Ah, Father’s Day month. A month to celebrate and express gratitude for your wonderful father who raised you, was there for you in hard times, supported you financially through college and helped babysit your children.
I wish I could say that is what father’s day means to me and to many of my clients and workshop participants over the years. But I can’t.
I’ve heard so many stories of abuse (physical, emotional and sexual) over the years that I’d be doing a disservice to just say Happy Father’s Day in this week’s article and leave it at that. I hope you are here reading because you understand that I understand you. I’ve struggled like you with feelings of hate and love for my father. I’ve cut him out of my life in order to show self-respect and I went ‘groveling’ back when the habitual pattern and old limiting beliefs of mine reared their ugly head by wanting me to just be daddy’s little girl.
In my case I loved and hated my father. Loved him for the memories of when I was a child when he held me on his lap, taught me how to drive, drove me to high school and seemed to light up when he saw me.
I hated him for cheating on my mother, scaring my mother, physically abusing my brother, emotionally abusing all of us and finally if that wasn’t enough… for taking my mother’s life by shooting her.
The pattern of neglect and abuse continued until the very end of his life. I wasn’t informed of his death until 1 month after he was six feet under.
Now I don’t say this for you to pity me. I have worked my inner process, continue to work it when I am triggered. I no longer mindlessly shop or eat during holidays like Father’s Day. I’m saying this to you because I am you and I want to help.
On a very real level I believe we are all aspects of one another. You are reading this because you can relate. I’m writing to you because I feel you and believe I can help you shift from pain to neutral and eventually to gratitude.
What? Gratitude for this abusive man?
Yes, I have learned more than once that the biggest lessons I have received in my life that helped me shift out of unconscious doing-ness and addictions, shifted me out of abusive patterns in relationships (even subtle ones) and a pattern of self-loathing had to do with opening my eyes to the truth of the lesson. The insight behind and beyond the pain, loss, grief and story.
And that’s what I’m asking you to do. See with your heart. Feel with the power of the infinite that created you. Feel unconditional loving so deeply that you will finally surrender and let go of your victim story. Or let go of your bully story. This one says that you must act the way you do (angry, bullying, heart closed down) in order to protect yourself. The problem-you won’t ever receive the very love and acceptance you crave. How can you truly unabashedly love anyone ( including yourself) when you cannot find a place inside you that trusts. Trust yourself, trust God, trust in the good in the world.
Are you ready to let go of being a victim to your story? Please don’t think that means that you don’t have compassion for what you’ve been through or that what your father (or stepfather ) did was right. On a worldly level what my father did was wrong, very, very wrong. He should have been punished more than he was… I think. He went to jail for 2 years for shooting my mother in the head.
Maybe your father was never convicted of the crime he committed. Maybe it was a crime of neglect.
As long as you continue to wish he were different (whether he is alive or dead now) you are shooting yourself in the foot. You are living in the past, dis-empowering yourself with your negative thoughts and making yourself a victim to him over and over again… probably long since he’s been gone.
And this shows up in your life. It shows up by attracting relationships and jobs and events into your life now that can continue to punish you because what you give out, even energetically comes back to you.
IF YOU ARE READY TO FREE YOURSELF then read on. I have two exercises for you to connect with.
If you can remember any sweet moment you had with this man bring it present and bring it into your heart. I’ve done that with my memories of my dad and what it’s done for me and my well-being is beyond words. What I feel when I choose to focus on those memories is love. When I feel that self-acceptance and gratitude, that is what I experience from others. What you put out comes right back to you in different ways.
If you stay bitter, it shows up on your face as a hardness in your eyes, frown lines, chronic back or neck pain and a myriad of others ways. Please stop giving this person power over you or rather attributing your weakness to them. It’s no longer their responsibility.
If you have no good memories of this man then I want you to take a moment and remember one of your first memories of this man. How did you feel around him? If he was abusive did you feel this intuitively? Connect with that inner part of you that knew not to trust this man and yet because you were too young you had to anyway. Acknowledge your inner aspect for knowing better. Forgive any lingering self-judgment or judgment against your mother.
As Shakespeare said, This above all else, to thine own self be true.
I’m committed to this being the best father’s day month ever and that it continues to be a happy occasion every year. Now it’s your turn to decide if you are ready to let your past limiting story go.
In the loving,
Want to reprint this article in your ezine or website? You may, as long as it remains intact and you include this complete blurb with it:
Brenda Adelman, MA in Spiritual Psychology, referred to as The Queen of Forgiveness, teaches people who are stuck in the past how to become present and experience joy again by forgiving the unforgivable.