he used to yell. when things wouldn’t go his way. especially at other drivers. but he doesn’t anymore. i honestly think he’s in a better place these days.
growing up with an alcoholic father as his role model couldn’t have been easy, especially since he had the awareness that he didn’t want to be like his father. funny how some kids grow up in an abusive environment, learn by example, but never have the awareness that it’s wrong. they then grow up, drink, rage and abuse, and continue the behavior because they only know what they know. but brian grew up knowing he didn’t want to be like his father. he grew up fearing that he may be like his father, and desperately tried to be different from him, and hating himself every time his conditioned learned behavior would show up.
i do believe brian’s heart was broken when he wanted to please his father, but couldn’t. his father wanted perfection, and that’s just not possible. brian’s mother was depressed and didn’t know how to drive and couldn’t get out of bed until 2 in the afternoon. his father was trying to work the job, feed seven hungry children, do the grocery shopping, get them to school…he had a lot of frustration and pressure to provide. he’d drink and get angry, throw things and yell. and brian would be there trying his best to defend his mom, and feeling the shame when he couldn’t.
it’s no wonder brian deals with self-loathing. at some point he must have hated his father. and yet at some point he must have identified with him as young boys do. and when you identify with your father and hate him at the same time, you begin to hate yourself – at least that part of you that reminds you most of your father.
for most of his life, brian kept all those childhood memories locked in his heart. he was taught to keep them secret. and to never show emotions. he was good at keeping it all in. until he just couldn’t do it any longer. it was too much to bear, and his heart couldn’t take it.
it’s been years of therapy and recovery, and finally brian can talk about his painful past with me. releasing those emotions heals his heart and brings him closer to me. he lets go of the horrible images, and focuses on the beautiful parts of his father…and there are many. before pop died, brian was there by his side, forgiving him. it wasn’t easy, i’m sure.
as brian heals, i’m discovering the precious boy who has been inside there all this time. the boy who was afraid to come out and be loved. i’m discovering that as i accept him as that loving, beautiful man, our love grows. i detach from the man who is still dealing with the anger and fear of his father, and i listen to the kind man inside. i find love for his whole being.
instead of reacting in tears and taking his anger personally, i allow him the space to express his anger and to be in touch with his emotions. i listen to his true nature.
i give him the space to remember that he is not his father.
i listen. i find compassion and we connect.