So, it’s that time of year again.
I don’t remember the first Father’s Day without my dad very well, my health was spiraling at the time, so the day itself wasn’t my focus.
I remember even before last year, Father’s Day never felt like a big deal to me. We’d give my Dad stuff that said he was awesome, and the best dad, and… it didn’t feel real for years before we finally woke up to the fact that is was a lie.
He ate it up though.
Yesterday was the day where I live, and I had mixed feelings.
I always want to think I’m okay on these days, but a day where I will constantly be hearing it talked about to appreciate our fathers, and that we don’t appreciate them enough…
It makes me a little sick. And to be honest, a little resentful and envious.
Envy is the great enemy of people with traumatic or just sucky childhoods. Once you start asking “Why couldn’t I have that?” It’s a dangerous slippery slope.
You’ll find yourself hating everyone who has a good dad, or even just a decent dad, or a dad who’s not that good but isn’t abusive.
I’ve envied people with no dad. I feel like it would be easier to just not have one, than to have one who abandoned me emotionally, and tried to do it physically, but still blamed me.
I still remember what he told me before walking out on one of his temper tantrums(the last one he got away with) “YOU WIN.”
Like this was what I wanted.
But in the end, it became what I wanted. He never thought it would, but it did.
As you know if you read my recent posts, I talked to him recently. But I didn’t call him on Father’s Day, as talking to him was not a real success.
After 20 months, he still makes me so mad I feel sick at times. And the worst feeling is knowing I can’t get through to him in anyway, you can not reason with an unreasonable person. Better to just let it go, if I talk to him, I now I will try, I cannot help it.
After all, rational people can’t really help trying to reasons with others, but irrational people just enjoy our frustration.
I don’t think he is ever going to change.
But I have. I may still be mad at him, but I don’t have to live around it anymore.
A big thing is just to realize that, I can end the call, and that’s it. I don’t have to interact with him.
We tend to bring other people into our lives even after their gone. Constantly saying “Well they used to do this.”
Key words “used to”
I know as well as anyone that we relive those moments. I’ve been reliving some of my own.
For example: I just got a kitten.
I wanted one for awhile, and the opportunity finally presented itself to rescue a black kitten when I met a lady who had just found 6 (may she have speed in finding homes of ht rest before they get too big to be easily taken care of).
Though everyone else in my house told me the dog might eat it, I got it anyway. So far the dog has chased it, but not succeeded in biting it, I’m not sure she’s actually trying to , she thinks chasing the cats is a game we all play, but she’s never bitten any of them. And she’s a dog who bites other dogs and tries to get people, so if she really was trying, it seems she’d have done it by now
But it’s a little kitten, and I don’t want to risk it, plus its scared of her. So we’re keeping a careful watch until it gets big enough to defend itself.
But it did bering up some trauma for me.
When we got our older cats, also as kittens (they were left in our backyard by their mother) they were very playful, and my dad loves cats, allegedly, more than he loves his children, my grandma aid once.
I think she was right
But anyway, my dad once held our boy cat, and the kitten bit him playfully like hey do, they don’t know it hurts us more because we have no fur, after all.
I guess it shoudlnt’ ahve surpised me, since he resented me as a baby too but my dad just loked at the ktten weirdly and siad “Whya reyou biting me?I could snap your neck.”
One of my sisters went “DAD!”
And he said “I was just kidding…”
But it didn’t sound like he was kidding.
My dad never actually hurt one of the kittens, but he wasn’t always nice to him, and cats are his favorite animals too. He never liked dogs or cared about our birds or fish.
Now not being an animal prosper is one thing, but… why was he so psychotic about it?
That’s haunted my memory for years while being around my cats. I project what other people do on to myself, and worry about myself doing it. I’ve never been cruel to a cat, and I’m no animal abuser in general, I like animals, but…it doesn’t matter to me whether I’ve done it or not, I still picture it.
It’s very stressful, especially since I love my pets and the idea of them being hurt is very sad to me.
I’ve clued in finally that I think this more because of my dad than because I am a sick person. He is the sick person, and I am suffering some kind of secondhand complex about it.
I can actually attribute my suicidal thoughts to the same thing. My dad talked about it to us openly, not caring if it scared the crap out of us.
I project it onto myself. I think it was easier to blame myself than my dad.
I think I can control myself more than him, and I couldn’t handle it if he did that, so I project it onto myself, but that is just a guess.
Same with any other thing I find disturbing. I’ve always feared becoming the villain. I was a very good kid, and didn’t do anything of the tings I worried about doing.
To this day, there are still somethings that bother me, but I a happy to report, I’ve been doing a lot better with them.
The feeling of being tense, worried, and suspicious of myself is what still lingers. Feelings take longer to heal than our thoughts, and thoughts take longer than our spirit. It’s kind of just how it works.
But when I read what other people deal with in their PTSD, I feel lucky.
I have had my issues, but, even in those issues, I had help.
Of course, I just came out of a year where for several months I wasn’t eating properly becuase of stress, and I dropped 15 lbs, I’ve gained it all back now and I eat more than I ever have probably. My stomach is better now than it’s been for years.
But it was intense. I was depressed because of all the issues I had, because I was impatient to get on with my life, and because I was anxious.
I was anxious because I feared my dad had jacked me up for good. How would I ever get past what he did to me, and what he was like? Every activity I did, I could be reminded of him.
I think it was worse for me as a homeschooler in some ways, because you never get away form it. Other kids have school, and can escape briefly into a different world,for me, I had to create that word in my own head.
I think I turned to writing partly to get away from my life. And to make sense of it.
And I turned to God to ease the pain.
I know that God is the only thing that has ever really made me feel better. When I was aching from my dad’s actions and words, (and my mom’s too), I would cry and pray, and eventually, peace would come. I’d feel loved by God while I felt hated by my parents.
David wrote in psalm 27 “When my mother and father forsake me, the LORD will take care of me.” I love David.
The Bible is clear that God has a special place for orphans, for people without families. I think because, first of all, He is LOVE. And second, those people are less pretentious about their needs.
With God’s help, I have been able to return to a normal life much faster than may people.I considered that maybe I shouldn’t, but since I never suffered from any crippling behaviors outside of the eating thing, and few panic attacks, it didn’t seem right to pause my whole life. I found doing normal stuff to be more helpful to keeping me form dwelling on my problems.
I needed school, honestly. And church.
And by doing more things I like and that matter to me, I felt less depressed. It went form “this stops me from enjoying life” to “I can still do what I love.”
It’s taken a while for it to feel at all the same as before, and it still doesn’t every day, but people tell me, eventually, I should feel better about it than I ever did.
Once thing is for sure, once you’ve walked through hell, if you come out the other end, nothing fazes you as much anymore.
I write a lot about about people with traumas… really, almost everyone has it. We used to just call it being broken.
Being human. Having difficult times in life that are hard to get out of, it’s nothing new. I think we’ve made it too big by giving everything a fancy name. Names are okay, but they can feel so final.
It used to be expected that people would get over it, with enough time. Now we tell people some issue are permanent. We dont really know that. Depression may not be permanent. You just haven’t lived long enough for it to go away.
If you believe it never will, though, then it never will. It’s simple.
I had to realzise that.
Also, I’m learning to be okay with having negative feelings, and not turning that into anxiety. It’s taking a really long time, it’s an ingrained habit for me to freak out over sadness, anger, and envy instead of just accepting them and asking for help.
My way of freaking out is to push it away and worry about it, not to lose face. I sometimes think it’d be easier if I was less composed, but I am wired that way. Very different from my dad, who never hides anything he feels.
I thin I did not want to scare people like he does, so I chose my mom’s way of hiding emotions. My mom never, ever volunteers information about how she feels.
I tell people how I feel, but I have a hard time just staying open to it. I can admit that. if I make myself stay in the moment long enough, I can feel things more completely.
For example, I was sad when one of our cats went missing for 36 hours. I found her eventually, but we were afraid because she’d been acting kind of sick, and it was hot.
I knew I was upset, but I couldn’t cry or properly feel anything except fear, until I sat down for several minute together, thought about it, told myself over and over “It’s okay to be sad.”
Then I finally cried about ti. I felt better.
I did the same thing with Fear. Anxiety is easy to feel, but actually facing the Fear behind it isn’t. Anxiety is like fear toned down to something we can stand to feel all the time, at the price of it never going away. While facing the fear can finally end it, but is what terrifies us the most.
But if I do it, the anxiety gets better too.
What is sad is that this is true of my happy feeling too. If I think too much, I can’t feel happy.
I can’t feel love.
When I foucs on it, long enough, I can feel it.
Honestly it’s the most helpful. l just slow down, relax, rest… and then let the feelings come up. I think I go too fast. I think fast, but I also push myself to feel things too fast too.
It’s the pressure I feel to be normal, as well as this microwave society we live in. I always think I need to be doing something productive.
Not everything has to be a complex people, sometimes it really just is our attitude toward sour schedule that is creating our issues, not trauma.
And if trauma is the reason we have that attitude, we’ll realize it most when we try to stop.
Anyway writing is often what helps me do that the most.
One thing therapy taught me was to stop hating on the ways I deal with things. As long as I am dealing with them non destructively, its fine if writing is how I want to vent.
Just writing isn’t always enough, but if you can’t do anything else, then write.
Someone said that Depression isn’t a sign that you are weak, but that you have been strong way too long.
That is not always true. People get depressed for different reasons.
But I do think it is true if you are the type of person who pushes yourself, like I do.
I push myself because I had no one to rely on as a kid. I had to be self motivated. My parents would criticize what I did do, but encouraged me to do nothing else except be a Christian. I am grateful for that, as that saved my sanity, but we need more than that.
My dad did encourage me to do things he liked, but would still criticize me more than necessary when I did them.
Anyway, to get back to my main topic…Father’s Day is complicated for me.
But I do think I can dwell on the bad too much.
I talked to God about it, and He seemed to be telling me that, He as a father wants to be very different.
God has always done for me what my earthly father should have done. I go to Him when I am upset, He praises me when I need it, and He provides for me and doesn’t demand I do anything in return. He does not guilt trip me, even though I often expect it because, of course, trauma.
I think it would surprise people who don’t have this, how much like regular a human relationship it is.
Because yes, I can get triggered even with God.
The words “I love you” are a rigger for me (I found out that I’m not the only victim who feels this way) because my dad’s disgusting hypocrisy is the feeling associated with them when I think of them.
But God also says “I love you.” A lot, it’s all over the Bible.
So what do you do? You don’t want to hate those words.
Something I think God gave me about it to help is this, “I mean them when I say them.”
The whole trigger is that you don’t believe the person means it when they say that.
And instead of marginalizing that to the one perp who is responsible, we apply it to everyone who says those words.
The only way to undo that, is to believe the One who is saying it is sincere.
I think it works differently for everyone. Truthfully, I used to resent that I didn’t have more human help for this.
It sounds arrogant (and it is) but I would think “I want more than just God to help me.”
Right…right Natasha, complain about God himself helping out.
You know, we do this because we believe God is less real than humans…not because we honestly think Good’s help, if we understood ti, could be less effective.
I believe God knows I am just a silly human who doesn’t know what I am talking about, and forgives me for having those thoughts, but it done’st mean I don’t need to try to think differently.
We can’t help being human, it’s true. Even those of us with strong faith doubt in God’s realness, and it bothers us.
I think it maybe bothers God less than us, because He sees what we choose despite having doubts. It takes courage to go with something you have doubts about because you believe that it is more important than your doubts.
And that’s what faith is, for someone who’s never had it defined before.
A belief you hold and act upon regardless of doubt, that is faith.
It’s most surprising, int h end, not how hard ti is to reach God, but how easy.
And I do say that as someone who’s had a lot of times where I felt like my prayers were not getting through.
Somehow, it hits you after awhile that God is actually not the One who’s changed, it’s you.
God has been there with me in all of this.
I still attribute the fact that my mental health is not worse than it is to that. I think it’s miraculous that I didn’t walk out of that situation with much more lasting problems.
Something I will still deal with years from now, but I don’t think it will be like it is for others who didn’t have that.
I read about people who’ve have the same problems for 5 or 7 years, and have just about given up hope.
I look at myself, I’ve had the same problems since I was a little girl, but, they weren’t consistent. I’ve had breakthroughs, freedom, and changes in myself, no once can deny that.
I now that many, many people don’t get that. They don’t even know it’s possible
Christina may not get out of some struggles, we don’t get out of abuse, or mental health problems, because everyone has flaws, and that’s just enough word for it, or another word for trials, and everyone has those.
God does not promise we won’t be mistreated.
Jesus said “Blessed are you when they persecute you for righteousness sake.” “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
We forget so easily that Jesus is the “man of sorrows” and “acquainted with grief.”
That he dealt with loss.
I know that I may not comfort anyone who is still in it to think that we are not promised a trouble free life.
But no one has that.
I think that it’s helped me more to realize that I am not owed a pain free life by God. But he will heal the pain I am dealt.
And God does not spare himself pain, so he will not spare us pain, but he does pare us the worst part of it, and take that on himself.
God was with me all the time I was with my dad. And I was never hurt badly by him, physically. I could have been. I see God as the only thing that kept my story from being that bad. My dad has not picture that would help him.
I didn’t get to escape all of it, but what I did escape, was God.
And I can be the bitter about the rest, or grateful that I got what I did.
We are each given outs in life, little patches of beauty. Some of us have more than others, but I believe firmly that if we cherish what we have, we will be given more. The Word says “To him ho has more will be given, but to him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
A friend recently asked me if I have any good memories of my dad.
I wondered if she meant to gently warn me I should not keep only talking about the bad with him.
And the truth is, for along time, I didn’t like to admit it.
I ahve ver fe untainted meoreis with him.
But, the thing I have noticed for a while is this: All my good memories with my dad are the one centered around Jesus.
He used to pray with us every other night (my mom and him would take turns) and he’s pray good stuff, I still hear it go through my head at times, and it’s nice.
Taking us to church.
Watching Christian movies.
All the best things I remember, God was the reason.
God is the only reason my dad and I have anything good, because Faith can trump even deep resentment at certain moments.
It is still the only thing we have in common.
Even things that weren’t Christian directly, like movies we both like, are influence by your Christian values.
My dad also played a huge part in my actual salvation though his approach was not one I’d employ myself, but God can use anything.
I could resent it…or, I could be grateful that any good got through.
It’s more dramatic to claim my dad never did anything right…. but it wouldn’t be honest.
Most people with dad who had any kind of morality have at least a few good stories. Those who doesn’t have my sympathy, I still think Go can make it better.
And… that’s my father’s day story.
Thank you, Earthly Dad, for passing on the Faith to me, even if nothing else you did was right.
Thank you Heavenly Father, for being the One Worthy of that Faith.
That’s all for this post, until nest time, stay honest,— Natasha