The process of healing my oldest wounds, began when I acknowledged a destructive habit:
I was stuck in a web of delusional nostalgia; pining for what wasn’t, what I wish would have been, rather than accepting what was, in its entirety.
When I began examining my past from a place of pragmatism, I began accepting the way it was. I stopped obsessing about the ways I wasn’t loved, or how I wasn’t treated in the way I wanted to be. I stopped playing victim. Instead, when I reflect on my past, I focus on how I was cared for. And, as I worked within the scope of reality, things started to make sense, organized in an order that I could grasp, and from that place, I’ve been able to move forward into a state of healing.
A person doesn’t set out to love another with the intention of hurting them, but it happens, because, our natural tendency is to love others in the way we need to be loved, not in the way the other needs to be loved. We each have a “mother wound” and a “father wound” as a result of this dynamic, because, despite how wonderful our parents were and are; they’re human and they love us how they’re comfortable receiving love.
We remain in relationship with our parents throughout our lives, even when they are no longer living. Our parental wounds become evident and replayed in every relationship we have: in friendship, in romance, in business and in parenting our own children.
I don’t know exactly when I had this realization, I think it’s crept up on me as my daughters continue to grow and our relationship evolves. I’ve become aware of how my actions (that I thought were/are benevolent), have injured them. Luckily, I can attempt to help heal those wounds now, while they’re still superficial, sutures unnecessary, I hope.
Growing up in a home with a special needs sibling is difficult. I’ve carried a lot of pain [anger] with me from that experience. I didn’t want to look at it as it was. As a dreamer, I preferred imagining what it would have been like had he been able to talk in full sentences instead of clawing and hitting, and use his arms and legs like everyone else, and go to school without a team of experts helping him through the day. I was furious with him for causing me to worry about him every single day, and I was jealous that he got all of the attention (so it seemed).
I’ve tried over the years to look back fondly, and of course, there are moments of appreciation. I think the second article I ever published was about him and his ‘abilities.’ But, I’ve held an unyielding resentment towards my parents and shame and frustration towards my brother.
I decided I didn’t want to be angry anymore and not see things as they were, so I changed it.
I started doing the work, digging down, placing myself in those days and years as they happened, not as I’d wished them to be. And, you know what I found? Things were a lot better than I thought. Sure, I was traumatized by his circumstance and silently witnessing the exhaustion and pressure my parents faced day in and day out. But, as I’ve relived my childhood in honest hindsight, I’ve found that each day, they loved me, too. They made time for me, too.
A few years ago, my father said to me: “Rebecca, looking back, I realize, you got the short end of the stick.” It was his acknowledgment of the way it was, and with that validation came this glorious recognition that I held part of that stick, it didn’t matter if it was the short end or the long end, I was a part of it. I belonged and my parents did the absolute best they could.
Living in a void of what I hoped would have been, perpetuates the hurting, prevents the healing, and the love that’s waiting to be given and received.
Accepting the past, not letting go of it, or denying it, or making it into something it couldn’t be, is the key to healing.
My past is a part of me and always will be. Through the acceptance of what was, I continue to learn what I need in relationship to feel loved. And, I cultivate an empathic understanding of how to provide love for others, so it is received in the way they need to be loved, while I heal in the process.