I have a personal issue on my mind that I’d like to offer up to the forum for some feedback if I may. Actually, it’s a follow-up to something I’d posted awhile back. (warning: this is a long one) The Nutshell Version: Several months ago I posted about a personal breakthrough I’d had in finally sharing my struggle with alcohol abuse with my closest relative. She and I have always been close and the weight of the lies and cover-ups over the years had just become too much to bear; additionally, my big goal for last year was to be a more open and emotionally available person, to let go of the litany of lies that I’ve woven for so long to conceal the sad realities of my past life, so I felt that, after being so open here in the forums, unveiling it to her would be a good next step. And it has been—not only immensely liberating, but also a reassuring reminder that I am still capable of massive personal change for the better. After growing up in a family where hiding Dad’s alcoholism was a way of life, where creating the facade of the “normal” family was the lesson learned early on, coming to the point of being able to open myself up at all was a struggle. Issues with intimacy and openness have been big obstacles in keeping me from being able to create solid relationships of any sort. The breaking down of those walls is my current project, and I’m making progress. (Being open here has been a big part of that, by the way.) Anyway. This relative has been having a tough time since a miscarriage last year—panic attacks, meds, seeing a counselor, etc. To top it off, she got married in December, so her life has been a whirlwind of changes for quite awhile now, and I’d hate to think that I added to that pressure, but part of the reason I decided to go ahead was to let her know that we all have times when we need help, and I felt that my sharing might help her go into her counseling with an open mind and a willingness to make it work. Win-win for us both. She seemed to take it very well. Tears were shed, hugs were exchanged, and I felt that we were on the way to being closer than ever, able to share our lives on whole new levels. Well, it hasn’t quite worked out that way. I know she’s having a rough time, and as a newlywed, her life is changing. I know it’s egotistical to think that it’s my little revelation that has triggered a withdrawal, but I can’t help feeling it is a contributing factor, getting in the way of communication. Unreturned calls, avoided family gatherings, and ultra-speedy visits give me the impression that this is more than just a busy time in her life. I’m not really looking for advice on this situation. I mean, we will get past this sooner or later—we’re family and this will resolve eventually, I think. What I am hoping to discuss is the underlying issue of trust and openness. Have you ever been punished for your honesty? Marginalized and judged as a result of your openness? I’m not talking about being an abrasive asshole, but simply about unveiling the realities of your inner life and then paying a price for it. Since working to break down my barriers, I’ve had many episodes where I’ve felt attacked or isolated for unleashing my junk. And there have been instances where I’ve felt that to be the case when, in fact, it wasn’t, and screwed up an interaction by my panic anyway. (Yay me. :frownJust did that last night with a very good friend, as a matter of fact. In a way, I’d like to think that most of us are always evaluating and making decisions about our communication and controlling not only the way we come across to others but also based on what we think they can “handle.” (Am I wrong there?) Where does one decide who can handle your “truth” and who can’t? Is it offensive even to do so at all? And once one begins removing those long-standing barriers, how does one decide where to reassign them?