Goodbye Dad Part 2
Your choices lead you to the life you are living.
I hated that statement when I first heard it. I had lived my life up until then as a victim, angry at my past, angry at my parents, angry at my present and hopeless for my future.
After all, I came from a horribly abusive childhood, had low self esteem, had had one too many abusive relationships, and my finances were crap. As far as I was concerned, it was all my parents’ fault.
That was an easy belief and it was also a painful belief, and it kept me stuck for too many years to count.
It is easy when you come from an abusive background to blame others. You have never had positivity demonstrated to you, you resent others who seem to have loving families, you can’t understand how some people seem to effortlessly succeed.
The reality is that your thoughts have kept you in that trap.
I started reading positive books (see my blog section on the list) and even though at first they seemed pretty Pollyanna, I knew I had nothing to lose by trying to change the way I thought.
The first thing I learned was that I had to be very, very careful about who I hung out with. As I started to think more hopeful thoughts about life, I realized that I had bought into the negativity of my current friendship circle. As I moved more and more into positiveness, I lear5ned that my current batch of friends weren’t very friendly any more. They didn’t like the way I was thinking, they scoffed, and quite frankly, they didn’t want to change. It took tremendous courage to start walking down a different path, and a path that ultimately ended many friendships.
The second thing I learned is that it’s much easier to have angry thoughts than happy thoughts. I can recall all kinds of abuse, slights, humiliations, errors ad mistakes, and can lovingly pick at my soul while the bile rises up inside me. Those negative thoughts are simmering right below the surface, and can ignite very quickly if you haven’t had enough practice to shift gears and distract yourself. It’s almost like when you have a crying baby and you have to distract them with a shiny toy or rattle or something. When you distract them, they can refocus. It’s the same thing with happy thoughts. You need to build up a memory bank of them that you can use as a distraction when you ar having negative thoughts.
I’ve also learned that choice can become a habit. Today I heard from my father for the first time in 6 years. I have been so angry and sad today (check out September 5th’s blog—-this one is being published a bit later in the queue) but I have learned to let the grief out, and then start focusing on the positive.
Pollyanna? You betcha. Does it work? Absolutely. Is it easy to do? Not at first, and not when you are deep in the throes of pain. But, I just finished writing my painful blog about my Dad, and I have released those painful thoughts out into the universe. And I am thinking of other happy thoughts and spinning today into a form I can live with. I’m deciding to say “at least he reached out to me before he died. At least he cared enough to takl to me.” rather than “I will never have from him what I always needed.”
Are both those thoughts accurate? Absolutely. Do they both serve me? Not at all. I have CHOSEN a life of positiveness and hopefullness. It is a habit I have learned, a skill I have practied until it has gotten easier. It is NOT, and I repeat NOT, a talent. It is a hard-earned skill, and one you can learn.
So, what am I going to focus on today? I’m going to focus on the fact that despite having no positive example, I have a successful, happy marriage that spans over 17 years. I live 10 minutes from the ocean, on a cul de sac, surrounded by my animals and my friends. I was able to send out a cry for help today via text message, and those who love me responded and gave me emotional virtual hugs. I have a husband who believes in me, a business that runs when I’m not. I have health and friends.
And those were all choices. All that is learned behavior, and you can learn this behavior too. No, it’s not going to happen overnight. I don’t have a magic wand to run over you and make it all go away. But I can tell you that there are tools and books and speakers and blogs out there that can help you on your healing journey.
Your choices lead you to the life you are leading. So. Goodby Dad. I hated you, I loved you, I have forgiven you. It was a shock that you called, it tossed me into a tailspin. However…the good news is….I have done enough healing to let you go, forgive you, and go back to living my life….in a positive way.
October 9th, 2012 at 1:55 pm
Susie, Thank you for sharing your continued journey. I am so happy for you, that you chose to be happy and live your life in the best possible, positive way! Life is beautiful and you are a very special person, that inspires sooo many people, including me. Thank you for sharing, thank you for opening up your experiences, thank you for being who you are!