It takes a strong person to say, “I’m Sorry.”
And a stronger person to say, “I Forgive.”
I’ll never forgive my children’s mother; however, she’s dead. If she were alive I, would have to forgive her because my children would be connected to her heartbeat.
After reading the above, I’m beginning to question my hatred. I am smart enough to know hate only puts weight in my heart. I’ll continue to weigh this, but I’m not ready to forgive her.
Now, you asked yesterday, “How did I deal with the guilt my father put on me…” I am not sure I have. Even with the numbers of presentations I’ve delivered. Even though I’ve spoken to rooms of thousands, I totally FUCKED UP his eulogy. It was horrible, embarrassing, the only presentation I’ve ever given that I wish I could redo.
The fact that this still bothers me means I’ve not forgiven him. Again work in progress.
However, I think you want to know how I survived his actions, words, and resulting guilt. Words like, you’re stupid, fat, and will never amount to anything.
The short answer is, I’ve learned to live in the now and love myself. “The past is history, the future is a mystery, the NOW is a gift, that’s why they call it the PRESENT.” Yes, I push to live in the now. I’ve learned there is no past. The past is a memory. There is no future, as the Future has yet to happen. There is only NOW.
Life is only two things Change and Choice. Change is the only constant in Life. Choice is how WE deal with Change.
Let’s apply that to my dad. He was a complete Narcissist. The world revolved around him. My mother, until her accident, catered to his ever whim. Then she had a stroke which left her wheelchair bound and unable to speak. Heartbreakingly sad. But then this is another story.
Sounds like X had a dad like this, only weaker, as he had to deal with a snarky wife who was and is continuously vocally contempt. It must have been an awful environment to live in. Add to this Catholic Guilt, my God what a horror show.
There is a game families play called VPR, victim, persecutor, rescuer. We, my family, played this 24/7.
The way it works is the ‘it – the game’ never ends, you constantly change VPR pieces. If Mom was the Victim, I would Rescue her. If I was the Victim, she would Rescue me. When Mom got tired of it, she would become the Persecutor and Grandma would become the Victim. (The whole family of 6 was involved plus grandmas) And so on…
The only way around it, was to lie. HELL, I lied about everything! I was so good, I believed my own lies. I’m OK. Lie. I Love Myself. Lie. I honor my parents. Lie. This is very useful in confession by the way. Just tell the priest how many lies you’ve told and you’re free to go do your penance.
When Mom fell sick, I could no longer rescue her or she me. Thank God Dad had enough money to hire someone to help Mom. Of course, that’s after they took care of him first. Oh and he hooked them into the game. Grrrrr!
Guilt, I was guilty about everything! After all I’m Catholic, we were born with Venial Sin. That’s why they baptized us out of the womb, to remove sin. Great way to keep people in the church and the church rich. Dad was a devout Catholic, so to kick his ass, I told the Priest that he did not want mass at his funeral.
Dad relished in other’s weaknesses and demanded perfection from his family. To this day, my math is stymied because of it. Learning the multiplication tables was an after dinner drill starting with verbal recitation of 1×1 is 1, through 12’s. Dad would have a yard stick and every time I stalled or missed, I would be hit. Upper arm, under the shirt sleeve and back of head at the hairline was his target. The more I missed, the more angry he would get and the harder he would hit. Until finally, my Mom (now Rescuer) would come in high P mode and scream at him and I would run to my bedroom in tears.
Spelling was next… same/same
I hated him, but truly believed that I was a dummy who couldn’t spell or do math. After you are told how bad you are enough times, you begin to believe it until it becomes a habit.
I carried the Victim piece through my teens, twenties, and much of my thirties. Actually at 80, it still rears its ugly head, but now I know it’s only a memory and dismiss it by saying, “Every day I get better at spelling.”
Bishop and I took a course together in my thirties called, “Management By Responsibility” with Dr. Gary Durst (now deceased). It was eye opening. There I learned about the game VRP, how lying to self does not give you a pass, nor does taking blame for everything, and hundreds of other grand lessons.
But the most important was ‘personal responsibility.’ Not how it relates to others, but how it relates to self. Bottomline, whatever anyone tells you, it’s 100% your responsibility how you react to it. My eyes opened wide to the fact, I am OK NOW!
Back to “Life is only Change and Choice.” Change is the only constant in Life. Choice is how WE deal with Change.
The PAST doesn’t exist, I live in the NOW only reflecting on the past as memories. Just now, talking about it, it’s no longer painful because NOW I am great!
I am a firm believer in personal manifestation. Our friend Greg is a great example; i.e., brain cancer.
While overcoming parental guilt, getting out of Victim role, is more about one’s positive belief in SELF (not what others say or think you are but how YOU see, hear, feel, or say about you) and the NOW, is where you live. That, more than anything else, not only HEALS, it dissolves the imbedded scars of a nonexistent unhappy past.
For years I felt unloved. I didn’t love self, even thought of ending it when at my High School Baccalaureate Practice for Graduation and they didn’t call my name. This is when I learned I would not graduate from High School, flunked Chemistry. I was totally devastated! Hell, I knew I was flunking Chem. But I lied to Dad, and therefore forgot. You see when you don’t believe in self, you don’t even listen to self or the things you know.
Regardless, now I had to tell Dad, who was full of self pride because he said I wouldn’t graduate and now that he and I thought I was (I lied to him constantly to protect my V self), he had announced to all his friends saying, “It was tough but I got him through.” Of course he wanted to say that. He, who made straight A’s in School, got a Scholarship to College, but couldn’t leave home as he was then a major supporter with 2 part time jobs all through HS, instead took a 2 year scholarship to the local 2 year Junior College.
Straight A’s in JC, then married Mom and pow WWII drafted and never completed his schooling. Yes, his son flunking HS. Fuck!
When I told him I was not graduating, Dad said, “Who’s going to tell my family? Who’s going to tell my friends what a loser you are?” Yes the Narcissist NOT ME! YOU will tell them he billowed! (This is weird… I have not thought of this in years, just told Bish for the first time now.) Can you imagine calling your dad’s boss to announce you’re a failure? FUCK Hit the delete key, I no longer exist! Done!
He sat by the phone while I, in tears, called his list tell and said, “I will not be graduating with my class and I must go to summer school and graduate.” It was an hour of heart wrenching guilt. Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa, Fucking Catholic Guilt. I wish he had hit me instead.
Why would I even admit this, let alone type it? I believe it will help someone else. If I can take the eyes of the Victim into a Viewers Position, get them to realize that it’s not the their fault, it’s the Persecutor, and you are no longer the Victim. Perhaps they will see the truth and say to self ‘It happened, now HIT THE DELEAT KEY! It’s Over.’
I know, you’ll say, easy for you… Nope, it was extremely difficult… at first! Then I saw it was me that continued to ALLOW it to happen, accepting that it wasn’t even him, it was me that let the feeling continue.
Well, I have an answer. HABIT! Yes, I was the habitual Victim. Brain science tells us that any action, conscious or unconscious repeated over and over again, becomes a habit. I was a VICTIM BY HABIT! After years and years of being the victim it had become habit. An I the Victim said, “I can’t change it! I’ve tried…”
ANYONE CAN BE OR BECOME A VICTIM BY HABIT, REGARDLESS OF INTELLIGENCE. RIGHT Roger?
If you’re saying I Tried… STOP IT! TRY tells the subconscious, YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT!
Lift your right hand above your head. Ok put it down. Now Try to lift you right hand above your head. NO DON’T DO IT. JUST TRY.
“Hey guys, stop by the house Saturday we would love to see you?” And you answer, “We’ll Try.” Will you be there, NO!
Do or Don’t Do, there is no try.
No one can stop a life shrouded in GUILT!
Except the one accepting it.
No one can change a habit,
you can only replace it with something of greater value.
So let’s go further, I have 15 hours of classes on these topics. Class I first taught to self. So excuse my verbosity!
I still manifest guilt. I still say I am sorry for all problems, and OFTEN (less often daily) say, “I’m sorry!” Bish say’s, “Stop saying that, no guilt is implied! I then get it and simply say, “got it.”
The hardest part is when I do fuck up, like Dad’s Eulogy! I beat myself up, STOP IT! Simply say Foul, shoot and press on. Then say, “what can I do to make it better” and again press on.
I wrote all my family to apologize for the eulogy. Of course, they all said they thought it was good… except Brother Dave who said, “Yes, I agree. You made it about you and that wasn’t the job. But only a couple of us saw it so blow it off. Several were really looking for your humor, but it’s over. I love you Brother.”
I love you and a hug, squeezes the guilt out. It’s great isn’t it?
NOPE, If you don’t love self and someone else says they love you… you say,
Sure you wouldn’t say that if you knew who I really was… I can’t spell or do math, I’m fat, lazy and will never amount to anything… You will Fucking Negate Other Love.
In 1973, I was 30 and drowning in Guilt, business was poor, my Second marriage sucked like my first. Money was leaking faster than I could fill the pot, self loathing was rampant… A friend took me to lunch and said,
“You know what your problem is?”
Just about as I was going to give him a list of them … he said, “YOU DON’T LOVE YOURSELF!” Well that wasn’t on my list! What do you mean…
He said, “You want others to love you. Your family, friend, people you work for, work with…?” Yes, I answered doesn’t every one want that?” He then said, “Who the hell are you to ask someone to do something you won’t do?”
Well, I had no answer, so for days after that it rolled around in my head like a bb in a box car. Then Saturday Morning at the Grocery Store with my 4 year old daughter, Alysa, in the cart, laughing and playing, I would push her out free wheeling, saying “OH NO!” Then I’d grab the cart, pull it back, and she gleefully yelled, “I Love You Daddy!” I said, shhhhh.
What, you shushed your child for saying I LOVE YOU, why? Because I thought it was a lie, or at most she didn’t know who I really was. Fuck, I don’t love myself. When even a child said it, I negated it.
Two weeks later, I was repairing an inside slat of our backyard fence, she was across the street playing with friends. I peaked over and said, “HI LysiPie!” and she said, “I LOVE YOU DADDY” and I crouched behind the fence and cried.
If this beautiful child, my adopted child could love me… what the fuck is wrong with me, GUILTY. I laid awake all night and decided I would change the habit and begin to love myself.
So, armed with the Antimetabole, (Yes Roger it’s a word, look it up.)
“It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting.”
I showered, shaved, looked at myself in the mirror and said, “Mirror mirror before I start out, take one last look and eat your heart out,” to face the world acting as if I loveed myself. Not in the egocentric I just joked with, but every time I need love and would say, I Love Me.
EASY? Fuck no. But by 33, I was watching the change.
I recently ask AI, “How does someone Love-Self.” I enjoyed its answer.
Self-love is a complex concept, but it can be simply defined as the act of treating oneself with kindness, respect, and compassion. It is about accepting oneself for who one is, flaws and all, and appreciating one’s own unique qualities.
There are many ways to love oneself. Here are a few ideas:
- Practice self-care. This means taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional health. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly. Also, make time for activities that you enjoy and that make you feel good.
- Be kind to yourself. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend. Be patient with yourself, and forgive yourself for your mistakes.
- Set boundaries. Learn to say no to things that you don’t want to do, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
- Spend time with people who love and support you. Surround yourself with positive people who make you feel good about yourself.
- Do things that make you happy. Take some time each day to do something that you enjoy, whether it’s reading, listening to music, or spending time in nature.
Self-love is a journey, not a destination. It takes time and effort to develop a healthy sense of self-worth. But it is worth it, because when you love yourself, you are better able to love others and live a happy and fulfilling life.
Here are some additional tips for loving yourself:
- Challenge negative thoughts. When you have a negative thought about yourself, ask yourself if it is true. If it is not, challenge it and replace it with a more positive thought.
- Focus on your strengths. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Instead of focusing on your weaknesses, focus on your strengths and what you are good at.
- Be grateful. Take some time each day to think about the things you are grateful for. This can help you to appreciate yourself and your life.
- Learn to forgive yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. It is important to learn to forgive yourself and move on.
Loving yourself is an important part of living a happy and fulfilling life. By following these tips, you can start to develop a healthier sense of self-worth and love yourself more.
Pretty good answer I’ve noting to add. That was 47 years ago, a year later I was divorced and starting the climb I’ve now reached.
Am I perfect! Fuck No, that’s another thing I must mention. Perfection and Balance only exist in brief moments of time. Believing in either causes HUGE STRESS! Stop It!
If you can’t be Perfectly Balanced your guilty. If you can’t part the waters, make the dead live, if you can’t run a 5K in in 15.12 you’re Bad and GUILTY!
If this is a modicum of help I’m happy to have done it. If it’s of no help to you… OK It’s a written affirmation to me THAT I’M GOOD AND GETTING BETTER.
Love to you both. Keep Smiling