no significant difference in their lives. They will eventually continue on as they always have. But it will make a difference in mine. It will reopen a wound that is barely held closed with butterfly stiches. …and it will lengthen the time it will take for me to emerge from the anguish that has been my experience of this for far too long.
If your parents want to enable your sister, that’s their choice, and that’s fine. Just think carefully about it before exposing yourself to that awful energy. The fortune teller was right, in my humble opinion. I think you should walk away. For your own sake and for that of your own family whose hearts must break when they see the effect this has on you. Heck, it breaks mine. xoxo
as a reader of cards myself,, i know that what i feel or sense when i read has to come from somewhere.. intuitiveness is just that,, not magic,, and more often than not,, it is what you feared it may be in this case, trickery….
no matter where the advise came from,, i feel that it is good advise… live and let live,, it doesn’t mean you have to lower your own standards so that others may live,, give them a wide berth,, and as the fortune teller said…. laugh……
I guess when nothing is all you can do, it’s best to get on and do it – get on with life, and take that extra slice of enjoyment for those who you think can’t. Then when things improve, you’ve got more to give back.
KAREN – for you and your email XXXXXOOOOOXXXXXX
You are the best!
LURAGANO – thank you so much for your excellent advice. I do think speaking to a counsellor would help because I think part of the problem is not really knowing what to do. The other part is having to play along with my parents who seem to change their minds every other day regarding which strategy to adopt. I can’t thank you enough for your concern and am really glad I found your blog. I have missed you.
TRAVELRAT – I suspect she had some kind of ability. I have heard other people I know rave about her accuracy but I always scoffed. I didn’t prompt her and Mel insists she didn’t either. She was right on the money. It was uncanny.
GERALDINE – how sensible you are. I didn’t think of it that way before but you’re right – it’s the advice that matters. Thanks, G!
BRITT – you really are a wise person. Thank you for your advice and your constant support on this very longstanding issue. I am going to laugh a bit more. I need it. XXX
TBALL – I know how well you understand about toxic people and I am so inspired by how strong you’ve been through your recent ordeal. What you have just said is excellent advice that I intend to follow. You really are a gem, TBall!
NAT – a laugh really does you the world of good, I agree. All I need to do is listen to my son doing impressions of all the kids at school – that’s enough to crack me up for days. His impression of his teacher is priceless. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
DAOINE – I love Melbourne. I really do. I might just take you up on that one of these days…..:D
MELEAH – Oh, yeah. I can’t do anything so I just need to let things happen as they will. And I need to watch Tina Fey as Sarah Palin again. Cracks me up every time!
EPIPHANY – every time I read one of your comments I feel enlightened and enriched. You have just described exactly how I feel. Now I know what I need to do. XXX
PAISLEY – live and let live is the only way to go. I think the fortune teller gave good advice too and I do believe that one should take good advice no matter where it came from. It’s time to laugh again!
ANTHONY – you are so right. If I don’t do that I will be at such a low ebb I will be no good to anyone. Thanks so much!
Everyone has given you really good advice. Do laugh and enjoy yourself Selma. It may sound cliche, but LIFE is so very short. My heart goes out to you. Well wishes and Aloha from the middle of the ocean.
I agree with what Epiphany said.
That kind of family situation is horrible to have to deal with,
I am so sorry to hear that your sister is back with this man. Worse, it makes me sad to think that it is draining your energy. The fortune teller gave wise advice.
Hugs Selma. I see you.
PUNATIK – how nice it must be to be able to say ‘Aloha’ to people. I would love that. What a beautiful part of the world you live in. Thank you.
CRAFTY GREEN – it really is. Hopefully, everything will work out. I have learned an important lesson this week though and that is it is not my problem to solve. I have to step back. What a relief.
KATE – It has been draining but I am starting to feel better. I am so glad you’re back. It has really cheered me up. YAY!
NECTARFIZZ – thanks, Bekki. You are very kind.
I agree with Luragano, that tosser is getting exactly what he wants by alienating you all from Millie. Having said that though, I think the only thing you can do for your own well being is keep well away. Maybe if your sister feels isolated enough it will help to make her realise that if she stays with said toss bag he will virtually be all she has left. That must be a horrible concept even for Millie.
What you have to realise Selma, as hard as it is, is you can’t help Millie. Only Millie can do that. It won’t achieve anything for anyone, especially yourself, if you remain a part of her life while that creature is on the scene. Good luck hon. I’m so sorry you are even in this position.
GYPSY – how blessed I am to get all this wonderful advice. I feel so lucky. I know I can’t help my sister now. I thought I could but I realise that at the moment it’s impossible. It’s a bitter pill, you know? But I have to let it go. Thank you so much for always being there for me. I really value your friendship!
Selma, I love this: “It’s like I’m waiting for something to happen that doesn’t, but because it doesn’t happen I have to keep on waiting. It’s a suffering of sorts.”
I do this to myself all the time. I think there is an inner unhappiness with the person that I am, because I want to be a slightly different person, and instead of trying to become that person (which is so hard!!!) I keep looking to the external to make me feel like that person. It is a suffering. But I hope to change that. And one friend who is helping me change that has a beautiful dog whom I lvoe, adn guess what his name is?
I was on my way in to see a fortune teller once, and she said “Go away boy… you will never believe a word of what I say”
I must admit that I’m very sceptical when it comes to this kind of thing but what she said left me rather confused. You see…
I believed her when she said that I would never believe a word of what she had to say.
How does that work?
SHERRIEH – so sorry I didn’t reply sooner. WordPress lost you there for a bit. Something strange is going on with my spam filter. Thank you for your excellent advice. I am beginning to realise that the leaving process may be a long one. It’s a bit grim but I guess I have to accept it. I really appreciate your kindness and concern. Thanks for stopping by.
PWADJ – I know exactly what you mean. A dog called Laughter sounds like the beginning of a fable or a Buddhist tale. There is magic in that thought for me. I think you are a great person the way you are, by the way but like most true artists you are hard on yourself. I can’t tell you how much I am cheered thinking about that dog. Give him a pat for me, will you?
BEAR – hahahaha. You are a classic!