672: Humphrey Revisited

I give the illusion of being a very open, non-judgemental person, which has lead to more than one stranger making confessions to me and mid-story asking if I'm a cop, just in case...I remember I told a new friend matter-of-factly that the guy I'd been dating for a month dumped me for refusing to have sex with him in the foreseeable future and this leading to said friend confiding to me about his own relationship troubles, which was really confusing. I mean, how do you greet someone whom your buddy has just confided in you he thinks he's going to break up with. They ended up getting married for the record. I've been told the masturbation habits of many a male friend, been the first person to hear most embarrassing stories by many a female friend and just generally been the confidant, presumably because I shared some personal tidbit that they considered intimate and that I did not. The one thing I didn't discuss for years was the turbulent state with my family. I was honestly embarrassed and guilty that "The Clevers" were now having issues. However, when I did finally start sharing, what I discovered was that lots and lots of people have dysfunctional families. No two cases are the same, but issues with narcissism, feeling one is being judged unfairly and just general bad relationships with those whom one should be closest ran rampant. I discovered the more I talked about it, the better I felt. Simply because I no longer felt alone. This lead to me no longer feeling guilty. It has gotten to the point where I can unabashedly say that I have relatives whom I don't like, don't respect, but love, and thus loving want to maintain a relationship with. Being able to say this has allowed me to start rebuilding relationships, be happier with myself, my family and to move forward together. So at age 34, I can say the most important lesson I have learned over the last decade is not to be ashamed of anything. There is no such thing as metaphorical dirty laundry. Don't be afraid to share your troubles with others. Maybe misery loves company, because when you realize other people's woes are not dissimilar to your own, you're free to actually solve them and compare what strategies worked and didn't.