Monthly Archives: December 2015
Because I feel guilty.
I resist the sensation in my body, because I can not trust if I am feeling guilty because I have a true reason to or because I am taking responsibility for someone else’s feelings – as is the sad story of my young and mid life.
I take on others’ discomfort when I am around them, or when I know them well. I anticipate what is going to bother or annoy or offend people – especially the codependent, volatile people in my life.
Sitting here, trying to find a truth or two that will make me feel better, help me to uncover the truth about my guilt and relieve the physical effects of that anxiety, I think I can separate a few threads…
My mother and legal father have been divorced since 1980. Yes, 35 years. My mother continues to loathe my father, and my father is no more grown up about the situation, in many ways. And I still feel like I am in a meat grinder between them…
It’s Christmas vacation and I have come home and stayed at my father’s, but my mother is back in town so there is I feel guilty because I know that staying over at my father’s house during this holiday break would upset my mother.
I am 43. This is ridiculous. Just like all of the ways I have allowed the fear of my mother’s discontent with me rule my actions, or rule the way I feel about my actions.
So, I don’t know how I, myself, feel about my father emotionally. I have memories of him terrorizing me. (I had to look that word up in the dictionary to make sure I am not over-exaggerating. One of the definitions is: “to dominate or coerce by intimidation.” And yes, he did that.) He frightened me, terrified – hitting me – flagrantly – and trying to smother me with a pillow because I wouldn’t stop crying… all while I was under the age of 8.
Now, as an adult (an adult in a few different programs of recovery…guh!) I recognize a couple of things about how I justify interacting with my father, who is not a sensitive, warm, presence —
- I think that I think I deserve to have someone (a father) take care of me, care what happens to me…so I leave the door for the relationship open…I leave the door open for him to apologize, actually, I think.
- I think that I think I deserve to be treated well by him given how he treated me as a kid. I am spending time with him to give him chances to treat me more warmly or gently.
- I am caught in this trap, I think like I am in every (especially romantic) relationship I have ever been in… Thinking I have to leave the door open…wait for the bad-feeling stuff to stop and the good-feeling stuff to begin.
So, to recap so far,
I think I feel guilty for doing something that my mother will be hurt by. Because she has always acted like there were sides in the situation and so when I spend any time with John I am disloyal or my decision says that everything he ‘did to her’ was ok…
Also, because I have told her what he did and how I felt about him as a kid, my spending time with him would seem to contradict my feelings and confuse her.
I feel guilty for so many reasons — including looking like I am not being true to myself. AND I feel guilty because I might be being dishonest with him (but I don’t know for sure…)… acting like I am ok with him when maybe I am not.
I have this thought in my head that I am giving him a chance, (the excuse being) because he is also a person. And it is decades after the fact(s). That is perfectly reasonable, right?! Lots of people do that, give their father who has been abusive the time of day…
I guess I am not positive that I am being true to myself. Am I trying to prove something? Or am I sincerely trying. It is a messy situation, it feels like. But I know there are simple truths.
The bottom line is that I have been preoccupied much to long to help alleviate stress in relationships that are not 100% my responsibility to care for. They are 50% or less my responsibility.
I have not begun a life that puts these concerns way down on my priority list. I should be much more preoccupied with my own creations in life, my creation of a life, my creation of a life together with someone and we can be all of the kind things that my mother and father were not.
Since I have a good idea of what those things are, I can work towards those things every day…
Observation and appreciation of other people’s feelings, especially my kids.
Not intimidating people or refusing or trying to control their feelings or thoughts about anything.
Positive thoughts, expectations, wishes, observations, initiatives, plans, execution.
Taking a whole different perspective and approach on the world. Now.
Have an incredible need to be REAL, honest, and vulnerable.
- I am righteously indignant.
- I am scared.
- I am jarred by others’ expectations of me…by their (possible) reactions to me.
- I am ‘being’ nice, because I am scared if I be me… I am scared that being me is not being nice…(!?)
- ‘Being me’ is…doing things that make me happy, that occupy my senses, that ease my mind.
- I am quiet. I am loud inside.
- I find it impossible often to act on my own…plan. To establish my own plan.
- I feel directionless.
- I hate (resent?) people’s reliance on presumptions — so much so that people don’t even know the difference between real and unreal — so that they can make their plan come true even if it is not someone else’s plan (The things people do and say do not always mean what you think or feel they do).
- I think (although I don’t want to) that people ‘should’ be nice to me.
- I have needs
- I need quiet.
- I need simple.
- I need healthy.
- I need gentleness
- I need touch.
Do you know what’s true?
I am water.
Do you know what water does? It makes its way through or around or over almost anything.
It smoothes stone.
Things I feel I am supposed to do, or things that I have thought were expected of me by others:
- ‘live up to my potential’
- please or impress
- do exceptionally intelligent things
- do exceptionally selfless things
- be respectful no matter the circumstances or conditions
- do not bother others
- behave myself
- be smart
- respond ‘appropriately’
- notice the ‘obvious’
- mind the consequences
- give people what they are planning on having
- do not leave a mess behind me
- do not do things you know others don’t like
As I write this list – because I’m listening, for the second time, to a Lucrative Self-Realization video – I am curious what my aim is with this entry.
What I notice in writing and looking at this list is how hard I have worked on all of these things. And how I have done many if not all of them…to a fault, but without my own 100% gut’s desire behind them.
I have accomplished these things out of deathly fear.
What is the other way? What would it feel like to do all of these things out of focused desire? With my own personal plan and satisfaction behind and in front of them?
- I didn’t know people could be so cruel and neglectful. I only saw feelings, and needs, and possibilities, and ways to relieve myself.
- I began using their strategies in order to survive the relationship/live with them.
- I neglected myself and put up with neglect until I was so angry that I screamed, panicked, and yelled at unexpected times.
- I cried in submission, I shared pain, I listened for things that would direct me back out of the mess, I listened to others with empathy, I began to focus on my basic health and needs, I began to grow up.
How do I know when I am going to think about resorting to calling G? I just felt it happen again. Christmas Day I resorted it to it when I felt helpless. Lonely. Alone. Down. I noticed his text message and didn’t want to respond and then a few hours later I noticed that there was a missed call from him. I was feeling so helpless and frustrated and angry about another situation that it felt like an ‘easy’ thing to do – call him back.
What did I find out? That he was wasted, at 11:30am – which I was afraid of. I found out the same exact thing as usual. He said over and over again how much he missed me but he is still stuck to the shit in his life like shit glue. Arguing that I need to accept him as he is.
I can never think clearly when I am talking to him. I am still too hopeful, hence my choice to maintain distance. He’s like a little kid, ‘taking his toys and playing somewhere else’ – sulking, pouting, feeling sorry for himself, trying to make me feel like I am being cruel… And I am trying not to do the same.
The thing I am trying to do is to actually do something while I am keeping my distance instead of continuing to ‘wait’. That is the difference between being a pouty kid and being an adult in separation.
I am trying.
If I do things, work to get somewhere, then I won’t be restless, and then begin to think about things that are not my things to think about, then I will not feel helpless, and then I will not feel compelled to reach out to someone who has not immediate intention of helping himself.
Life is not a game. But we play games in life. I allow life to be a game sometimes, which is often painful. Today I did a “One-Belief-At-A-Time” worksheet. And I realised, in worrying about what someone else things of my experience, words, etc., without having met me, I was playing their game…or the game of doubt, codependence, guilt, victimization.
That game involves me thinking thoughts about my alleged inadequacy, my alleged lack of knowledge and ability. Proving myself to some outside perspective. Thoughts about how someone else is better, smarter, more insightful, more fitting, more in control…
My game is different. The game I truly want to play is simply a game of playing myself. And my desire is to be gentle, listen, demonstrate assuredness, patience, simplicity, freedom of spirit, be resourceful and knowledgeable, helpful, supportive.
My game doesn’t require anyone else to do anything at all. I get in touch with what my true game is — and I play. Enjoy.
Remorse, it is a good thing. When we do things we don’t want to, we feel remorseful, because we are human beings. I feel remorseful, because I am human. The remorse ends. But only if I allow myself remorse.
Sacrifice, it is a good thing and not what I expected. Sacrificing not just ‘things’. Sacrificing what I thought was a useful, practical, beneficial attitude. The attitude made me attach to certain things. But it is the change in perspective that helps the change. Sacrifice something I thought was necessary. Then find out how necessary it was…
I had a great ‘trip’ late last week, watching Episodes IV-VI of Star Wars. I was 5 years old in 1977 when I saw episode IV.
The other day, something hit me hard and fast – the really helpful message…
I’ve been trying to bring myself to write this entry since then and have been holding off with the fear of how (cliché) it might sound to get all sentimentally philosophical about my emotional work and Star Wars movies (roll my eyes and scoff a little)…
You know what?! Who cares. Take it or leave it. Whatever helps me to get out of 43 years of unhealthy patterning and self-sabotage will be brilliant. And it’s probably brilliantly helpful for someone else out there too.
The world we interact with treats good and bad as though they are separate things, mutually exclusive…like we can only have one or the other…and like we are defined by very few if not one gesture, decision, story in our lives. And fighting bad or pursuing good are portrayed as endeavors that have a definite outcome, like once we prove we are good, there is no more proving to be done, or once we have ‘defeated’ bad, there is no more work to be done. And there are a lot of ‘supposed to’s’ in life. Like things “are supposed to feel better” than they do…and that person “was not supposed to do that to me…”. We live in this painful place between what things are supposed to be like, what people are supposed to be or do for us, what we are supposed to have accomplished…that there is always a better something out there that we haven’t achieved yet or that has not been given to us.
The scene in Star Wars…can’t remember if is was The Empire Strikes Back…? when Luke goes back to Yoda and Yoda says that “you must go back and face your father” — it kind banged me over the head like a nerf bat.
We are faced with and carry around our good and our bad all the time, every moment, and we ALSO carry the answer to our biggest questions about our good and bad experiences every moment. How crazy is it that “the bad” which we usually see as separate or foreign to us can be as close to us as our own mother or father…?! (Don’t I know it…). The fact is that ‘the dark side’ is always there to be faced. The dark side is not just in those ‘testy’ people in our lives…it is in ourselves. Just like Luke said, “I can’t do that, I cannot face my own father” (he meant in a duel with the possibility of death). The dark side is in Luke in the moment where he does not believe that he has the ‘good’ (or the bad) in him to battle the ‘bad’ (to kill or ‘defeat’ his own father). And what we all expect in the movie, as in life, is a big life or death fight, right?!
Yes, Luke must face his Dad, but he must “battle” his own fear of being the son of evil, his own fear of not having it in him to beat evil, a father who perhaps does not love him, the fear that loving someone makes you weak. It does not occur to him that one can face evil with good until he gets there and realizes that it was not that he was not brave enough, or strong enough, it was that it hadn’t occurred to him that what he already had in him was enough. The desire to be a good man, the feeling he had that his father was not completely turned to the dark side. He had to trust. He had to trust that he could give what he wanted to give and not what ‘the Emperor’ wanted from him. He had to change the game. And wow, he changed the game. Vader only lost an arm because Luke fought to save his own worthy life, even from his own father. And then Vader chucked the Emperor to his death.
And we thought that the battle was only between the Empire and the Jedi…
The dark side is always there to be faced. But have I asked myself where the darkness resides, really?
Have I asked myself what I am missing when I rush into or even try to avoid a situation out of panic, fear, or feelings of threat, anger, defensiveness?
What have I missed when my focus is on what the ‘other’ expects of me? What have I dismissed, or overlooked that is the key to my entire situation? What can I trust about what I know or how I feel that changes the game others are trying to play with me?
Life is about facing the dark side. The dark side of my mind. Facing it with the energy that is me, the natural energy that resides in me that is meant to give and receive life. There is no break from the dark side. But there is also never a break from the beautiful underlying ability to care about what happens to me and what happens to others.
What is the way…not to ‘defeat the darkness’, but to share and spread the light?
Decide which you’d like and then trust yourself to give it what you’ve got…because we may be inundated with scary dark things, but we are also inundated with Light. The battle takes a completely different form when I realize that I am fighting for good, not fighting to eradicate bad.
Best Wishes for Discovering the Warmth and Power of the Light.
I was scared when I was very young, when my mother left me alone.
I felt my mother’s unpredictability.
I learned to feel insecure.
Learned to feel that other people determined my level of comfort around them or in the world. At a young age I had no other gauge.
As a young girl I felt scared.
I live with much of those feeling patterns now.
I am not a magical person who can shift, immediately, how I perceive and respond to things, people, circumstances.
I am working on it because I am tired of feeling like I am being blown around rather than driving my own life.
It feels like hard work to me.
Everyone’s behavior is or is somehow tied to a desire to be loved. We can only deal with that as individuals — reestablish our own approaches to getting love. Being loved. How to give ourselves the experience of feeling loved in ways that do not compromise our health, physical, mental, or emotional.