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Hutch posted 8/30/2020 07:33 AM

Hi N,

One of the most difficult obstacles to conquer through the mess of life (mistakes, flaws, infidelity, divorce, etc.) is to not only heal but make positive changes. Through healing comes change. It seems so simple right? I wish. It can be the hardest thing to do.

We change because we heal. Recognizing mistakes for what they are and how they impacted others is essential. Apologizing and being sincere in those apologies is huge, but that sincerity comes from understanding the impact those mistakes made in someone’s life. Once you take those steps, you allow yourself to heal from the guilt because ultimately we get stuck when we drown in guilt. From there you change and grow. You choose not to repeat negative actions again.

One of the greatest things you can do for others and yourself is to show through actions that you can change and become a better person. That goes for all of us. We are human and flawed, but we also have free will to change and become better versions of ourselves. That doesn’t mean we won’t falter, but it does mean we’ll evaluate things differently when making impactful decisions. We’ll see the impact decisions can make on ourselves and others.

It takes time, N. The process is hard but it’s something that can be accomplished. Whether we start here as WW or JFO (or both), and end in Reconciliation or Divorce, the most important part of this journey is that we recognize, process, learn, heal, and grow.

Keep fighting to heal from the guilt and pain and become the person you envision. You are worth it!

Pippin posted 9/1/2020 10:24 AM

Neanderthal, I'm sorry you are feeling troubled about your relationship with your daughter. From what I have read and seen you are a very good father. You think about what she likes and needs, you interact and play with her, you care for her (even doing her hair!), you search for what is right and good for her, you want to set up your life so you can be the best father you can be for her. It's touching and wonderful.

That voice in your head telling you that you are a failure - that voice comes from somewhere deep in your past. That actually happened to you. At some point someone important told you that you are a failure and you believed it. You weren't a failure then. They failed you. You aren't a failure now. When that voice comes, think about little Neanderthal and tell him he is not a failure and try to give him what he needs to feel loved and secure. (sorry for the sappy armchair psychology, but I think it's true!)

Neanderthal, there are fathers who are failures. My father literally did not speak to me for four years (age 13-17) because he was so ashamed of me, ashamed that I was sexually active (in part because I didn't have anyone to go to after a 13yo rape and handled it by acting out sexually, and in part because he was so distant and I was desperate for male attention) and ashamed of the boyfriend I chose (who was black - I chose him because I was trying to be safe - he was best friends with the rapist). FOUR YEARS without one word! Not "how was your day?" Not "nice job with your SAT scores" (which were, btw, nearly perfect). Not "I'm proud of you for working 20 hours a week while maintaining perfect grades, the most demanding academic classes, varsity sports and a bunch of leadership positions." Not "please pass the salt." Literally, not ONE WORD! Then he died. He was lying on the gurney while the doctors were working on him telling them what was happening (he was a nurse so he knew that his chest was filling with fluid and he told them what was happening). And he STILL had not one word for me! Not I loved you the whole time and I'm sorry I was limited. Nothing! He was talking to the medics, as he was dying, knowing he was dying, and I got silence. Dude, you are NOT a bad father! You talk to her! You notice what she is interested in! You notice her accomplishments! You notice her sadness! If she was hurt she knows she could go to you! The ponytail is nothing, she herself told you that. She saw you trying to help her and that help being important to you, HER being important to you - THAT is what matters. You are not a perfect father but you are most definitely a good-enough father. When that voice comes that tells you that you are a failure, fight back with the truth.

And whatever scars you leave her with - and there will probably be some from you and from others - that's going to be what she has to work with through her life to find her strength and her resilience. And hopefully, those scars will leave vulnerabilities for someone who loves her to show their love. When I was processing all of that father-trauma, my husband said to me "With my dying breath I would tell you I love you" and Neanderthal, in that moment I was glad for every injury I ever suffered, so that he could say that to me and I could feel my need for him and the depths of his love.

Neanderthal posted 9/1/2020 12:07 PM

Pippin, Thank you for responding in regards to my downward spiral post. I had actually written a lengthy response to Chili, but deleted it instead. Mainly because I don't know where my thoughts and concerns belong. God I wish I fit into just one box. I have such a hard time dealing with and make sense of all the stupid fucking hats I now wear. Its a giant knot of emotions all piled on top of each other.

I am truly sorry for everything you had to endure and survive as a child. My father didn't want me either. Honestly I thought I had dealt with most of that. I remember months after he passed away, sitting quietly and saying goodbye to him. Releasing him from his actions. Just letting go of the pain. That doesn't mean the damage and scars were gone. I basically shut everyone out. Only one person has gotten past my emotional defenses since I was a kid. Unfortunately she didn't want me for a time either. So here I am grown ass man. Feeling just like I did as a teenager, when my dad decided to move away without me. Not worth it, useless.

This ties into what Chili mentioned about feeling insecure and inadequate in a new career (or task like a ponytail). It's scary, I feel just like I did when I first moved to Oklahoma. I was terrible at my job (i hated it too). Knew no one. I hated life and myself. I was way to hard on myself and tried to carry the burden alone. I harbored lots of resentments. I started drinking way too much. Then the abuse of LD started. I see the pattern, and I know that path is destructive. My daughter deserves better than how I coped and damaged LD.

A few weeks ago my sister called me "a great father". I immediately started crying. Only one of my sisters saying that could have such an impact. I know logically that I am "good enough". Emotionally that's a different story.

I am trying to live differently, feel differently, cope differently, love differently. But every fucking step is a struggle.

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