Monday, January 5, 2009

Recombobulating

I think I'm back to "normal" now. Yaaaaaaaaaay!

All that cathartic purge-writing, followed by large doses of support from all y'all were better than any medicine a doctor could have prescribed.

Also, I had a chance to get some stuff off my chest with respect to my step-dad. He's back in town for a few days. Ken and I met him on Sunday, in the freezing cold, at 4:45 pm when the sun was beginning to set, in the middle of a vast industrial park in Markham. He's shipping his car to Florida, where he'll be spending most of the next few months. It's kind of weird to put a car on top of a train to move it from point A to point B, but even at $800 I guess it's cheaper than renting wheels all winter. He dropped off his car at the rail depot and we drove him back into town.

It's almost exactly one year since I got the news that my parents were splitting up. During that year, I listened to a lot of bitterness (mostly justified) from my mom. But for whatever subconcious reason, maybe my need to provide balance and the desire to keep both of my parents close to my heart, I didn't allow myself to agree with her. I saw her side; I saw his side. I tried to remain calm.

But since my mom finally announced that she was starting to feel like herself again, in early November, starting to feel happy and optimistic about the future, something shifted in me. It wasn't necessary for me to hold the centre, so I finally let down my defenses and started feeling my real feelings. I got sad, and angry.

By Sunday I decided that I had to talk to my step-dad about my feelings, because it got so that I anytime I talked with him I'd get all crabby and then snap at Ken or some other innocent 3rd party.

I broached the subject over dinner. I told him that I would love him no matter what, and he would always be my dad, but I was really angry with him. He made a selfish decision that hurt a lot of people. He wasn't miserable with my mother. In fact he was quite content. But after 27 years of marriage he saw something he liked more, and so he went after it because he "didn't want to have regrets" on his deathbed.

How about regretting how much he hurt my mother? And me, and the rest of the family?

I told him that to me, marriage vows are for real. I left my first marriage, but not easily. I was literally going crazy in that relationship. If I had stayed, I would have had to be medicated in order to function. Talking it out wasn't working. We had been going round in the same negative circles for years. He wasn't open to the idea of going to a counsellor. I stayed until I lost all hope for happiness in that marriage, then left for the sake of survival. And I hated that I had to leave.

He says it was a tough decision for him. In the end, he turned to his guiding philosophy: a channelled entity by the name of Seth. According to Seth, the most important thing is self-actualization. There is no mention of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." It's all about doing what feels good and right for you. Other people have to look out for themselves. So much for love. I hate Seth a lot right now.

Be that as it may, my step-dad is not planning to reconsider his beliefs. I have to accept that if I want to have him in my life. Also, I'd better be ready for him to make more decisions in the future that may hurt me. That sucks. However, he doesn't go out of his way to be mean. Mostly he's very generous, and he tries to be kind, if it doesn't interfere with his convenience too much.

That'll have to be good enough.

The good part is that he's so self-confident and unworried about what other people think of him that he was able to hear me out without getting upset. He listened, and he said that he understands my feelings. He even told me that he feels guilty, although he tries to push the feeling away. When the anniversary of the split came around, he started having guilt-nightmares that were keeping him up at night. Good. I think it's only fair that he feel some consequence from the decision that he made.

So maybe I'm not ready to fully forgive him yet, but I feel a thousand pounds lighter after telling him what was on my mind. And I'll always love him because... how could I stop?

The bottom line is that the process of going to pieces that started in mid-November and carried on throughout the holidays has finally reversed itself. I feel like I've put myself back together again. It's not exactly the same configuration as before, but I'm here, and feeling good.

I made it through the mess. Now, on to better things.
:-)

14 comments:

Karen said...

Better things for 2009. I love it.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Seth sounds sort of like an ass. Hope 2009 is an awesome year for you and your mom.

unsigned said...

Let the healing continue!

Kate said...

I learned in AA this: Resentment is the non-acceptance of events that have already happened.

That one struck me. So, I set about working on accepting the things in my life that I have no control over. It's a long process, but so worth it. You're well on the path.

LL Cool Joe said...

Unfortunately the only way we can stay healthy is by forgiving. It's not always easy though, but by letting go of bad feelings and bitterness, we can move on.

I had to learn that with my birth mother who gave me away at 2 weeks old. I learnt to accept that she had her reasons. We all have our reasons. We all screw up. Learning to accept that in one another is the key to a happier life. :)

All the best for 2009.

Anonymous said...

YAY YOU!!

wuvv, syb

Dianne said...

Kate's quote (which is wonderful) reminded me of another.

"bitterness is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die"

I love how you are able to examine and re-examine yourself and adjust and explore and grow.

It's inspiring.

SoMi's Nilsa said...

It's amazing to me how speaking you mind can relieve you of such heavy weights. Even if the world around you doesn't change. The mere action of releasing that negativity is huge. I doubt there are many people in the world who would be able to confront their dad the way you did yours. Impressive.

Sparkling Red said...

Karen: I feel really optimistic about 2009, despite all the gloomy news headlines.

Ron: Yeah, Seth is a pompous ass. For reals.

Unsigned: Thanks!

Kate: I love that definition of resentment. It takes a while to come around to acceptance, but the sooner, the better.

LL Cool Joe: Wow. It's a huge accomplishment for you to have reached a state of forgiving your birth mother. You must have a big heart, and wisdom. :-)

Syb: Yaaaaay! :-)

Dianne: I love that quote! And I love how we can all inspire each other through overcoming struggles. I feel so much support come to me through this blog. It's a big blessing.

Nilsa: Thank you. Confrontations are always scary. I'm lucky to have had actual training in how to confront people constructively. I wish that skill was taught in public school. We'd all be better off.

San said...

Spark, some of that New Age thought about creating one's own reality, and to hell with others' realities, I find shallow. I am glad, however, that you still feel love for your stepfather. And that you're back together, you charmed Humpty you.

Sabrae Carter said...

I agree with you! Glad you are getting back to normal! :)

Sparkling Red said...

San: A big, gentle hand was holding my pieces until I could get re-glued. :-)

Sabrae: I hope your life gets back to normal soon too!

Jenski said...

I'm catching up...To better things! It is good that you were able to talk to your dad and let him know everything that started weighing on you. I need to be better at that (not with my dad, just people in general).

Aurora said...

Good for you for telling your stepdad how you felt. Acceptance/forgiveness and ignoring when someone crosses the line are not the same things.
What would regret look like to you? Maybe he can't change not feeling guilty, but he can make amends.