Whether its a friendship, a family relationship, or a romantic relationship, relationships are all about perspective. How you see them, why you see them the way you do, what you’re willing to invest in them, what you get out of them, and why you value them.
For me, relationships are hard, especially from being in here. I’m emotionally distant and the foundation of almost all relationships is having an emotional bond from being able to relate to each other through sympathy and empathy.
I don’t really bond with people that way, I value principles and characteristics more than emotions. I have big walls and it takes a lot to get over them. Since I’ve been in here there haven’t been very many people I’ve gotten close to and the people that I thought I was close to when I was out aren’t in my life anymore. Out of sight, out of mind is a phrase that’s true to me.
Another reason that its hard for me to maintain relationships is because I prefer to physically be there for people. Actions speak louder than words and I like to express myself through actions. I can be there to lend an ear if someone needs to vent or just needs someone to listen, give advice or a different point of view, but I can’t usually relate to what people go through because I don’t allow myself to go through things the same way.
It’s the way that I choose to see things, I think I’m like that because I’m strong minded and try to solve my own problems rather than burden someone else with them, even if they’re willing to, so I keep them to myself. I feel like no matter what happens to me I’ll always be ok, and I can be ok on my own. Life has taught me to be that way. I’d be lost if I couldn’t do everything that I needed to for myself.
From my point of view, prison simplifies relationships in most aspects because its pretty clear that some things you can do, and some things you cant. once you come to terms with that you can focus on what you can do. For the most part I can only be there to support people mentally and emotionally.
I think its harder for me being in here than it is for people out there. We do have more time without as many distractions as people out in the world and I can have some understanding because of that, but it also let’s you know who cares. With jpay its as easy as sending a text message, and if I call someone all they have to do is pick up. Its the thought and consideration of being willing to do those things and when people don’t it makes me feel alone. I’m not saying that if I call one time or if I don’t get a jpay once every few days that I feel like that, its when I go months without hearing from someone that I feel forgotten. people are on social media everyday and they can’t even take the time to write me. Even if they sent me something on Facebook, I could have it checked and get the message.
Family relationships depend a lot on how your family is. It seems like most usually have an understanding that people make mistakes and they still love the one who’s locked up and they support them. Mine was like that when I came to prison the first time. I had a very tight knit immediate family that was there for me more than I could have expected.
When I came home they helped me get on my feet and were there for me. When I got locked back up, it didn’t matter what it was for, it drove a huge wedge between myself and my family. I had been back for about 4 years when my parents and brother came to visit me for my birthday when the truth about the situation finally came out.
I could tell something had been wrong for a long time and I couldn’t let it go anymore. It came out that my mom only did things for me out of her sense of duty as being a parent. In order for her to look at herself in the mirror she felt the need to be there for me sometimes.
My dad said that when I came back to prison he was ready to cut me off, and the only reason he still talked to me was because my mom would be mad at him if he didn’t.
Me and my brother had a rough past because of me, when I was younger I used to treat him bad (that’s a whole other story), so it was a little more understandable that he said he was only there because my parents made him. He usually only saw me twice a year, on my birthday and on Christmas. I kind of snapped and told them all that if what they did for me wasn’t out of love that I didn’t want it. I understand that it was my actions that caused all of it to happen but if someone doesn’t want to be there for me for the right reasons or because they feel obligated, I’d rather be alone.
I still to this day have to deal with knowing that I screwed my family up because I didn’t just cause distance with myself, but it caused distance between all of them too. Knowing that is even worse than having to deal with everything that comes with being in here.
Our actions often have unintended collateral consequences on those that love us. You can’t tell someone not to take something personally when something you do effects them. I know my family took me getting locked up as a slap in the face, like after all their love, sacrifice, hard work, time, money, and energy to try to raise me right and give me a good life I just threw it all away. Like I chose my friend over them because I stabbed this guy over him.
I know my parents feel like they screwed up because I ended up in here. I just wish that they wouldn’t blame themselves for my own decisions that I make for myself, or that they could see that I was doing what was right. I still talk to my family and I’ve been making some progress in certain aspects of my relationships with them but there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done and there’s only so much that I can do on my end. Its not something that can, or even should be forced. Chances are things will never be the same.