Monthly Archives: May 2015

Don’t push it down anymore

 

I have to be honest with you all and let you know that despite how my perception about life and myself have changed, that doesn’t mean that I no longer have sadness.  There are moments where I still have incredible sadness.  I feel sad for that little girl long ago who was at the mercy of that hateful individual; that little girl who would have to carry the pain with her until it became too much for her to bear.  That little girl would have to endure much more pain and circumstances in her life until she realized that maybe life wasn’t really supposed to be this bad.  

In my spiritual journey, I realize that the negative experiences I’ve had have been an opportunity for me to grow.  In fact, every negative situation can be looked at as such.  We can change our lives by changing our perception and see it as an opportunity for growth, or we can remain victims.  When I made a conscious decision to heal, I knew that I would have to take out all the pain that I had pushed deep inside me and deal with it.  For many years, I knew that I still carried the pain but had gotten so used to not looking at it. When those scary emotions would resurface, I’d try even harder to ignore it. I’d tell myself to “get a grip” or “snap out of it”, and admonish myself for having those scared feelings when I knew that I wasn’t that little girl living in that abusive environment any longer. Growing up, sis and I had become experts at hiding what was really going on within us.  We were not allowed to express any emotions so pushing our feelings down deeper was something we were good at.

Every emotion we’ve experienced lies deep within our subconscious mind…every one of them.  Our emotions stem from our thought patterns that have formed around each life experience…negative and positive.  Those negative emotions that we are too afraid to look at sit dormant deep within our psyche and will raise it’s ugly head every now and again.  As long as we chose to not look at them, they will keep coming back up.  Just as we can “relive” an exciting period in our lives such as a marriage or a birth of a child, we “feel” all the accompanying emotions. We also relive the negative ones…but for those of you who have had trauma, know that reliving a positive experience from the past often does not just pop up into your mind.  You are usually “recalling” the experience by choice…but the negative emotions will sometimes pop up suddenly without warning and leave you questioning the reason for that particular emotion’s sudden appearance.  It is your “emotional body’s” (psyche)  way of telling you that it still needs to be dealt with.  (I will discuss emotional bodies later). 

Obviously, we can’t go back into the past and change our circumstances, but we can go back in our mind and relive any experience and change our emotions by visual healing.  One of my healing methods is a meditation where in my mind, I go back into time and sit with that scared little girl and hold her in my arms.  I tell her that I know it is hard to understand all the “whys” now, but that when she is older, she will understand.  I tell her that I love her and she is so precious and when I tell her this, I can slowly feel her broken heart grasping on to the idea that she is loved.  I tell her that her future is bright with lots of love and that the compassion that this little girl will have in her heart when she’s older will surpass the pain that she has ever felt in her past.  She doesn’t understand this at first because she still doesn’t know exactly what compassion is…she’s never really experienced it from others but she has the sense that the feeling she is experiences at this very moment while being hugged, might be compassion.  This little girl doesn’t really know what to make of this message that she is receiving from this woman but she senses it to be true somehow.  It’s kind of a deep knowing that this little girl has always had. The woman tells her that she once felt exactly as this little girl does now.  The little girl wants to cry and she does…in the arms of this woman who comforts her, wipes her tears and tells her that she is her Guardian Angel.  The woman tells the little girl that whenever she feels scared, she can go within and imagine that she is again sitting with this woman who always offers her love and comfort.

A big part of the healing process is to feel those pangs of pain and be ok with it. It’s the natural process of healing. One has to expect that when they decide to heal, it is going to take some time and those emotions will rise up again.  Healing is not about feeling wonderful all the time…but understanding your feelings, working through them until you realize that they can’t do you any harm.  The harm has already been inflicted.  It is much like a physical scar that appears after any injury.  Some scars are larger than others depending upon the injury itself.  With some unsightly bigger physical scars, those scars can sometimes be injected with medicines that can diminish their size. Emotional scars that are unseen but felt however, must be injected with love to diminish their impact.  Of course we always feel better knowing that we are being loved by others but the love that’s needed for healing is “self love” and the visual healing method above is one way of doing this…getting from a place of self loathing, to self love.

…continued

 

Love vs. fear

 

We’ve all heard that we must forgive others.  It is not for their benefit but for ours.  This sounds great and all but how does one manage to really forgive another?  Where do you start and how do you convince your heart or get your heart to actually forgive someone?  The head says to forgive and we know that that’s what’s needing to be achieved but the heart forgiving is another thing.

I know there have been many times when someone has said “I’m sorry…please forgive me”, I have been able to do so.  Usually in those cases, the infraction was minor…maybe it was something that they said they would do but when the time came to do it, they forgot.  Later they would realize that they had forgotten and apologize.  In these cases, it’s usually easy to overlook the infraction but when it is something big like child abuse or any thing hurtful that was deliberately inflicted on to another person…how do you let go of the anger and forgive?

It took me quite a bit of time to get to the point of total forgiveness.  I needed to understand the what’s and why’s of it.  For example: why did my Mom deliberately set out to hurt me?  What was she trying to do? When I finally understood, the forgiveness came quite easily and then I was able to look upon her with such pity and compassion.

I understood that she probably had a difficult childhood herself and much like many child abusers, the abusers have often been abused themselves so they continue this cycle on to their children. This is also true of domestic violence. The abusers were not able to break the cycle…but what of the people who intentionally hurt others? Much like my personal situation, there were many times when my Mom intentionally did things to hurt me…then I understood…fear.

There are two primary emotions a person harbors within themselves and those are love and fear.  The love that a person has is not so much the love that they feel towards others but for themselves.  Not coming from the ego mind but the deeper self, loving one self means that they know and believe that they are “lovable”.  When you lack self love, fear becomes the primary emotion because without self love, these people are threatened in every aspect of their lives.  They’re afraid of being abandoned, afraid of losing something/someone that they perceive as “theirs”.  They feel fear in every corner of their lives and don’t even know it.  

In my situation, I came to understand that my Mom was, and still is extremely fearful.  During my childhood, She was afraid of losing the affections of her husband to her daughters.  She was also threatened by my sis and I because she saw that our Dad loved us (when we were first adopted).  Not understanding that the love that Dad had for us was different than the love that he had for her, this was becoming a huge problem for her.  She saw herself as ugly and unloveable and this reached it’s peak when my sis and I started changing into young women.  Because of this fear, she lashed out at us in every possible way to try and make herself feel better.  The ironic thing is when a person is hateful in their acts, they appear “ugly” on the outside just by nature of their actions.  I’m sure some of you know or have known someone who appears extremely beautiful or handsome on the outside and yet their mean and hateful  actions or attitude seem to negate that beauty altogether.

I knew I had truly forgiven my Mom for everything she had done to me, when I no longer felt that one day I hoped that she would be punished for her actions.  Today I pray that she will one day find peace and love within herself…but she probably won’t.  Some people are so deep in their fear and unable to see any love at all…even from the people that actually did or do love them…they’re blinded by their own fear.

Dad’s situation is quite different. There is still a part of me that can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that my Dad came from a good, hardworking, middle class Christian family with good values and yet he behaved in a manner that suggests otherwise.  I know that he tried.  He tried very hard when my sis and I were young to have many talks with my Mom.  To try and sooth her fears…try to explain to her in the best way that he could, that he loved her and he also loved us.  After many years of trying with no results, he eventually gave up the fight and became just like her.  In a sense, being in the midst of all the darkness which surrounded our family and our home, he eventually lost his light and succumbed to the darkness as well.  

Forgiving does not necessarily mean forgetting…and not forgetting does not mean that one is constantly harping on what happened to cause the hurt.  Most people would agree that it’s impossible to forget and that’s ok…it just means that when the you remember the incidents that have cause pain, it no longer carries any charge.  There is no emotional charge attached to any particular incident because it has been “discharged” with compassion.

…continued

 

What’s it all for anyway?

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor most of my life, I have asked myself…”why”?  Not so much “why me” but why?  Why do people suffer?  Why is there pain?  Why are some people so cruel?  Why am I the way I am?  What’s it all for anyway?  There was a moment once when I was still married to my ex husband and he had been having problems with his car.  It seemed that there was one thing after another that needed fixing.  He finally got it all working out alright when he got a flat tire.  This frustrated him and I remember him asking me: “why is this happening to me?”  I remember thinking to myself first of all, that it was a flat tire…and I also thought, why not you?  Everyone has “stuff” that happens to them at one time or another.  No one is immune from…life.

In retrospect, I understand that during my childhood, it’s not as if I could have changed the situation.  Any child that is at the mercy of the adult abuser IS a victim but as I gradually became a young adult, I chose not to be a victim of my circumstances.  I had much sadness within me for years but despite this, I wanted to make the best of the situation.  I see now how much I’ve grown to understand so much.  

Despite the lack of love growing up, I do know what love is…I know love by having experienced the opposite…hate and cruelty.  By this contrast, I understand love.  I know compassion.  Witnessing and being the focus of someone else’s cruel intentions, I feel compassion towards others.  So by taking a negative experience, I chose to use it to try and understand.  It is easy to know what the meaning of each of the words; love, compassion, cruelty and hatred are…we all know the definitions but to have actually experienced the negatives, I understand and appreciate the positives.  It does seem like a backwards way to learn something, but it is still a way to learn.

We have heard many times that our feelings are a “choice”.  Maybe we didn’t choose the negative things that happened in our lives but we have a choice on how these things will impact us.

Today, I feel that there are so many people who decide to fall into the victim role of their negative experiences.  It is so much easier to point our fingers at another person and say that it is THEIR fault.  “You made me this way”.  This may be true initially but no one holds a gun to anyone’s head and tells them that for the rest of their lives, they will be bitter, angry and mean to everyone around them.  Your feelings are YOUR feelings.  If this were not true, how then would we expect the perpetrator to change the emotions within us?  It is the same as expecting someone else to make us happy.  That is a tall order to fill…no one outside of ourselves can do this.  When we take responsibility for our own emotions (regardless of what they may be) only then can we grow Spiritually from any experience.  This may be difficult.  One must decide to become responsible for ALL aspects of themselves.    

The first step for myself was to acknowledge that all those terrible things happened to me in my past.  Yes…it happened, it was awful, it hurt me, it made me sad, it made me feel angry and hateful towards my parents.  I felt lost, insecure and I felt as if there was no sense of safety and security anywhere.  What was difficult for me was to really take a look at how each of those incidences made me feel.  Half the time, the feelings were so ugly inside of me that I couldn’t even identify or label those emotions.  They were just a big wad of jumbled up “bad” feelings.  It’s hard to know where to begin unraveling all those yucky feelings and try to identify them…and I found that that was not important, but more importantly, to heal as a whole.  I remember telling my therapist once that if I likened my bad feelings as colors, the mix of colors were the darkest, murkiest colors you could imagine all mixed together creating the deepest, ugliest, darkest black that you could imagine.  

Acknowledging and accepting what happened is the first step to letting go.    Realizing that I had no control over the situation while I was a child and learn to let it go.  Accepting myself just the way I was.  Easier said than done.  It’s not as if I could smash all of my pain into a box and drop the box in the ocean and say goodbye.  Emotions are not something tangible…like dropping a rock into the ocean.  These emotions were within my entire being.  It sometimes felt that it had consumed me and lurked within every cell in my body, …pain, anguish, anger, loathing and fear.  Talking about my feelings helped.  Find someone that you trust and then spill your guts…

My “letting go” reminded me of the whole grieving process proposed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying”.  There are 5 stages of this process: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally, acceptance.  There is no particular order as we each go through this differently.  My whole adult life seems to have been to work through each of these stages until I finally reached acceptance.  This is when the healing for me really began.  The realization that I could not change the past or present actions of others but that I could only change myself…my perspective.  Depression for me came before the anger and when I felt angry, I was angry at -them- and somehow found that I could deal with the anger better than the depression.  When I was in the anger stage, I felt justified in feeling it.  I would talk it out, or exercise and feel better.  In the depression stage, it just hurt…and I didn’t understand why but  came to understand that during the depression stage, I was just hanging on to the pain but when  the hurt and sadness turned into anger, I was able to work on it.  

We live in a society where we are told to ignore our feelings.  We have to act rationally, behave in a manner that conforms to society, or to the way our parents want us to behave.  We’re taught to shove down our feelings, bury them and never mind your feelings…just do what you’re supposed to do…do what you’re told.  However…our feelings ARE important!  We are all sentient (feeling) beings and acknowledging and getting to know your feelings and what they mean to you is needed on our Spiritual journey.  Our emotions are our guides.  When our feelings get “all jumbled up and confused”, there’s some work to do.  

As I’m typing this, I feel like I’m rambling on but I’m being truthful and honest.  There really isn’t an easy way to heal.   Healing should make us feel better, but not in the beginning… which seems contradictory.  To heal means to acknowledge and FEEL the pain…understand yourself, be ok with yourself and all that you feel…and it’s OK…

One of the many things that helped me to heal was to realize that the people who had inflicted such pain in my life were hurting too…and I will talk more about this on my next blog.

…continued 

Looking for God

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I was pleasantly surprised after coming back from rehab that I really didn’t have the urge to drink.  I thought about it often however, especially around the time when I would start to cook dinner.  In my drinking career, this was what I called my “witching hour”.  This was the time that I started to drink…while cooking, through dinner, after dinner while watching a movie. (I rarely finished a movie before passing out).  For awhile, a recovering person needs to stay away from those things that used to “trigger” the desire to drink.  Happily, I told my husband that I could not cook for awhile.    We would do take out or each person would just fix something on their own.  I also needed to stay away from the friends that I used to hang out with when I was drinking.  I stayed away from those restaurants that I used to frequent as well.

There is a funny quote from Frank Sinatra…(another alcoholic) “I feel sorry for people who don’t drink.  When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day”.  I used to laugh at this quote in my drinking days…I agreed with him.  What I had forgotten was how good one feels on the morning they wake up when they’re NOT hung over.  What an amazing feeling!  To have energy all day and want to actually go and do things.

However, I was still struggling with my “Higher Power”.  I hadn’t found it yet.  I desperately wanted to find my God.  While in rehab, it seems that we were sort of “borrowing” the Higher Power of the rehab center and holding each other up by encouraging those around us…but after coming home, I had to find it on my own.  My old concept of God was no longer working for me.  I knew deep within me that MY God was not a punishing one.  He wasn’t going to send me to hell because I was born a sinner and needed to repent for this.  So I began to pray…whole heartedly.  My prayer was basically asking to find the truth…not the truth of the world, or the truth of the churches I had been to in the past—but a deep fundamental truth that we all have.  For along time, I was still looking for my Higher Power…”out there” somewhere.

From the moment that I truly started seeking the truth, I was led in directions where the answer/truth would come forth.  My husband and I were lead to take a Transcendental meditation class and began meditation twice daily.  At first it seemed like there were 101 voices in my head all talking at the same time.  (Maybe my psychiatrist who diagnosed me as schizophrenic was right!–see “Journey backwards-20-Diagnosis) It took awhile to be ok with these voices swirling around in my head.  Just to acknowledge their presence and let them go…Eventually, those loud voices seem to move to the background and in the forefront,  I noticed a quiet, still presence within me.  A presence there that I knew had always been…just observing.  Hey! This was the “I” in me.  I got excited…and as soon as I was aware that I was excited, the “me”, or “ego” came forward and I lost touch with the “I”.  

With meditation, it is not a “place” that one is goes to because that “place” is already within each of us.  It is a state of mind…a quiet stillness that is just there.  It is the “being” in the human.  That “being” that is in all of us that is the observer.  When we sit quiet enough…and without any expectation, you will feel your “being”.  It is such a wonderful feeling of calm, stillness and peace.  

I was lead to read certain books which I soaked up like a sponge.  I knew I had stumbled upon something immensely valuable.  Everything I read…and continue to read, resonated with my hungry soul.  As J.R. Seydel says, “If you want to know the truth, all you have to do is…ask”.

In a matter of months, much arcane knowledge has been revealed to me.  In addition, all the hurts of the past and issues with people that I had carried…were gone.  I saw and understood how my twisted ego had caused my perception to become warped…which has caused me such pain in the past.  My perceptions about people, places and things began to change.  I could look at an individual and see their light behind their ego.  I could accept any situation regardless of how it turned out and see it as perfect.  To know that the Universe works exactly as it should.  To accept people just the way they are and not feel the need to change them in any way.

From this point on in this blog, I will be discussing all things arcane.  Things of Spirit and how we can be full of joy and peace by “choosing it”.

Blessings to You All out there!

…continued

 

 

Rehab for my mind

 

My sister informed me that my Dad was now in hospice.  Despite how my parents had treated her in the past, she decided to fly down and do what she could do for my Dad in his last days.  She went to see him and told me that my Dad asked if I knew that he was in hospice.  She told him that I knew.  (Sis told me about 2 weeks prior to her flying down to see him)  My Dad expressed to sis that he wished he could see me but figured that it was not going to happen and began to cry.  

I sat with this image in my mind of my Dad crying and It made me feel sad.  I didn’t react right away but waited a few days to make sure that going to see him was what I really wanted to do.  A part of me wanted to see/say goodbye to him one last time but the other part of me thought that there was no point.  I felt that I had worked through years of torment and sadness that I had been carrying…thinking that I was “no good” in the eyes of my parents.  I had come to the point (read last blog–“No approval…ever”)  where I felt that I had gone through all the stages of grief and truly let my parents go but I asked myself if I would be ok with NOT seeing or saying what I had to say to my Dad before he passed away.  I knew I had to go see him one last time.  I went to see him and we both just hugged each other.  My Dad cried but I didn’t.  I told him that I was going off to rehab to face my drinking issue.  I asked him if he felt “ready to go” and he said yes.  I also told him that I know he did the best he could with my sis and I growing up and that I loved him.  This visit was not about confronting him about any past issues or hurts but to just tell him that I loved him.  It was about letting go and saying farewell.  I visited for about an hour and as I left, I knew in my heart that it was the last time I would see him.

I flew to rehab and did the 28 day stay.  I learned so much in this institution.  You could tell by looking at all my fellow addictees; which ones were there by choice, who was there to appease their family members and who was there by court order.  I was there by choice.  I had made a decision to heal myself of my past and all the pain I had been carrying around.  I learned so much about addictive behavior, what addiction looks like in the brain, the thought process behind the addiction but mostly, I learned about myself.

I came back home and started my Spiritual Journey.  In the meantime, my Dad’s funeral came and went and I did not attend.  I knew that the body they were lying in the ground was not him anymore.  I felt his presence around me for awhile after his passing and truly believed that he was happy and at peace…but as for myself, this would mark the beginning of “My Journey in Spirit”…

…continued

 

34. No Approval…ever

 

I am happily married now and things are going wonderfully.  We continue to entertain frequently and my parents were always at these get togethers.  My drinking is beginning to escalate at this point in my life for what seems to be no other reason than having a good time. (This is what I believed at the time)

In the last several months, my daughters have run for our local teen pageants and I was coerced to run for Mrs. Hawaii.  These were fun, yet time consuming events.  These state run pageants require one to obtain “sponsors” or donations from sponsors that help with the expenses of being involved in a pageant.  We did get many sponsors and many of our friends bought tickets to the big final event.  My parents weren’t one of them.  The explanation that was given to us was that they had no interest in coming to these events as they thought it was a way for us to “show off”.  My Dad also said that he thought it was a waste of time.  I guess I wasn’t surprised.  I was the only contestant who’s parents were not there and my daughter’s were the only ones who’s grandparents were not present.  They also did not come for my daughter’s high school graduation.  I guess they thought this was a waste of time too.

My sister was still living in Alaska at this time and we spoke every once in a while.  I had not seen her for about 6 years so I was excited to learn that she was coming to Hawaii for a vacation with her guy friend.  She didn’t tell my parents that she was going to be coming because we thought we would surprise them once she got here.  Once my sis was settled in, we made a schedule of her daily events and one of the events that we planned was to have a get together of some of our childhood friends and our parents.  My sister was excited to give my folks a call to tell them that she was here and that we were having a get together.  I heard my sis on the phone talking to my Mom and then she became quite.  I looked over to see that she was no longer on the phone and was now crying.  She was crying because my Mom had told her that she did not want to see her because it would make her feel “funny”.  It was no secret that our Mom had been against my sister’s “lifestyle”.  Her lifestyle being that she had found a boyfriend on an online chat room.  I let my sister cry for a bit and then I realized that I had been rejected in a similar manner by my parents all these years but somehow witnessing this happen to my sister really hit me hard.  It was almost as if I had learned to accept that my parents would reject me automatically  but seeing them reject my sister really brought it home for me.  It was at that moment that I decided…or rather…knew that my sis and I had never been considered their daughters.  That all these years of me trying to get their love and approval had been a big waste of time.  At that moment, I knew that I didn’t want to try anymore. 

Something happened to my heart that day.  It wasn’t anger but more of a deep inner resolve that I had done all I could do and I would try no more.  I was done.  I saw at that moment how much I had tried in vain to get them to love us and see that we were worthy of them having adopted us.  I also felt that I no longer “owed” them anything.  From the time sis and I were able to understand, they had told us how lucky we were to have been adopted.  That if it had not been for them, we would still be starving and probably living on the streets of Korea somewhere.  They honestly believed that because of their noble actions of adopting two lost wayward, homeless girls, that sis and I should feel “beholden” to them.  

All my anger, frustration, sadness, feelings of inadequacy and feeling “less than”…disappeared at that very moment.  

Some time prior to this, my parents had asked my husband and I to be their “Power of attorney’s” for when their time came and I had agreed.  After this last incident with my folks and my sister,  I did not call them for a year and a half.  In the past when there had been some sort of disagreement or falling out, I was always the one to reach out to them.  They never, ever called me.  I knew that they would not call me and I also knew that I was done trying to reach out to them… I’d probably never speak to them again and I was ok with that.  

 

Several months had gone by and I received an email from my Dad saying that I had been “released” as their POA and that they had asked my paternal cousin “S” to take over the responsibilities.  I had actually forgotten my prior obligation to them and I was relieved that they had found someone else.  If you haven’t figured them out by now, they did not release me as POA because they thought that I wouldn’t fulfill my role, (because I would have)…they released me to continue to try and make a point…that they didn’t need me and I could just be pushed aside and discarded as they had always done.  Dad had also signed off on that email with his first and last name instead of -Dad-.  I refused to be a part of their sick, twisted games of calling them back and trying to get back in their good graces.  My email response back to them was that I was sure that my cousin S had their best interest at heart and that she would make an excellent POA.

My sis and I continued to correspond and she called me to let me know that my Dad had been diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer.  The primary emotion I felt at that time was that I knew he had a long road ahead of him and in my mind, any type of cancer is awful but the inability to breath with lung cancer has got to be one of the worst.  In the meantime, my cousin (the POA) called me from Minnesota where she lives and told me that she would be coming to the Islands to work out all the details for my Dad.  She asked me if I wanted to be involved with any of these details and I told her that I did not.  Up until that point, my folks had told all of our relatives what bad daughters we had turned out to be.  That we had no gratitude for having been adopted.  “S” had no idea what the truth had really been all these years.  I did not feel like explaining everything to “S” and so when I told her that I had no interest in being a part of my Dad’s battle with cancer, I’m sure what she had been told by my folks was confirmed with my attitude.  All “S” knew was that my parents had struggled with us girls all these years.  It was not the time to explain anything to “S” about it.

I was continuing to drink and loving every moment of it.  I was what some people would call a “functional alcoholic”.  I would look forward to coming home at the end of the work day to have my glass…or several glasses of wine but I was beginning to prefer vodka.  It got me there quicker.  It got me quicker to that place of happy feelings…that electric energy feeling one gets with drinking alcohol.  Sometimes I would drink on my way home from work in the car.  Heck, why not?  After all, traffic here is bad and it takes over an hour and a half to drive 25 miles.  I was able to keep this behavior a secret from my husband for quite a while.  I would drink in the car, feel relaxed, then share a bottle of wine with my husband.  After we both had that first glass of wine from our shared bottle, he couldn’t figure out how and why I had gotten so plastered from just one glass.  I told myself during my drinking career that after everything I had been through in my miserable life, I deserved to relax the way I wanted to at the end of each day.  I wanted to just drink, then go to sleep.  I did not want to deal with any of the issues that lay deep within me.  I told myself that I drank because I immensely disliked my stepdaughter.  I also disliked her Father whom I felt was spoiling her.  It seemed to me that there was such a lack of discipline.  I remember asking myself distinctly, “why the hell should -she- have a loving, doting Father who would do anything for her when I didn’t?  Who the heck does she think she is?”  I swirled this question around in my head for quite a few weeks until I realized that her relationship with her Dad was a normal one…and that it was such a major contrast to the relationship I had with my Dad.  I hated that fact.  This was the first inkling of the deeper issues that lied beneath me.

I was going about my day and getting my daily exercise and thinking to myself that I would do whatever I could to stay looking young.  I had become a certified laser technician after my nursing career and have had some laser treatments done on my face in the past.  I was contemplating having more work done when a little voice inside my head said: “That’s great!…what are you going to do for your insides?”  At the time, I did not know where that voice was coming from but it was soft, firm and very loving.  It was more of a powerful suggestion than any kind of demand.  Shortly after this little voice, I made up my mind to heal.  I didn’t know how this was going to happen but knew that quitting the drink would be the first step to my healing process.

Off to rehab I went…

…continued

33. My New Solution

 

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Life was pretty calm for me at this time without all the drama that comes with tumultuous relationships.  My girls and I are keeping busy and have a pretty busy schedule.  I continue to run daily and loved being out there pounding the pavement while listening to music.  This was my time to myself where I could dream, imagine and let myself wander where ever I wanted to go.  I always felt uplifted at the end of each run and after my runs, I would have my wine.

Over the next few years, I would help out 2 of my girlfriends who had relationship issues.  One of them actually uprooted her life and moved to Vegas to be with her boyfriend who had promised her that if she did this, they’d get married.  She called me in hysterics and and tears from Vegas to say that her boyfriend had changed his mind.  I convinced her to come back here and stay with me for awhile until she got things sorted out.  She ended up living with me for 8 months and it was like a party every night.  She was a runner as well so we’d often run together, then share a bottle of wine…or two.  The other girlfriend that lived with me at a later time was also a wine drinker.  By now, I was drinking about three quarters of a bottle by myself but never felt like I was getting drunk.

My parents would still come over for dinners frequently and I found that I could actually tolerate their presence better if I drank.  When I say “tolerate them”, I guess I mean I could tolerate MY emotions better when they were around.  The alcohol made me feel “OK” about myself.  I wasn’t so worried about whether I was doing things right in their eyes or saying the right thing.  I almost even liked them when I drank…almost.  On several occasions, I would call my folks when I was on my third glass of wine and start expressing my feelings to them.  I would bring up my past memories of an event that took place to try and convince them that they were twisted parents.  This never went over well.  I brought up the incident when my Mom came down the hall to my room, brandishing a kitchen knife.  They always had me on speaker phone when I called and I could hear my Mom in the background saying that I was crazy and Dad would blurt out that I must be drunk.  “You must be drinking again!”  Maybe I was…a little…but it sure felt good to just say what was on my heart.  Wow, how good my Dad was to turn the problem around and make me the drunken fool who was speaking nonsense followed by me yelling at them telling them that THEY were the crazy ones.  Phone calls like this with me slamming the phone happened several times over the following years.  This behavior of mine never solved anything.  The next day I would remember my phone calls to them… my anger…and their denial.  Their denial would add to my already growing sense of anger towards them.  Once in a great while however, I would call them and have nice conversations.  At the end of these phone calls, I would tell them that I loved them, only to have absolute silence on the other end…They never said I love you back but I had never heard it growing up either so this was really no different.  It felt nice to be able to say it to them.  Alcohol had now become my new solution for solving some of my pent up emotions…I liked the way it tasted and especially the way it made me feel.  If I was angry before I drank, I got angrier with each glass.  If I was happy before I drank, I became the happiest person ever.

Now several years have gone by and I have met a wonderful man (R).  He was kind, gentle, handsome, funny as heck and most importantly, he liked my daughters…and my daughters liked him as well.  He made me laugh a lot and it felt like I hadn’t laughed like that ever.  He had a way with taking common everyday situations and seeing the comedy in it all.  He works for the airlines and these airline folk like to party!  I was having so much fun.  I wanted my parents to meet him so I arranged a dinner at my place again.  The folks came over and Dad was courteous enough but Mom completely snubbed him.  She had told me in an earlier conversation that R would probably end up leaving me…that these airline guys have girlfriends in every city they fly to.  Hmm…this did raise a little skepticism in my mind.  After all, I had not had any success in finding an honest, decent man in the past. 

As it turned out, I had many “trust” issues with my new man.  Things would happen and I would questions his loyalty.  He would receive a phone call on his cell, hang up and tell me that it was the wrong number.  I wouldn’t believe him.  I began to have thoughts that maybe his “other girlfriend, or girlfriends” were calling him but because he was with me at that moment, he’d just hang up.  If I wasn’t able to get in touch with him when he flew to another city, my imagination would get the better of me…and believe me, I had a very vivid imagination!  Finally one day R gently told me that he was not like the other men that I had had relationships with…that I had a choice to make:  I had to choose to trust him or not and if I didn’t trust him, this relationship wouldn’t work.  I knew at that point that I wanted to be with him and that I had to trust him.  After all, he had shown me nothing other than love, respect, sincerity and loyalty.  I had absolutely no reason NOT to trust him.  Especially with the nature of his work that required him to leave frequently, remaining distrustful would have eventually taken over my life.

Our relationship started to get serious and we talked about marriage.  He had never been married before and because I had, we weren’t in any rush.  He proposed with a gorgeous ring and I wanted to show my folks.  I again arranged for a dinner at my place and had the folks over.  Dad got along well with R but Mom continued to snub him.  Half the evening went by and Mom hadn’t asked to see my engagement ring so I finally just showed it to her.  A quick glance at my ring followed by changing the subject was all I got.  “What the heck is wrong with her?” I thought…but I guess it didn’t bother me too much…after all, R and I were sharing a bottle of wine and I was not feeling any upset about anything.  Later that evening, R asked me if my Mom was upset with him or something.  I didn’t know what to tell him…

I barely had any savings before we got married and because it’s customary for the bride’s side of the family to pay for most of the wedding, I thought it appropriate to ask my folks to chip in.  My parents knew I had no money and that I had stopped receiving child support several years ago.  I asked my Dad over the phone to help out and I told him maybe $1500.00 would be nice.  He didn’t respond and I didn’t expect anything but at least I felt brave enough to ask!  The next day at work, he came by and handed me a check.  I was floored. Hey!  if you don’t ask, you don’t get right?

We had a very nice wedding and Dad gave me away.  I had originally asked my Uncle J to take that role but because Uncle J knew that my parents and I were talking again, he said he thought it would be wrong for him to do so…reluctantly, I gave that role to my Dad.  Mom ignored me the whole time at my wedding but I was having such a great time, it didn’t really phase me much.  

My husband helped to show me how I could believe in and trust myself.  He made me believe that I was a very loving person by showing me his love for me.  My trust in him and myself began to grow.

I maintained contact with my folks and we often invited them over to our house for dinners.  We liked to entertain so we would have many get togethers with sometimes up to 40 people.  My Dad enjoyed these get togethers with our friends and liked to socialize with them.  He got along well with everybody.  By now, Mom had warmed up to R and had no problem talking to him.  On some holidays and birthdays, we would take my folks out to very nice restaurants.  I wanted to show them how far I had come…how hard I had worked to get to this place in my life…a new man, a wonderful home, beautiful daughters, good skill/job.  In the back of my mind, I wanted to hear them tell me how they were proud of me.  I would never hear it.  (In the 10 years of marriage, R and I have never been invited over to dinner at my folks place…never taken out to dinner where our dinner was paid for).

New and exciting things were happening in my life now.  I continued to want to share these moments with my parents.  I still wanted their approval…

…continued

32. Something Emerging

 

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After the end of the last exhausting relationship, I started to understand what the attraction was to the two men I had been involved with in the past.  My ex-husband BK was a lot like my Mom. He was cold, mean, selfish and cruel.  He would often say things to me that cut me to the quick, using hurtful experiences from my childhood and throw it back at me like; “You’re just a stupid immigrant with emotional problems… you’re Mom was right about you…I don’t know why they adopted you”.  I think for awhile, his brutal words were very “familiar” to me.  I understood this language of his…I had heard it’s tone many times before…from my Mom.  I started asking myself if I thought a marriage should be cold and self serving and concluded that it should not.  Even with those beginning thoughts, I still had to convince myself that I could actually move on and survive on my own. (Read the last blog-Journey Backwards-24)

I know now that my head and heart alone did not have the strength to leave him…it was my “deeper self, or Higher self” that in some magical way made me realize that I was a much better person than BK was making me out to be.  Because I listened to that quiet Higher voice, I was eventually able to leave.  With the Doctor man however, it was more difficult.  The relationship was insidious, in that, he was saying all the right things!  Aside from his chronic cheating and lying, his loving words always contradicted his behavior but those words were important to me at the time and I’d fall back into believing his words all over again.  For someone like me who had not been used to being told any loving words in the past, it was so easy to believe him…or want to believe him.  This relationship was harder for me to let go of because of the “appearance” of it.  Because I could see that his words were kind, I hung on for awhile. I could overlook the rest of his sociopathic behavior.  I had put him on a pedestal and idealized him.  Eventually, his actions began to shout at me louder than his words.  As I mentioned in the last blog, my head knew that this relationship needed to end but my heart wasn’t  getting the memo…My girlfriends and my sister were telling me to get out!  It’s always so much clearer for the observer to see the obvious isn’t it?  It was only until I decided to let go, that my heart was able to really “feel” the truth of this relationship.

So with two bad relationships behind me, I was feeling a little better about myself.  I was still seeing my therapist (Dr. G) about my parents.  I just didn’t know how to reach my folks.  How could I convince my parents that I was a good daughter…that I was worth loving.  I spent many sessions with my therapist trying to come up with ways on how I could do this.  For the first year or so of counseling, I spend much time just expressing how I felt growing up.  I had discussed the nature of my relationships with the men in my life as well and he seemed to think that I could work through the issues I had with my parents in the same way that I had with these men.  Today, I understand what Dr. G meant, he meant to let go of the idea of ever getting my parent’s approval.  (Just as I had let go of the idea that these men were ever going to be other than what they were) but what I couldn’t fathom was the fact that I assumed the bond and love that a parent feels towards their children is natural, and automatic…that all parents should automatically love their children…so when this wasn’t happening between my parents and myself, I assumed that I was “unloveable”.  That I was tainted somehow.  I needed to find a way to fix this.

As a young adult and single Mom on a tight budget, I still made it a point to invite my folks over for home cooked meals.  I would make sure that aside from the “meat and potatoes” meals that Dad liked, I’d have some Japanese side dish prepared for Mom.  She always took the leftovers.

Up until my oldest daughter was about 14, my folks would come to their soccer games.  Both my daughters played soccer every weekend and I would call the folks a day before the weekend games to let them know when and where the games were.  My Dad seemed to enjoy watching the games but I don’t think Mom really understood what was going on.  

Back then I was not dating anyone and I was keeping busy with work and the girls.  We had a daily routine:  After school, my daughters would play outside for a bit while I would go for a run around our neighborhood…then homework, baths, dinner, then bed.  I would always have my glass and a half of wine with dinner.   

By now, BK had stopped coming by to pick up the girls on the weekends.  He wasn’t even calling much anymore.  There was an incident when he had come by the house to pick up the girls and his eyes looked funny and his speech was off.  Was he drunk?  It seemed different than just alcohol intoxication…this was something else.  The agreement was that as long as he called me ahead of time, he could pick up the girls if we didn’t have plans but on this particular day, he just showed up…drunk or stoned or both.  I wasn’t about to release my girls to his care.  He became angry when I shut the door on him.  He blurted out a cuss word and shortly afterwards, the police arrived.  BK called them and told them that I wouldn’t release the girls for his visitation.  The officers could see that BK wasn’t all there, told BK there was nothing they could do so he left.  Shortly after this incident, I stopped receiving child support.  I didn’t see much point in pursuing it as I found out that BK had gotten fired from his job, lost the apartment and was now living on the streets.  It looked like at this point that my daughters were going to grow up without a Father…I was both Mother and Father and raised them with a strict, disciplined yet loving hand.

Every once in awhile, I would get the “mucks”.  The intense fear would come on and I would do anything to distract myself.  It usually didn’t last for more than a day but in the rare occasion that it would, I found myself feeling depressed as well.  I still didn’t understand what this was.  It just didn’t seem connected to anything that was going on in my life at the time.  Dr. G told me that he thought like it sounded like PTSD.  I didn’t like to talk to him or anyone else about it because a part of me felt that by discussing it, I was giving it strength.  This is how it was for years.  I had gotten used to “managing” the fear somehow.  I would ask myself why I was still having these fears but I didn’t want to go much deeper than that.  As far as I was concerned, these scary feelings were “outside” of me and not happening within me.  What I mean to say is that I was still convinced that I was being attacked somehow by some outside, unseen force.  I would tell myself that for years.  

In the following years, I would be dealing with resolving the issue with my parents…and looking at this fear…

…continued

31. Journey Backwards-Catalyst

 

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Post divorce, I’m on a new path now with a new man who paid attention to me.  It appeared that in his eyes, I could do no wrong and he was always quick to compliment me on everything I did.  I worked with this man and so I saw him everyday at the clinic.  He was the surgeon who shared the clinic with the gastroenterologist and for awhile, I was employed by both.  

With my dysfunctional, dissolved marriage behind me and a new man in my life, I thought I was happy.  I had bought a new little town house, I kept busy with my daughters with their soccer practice 3 times a week and games on the weekends.  When we weren’t at the soccer games, we were at the beach.  BK was picking up the girls about every other weekend so this gave me free time to be with my man.

Things started getting strange with this relationship.  I knew it couldn’t have just been paranoia because I sensed very strongly that he was cheating on me and I wasn’t as quick to ignore the signs as I was with my ex husband.  This Doctor man was treating me worse than my ex husband ever had.  I will skip many of the details of that relationship because it is pretty typical of the type of relationship where the woman always takes the man back after she finds out that he had been cheating on her.  This off and on relationship went on for 5 years.  The jist of it was that he would always break up with me because he had found someone else.  The weird thing was that he would never stop calling me when he was with the other woman.  I saw him every day at work and this made it much easier for him to manipulate me into taking him back.  My head would tell me that taking him back was a mistake but my irrational heart would always win…so it continued on for much longer than an emotionally stable woman would have allowed it to.

There came a time when I could no longer deny the sickness of this relationship to continue.  My prayers about this relationship had always been for God to please help to make this man love me.  To help me to be desirable enough for this man to only want to be with me.  At this time in the relationship, I had been “dumped” once again because he had found someone else and once again, I fell to my knees to have that prayer again.  Only this time, instead of praying for the relationship to work, I prayed earnestly to help me to let it go.  I knew there was going to be the time when he would ask me to take him back again and I wanted to make sure that my heart would be in the same place as my head.  I prayed and cried and something inside me knew that this was the very last time that I would be shedding any tears for him.  It’s as if something “clicked” on inside me.

Of course he did ask me to take him back trying to convince me that he was no longer seeing this or any other woman.  His usual tactics of flowers, hotel stays, convincing wails of the “I miss you’s” and fake tears, no longer worked on me.  He had played all those cards… and the only card he had not played was the marriage card.  The thing is, if he had proposed to me anytime sooner, I would have accepted.  That became a very scary thought for me.  I knew without a doubt that I no longer wanted any type of relationship with him.  My head and heart were finally matching up.  I would be lying if I told you that I no longer had any feelings for him though.  This was the type of relationship where the lows very extremely low and when we would get back together, the highs were very high.  It was a passionate relationship in that sense and I had become addicted to the highs but could no longer take the lows.  Somewhere in this process of finding strength within myself, I told myself that from then on, I would never, ever allow any man (or person) to hurt me again.

This was the start of my self discovery.  I began to believe that I was a strong person.  It wasn’t easy, but I realized that I had been through a lot.  I just want to add that after his last attempt to get me to take him back, seeing him everyday at work was difficult but I think whatever strength I had in me helped me to hold my head up high in his presence.  I never let on that I was still hurting inside.  I had faith that the strength would come little by little everyday as I let him go and it did.  

What I learned about myself at that time was that there was a hidden strength within me that I didn’t know existed…I just needed to “tap into it”.

The relationships with the men in my life and the pains that it caused helped me to become stronger in this facet of my life.  These men who were in my life were catalysts in helping me find out who I really was.  I realized that I didn’t need a man to fulfill me or make me happy.  I could be happy with just spending time with my daughters or spending time alone.  Of course I noticed something new was beginning to happen to me…I began having a voice…an opinion…about things in general.

How would I now “tap into” the strength lying deep within me to manifest into the other facets of my life.  There was so much to do.  In many respects, I still felt scared in other areas of my life.  It still felt like I had a lot of “letting go” to do.

Questions began to arise in my mind…again.  The same questions that I had as a young girl with abusive parents.  Questions like; “why am I here”, “who am I REALLY?”, ‘why was I experiencing such pain”?.  There would be many more experiences that would gently push me in the direction that I needed to go to help me discover who I really was… 

…continued

30. Journey Backwards-New Beginning

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I’ve let BK know that I was going to search for my own place in the upcoming weekend.  I set out and began looking on my own with my 5 year old and baby N.

After looking at several places, I found a cute 2 bedroom apartment with a community pool.  What I could afford at the time lead me to some shabby places and this place was no exception but it would have to do.  Across the street was a grocery store.  My daughter K got excited when she saw this apartment so I thought to myself, “this is it”.

I started packing up my belongings, the girls toys and clothes.  I took a pot, a pan and some utensils.  I threw our pillows into the car along with a red bean bag chair and off we went. I figured I would go back later and pick up more things.  We had two T.V.s so I could get it later but for now, only the basic necessities could fit in my car.

K was excited to swim at the pool so we spend a lot of time at the pool on that first day.  I made dinner and we sat on the floor eating our meal.  We all cuddled up in the living room on our pillows and bean bag chair that first night.  I felt such a sense of relief.  I remember sleeping so well that first night in our little apartment.  Although I had nothing in terms of furniture, I had freedom.  There was such a sense of relief, as if a burden had been lifted off of me.  I knew in that moment that I had made the right decision and truly believed that everything would be ok.

The next day I went back to gather more things and thought that I would take one of the televisions we had.  BK was at home and when I told him I was going to take the T.V., he said I couldn’t have it.  “What are the girls supposed to do BK?…stare at the four walls?”  He told me that it was MY decision to leave and I’d just have to deal with it.  I also noticed his wedding band was sitting on the coffee table.  It was such a clear message to me that he was over it and as I walked out the door, he said, “you know, you’re never going to find anyone like me.”  I remember thinking to myself, “God, I hope not!”

As time went by, I was able to purchase furniture for our new beginning.  A dining set that was on sale.  A bed for myself, (all three of us slept on this for awhile) a couch and finally, a T.V.!  I loved decorating this apartment.  We had all we needed.  The weekends were filled with pool time for the girls.  My girlfriends would come over with their little ones and we’d have a blast.  Life was good.  I felt good.

The girls slept with me on our only bed until I could buy them their own beds.  My Mom told me that I could take the beds that sis and I had used.  I thought it was nice of her to let me have them until she told me that I had to buy them off of her.  They were almost 30 years old!  Of course everything in my parents house was in a preserved state and our beds were no exception.  I bought them off of her for $60.00.  This was a lot cheaper than what I was going to find in a bedding store so I might as well take them.  So now the girls shared their bedroom and it was beginning to look more like a little girls bedroom.  The apartment was slowly beginning to look lived in and because I loved decorating, I was always finding ways to mix things up, add a touch of color, hang a nice picture, etc.  I cleaned this little apartment every weekend and it felt warm.  Not in the temperature sense but in the “homey” sense.  I wanted it to be a safe haven for my daughters.

I decided that I would go back and pick up more stuff when I knew BK was at work.  When I went back the next day, BK had changed the locks on the door so I couldn’t get in.  He was a real rat.

I had already told my folks a few days before leaving BK that I was going to find my own place.  My Dad didn’t say much but Mom told me that I would have a very difficult time being a single Mom.  “Who wants a woman with two kids?  How are you going to survive?  You better get back together with BK and be a good wife–Cook his favorite meals every night and be a good wife.”  Um…that wasn’t going to happen.  When I had shared with my Mom that BK had been fooling around our whole marriage, she told me that it was my fault.  He wouldn’t have to if I had been a good wife.  So again, this was my fault because I wasn’t a good person.

I continued to work at the nursing job and I was extremely fortunate to find the day shift.  I dropped my daughters off at day care, picked them up at the end of the day and we spent the evenings together.

One day while I was at work, BK showed up in the late morning and asked me to have lunch with him.  He added that we needed to start doing “family things” together.  What? was he kidding?  I knew that he had received the divorce papers so he knew that this time, I was serious.  I had no desire to have lunch with him and I lied to him telling him that I couldn’t get away.  As he walked out the door, I sensed a deep pity for him in my heart.  At that moment, I knew that in whatever way he was capable, he still loved me and knew that he was losing me for good.

The divorce took much longer than it should have.  We only had the apartment in both our names and the custody issue was a non issue as far as I was concerned.  I knew that the girls would live with me.  He fought for custody however…and lost.  I had uncovered an account that BK had hidden from me and I brought this out in the open in front of my attorney and judge.  There was nothing BK could do to explain his way out of this one.  It was split down the middle.  The apartment was sold and I used the money to buy a small little townhouse for the girls and myself.  The custody battle was a waste of time and effort but it was finally decided that the girls would stay with me.  (This was no surprise for me, I was just glad that it was over.)

I decided that I would be very liberal in the visitation.  As long as BK communicated with me whether he wanted to see his daughters, he was able to pick them up on the weekends.  In the first year, he saw them frequently.  He would pick them up from my apartment and as he drove away, my girls would be waving to me through the back window.  My heart would sink and all I could do was think about them the whole time they were gone.  Of course there were times that I felt like I could really get some rest while they were with their Dad…but mostly, I missed them and wanted them back.

I wanted my girls to have a relationship with their grandparents so I called my folks frequently and we would often get together at my house and I would cook dinner.  I didn’t have a lot but I knew how to cook.  I cooked like how any single Mom cooks: you look in the fridge and see what you’ve got and somehow throw this all together to make a good meal.  You’re not able to recreate this particular meal again because what you made was a combo of left over “stuff”.  I always made sure I packaged some leftovers for my Mom.  My folks would come over every other weekend.

I was a single Mom, working full time and trying to make ends meet.  The courts had determined how much child support I would receive based on BK’s pay at the time.  He quit one job so the child support amount would not be as high…a decision that would later be detrimental for him.  The child support was extremely helpful.  My salary payed for most of our bills, but child support helped to keep food on the table.

I began a new relationship with a man who loved me…at least I THOUGHT it was love…

…continued