Thursday, January 14, 2010
"I was thinking this was like being in shock -- Email to my therapist, this morning.
its how I remember feeling after being in a car acciedent.
Everything is moving in slow motion.
The world is muted, undefined around the edges.
I am going through the motions but there's no meaning to any of it.
I suppose it's grief."
It is really sinking in, lately.
There's nothing wrong with me.
There has never been anything wrong with me.
Oh, I've done things that were not pretty and perfect, but so often I was reacting to things beyond my control. I was a child long after my body grew to adulthood....
but recently, I have noticed that I don't feel like a child anymore. I am gaining a sense of who I really am, and with that I am falling out of self-blame.
And, oddly enough, that is what is making this feel so hopeless.
Some part of me has always believed that the things I heard as a child were true: that it was my fault; that if I could only be good enough, my father would love me as he does my sister. I keep remembering my mother telling me that I could be "the apple of his eye," if I just...
My father would always put a condition on any offer. When he held things back from me - even things he freely gave one or another of my siblings - he was careful to tell me which of my imperfections was "forcing" him to punish me in this way.
See - if that were true - if it was some fault in me - then I could fix this. But now I know it isn't true. My father rejected me. I could come up with a lot of reasons why that might be - for instance, my father was gone for the first year of my life. No biological bonding? Another issue is that (as much as I do not like to admit it) of all of his children, I am the most like him. As a parent, I know how hard it is to see your imperfections reflected in your children. I believe some of it is his own guilt that he sees in me at every turn - guilt and shame over things he will never admit, things that were certainly no fault of mine.
Regardless of the reason, there is nothing I can do that will ever change how he feels (or doesn't feel) about me.
When that first started to register, yesterday afternoon, I tried to fight it. My mind was racing and I went through every possible thing I knew that might help me 'fix' it. Then, sometime yesterday evening, this quiet hopeless sense washed all that away. The new sadness isn't raging and out-of-control. There's no panic or thoughts of hurrying to find relief. I feel calm, almost dead, inside, except for this bleak sense of hopelessness.
And so we come to God. The word God was something that sent me reeling, not all that long ago. Any mention of religion or spirituality and all I thought was, I'm out of here.
But, after a lot of work and a lot of redefining all the terms that used to trigger that in me, I've finally begun building a a God of my understanding. Meditation and prayer had become an important part of my every day life.
However, recently, I've been avoiding meditation. I've been avoiding God because I didn't want to look inside at the the hot, red pain that was waiting there.
At my therapy appointment on Monday, my counselor used the word "rejection" when she spoke of my father.
It burned like acid.
Since then, little snippets of my past have been flooding in, making themselves known against my will.
My father let all my siblings drive their cars. He even paid for their car insurance, but he told me I was on my own. I would never drive "his" cars and if I wanted to learn to drive, I'd have nothing to drive anyway - so I didn't bother.
It was as if I was a prisoner.
When I was sixteen, my father stopped buying my clothes and shoes. I was doing my part in this game we played. I was refusing to go to school.
So he said, "You have a job. You can pay for your own things. And if you don't go to school, you'll start paying rent, too"
I did start going to school... sometimes. On one occasion, my coat was stolen right out of my locker. When I told my parents, my father said it was my fault and refused to buy me a new one. So, I didn't have a coat that winter. I met my husband that February, and he clearly remembers that I had no coat. Regardless, my parent's continued to buy my younger brother's clothes and shoes until he was well into his twenties.
But I didn't resent my kid brother. Of my three siblings, only my sister had that honor.
The way his face softens when she enters a room...
The way he says her name....
My father told me that if I wanted to go to college, I would have to stay in his house and obey his rules. My older siblings had both gone away to school, but the rules were different for me. And through it all, I was convinced it was my fault. It was something I'd done or should have done that was bringing this on me.
The word rejection, started a chain reaction inside me. Yeserday, I finally made the choice to sit with it, to look inside and see what was real. The outcome was the realization that there is nothing I could have done and nothing I ever can do that will change how my father feels about me.
I can't believe I never saw it before.
End of story.
People often give God credit for the good things that happen... so when something bad happens, how can they not blame God? Are we, on this Earth, so evil and awful that we constantly bring out the bad faster than God can fix it? If God is everything, then isn't he just as much the abuse and the abuser as he is the peace and the savior?
I can't even say I'm confused at the moment. Maybe I am, but I don't feel that way. I feel a dead-calm, resolute sense that this is hopeless. As an infant, I was born with the need for my father's love. I was not only denied this love, but was then shown, over and over, exactly what it was I could never have.
The way his face softens when she enters a room... the way he says her name....
To make sense of this, someone told me that "lessons" like this are God's way of bringing us to him. If this is God's plan, it seems cruel - as cruel as anything my father has done. Maybe in time I'll come to see it differently, but right now, my belief is shaken to its core.
Closing a Door