************************************Denial covers the pain of the past * A blanket over the world * Lift a corner * Don't be afraid * Your life awaits you*************************************

Monday, August 16, 2010

Wise Words

Why is it so much easier to believe other people are worthy of love and respect than it is to believe it of myself? So often it seems I know the exact thing to say to someone else but can’t see how the words that come from me could be applied to me.

After a CoDA meeting, on Friday evening, a friend (who I will call V) approached me to ask my advice. She said she was thinking of talking about her loneliness to her adult daughter. She wanted to tell her daughter that she felt alone and needed support and to ask if they could plan to get together every other week. She said that while this felt like expressing her feelings and asking for what she wanted, something kept nagging at her about it… it just didn’t feel right to her.

I knew what to say right away. The problem with her request lit up like a neon sign in my head – so much so that I had to slow myself down to be able to express what I was thinking in a calm way.

I told V, it’s good to express your feelings. Telling your daughter you feel lonely and want to see her more is fine. Saying how you feel right now and asking if she is free this weekend, for instance, is fine. However, locking her in to getting together on a specific schedule seems like controlling.

She nodded and smiled. "Yes, you're right."

I said, “you never know… it may get to the point where having a rigid schedule with your daughter would feel confining to you.”

She laughed at that, but nodded as she thought about it.

Another friend (Gail at the "Know Your Its" blog) posted a post in which she sometimes talks about her heart-wrenching experiences watching her mother deal with old age and poor health. In a recent post she was especially discouraged and wrote about her anger at God. She seemed defiant in her anger, as if she was afraid someone was going to call her on it and say she should not have such feelings where God is concerned.

This is part of what I wrote to her:

It's heartbreaking, Gail. You paint the picture so well I feel as if I was there with you...
Anger is real. It is human. It is part of God's creation and God can take it... It's okay to be angry. It's okay to say, WHY? and to cry and to scream and to tell God you are angry.

Being angry does not mean you don't love... just like all the bad things that happen in the world don't mean God doesn't love.
When I read that last sentence I was really surprised at what I’d said. What a profound thought! It had come from my fingers to my keyboard before I hardly knew what I was thinking.


  1. From far far away and a wild guess. Your father sees you growing and getting stronger. Therefore he sees that you can now do more for him. He will take as much of your time and energy as you will give.

    I can think of nothing to write that will cause any real change in your father, from you or anyone else.

    I would go with minimizing the time you spend on the reply and get it over with. Knowing it is likely going to happen over and over again.

    "Thanks for the e-mail especially the promise not to keep bothering me about this and understanding I am busy. A scheduled time to meet does not work for me."

    A letter expressing how you feel and then burning it might be in order. Not that what you write does not deserve to be read. Just an acknowledgment he will never understand and does not even want to.

    I would also when you have a chance deciding if this summer get together that you worked so hard on is good for You.

    My parents are getting older and I had this though the other day. I wonder how they are going to slam me in their will and how that will be their last shot.

    It occurred to me as I wrote this that this is not a new e-mail. It is a continuation of when he used your name in the paper. Different topic same e-mail and the next one will be the same. Nothing you do will change that. You can only choose to continue to have contact. If you choose that and all it entails that is more than OK, it is your choice. You do not have the choice to have your father be something that he is not.

  2. If you do want to respond (and you may not - it may just be a hook into some games you don't need) something like,

    Sorry Dad, but that is way too much to ask just now. I can't commit to a schedule like that.

    This is just meant to be a suggestion to stimulate thought. Something like this should be seen as polite - depending on how controlling your father is I guess.

  3. Thank you both so much for replying. I did send an email response. I responded to the chatty stuff he wrote (which I did not put in this blog) and then to the request for a scheduled weekly meeting. I said almost exactly what Michael suggested... thanks for the email and a scheduled time to meet does not work for me, and some other things.

    I feel better having sent it but am waiting for the backlash. It will make him sad and then angry. Honestly, he has made me sad and angry many times and I feel as if I have to keep myself safe from that now.
    i'm sorry it has to be that way but i don't think it can be any other way.
    I had a very emotional session with C today and there were tears, which is hard for me. I don't like crying at all, but it was different because I didn't feel shameful about crying and I didn't feel afraid. In a strange way it was empowering to make that choice that I was going to allow tears and even though I hated that feeling of crying it was okay.

    So, a big day in a lot of ways. I'll right more on this in my next post.

  4. When I the first memories of the abuse came into my memory I read that a person cried everyday for a year.I said "OK I can not that." Little did I know.

    There are so many different kinds of crying. The sobbing, the tears from the outside of the eyes, the feeling like you can no survive the tears. I do not like having experiences that make me cry. I have found even as an adult I can not always choose. I can choose to cry and have it in the past. Sometimes you have to be sad before you can be happy.

  5. HI SHEN-

    FIrst, I am very honored/humbled that you quoted my post in your amazing blog. wow. And you are 100% right - I was quite defiant inbmy right to be angry and I was telling my readers -"don't even think about challenging me"!! you are right on./

    And I love the image of the gold chain and creating a beautiful piece of jewelery to help define the recovery journey. Beautiful.

    ANd about what tosay to your father. That is a tough one for anyone else to say.
    I do know you have to be ready to confront and by that Imean regardless of his response that YOU are still okay. If he can still rock your world negatively then it is not time. You are so very brave.

    Love Gail
    peace and hope.....


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Co Creation

Co Creation
We create the life we live

Love your inner child...

...for she holds the key...

...to your personal power.
A lesson is woven into each day.
Together they make up the tapestries of our lives.