There was a time, not so long ago, when I didn’t believe in love. I mean, I’ve always had love for my children and my immediate family, obviously, but beyond that… nope. emptiness and heartbreak. I had no interest in any of it, I didn’t believe in it, yet I searched in allll the wrong places. I’ve never had any positive role-model relationships to look up to, so I had been comparing everything to unattainable fairy tales as seen on TV and/or previous (abusive) experiences which, as you can imagine, was very disappointing and quite dysfunctional.
From a very young age, I got used to men walking in and out of my life. I became accustomed to attaching my self worth and value to the men in my life. I let them dictate my worth. I felt I needed a man in my life in order to BE somebody. *I actually cringe as I type this* I allowed myself to be taken advantage of and walked all over, repeatedly. I was never taught how to stand up for myself and self-love, unfortunately, wasn’t something I learned about or taught myself until well into my 20’s, early 30’s. It actually wasn’t until my 30th birthday that I truly started to know and understand what it meant to LOVE myself for ME, not who I had in my life, not my title (mom, almost-wife, ect), but for ME, all my perfect imperfections, anxiety riddled brain, scars, both inside and out, thick thighs, stretch marks and all.
“My name is Sheena and I have (at times, nearly debilitating) abandonment and trust issues that cause me to make mole hills into mountains, create stories that don’t exist and destroy relationships with lack of communication and severe insecurities”
~ If dating profiles were accurate. LOL
I’m not afraid to admit this and I am far too wise to deny the fact that I have deep rooted issues that stem from my Daddy issues. My Dad was in and out of my life ever since I can remember, it is open for discussion as to who’s fault that was in the beginning, whether it was him or my mother, but in the end it was he who made the final decision to cut us out of his life. He first officially left when I was about 12-13 years old. He had started a new family and his new wife wasn’t fond of the fact that he had a past and children with someone other than her, so she gave him the option to choose their new life together or me. He chose her. I will never truly understand or be able to wrap my head around the fact that a mother gave a father that ultimatum… but I will also never truly understand how or why he allowed that to happen in the first place or his ability to actually walk away from a child, who very clearly needed a positive male role model in her life.
A few years after the initial shock his abandonment and discovering that I had a brother (he told me his wife had just given birth during the last phone call I had with him before he left), one of his step daughters tracked me down on Facebook and connected us. I kept up communication through email for a few years, all the while casually avoiding the searing questions and pain, something I’ve grown accustomed to doing… avoid the questions, avoid the pain, internalize it all so that you don’t make the other person uncomfortable. When I split with my partner of almost 10 years in 2013 and was starting out / over as a stay-at-home mom with 3 young kids, I chose to have my Dad come stay with me. I had hoped we could mend our relationship and get a fresh start. Things went well and it lasted a year before he took off again with promises of returning in 6 months. He never came back. He didn’t bother tell me he wasn’t coming back. We barely speak anymore.
(The conversation about why he left, when I finally mustered up the courage to ask questions, ended poorly and left me with more anger and more questions. I never got any answers. We will just say he wasn’t receptive to my inquiries. Denied. Rejected. Made to feel as though it was my fault. Again. More pain. More issues.)
I like to tell myself that I have forgiven my father, but there are days when it is very apparent that I have not and that I still have a shit ton more work to do in order to fully release all the anger I have around the whole situation. I very clearly understand that the relationship I have with him and the limiting beliefs I have built up around this whole scenario are holding me back in life and causing a multitude of issues and stress, both internally; mentally, physical pain, dis-ease, and externally, in relationships. I am aware of these issues and I am doing my best to work through it. Today I am grateful for a support system that allows me to communicate openly about my crazy thoughts and stories without making me feel like an actual crazy chick. There are obvious frustrations in this relationship, but it’s a process and being around someone who may not necessarily understand you or what you are going through, but will sit there and talk it out with you is FUCKING incredible.
“I did the best with what I knew and when I knew better, I did better”
~ Maya Angelou
In order to move on with your life and reach your full potential, forgiveness is ESSENTIAL. Forgiveness for not only those who you feel have wronged you in some way, but also towards YOURSELF. By forgiving, you are not accepting the behaviour or saying that it is ok. By forgiving you are acknowledging what happened, honouring the purpose it has served in your life, re-establishing your boundaries and taking the necessary steps to ensure that this won’t happen again (BOUNDARIES, hello!!) and allowing yourself to move forward with your life.
Holding on to the anger, bitterness and resentment is not serving you at. all. At one point those feelings served you. At one point those feelings helped you get through a tough and most likely shitty situation. That point has passed and holding on to those feelings is only going to burn a black hole of resentment into your heart.
You are ok. Everything is ok.
Whatever happened, happened and there is nothing you can do at this point to change things, if there is something you can do to change things – have at it, if not, move on. The only thing you can do now is implement some healthy boundaries to ensure that it NEVER happens again. Everything you experience in life is a lesson. They were put in front of you for a reason. You must learn from them or they will continue to present themselves throughout your life. These lessons will present themselves as patterns (attracting the same time of men/women in your life? Emotionally unavailable? Abusive? Notice a pattern here?).
Learn from them. Take what you need from them and GROW.
I’m well aware that this is easier said then done, but honouring this notion and creating an awareness around the patterns will help you recognize them earlier, hopefully before they turn into major issues.