Being able to walk away with your soul intact is a remarkable thing.
Don’t let the bitterness consume you. Learn from their bad behavior, as you have, and do the opposite, as you do. Know that as rough as you had it, someone out there has had it much worse and isn’t doing nearly as good as you. And That person isn’t doing nearly as bad as someone who had it much worse than them…etc, etc, etc.
Isn’t it fun, fun, fun watching family members play Rescue-The-Codependent again and again and again? Who needs soap opera’s when we can have Thanksgiving Day Arguments all throughout the year? Yet, I’ve found that these co-dependents are hugely popular with the slack-jawed, mouth breahing wide-eyed lemming crowd. It’s like a cult following. ( Not that I’m cough speaking from cough experience.)
Co-dependents need someone to feed off of, we know this, but in their twisted little world, they think they are helping the weak person that is unable to say no to them and their little crisises that keep cropping up, over and over and over again. As if their crisis were a personal hobby for someone.
Fortunately, instead of feeling like I am an island where the bridge has been washed away, I occassionally get to hang with other women who are the black sheep of their family. Y’know the kind, don’t put up with crap, state their minds and discipline their kids. When we get together, nearly never, it is quite communal bitch fest on who has the most dysfunctional set of family or inlaws.
The sad thing is many people just don’t grasp the Family of Origin and Family of Choice stuff. Just because you are born into a family does not make you friends. And if you drive each other nuts/shit on each other/have nothing in common with/etc, you can always leave and find other people who do not cut you down and demolish your self esteem. There is always a choice.