Thursday, April 25

Not Being Had: Moving Beyond History, Abuse and Disappointment 4/25/13

The sun of recovery is breaking through
 areas that were recently darkened
     So much is happening.  Wow.  My business is growing, I'm enjoying time with family, work is fulfilling---seeing wonderful results with those I serve----and new friends are being added to my private world.  Other than that, there's
not much to thank.  (I'm kidding)

     Here's a peek into parts of me you may not know.  As a kid I was mistreated.  This disturbing part of my history was revisited last March.

       The root canal nature of that month was shocking.  I was stunned,  saddened and overwhelmed.  Not typical reactions for this California dude.

       Moving beyond history, abuse and disappointment.  Staying in the solution, is my response when obstacles appear along life's journey.  As a child, I didn't have the emotional maturity or discernment to  weave around the obstacles to joy, hope and personal strength.

       As a kid, adolescent and young man, I did my best.  It wasn't good enough.  Surprised?  Now, in similar circumstances I am thrilled.  Why?  I'm empowered when facing with tough times and difficult people.  I have discernment, the result of having wise friends who are good for me and boundaries that keep me from relating with those that aren't.

        I avoid narcissists and emotional bullies like fresh cow patties in a pasture----when running downhill, barefoot----on a hot summer day.  (Something I did, while spending time in Stockton, Ca. as a lad, staying with my godmother.)  I live in the solution, instead of wallowing in the slough of despond.

       What I teach and counsel, has been my reality for more than twenty years.  Life is smoother and productive when transcending victimhood, while at the same time, we're gentle and nurturing towards ourselves.  Yes, it's possible to thrive while encountering life's speed bumps.  I now see these moments for what they are: opportunities for instant learning.  Often, when our normalcy is jarred---when forced to break from our routine ways---characterological growth begins.

        Our development can be exponential, if principles are applied above the wounded parts of our personality, instead of caving in to pressure, fear, self-pity or depression.  This is moving beyond our history (and any pain associated with it)  It's placing our past where it belongs---in the past.  Doing so allows me to move forward "unencumbered by the weight of ancient emotions."  (Al-Anon Family Groups, Inc., Hope For Today, (Virginia Beach, 2002) 27 Print.

    Last month and this, while swept into a vortex of unpleasant emotions, I put one foot in front of the other.  It's not easy, especially when the dragons of past hurts swirl within the closet of my soul, rearing their heads in my consciousness.  Then again, attaining anything worthwhile requires effort.  The words above, in lavender, I've shared many times.  They are that good.  Tattooed upon my consciousness, they help me maintain dogged determination, especially when overwhelmed. This is moving beyond abuse

        Like a mantra, I used Maxwell's word to overcome challenges that recently shook me, emotionally.  They helped me regroup after experiencing last month's shocking disappointment.  Am I glad.

         Okay, the specifics.

        As a child I was sometimes punished for things I didn't do.  That left a nasty scar upon my psyche which is not normally tender.  This, the result of personal work over the years.  I had a speech impediment when young.  I still do----the result of having my handedness changed from left to right when ten.

        Back then, I struggled when talking.  My mouth would get twisted up.  I couldn't say simple words, like "license" or "peach."  I saw a speech therapist for four years.  (In fact, two of my sons inherited my verbal problem, needing treatment, too.)

        Unable to defend myself well, verbally, and because of the fast talking of other brothers, I was often fingered as the culprit when something went wrong----like breaking a lamp.  I would stammer, my dad assumed the result of guilt.  I was punished. And how.

        Hours or perhaps days later, my father would discovered my innocence, but didn't apologize.  Depressing, yes, frustrating and scarring, too.  That childhood wound was torn open last month.  Falsely accused by a gossiper,  the person who listened to it got angry at me---without checking out the facts or talking with me.  A person is innocent until proven guilty.  In March I did not receive that courtesy.

        My maturity understood what happened, but I am human.  I paced my emotions, not letting them run away from me, but still.  The rawness of being gripped by an old emotional childhood trauma made it difficult approaching the man causing the pain.

         His behavior required time to process.  For several weeks, I took care of me----first----before speaking with this person who treated me like a used Kleenex tissue, tossing me aside.

         What did I do in the meantime?

         I spent time alone.  I prayed, meditating upon whatever was lovely, good or excellent.  I was gentle toward myself.  I breathed.  I smiled at others when the echoes of taunting, derisive voices from the past wanted to infect my heart with discouragement.

         I rode my bike furiously, discharging pent-up emotions.  I spent time with a friend of more than twenty years----Stuart, enjoying his insights and humor.  I felt the sadness I had about the rush to judgment about me.  I watched and followed my baseball team, the Giants. I remembered that this hurtful episode with this man could be a monument to my past pain, or by how I reacted, it could reflect the healing and grace I've experienced in my life.

       What didn't I do?

       I did not allow the emotional muck from my past to contaminate my thinking and obliterate truths I know about me: God and others love me and like being with me.  Instead of surrendering to misery,  I found moments where I could laugh----humor is such a healer for pain.  I surrounded myself with healthy, caring people, family and friends.  I shook the dirt that had been tossed on my soul by gossip and placed my concerns in God's hands.  I journaled, writing out my thoughts provided much needed clarity. This is moving beyond disappointment. 
"I'm glad every time I respond to abuse or drama, using healthy, compassionate, yet assertive principles, I get stronger.  It also gets easier, responding from strength----not fear.  Also, acting this way in the future becomes more likely."  
From: "Calmness In the Eye of the Emotional Storm"
       Moving beyond history, abuse and disappointment. We need to check from time-to-time to see if we are being HAD.  If we are, we can recover by staying in the solution, connecting with healthy people, and see a counselor.

      We want to make sure s/he is working a strong recovery program.  This insures s/he's free from the problem of being externally referented.  You can read here, to learn more about this term.  Otherwise s/he's more-than-likely a professional codependent.  We may also want to get ourselves to an Al-Anon Family Group meeting.

       In my next post, I'll share what happened when I called the person who had treated me harshly.  Two weeks after his initial response, he wrote an e-mail, apologizing for the way he treated me.  He also left a voicemail, saying he was sorry.  Three weeks after the event, he had a mutual friend approach me, as an envoy, seeking reconciliation.  But, I was too raw to talk with the fellow who reacted negatively towards me regarding something he heard second-hand.

        Tuesday, I called him.  Stay tuned........
            A happier innkeeper, who is moving forward.

Related Posts:
The Sticky Gum of Resentment
Overcoming Resentment
The Maxwell quote taken from Developing the Leader Within You,Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 2000, Print. 


Carl H said...

Dear Innkeeper,

Thanks for sharing! Wow,what an epic journey through the long dark night, into the fragrant full moon of springtime! This weekend, you deserve TIME (to smell the roses and pistachios) TALK (with friends and loved ones; your "balcony people"), and the warm, loving TOUCH of a hug from your sons and others in your life. May you receive all three in abundance in these days ahead!

On this Friday night, I am grateful...

1. That I could patiently receive my better-half's end-of-day venting about why her adult sons and their resident friends don't welcome her ongoing mothering, managing, meddling; efforts to control them or the natural outcomes of their decisions. Hello! Did someone say "adult sons." Granted, they often don't behave as adults, but that sort of goes with the territory, seems to me!

2. That following this "ear-full," we could gather with friends in a circle of loving healing tonight to share our experiences, strength and hope.

3. That I could share with these same friends, my work recovery story (The Curse of the Ayu Fish, or The Art of Catastophising)from today. I forgot to order and deliver (for the third time...)a particular exotic, imported fish for a certain Michelin 3 Star restaurant in the heart of wine country. I had to let it go, say the Serenity Prayer over and over again, and process it while swimming laps at the gym. I expected the worst, but when I emerged from the gym, I found another, quite generous order for next week! Its good to walk away sometimes and let God do for me what I cannot do for myself!

Carl H said...

Dear Innkeeper,

On this Saturday night, I am grateful;

1. For a busy but meaningful day.

2. Serving as MC for a monthly community of faith breakfast

3. Hearing Rev. Ben Daniel share his personal story behind the writing his new book; "The Search for the Truth about Islam, A Christian Pastor Separates Fact from Fiction." In light of recent events in Boston, and daily violence in the Middle East, a most timely topic!

4. My weekly care-giving lunch and grocery shopping for Mom, and being able to catch a cat-nap once home.

5. Hearing two excellent speakers share their experience, strength and hope at a monthly pot-luck dinner with a couple we know from church.

6. Some calm/serene sharing with my wife, as we caught up with each others busy and diverse days experiences.

Quotes from the Posts

"I'm mindful that our thoughts affect the words we use, our words influence our actions, our actions shape our character and our character determines our destiny."

From "My Character Determines My Destiny." To read it, please click here.

"Progress not perfection, is better than no progress at all, especially when we're trying to rid ourselves from unwelcome dragons that dwell within the closets of our soul."

From, "Still Learning" which, within four days, became the most popular post
written. To read it, please click here.

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its trouble, but it does empty today of its strength"
From the post: "Life Is Not a Correspondence Program." Click here to read it.

"Even though we cannot control our circumstances, we can control how we choose to respond to them."

From, "Handling Stress and Dealing With an Emotional Bully."Click here to read this post.

"Nope, being busy isn't exciting. Boring is good. Because boring is not boring; boring is being healthy, living a balanced life that has serenity"

From: "Do You Know What It Means If You Are Too Busy?" For more, please click here.