Recently I texted one of my brothers and invited him to a concert I thought he might enjoy. He lives a distance from me and I don't see him very often. I wanted a chance to connect over something fun and just hang out with him. Its been 10 days and no reply.
The first couple of days were easy cause I know he is a busy guy and George, my brain, kept saying "he will respond later". By day 3, 4, 5 George was giving out messages that were not at all helpful and saying "how rude that he has not texted", "you don't need rude people in your life", "its his loss". I noticed that George's messages were making me feel angry, frustrated and upset.
With each passing day George's messages got louder and even entitled. "Rosemary, you always remember your brother on his birthday and have made several attempts to reach out to him". "You deserve better than this". "People should be respectful and reply to invitations". My mood grew heavier and nastier. I noticed George's comment started to shift to attacking me, "told you nobody likes you", "your own family doesn't want to spend time with you, who were you kidding trying to make friends".
I was sinking fast, and some old depressive feelings started setting in. Being mindful of my feelings I knew it was time to thank George for his observations and take action. I reached out to a few friends and acquaintances and started to book events and time with people. Scheduled a concert for December with some friends, scheduled dinner with some people I have not seen in a while, tried scheduling a game night with some other friends (that didn't work but they responded).
In taking action I got out of my head and started gathering evidence that not everybody ignores me and that I can turn to people who do respond to invitations and who have time and energy in their life for me. Having this information helps to reinforce the type of life I want ... a life filled with enjoyment, activity and people. Action helped me turn from anger and just allow for the sadness of not having a relationship with my brother.
Whatever my brother's reasons are for not responding are his own. I suppose I could push back a bit - pick up the phone and ask him whats up. But I know him well enough to know that he has felt pushed around a lot in his life. I don't want to impose that on him and I'm noticing that my anger has just turned to a bit of pain. It just hurts that my brother isn't too interested in hanging out. It just hurts that he doesn't understand I need him in my life. It just hurts.
In the hurt space I'm more vulnerable more approachable. Next time I see him at a family function I can honestly say "nice to see you bro" which is MUCH nicer than what I would say if I remained in the angry place and much truer to who I want to be in this thing called life.