It’s Fathers Day morning and I am unemotional. I’m not angry. I’m not sad. I’m not resentful. I’m not jealous of other people’s joy. I’m right here in my own skin listening to the birds, watching my dogs. I’m good.
Like many little girls, I thought my Dad was the smartest person in the world. There seemed to be nothing that he didn’t know. In the 70’s when I was young, there was a significant energy crisis in our country, my Dad knew exactly how to fix it. He told me we should be using coal and turning off every other street light along the highways in Florida where we lived in the winters.
He knew everything. Every problem I brought to him, he knew the perfect answer and I felt stupid for not knowing … I mean his answers were perfect, always.
I adored him.
When my Mom left him for another man, I knew for absolute certain that it was entirely HER fault. Of course my younger brother and sister would go live with her while I stayed to take care of him. I was the oldest and he was MY Dad.
As smart as he was, he couldn’t fix me.
I was bullied something awful in elementary school, by 6th grade they broke me.
I told Dad about the bullying and abuse and he would tell me what I SHOULD’VE done and said… so right. I am such an idiot.
My Mom was a huge flirt and my dad was the problem solving master mind. They both helped people in their own way. I learned to be like both of them… a dear abby whore, if you will.
My Mom was young when she married my dad, he was much older… 17 & 35 I believe. As I approached that age….with Mom gone… Dad’s feeling for me changed.
He no longer saw me as a daughter but as a wife.
ALLL of the bullying, abuse, rape, trauma I’ve endured doesn’t compare to my Dad asking me for oral sex.
Survivors do the best they can to avoid the inevitable, including running away, which I did a lot from ages 12-17.
Dad died as I sat by his left side watching him take his last breath. I was 17.
The healing journey for me started about 4 minutes after that last breath as I walked down the Webber Hospital hallway to the nurses station to tell them Dad died.
My first untethered full throttle panic attack. The nurse said it was shock. I shook like a little kid who spent to long swimming in the pool. I looked unworthy of any meaningful support so I didn’t get any. Well there was “that guy” who had been hanging around waiting for Dad to die so he could ask me to marry him… 1 hour after Dad died so I had that going for me.
I didn’t cry when Dad died. That seemed to be an issue for people at the time. My world was spinning like a tornado … like the wicked witch in the wizard of oz… houses and cattle and everything spinning round and round in a giant grey mass consuming everything everything everything…
All I had was my faith in a God. I did not understand but knew beyond doubt God existed, after all, he was there with me when Dad was dying. The gift of him letting me see… well that has served me well for the rest of my life.
I didn’t cry. I absolutely denied being a victim until my mid 20’s (25). The healing journey took decades. VERY shortly after Dad died, in Kansas, I lived with my Mom…I thanked a kind young man the way my Mom would and within weeks, pregnant, I married this man, a dear abby – like my dad… that I met at an AA meeting.
I picked a family that was so familiar… dysfunctional. Once again I am tolerated at best. The extended family was far from thrilled to have someone like me in their clan. I ended up with a man who gave me the same kind of energy as my dad… he would be #2 of a dozen mates, male and female who would all be the same…
* over achievers
* chooses self over mate… if its inconvenient to them, its not happening
* unwilling to take responsibility. everything is someone else’s fault.
* Never says “Im sorry”
* I’m into them and they are into them. Thoughtfulness is not on the agenda.
* no birthday, anniversary, holiday gifts
* not willing to go to therapy or seek improvement
* always right
* really not that into me …
= Dad energy. Repeated over and over and over. As our issues will, until we stop and face them and heal them.
One day I was in the grocery store and I had this thought… How could a Dad DO that to his little daughter? And a tidal wave of emotion followed that thought. I had to leave the store so I could give those feelings space to be felt.
Time heals all wounds. I believe this but I think its like a bonfire… a fire goes out over time… IF WE DONT KEEP THROWING WOOD ON THE FIRE.
My therapy work dealt with whatever issue came up to be heard/felt. It was the little stuff first…. my wounds like needy children putting the easy stuff out as testers… then if the therapist passed…a deeper issue maybe…
Energy work was vital too because the cells of my organic being were toxic from it all… every molestation, rape, beating, strangulation…
The energy work found memories and sounds within my body… once during a deep tissues massage, the therapist went deep in my arm pit and when she was there massaging… I heard myself as a child screaming “STOP IT”… the words I never dared say at the time… now living in my arm pit! I gave my little girl self words and a safe place to be heard and sobbed while the therapist moved the energy out. Not what either of us expected durning a normal massage but wounds come up to be healed in their time. The more relaxed and skilled you are, the quicker you can identify what’s going on and take appropriate action, the quicker it will pass.
Every Christmas, there are Christmas wreaths by the grocery store entrance… this is a trigger for me. Do I stop shopping during the holidays ..no. I pay attention to my wound. Hey… wound… how do you feel? Need to cry or talk it out? If so, can it wait till later? If I panic about panicking… I’ll panic. If I check in and negotiate… and then keep my word to myself and spend time later … I don’t panic. I can trust me to be there for me.
So when people come to me and feel shame about being emotionally derailed by something they feel isn’t as “traumatic” as someone else has gone through. I encourage letting go of comparing yourself or your pain to ANYONE.
I also encourage people who have Mommy/Daddy/Parent issues to attend The Hoffman Process week long therapeutic intensive. If that is way out of your budget, then I suggest Terry Real, Jan Bergstrom who do “Survivor Weekend” workshop intensives. The Meadows in Wickenburg Arizona does the same weekend intensives and has a 5 week program if you are in emotional trouble.
My Dad was a good guy. He was fucked up for whatever reason. My Mom is a wonderful woman. She is fucked up for her own reasons.
Their bad behaviors doesn’t discount all the good or any of the good.
When people say in horror and judgment HOW COULD THEY DO THAT… I think…
there, but for the Grace of God, go I.
Anyone…everyone is capable of ANYTHING under the right circumstances. So get off your soap box and pray that you never find yourself in a circumstance that you feel you must do some horrible thing yourself.
Which is how I can let myself off the hook too. I have done some awful things myself… it doesn’t matter my upbringing….its no one’s fault but my own. I owned it. I did my work around it. I learned… but if I was in the same circumstance… ie: stealing food or starving… I’d steal again. And if one more person even tries to rape me, I am going to kill that person. So there you have it. Thief and killer.
Hanging on to resentments about what other people did to you…even your parents… is a waste of life. That’s like drinking poison in hopes of making someone else pay for what they did to you.
For me I didn’t need anyone thrown into jail or publicly humiliated… I just wanted my own suffering to stop. Making others suffer doesn’t decrease my own suffering AT ALL. I’ve learned that life/karma does that well enough. Truly.
Vengeance occurs by THRIVING. Thriving comes when you stop chasing vengeance. There is no magic wand that makes you have a childhood that you never had. Parenting you never had. Protection you never had.
Here’s what you can do…
YOU CAN THRIVE.
Seriously… let’s say you have to spend one very intense and costly FULL year of emotionally cleaning house. Second year a little less. Third year a little less…
So you have your last 5 years of life … or 10 or 20 or 30… feeling FREE! Comfortable on your own skin! Happy! Depression gone! Panic gone! Anxiety gone! Addictions gone! Physical healthy restored!
Would it be worth it to you? It was/is for me.
You are living a performance. And its kinda like auto spell check… when you think a certain way…it causes a certain energy… when change your thinking – a new energy happens… it’s all very reactive. It’s never the same… we are always in the cycle of HARMONY. Harmony and repair. Experiencing ups and downs is normal.
There is such freedom when we can be moderate in all ways. My Dad wasn’t all good… or all bad. I can still love him and feel pain about the awful things he did to me…over time…when I live this way… the intensity of the pain I feel about what he did fades until it just doesn’t hurt anymore. What a relief that is! I don’t throw logs on the fire… I don’t talk about the details unless it is to help me heal or help someone else heal. I let the pain heal, the fire go out on its own. The door is always open to feel and heal if needed. Make sense?
The residue for me these days is longing to feel significant. I acknowledge that need as a grown up, since I didn’t feel significant as a child. How can I be significant and still have boundaries about how I want to be treated?
It’s a journey. There is always something to work on.. doesn’t mean “poor me, I’ve been abused, I will never get better”… it means I am perfectly imperfect and aspiring to be the best highest version of myself … its a journey not a destination.
Lastly… HAVE FUN. Sing. Dance. Watch silly movies. Read the funnies. Turn off the news. Wear that hot pink tutu with pride!
Its only life afterall..
With Love, Catherine