The Judgements From Others Is Not True

I think that most people have some sort of judgment of some kind or another. You see someone do or say something that you think is inappropriate and your first response a lot of the time is judgment. Like for example, a way someone is dressed. Maybe it’s a women on the bus who is wearing too revealing clothing or someone who is big wearing too tight clothing. This week I read about a broadway actress who was judged by the costume she was wearing. The woman who wrote the review was judging the actress on her appearance, comparing her to other women on stage who weren’t big. The review (NYT) used words like bigger and described appropriate attire for a fat person as that. Even after this woman was called out for her behavior she had no clue that she was judging the actress. That’s a problem so many have been brainwashed to judging others that they don’t realize they are doing it or they do but they don’t care.

Just like hate, judgment is a learned trait. I grew up in a family who had mastered the art of judgment. Anytime I tell people I grew up in a Southern Baptist family most people gasp. It’s common knowledge that judgment is a key fundamental in that religion, as is fire and brimstone. God is the ultimate judge and all his followers are bailiffs, or even executioners in many cases. I think judgment comes from fear. Those who are fanatical in their beliefs are comforted when they pass judgment on anything that doesn’t fit into their norms. Some use God and religion as a way to come to terms with life. Rather than floating into outer space they anchor themselves to an ideology. Now I’m not saying that’s wrong, it’s only when you try to force others to fit into your box that’s when it becomes a problem. A lot of people use judgment as an excuse to belittle someone else. If anyone tries to live their life outside of their strict rules then they must do whatever they can to silence them because letting it go will crack their fragile bubble.

It’s when judgment is turned into a form of brainwashing that it becomes very problematic and a lifelong battle of getting away from the trauma that’s caused. Most people think it’s as simple as letting go of the past and I wish that were true. When the judgment turns into poison it’s hardwired into your brain. If you don’t deal with the trauma then it’s covered up and you become injured anytime a future judgment happens. Most the times you don’t have a clue that the feelings that surface from a current judgment has nothing to do with said act, it’s what it triggers from the old judgments. Endure enough judgments like that they it just reinforces the personalization until the judgment is internalized.

I’m struggling to deal with the heart of my trauma, the judgments from my father and family. These judgments were so intense that I took them on as my own and built a world around them. So it’s only natural the next twenty years would be a total shit show. There is no amount of trash that can be piled on top of something so deep, raw and dark to hide it. Doing so just creates a monster that will control you for as long as you let it. Now I have taken control of myself again. Which means I must deal with this trauma like it’s the first time it’s happening to me. I honestly feel like crap. It’s a sickness with no medicine to cure it. You just must suffer through.

So what did I learn from my father, many years ago:

He told me that I was going to hell (over and over) so that meant that I’m not worthy of an afterlife, nor do I deserve to see the people I love again like my Mom and sister. If God is going to let me burn for an eternity for doing nothing that must mean that inside I’m bad. God became the judge, jury and executioner. That is not true.

I was told that I was going to get AIDS (from being gay) and that I would die alone in the hospital. That the friends I had made from coming out would abandon me at the end. That meant I deserve to suffer and be in pain. I’m unlovable and not worthy of healthy relationships where I’m valued and supported. Unworthy of friendships that are unconditional and there for me when I need them the most. That is not true.

I also was told that apart of having AIDS that I would finally lose weight, like I had always wanted. That meant that I was a fat slob. That the only way to cope with the pain was to numb it out with food. I didn’t deserve a healthy body with boundaries and limitations. Moderation. I wasn’t worthy of taking care of myself. That is not true.

My father told me that I needed to forgive and forget the sexual abuse that my cousin did to me. This was said to me the day after I came out about the abuse, after he found out that I was upset that he went hunting with my cousin. This confirmed to me that my father didn’t love me, nor was I worthy of his care, love and affection. That my father would rather to have the person who caused me great harm to be his son. I wasn’t good enough. I was too fat, too fem and not worthy of having a loving father. This was the father I deserved. In my mind, I had no way to rationalize someone treating me this way when I hadn’t done anything wrong. So that meant that inside I was missing something. That I was the one at fault. I wasn’t good enough. Unlovable. Laughable. A hideous monster. That is not true.

Honestly I could go on and on with all the things that my father did and said to me. I could write a book. The fact of the matter is that none of these things are true. My father is the biggest liar there is. My brain knows this but my heart is still holding onto these untruths. It’s why I struggle so much when I am triggered. While I have worked hard the last year there are still parts of me who believe him. Thankfully the healthy parts of me are stronger than the pain and hurt. I’m not going to lie it hurts like hell. It physically is draining and feels like the worst flu you can imagine. I have to fight off the voices telling me that I’m hideous and worthless. They are trying to drag me under and I refuse to let them.

I just can’t wait for the day that these voices and untruths no longer have any strength or pull. I don’t want these judgments anymore. People in my life want me to just to move on from the past yet they are the ones that keep bringing it up. I want to be free and it feels like I will never away from this trauma.

I wish people could see the level of pain that I feel, then maybe they might treat me differently. I constantly feel like I have to validate the pain, what others have done to me. I shouldn’t have to explain the pain from someone else. The only thing that I do need reinforced is my value and worth. I just took a shower (I didn’t want to) and I kept having to repeat to myself that I was worthy. So I just need to keep practicing self love, especially when I don’t want to do anything. That’s the part of depression that is tough. Everything becomes an uphill battle. You’re already held down by the pain and then you have to carry it up Mount Everest. So you have everything fighting against you.

This week has been very tough. I feel like I’m playing a game of tug and war. I’m tired of having mud slung at me. I have too much to live for to be wallering in the mud but in order for me to move on I must endure this trauma one last time. I must correct the mistakes and properly heal, one wound at a time.

Advertisements

Father Figure

My relationship with my father has been estranged for as long as I can remember. For many years I didn’t want anything to do with him because he was just too toxic. I couldn’t handle the risk of rejection so I set a healthy boundary, more like a impenetrable wall. Not only has he caused a lot of harm to me but my sister and Mom as well. The last ten years of my Mom’s life was extremely difficult because of him. He left her with no money or a place to live. My Mom also lost her insurance.

If she hadn’t had her insurance taken away the Doctors might had found the Cancer sooner. Instead she couldn’t afford to go to the doctor. It’s impossible to look at him and not feel all of that which make me angry. I didn’t realize until recently how much anger I had hidden. I mean I knew I didn’t care for him but I didn’t know how the damaging that hatred was for my soul. I held onto the anger because it was easier than dealing with the hurt. The only way I knew how to cope with the loss was to fuel it into anger.

While I’m not as angry as I was before it’s still difficult at times to see him and not see the hurt. I recently ran into him during a family function and it felt so awkward and strange. It didn’t look like he was going to attend my Uncle’s birthday party and I was okay with that but at the last minute he showed up with his new wife. I refuse to call her stepmom. She’s more like the evil stepmother in Cinderella with her two wicked daughters. Yeah, I still have some anger in there… lol

When my Mom died three years ago it felt like I was an orphan. It’s a horrible feeling to feel that way with a parent still alive. It wasn’t until recently that I had started to think about having him in my life again but how do you trust someone who has caused you a lot of pain???

I’m still not at a point in my life where I can deal with the rejection. I know that if we had a relationship again it would be on his terms. It would be different if he had made an effort to be in my life and he hasn’t. At this family function I heard him talking about his new family and it still stung.

Five years ago he apologized for his approach to religion. These were the words I had wanted to hear for a very long time and when I finally heard them they didn’t mean a thing to me. They were just words. It didn’t make me feel any better. To give you an idea of how he approached anyone who he felt needed saving it would usually be all fire and brimstone. He told me so many times that I was going to hell that I believed him. I would have end of the world nightmares of Jesus calling people’s names of who was going to heaven and my name was never called. There was a time that the thought of God or even Jesus would set me into a panic. So I dealt with the only way I knew how and it was stop believing in anything.

The father I want and need just doesn’t exist. That hurts deeply. I feel robbed. I see fathers with their children and I think to myself why couldn’t I have had that. For too long I took it personal, a reflection of who I was. If my father didn’t love me (or didn’t know how) it must mean that I’m unloveable. I grew up believing that. My relationship with God has been very much the same way. I didn’t feel I was worthy of his/her love. I need to learn to separate the two but that’s difficult.

I’ve had over thirty years of believing that I was unloveable to the point where it’s been hard wired into my consciousness. I’ve come a long way from where I once was. I still struggle with my self worth but I now know that I deserve better. It’s difficult when the people who are suppose to love, protect and support you don’t. It’s very easy to take it personal. That’s my greatest flaw. I take everything personal and it’s something I’m working on.

I just have to learn to separate my feelings from these relationships and realize that it’s all on them… not me. It hurts and it sucks royally but it’s something I’ve had to accept. Some people just don’t have the capacity to give you what you need or deserve. I’m sure in some way my father loves me. I’m almost forty years old and I still feel like I’m that little boy who wants his dad to do the things fathers usually do.

In the end, he’s missed out on a lot of wonderful moments and a great person. He’s the one missing out. I’m done waiting. I’m done trying to make someone love me. It’s just not possible. If I’m to have a relationship with him it will always be conditional and it’s something I just have to accept. It’s sad to say but I’m at the point in my life where I will take whatever I can get.

I will never have the relationship with him that I need and that’s not my fault at all. I also can’t forget all he’s done. I can and will let go of all the anger because it doesn’t do me any good. It just poisons me.

 

Oh Father…

It’s funny that way, you can get used
To the tears and the pain
What a child will believe
You never loved me

You can’t hurt me now
I got away from you
I never thought I would

You can’t make me cry
You once had the power
I never felt so good about myself

Seems like yesterday
I lay down next to your boots and I prayed
For your anger to end
Oh Father, I have sinned

You can’t hurt me now
I got away from you
I never thought I would

You can’t make me cry
You once had the power
I never felt so good about myself

Oh Father, you never wanted to live that way
You never wanted to hurt me
Why am I running away

Oh Father, you never wanted to live that way
You never wanted to hurt me
Why am I running away

Maybe someday
When I look back I’ll be able to say
You didn’t mean to be cruel
Somebody hurt you too

You can’t hurt me now
I got away from you
I never thought I would

You can’t make me cry
You once had the power
I never felt so good

You can’t hurt me now
I got away from you
I never thought I would

You can’t make me cry
You once had the power
I never felt so good about myself

I got away from you father, never thought I would. You once had the power, I never felt so good… about myself. Seems like yesterday I laid down in my bed and I prayed, for you to go away. You never loved me, that’s what I grew up believing. I got use to the tears and the pain. Oh what a child will believe.

Those are the words, feelings and beliefs I grew up with. Oh Father by Madonna has always resonated with me deeply. Actually Madonna’s whole album “Like A Prayer” did. I can remember believing back then that Madonna was sing about me because it eerily mirrored my life.

I’ve known the kind of man my father was from a very early age, before many even realized. Growing up with him as a father I felt trapped and scared. I wanted nothing but my Mom, sister and I to be able to get away from him.

As I became an adult I began to distance myself from him. My father and I never particularly got along, we were like oil and water. I grew up believing that I wasn’t the son he bargained for, especially since I didn’t like the things he did… like hunting and fishing.

The final straw for me was when he divorced my mother about ten years ago. I saw what he put my beautiful Mother through during the thirty plus years of marriage. I saw the pain it caused her to go through the divorce and forced to try to make it on her own in her fifties. Once he was done with her, he threw her away. Just like he did me.

For over ten years I only saw him when I was forced to like at our family Christmas. It wasn’t something I looked forward to. Even then I was always very short with him and avoided him at all costs. All these years I felt such contempt for him that I forgot about all the hurt feelings and the grieving I have never allowed myself to go through.

It wasn’t until this past Father’s day that I realized how deep I had been cut. Previously Father’s day wasn’t ever a big deal to me, it was just another day. I certainly didn’t contact my father because in my eyes he was not worthy of appreciation. So this Father’s day came along and I noticed myself feeling angry when I saw anybody talk about Father’s day, especially advertisements. A few texts from retailers almost caused me to throw my phone a few times, of course I am over exaggerating but still.

The day of Father’s day was extremely difficult to endure. I felt an intense sadness and loss of the father I wish I had. All these years my anger masked the depth of my hurt. I guess I never really paid attention to it because having my Mama in this world always made up for it. She was my everything and made up for not having a positive father figure in my life but after her death it all hit home.

Recently I had this dream where my father died and in the dream I was devastated. I woke up feeling horrible. It is one thing to have a random nightmare but another thing to have the nightmare bring up some deep insecurity and hurt. I guess there is still a small part of me that hopes that one day my father will change and give me what I need. I believe in a way that dream was a way to remind me that those days are over and I must move on.

I struggle with father figures as a whole. That is part of my issue to my spirituality, is that I still view God in the same light as my father. My history with me hasn’t always been favorable, so I tend to stay away from most men. Even with gay men it hasn’t always been favorable. I certainly have issues with any man in authority, especially when they have an ego and/or power trip over it!

When you lose your parents you lose your safety net, a place to come home to. Sunday was just a reminder of that, what I had lost… So I am grieving over the loss of my Mama and the loss of the father I never had… and so wished I had. I would love a relationship with him but I know that comes at too great of a cost, something I am not willing to put myself through again.

I’m Not my Father

So someone close to me brought up this idea. Something I have been fighting with most of my adult life. This fear that I am just like my father. Being the son of your father it is natural to be compared to him but imagine what it is like when your father isn’t something you want to be.

I guess it is this idea if you are your father’s son, then you are bound to be just like him. I guess that is the fear of mine.

My father and I, have never really had a good relationship. It has always been strained and always on his terms.

Anger is the one trait that has always scared me. I haven’t ever quite known how to handle it appropriately. Even feeling anger makes me feel like I am just like my father. So I tend to avoid it. The few times that I have expressed anger is when I have been pushed and it always makes me feeling less. I think the key for me is realizing it isn’t anger that is unhealthy, it is what you do with it that can be.

I guess I got into this attitude that you can’t make anyone angry because you don’t know what they will do. I saw what happens when you made my father very angry and it wasn’t a pretty sight. When someone has a temper you learn to walk on egg shells and I guess I have done that most of my life with everyone, even myself.

I will admit this isn’t an easy subject for me to talk about. As I type this, I can feel myself starting to feel awful. It isn’t easy to admit to the world that I have a father that has always put his needs above everyone else. Even though I learned very quickly who my father was, I still wish he would change and love me the way I need.

All this time I took his inability to love me personal, as a reflection of who I was. That just is not the case. I have to remind myself that I am my own person. I may come from his DNA but I am not like him. I also have my beautiful Mother’s DNA flowing threw my veins.

The fact that I am aware of all of this shows that I am not like my father. I am so much more than the image my father created of me.

My father is not the only person whose image I have taken on. I have done the same with many other people in my life who hurt me, especially my abuser. For someone that causes harm it is much easier to pass your feelings onto your victim, than it is to feel them yourself.

Though I am working on loving myself inside and out, there have been times in my life that I felt like I was a monster. Granted I didn’t have any reason to believe in that, I still did. Those who manipulate and use others that is how they keep those they harm. For me it is like a form of brainwashing. People like my father feel the only way they can keep love is by making a person feel less or with fear. If all your life you have been told your a weed, how are you to know that you are a beautiful flower? Especially when he keeps the sun and other flowers away from you.

People are like mirrors and it was when I saw my reflection in another flower’s eyes that I realized I was not a weed but a beautiful flower!!!

My father knew if my sister, mom and I realized we were flowers we would never stay in his garden. So in order to prevent us from leaving, he made us believe we were weeds. After he took everything he needed from my Mom, he thew her out… abandon her and moved on to the next family… After that my Mama was not the same. I will never forget what he did to my Mama…

I have learned that he is too toxic to keep in my garden. I am worth more than that. It is perfectly alright to love a person from a far, especially if keeping that person in your life does more harm than good. Just because we are born into a relationship it doesn’t mean that we have to keep ourselves in that said relationship. For me it has become part of my self care.

Negativity is a form of Cancer and sometimes the only solution is to cut it out.

The biggest difference between me and my father is love. He lives his life centered around hate, weakness and fear. I live mine centered around love, strength and courage. Also the difference is in how I treat other people. Awareness is also a trait my father does not have. I know I am not perfect and I will admit my insecurities and flaws, and am working on overcoming them.

Love is what separates my father and I. I feel that I am worthy of love and work hard to return it to the world. I care about the world around me and am working on becoming more grounded and whole. These are concepts my father just can’t grasp…

While I may have a few of his traits, that doesn’t mean I am my father. I am my own person. A person with a heart of gold, that tries to not hurt anyone.

Anger

Anger came up in therapy this week. My therapist asked me about my father’s anger and at first I struggled to come up with situations where my father’s anger got out of control. The only situation I could think of when I was five and he was driving erratically, so much so that my Mom had us get on the floor of the backseat of the car… I don’t remember my father in the situation but I do remember the level of fear in my Mom.

Then it all came back to me at once, all the times my father acted like a belligerent fool.  I think the most frightened I was of my father was when I was in eighth grade. My father left my Mom for another woman. They say that when someone leaves a spouse with children that they don’t leave the children, that is a lie. He left us all for broke. My Mom didn’t work outside of the home, that is how my father wanted it. So when he left he took his money and left her with all the bills including a house payment. My Mama was forced to get a job to try to pay the bills.

Of course she was going to change the locks, that is only natural… Well my father did not like that a bit. He wanted all of his stuff. I still remember the times he would come to the house. I am not sure if my Mom had told us to go to our room every time but all my memories of him coming to the house were with me in my bedroom.

I can remember the fear I felt as I hid underneath my pillow and blanket. I can remember praying that my father wouldn’t knock the door down. I can remember hoping that he would just go away. I can also remember him screaming and swearing at the top of his lungs. I also quite remember him threatening my Mother’s life. He was so loud and mean, I swear he was going to break down the door. Thankfully he never did.

Those incidents forever changed me. After that point I became horribly fearful of my father. My father was very much like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde… One minute he was nice as can be and the next he was fuming mad out of control. I learned very quickly to walk on egg shells when ever I was around him.

I can remember during the separation being forced to talk to him and the therapist. I can remember the anger in his voice. I also remember not wanting to be there.

From then on my views of my father had changed, as I knew who my father really was. He wasn’t going to fool me any longer. When my Mom let him back in the house months later I was devastated and so frightened… So much so that I couldn’t handle my feelings and tore my room apart in anger.

The next year my father tried to throw his weight and power around the house. He tried to control us all. One incident involved with him shoving me in my room (I am not sure what caused it) and me running away from home. I may not remember what caused him to shove me but I do remember the fear I felt.

When I ran away I didn’t go far. I didn’t know where to go at first. I sat underneath the big oak tree in our back wooded area as the snow began to fall. I remember my Mom yelling for me, begging me to come home. I was too scared. After I couldn’t stand the cold any longer I walked about a mile to a classmates house and called my best friend, who had his sister come pick me up.

That night I spent the night at his house I felt so safe. I didn’t want to go back to that house with my father still there but I didn’t have a choice.

The next few years I tried to stay away from the house as much as I could. I also noticed a difference in my personality. Prior to my father leaving my Mom, I was a happy child. I loved school and my friends. After that, everything changed… and so did I.

No one at school knew what had happened and I made sure of that. I was embarrassed. I started to push everyone away. I went from being popular, to unpopular. I went from being President of the Student Council of Middle School to being a nobody in High School. I am not even sure how I passed my sophomore year of High School.

There are only two other incidents that I can remember where my father was out of control with his anger.

The only other memory I have of him during my childhood rated at the top of the most scared I have ever been. My sister and I were in the living room. It was a Saturday night. My parents were both in their bedroom with the door closed. I can remember hearing this loud shrill noise coming from my mother.

I knew something was wrong and quickly dialed 911. This was even before I saw anyone come out of the bedroom. I didn’t need to see anything to know danger existed at the hands of my father. My Mom came out of the bedroom in tears. I don’t quite know what exactly happened other than my father shoved my Mom… After that my father left. I was so relieved. I found out later that my father had checked himself into the mental hospital.

911 never came…

Again my father came back…

The only other time I can remember was when I was an adult when I stood up for my Mom, which my father did not appreciate at all. He shoved me for the final time. The other time my father shoved me I ran and hide… but not this time. This time I shoved him back. Well I actually did more than shove. I picked him up like a rag doll and tossed him across the room. I can remember him falling into the filing cabinet and then onto the floor. I proceeded to get on top of him. I can remember wanting to squish his head.

This time 911 did come and my father did his best to play the victim by saying he had a heart condition (which he didn’t) and said he was afraid to be around me with his guns. My sister, Mom and I ended up leaving the house. I didn’t ever go back.

I was also no longer afraid of my father. It was also the only time I have ever been in a fight. I am not sure if that is something to be proud of! 🙂

I know that coming out wasn’t a good memory either. I was told often I was going to hell, among many other hateful things.

My father was also known for his religious views. Whenever he would start talking about them to others they would run fast and far. He was very cult like in his religious beliefs. It was all do as I say and not as I do. Early on, even before I came out for being gay, he instilled a deep fear of God and the end of the world. So much that I had this reocurring nightmare of the end of the world, where Jesus would call the names of those who got to go to heaven. MY NAME WAS NEVER CALLED!

I know that my parents fought often. I can remember instances where we would be headed into town and my parents would get into an argument, which usually meant heading back home…

Other than that, I can’t recall other times. It is almost like I have blocked out much of my childhood.

Anger scares me… frightens me deeply. I hide from it usually. I run from confrontation. To this day whenever someone gets mad at me, it feels like the end of the world… especially if it is someone I love…

My therapist asked me to show my anger towards God for taking my Mother and I couldn’t… I won’t lie I am very angry at my Mama dying but I struggle with letting it out. I want to yell at the top of my lungs but nothing comes out.

There has been only a few times in my life where I felt like my anger has been out of control. One of those situations was when I first started dealing with the sexual abuse. I can remember saying my abusers name over and over in a fit of rage, in which I ended up being hospitalized for suicidal thoughts.

The few times I have been angry like that I never did anything with it, as in with my actions but it still frightens me to think about. I guess my biggest fear is that I will be just like my father. Maybe that is what stops me from being angry because it reminds me of my father.

When it comes to fight or flight. I almost always choose flight… Unless I am pushed to a point where I have to fight. You can only take so much before you stand up for yourself or others. That is what happened in my last relationship. My ex-boyfriend told me about his temper early on but I didn’t listen. I never thought I could do anything to warrant him losing his cool. I will admit I was not perfect but I didn’t deserve getting threatened.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would get myself in a situation where I would be in an almost abusive relationship. Someone who I got in a relationship with someone just like my father. I didn’t leave because the fear of being alone. I was willing to put up with getting hurt over that fear.

Again I found myself having to walk on egg shells. The first time was on Thanksgiving when I was inches away from being stabbed in my thigh with a fork. This all over how I reacted to my ex thinking he got a virus on my laptop… After that incident I learned what not to do to make him angry. I can remember when we would fight and being able to see his rage boil. I can remember him lunging towards me like he was going to going to hit me. I can remember thinking don’t make him mad, please settle down…

I didn’t feel I could leave so I froze…

The last straw was when he came at me with a big, thick stick he had brought in from outside. Again he came inches from hitting me in the head with it. I went from fear to anger. I proceeded to get up and pushed him against the wall, telling him to get the fuck out of MY apartment. He wouldn’t leave. I told him I was going to call the cops and he told me to go ahead…

I won’t lie I was scared senseless but I didn’t let it show… That night I hide in my bedroom, afraid what he might do… Thankfully he calmed down. Later the next day I told him that my lease was up at the end of the month and I wasn’t renewing my lease, that he needed to find a place to live… I went home to Michigan for a few weeks and he was gone by the time I got back…

As much as I loved him, I couldn’t put my life at risk any longer.

So yeah I have had my fair share of dealing with other peoples anger…

I have to realize that it is not anger that is harmful, it how you handle the emotion. When anger turns into rage or even worse violence that is when it is is dangerous.

Bottling anger up is also not healthy, that is how you burst. People are just like balloons, you fill them with too much and they either go flying around the room or they explode! Being angry is healthy and normal, so is talking about it. I have to remember this. I also have to remember that I am not like my father at all.