I am glad to hear you use words like "thrive". I'm hoping to get there some day....and not just "get by with a longing to go back and talk sense into my daughter." I need to give up the need to "fix" things. I think I've done that a lot in the last couple of years....but I sometimes still have that yearning. I have the same feeling about feeling freer each year......It wasn't until this year, that I believed this new house I live in is really mine. Me was not a strong concept.Yes. I went no-contact 20 years ago and don't regret it at all.
The first few years were turbulent - there was a lot of fallout.
But after the dust settled, the benefits started becoming visible.
I have grown, healed and thrived a little bit more each year that I've been no-contact. It's really added up over the years.
Each year I would feel a bit freer, still.
Yes, it's been a difficult journey too... It's hard to find a "substitute family" of sorts. But, we're not the only ones with crappy families... A lot of people struggle with the same stuff and finding people who are in a similar situation really helps - it can become a kind of substitute family, with everyone helping each other replace those things that family usually offers - help when moving house, a couch to sleep on in emergencies, etc.
Personally, I think "family" is a matter of the heart anyway, not a matter of having the same DNA.
I've often wished I had "a family" but I never wished to have MY family back.
So, yes, success stories are definitely possible.
The question is, what do you need to help turn your story into a success too?
I was adopted, and so I was supposed to be wanted.......and my parents were both alcoholics.....and cold....and distant, both bitter about their own upbringing. The concept of "family" isn't what I see on TV....I think looking at it your way.....it is a matter of the heart and not DNA is a helpful and healthier perspective.
I am so different than before when I lived in Dysfunctionland. I'm not afraid all the time, not walking on eggshells, and not constantly hypervigilant. I know I don't want my family back the way they are now. I want my daughter back the way I imagine she can be...so smart with so much potential; and the way I know she can be when not using/drinking, kind, considerate and an excellent teacher........but I really don't want to deal with her dysfunction and unpredictibile behaviors, and inability to feel or empathize...........not the way she has treated me in the more recent years...so very hurtful. I still love her because she's my daughter, but I don't like her behavior the way she is. I can't tolerate how she treats me any more than how the rest of the family treated me. She's gone to the dark side. It was hard setting clear boundaries with my daughter.....and leaving the fixer role (if she had an issue, I was always there not just to support but to fix it)....and when I stopped, she called me mean and crazy.
And there is my grandson, a new child's pure love is so awesome-they love just because they can....because that's what they do...without prejudice or malice; my grandson's was so very precious....so special and so very loving. But part of what made me finally leave the X was watching him, be there on his mother's lap, while they taunted me, had dramatic scenes, made fun of me, and belittled me......and I realized I was watching it happen all over again, to generation 3. I was watching him learn to be like them. I saw glimpses of it happening to the X's children, and now with this generation, I saw it daily happening to my grandson....I was the stepmother....the butt of jokes.....and my grandson was learning how to treat me like shit.....all reinforced by the X and his daughter. I miss my grandson. I taught him the sign for love, and my last memories of him, standing in the truck as I pulled out of the driveway and he didn't know I was crying.....signing I love you with both hands...and me signing back......makes me cry when I think of it. However, I don't miss the abuse from any of those who blatantly abused me and taught him hateful behaviors.
The dust is beginning to settle.....and life is so much calmer and I can see the good in the little things each day....... I think I was in such a fog all the time, that I didn't notice the little things around me. Since the fog has lifted....I'm now entrenched in feelings of loss, grief, and wishful thinking....they can be such a bitch some days, that's for sure. Thanks for your thoughtful and hopeful words.