Thursday, 11 July 2013

Snapping the thread

No further birthday cards have come. And I have a spate of other people's birthdays approaching. Including the birthdays of the very people who have not sent me a card this year. So what do you do?

This is a problem every transitioner may have to face. It's all about other people, hitherto willing to include you somehow in their life, now quietly dropping you as a person they want to keep in touch with. And the crisis that creates.

You don't know for certain why they have done it. The reason may be innocent, such as absence on holidays, work or family stresses, ill health, no personal organisation, forgetfulness, even an embarrassing lack of funds for the card and its postage. That's why you are on the rack. It may all mean nothing.

On the other hand, when you are dealing with mentally alert, well-organised people whom you know would never normally miss a birthday, and have never before missed yours, then the fact has to be recognised that their omission to send a card is intentional. It's a signal. It could well say:

I didn't abandon you when you came out, but I have struggled ever since, and the time has come to struggle no more. So I'm gently breaking the thread that has held us together. I don't actually want to be brutal and say in black and white 'It's all gone, and you will hear nothing more from me', but in essence that's how it is. I hope you will take the hint, and not preserve an awkward cycle of birthday and Christmas greetings that have come to mean less and less because we no longer see each other, and cannot in any way share our future lives.

Am I looking at this? I rather think I am. And if so, it's a rejection of myself that needs to be resolved. I do not want it on my mind. Nobody would. A decision has to made about what to do. I think the best thing is to assume that my analysis is correct, and accept the consequences. I too will quietly not send birthday or Christmas cards to the persons concerned, and simply let us drift apart on the ocean of life.

Personally, I like definite messages, and clear-cut explanations. But a neat and perfect dialogue is not going to happen here. So a fuzzy, inconclusive parting must occur. I suppose it leaves the door open for fresh contact sometime ahead, but I'm not counting on any such thing.

It feels like sending a couple of valued and much-loved treasures to my vaults, wrapped up so that no harm can come to them, and handled with tender care. Consigning them to the museum basement, to be kept forever, but never looked at again. 

6 comments:

  1. Unless we know a good reason, we only cross folk off our card list if they miss us twice. A card to them after they've missed the first time can serve as a gentle reminder that we're still around and thinking of them.

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  2. Welcome to the real world Lucy. People have their own agenda and quite often simply forget but more often many just cannot be bothered. I have such people in my life and I have to confess that I too have difficulty in remembering birthdays except those of my immediate family. I have a current friend or two who appear to have cut me off, not because of my transition but it seems they just cannot be a**ed! So I don't bother anymore. There are plenty of other people in the world to worry about those who cannot be bothered for one reason or another, billions of them, so stop worrying about the handful who may have cut you out of their lives.

    Shirley Anne x

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  3. I disagree with you, Shirley Anne. People are always worth bothering about. I am trying to guess what some individuals are thinking, based on what I know about them. I think they want me to let them off the hook, and pass out of their lives. I could be quite wrong, but they have left me to speculate, and I have made my best guess.

    Angie would give them one more chance, but my intuition tells me that it would achieve nothing. Well, if they protest that I haven't sent them a birthday card next month, then we can have a dialogue that may clarify how they feel about staying in touch with me. The important thing here is that I make up my own mind, and not duck a hard-to-handle situation.

    Lucy

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  4. People are worth bothering about but if you've tried time and again without response then you should move on. You see, the issue has become all about the card. If you send me one then I'll reciprocate. That is childish behaviour but I do agree that one shouldn't cease sending cards just because they are not received. There comes a time though when one feels enough is enough why am I bothering? Give them a chance to respond by all means and I think that is right but don't worry yourself to death about lost contacts and get on with life. It isn't a hard to handle situation unless you make it so.

    Shirley Anne x

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  5. You are of course being perfectly rational, Shirley Anne, but I am chiefly discussing the situation that exists with my ex-partner and my step-daughter. They are not ordinary cases, certainly not to be dismissed with some blanket principle that if they don't send a card, I should wipe them out of my life forthwith. It requires a far more delicate judgement of what might be going on.

    There is a personal, emotional angle here, a very long deep history of shared memories. It's not at all like how it would be if I were dealing with a acquaintance who can't be bothered to send me a birthday card.

    I don't think either these special persons hates me or wants to be nasty to me. I willingly give them full credit for being thinking people of sensitivity. But, based on what I know of them, I feel that - for them - a time to cast loose from me has arrived. And being human, they will naturally prefer to do it by omission rather than commission. In other words, it's much easier for them to let things quietly drop, than blast me with a searing written goodbye that would probably upset both of us.

    I could be very wrong. But I feel that not sending me a birthday card is probably the final step in a disengagement process that has been going on for years.

    So it isn't about cards as such. It could have been something else, like 'unfriending' me if I were on Facebook. It's about sending a signal, without actually having to use definite words.

    Lucy

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  6. Ah well, you didn't say it was your ex. Now I can see what you are talking about and why it is affecting you so. You will never lose the memories of shared times and you will be feeling rejection because a card wasn't sent to let you know you were remembered. In this case it is very sad but there is little you can do to change things if your ex. doesn't respond and at some point you are going to have to accept that fact. Maybe right now is too soon but it will come given time.

    Shirley Anne x

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Lucy Melford