Last night I attended a special presentation at a friends church.
The message was that “numbing the pain” will not free your heart for feeling happiness. I am completely over simplifying the message, for the record, but I didn’t want to write a book about the whole presentation.
An exercise that we did was to take 10 minutes and try to work through our anger, resentment, hatred, etc, by closing our eyes, feeling that emotion for a bit and then asking for it to be taken away. Rinse. Repeat.
While working through the “anger” feeling, I knew exactly who I was holding on to anger at. As I asked for it to be taken away, my eye’s began to leak. As we continued, the leak turned into an embarrassing flash flood.
When I got home, I sat on the couch wondering why that exercise made me cry instead of feel the anger and then feel relieved.
Then it dawned on me. The anger I felt at this person was because of how they hurt me. I began to look at each person I’d held onto anger with and the answer was the same. I was using anger to protect myself from pain. Letting go of the anger left me feeling hurt and vulnerable instead of freed.
Ironically, many of the hurts were from people who were parent shaming, which I just blogged about. I guess ,as they say, when we are ready, the teacher appears…
So, in an effort to let it go, I’m going to openly forgive them and their ignorance for shaming me.
In no particular order.
To the lady at BlockBuster who felt compelled to question the fact that I was allowing my child to use a binki at his age (3ish). What she didn’t know was that my child was in the thorrows of an anxiety episode and was too young to possess the vocabulary to articulate it. In an effort to help sooth him, we went to BlockBuster to get a video we could watch in our dimly lit living room, with the temperature turned way down low to reduce his anxiety to a survivable level. Going to Blockbuster, while he was already so overstimulated was asking of lot of him and giving him the binki to self sooth, so we could get through it and back home to his safe place, was hardly a crime. It was neither that I didn’t care enough to take it from him nor that I wasn’t strong enough to make him give it up. It was an intentional act to get us to a better place. So I forgive you, because you couldn’t possibly have known that.
To the friend that thought I was being overprotective because I would not allow her to babysit my child. I forgive you for your mean spirited shaming. What you didn’t know was that I was aware of your history of getting into serious car accidents. One’s that were usually because you were distracted and imagined that a crying infant in the back seat, might just be a distraction worthy of getting you both killed. Because I didn’t want to hurt your feelings and tell you why I wouldn’t really let you babysit, I gave you a lame excuse and you shamed me.
To the doctor that told me it was my fault that my child was sick with strep throat. If I were a better parent, I would not have my child in daycare. I would be home with him. Taking care of him myself. I forgive you for your misguided sense of right and wrong. Had you been aware, that I had to work because my husbands business didn’t survive post 9-11 as people were staying home more, you might have shown me compassion and praised me for not living on welfare and food stamps when I was certainly capable of working.
To my father who told my other family members behind my back that I was the reason my child had extreme anxiety. That I was making him scared to walk outside. I forgive your ignorance about my sons medical condition.
To my ex-husband. I forgive you for not being able to accept our sons diagnosis and as a result being unable to be supportive of him. I forgive your ignorance about our sons medical condition.
To my ex-husbands new wife. I forgive you for your attempts to support my ex-husbands ignorance of our sons medical condition, further alienating him from our child. I can understand how you would want to help your husband, but in your misguided way, you have caused both him and our son to suffer a huge vacancy where their closeness used to be. I forgive you for not looking at the bigger picture and encouraging him to connect with his son, right where his son is, instead of trying to change his son. I’m sure you were blinded by your love.
To my mother, who is normally very supportive, but when I discussed putting my son on medicine, cautioned me to be careful putting her grandson on “mind altering drugs”. His mind did need altering and he has been so much happier since we started his meds 5 years ago. I forgive you, as I know your statement came from fear, a fear driven by ignorance.
To the family counselor that made a snap decision that I was like so many patients that came through her office before, causing her to ask me question after question in “answer form”, so instead of just answering a question, I felt like I was defending myself. (“So, your parents are divorced, right?”…no, they are still together; “So you are staying in the waiting room because you are afraid to leave your son, right?”…no, it’s cheaper to work from the waiting room and allows me more time online vs driving from here to the office and in two hours turning around to come back). I forgive you for your complacency, had you known how hurtful it was, I’m sure you would have stopped.
To the director at Apple Creek Preschool, for blaming parents for their preschoolers anxiety. I forgive you for spewing your ignorance.
To myself, I forgive you for the horrible decisions you’ve made throughout your life and the hurtful things you did to yourself and others. Please continue to try to grow yourself and make better decisions.
Let me just add that I do truly believe that most people are good. That they are just carrying their own cross, sometimes making bad decisions and aren’t out to intentionally hurt me.