I didn't plan on this!
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
The Father Effect
Good father, bad father, absent, emotionally vacant, abusive, overbearing, even loving, and supportive... no matter how you characterize your father, good, bad or otherwise, his effect has been global in your life.
I know cause my father, well actually, I should say this right...... how I've always seen my father has had life changing effects.
I didn't plan on this!
If I could have had my druthers then how I saw my father wouldn't have touched anything else in my life. But it doesn't work that way. I didn't feel accepted for who I was. I didn't feel like I was good enough. I felt like I was a failure in his eyes. When I didn't feel like I was in harms way that when I felt over-protected and smothered and yet, when I felt I needed his protection the most, I felt he wasn't there to protect me at all.
A very dear friend confronted me about my relationship with my father and it was time to deal with it. I'd gotten to the point where I didn't even want to talk to him. Everytime he told me of something he found useful, something he thought I ought to check out and use... I heard how stupid I was and how very little I knew. Every conversation was stressful for me. I knew I could only get a few minutes into any conversation before I was looking for a way to get off the phone. Everything he said to me I heard and saw thru the "lenses" of my experiences with him, the way I felt about him, every time I thought he had failed me. I'd actually gotten to the point where when he called I'd either ignore his phone calls or hand the phone to my husband and expect him to talk to my father.
It was so hard to pick up the phone and call my dad. I punched his number into the phone but couldn't bring myself to hit connect. It took me awhile, just staring at the phone, to be able to finally make the call. Everything in me was screaming! I wanted to tell him how I felt but I was afraid of having him prove to me that what I felt he thought of me was true. When he picked up the phone I knew there was no going back. "Dad, are you busy? Do you have some time to talk? I need to have a serious conversation with you." From there I had to open up, it was time to let it all out but I needed dad to listen. "Dad, I have always felt like I was a failure in your eyes." That was the beginning of healing for me. I poured out to him what was in my heart. I had never had the guts to tell him how the things he did, or didn't do made me feel. I'd never told him how much I desired to spend time with him but he wasn't there for me. I felt ugly, unwanted, unloved, a failure, fat & stupid. I took care to tell him how I felt without saying "YOU MADE ME FEEL THIS WAY!" ...cause truth be known, he didn't tell me I was those things... this is what I "felt." By the time our conversation was over, my father ask me to forgive him, and I did.
This is when I realized just how much my relationship with my father had affected everything else in my life. The way I looked at my friendships with men, my relationships with those in authority over me, even my marriage and especially my relationship with God ... all these drastically changed.
The simple act of forgiving my father
took a load off my shoulders.
The idea of calling him and talking on the phone was no longer a chore. I began to realize over the next week or so that I'd felt most everyone, including God, thought those very same things about me.... stupid, ugly, fat, unwanted, unloved, a failure, useless and of little to no value. The simple act of accepting my father's apology and forgiving him for those hurts whether real or imagined has lifted my spirit. When I did what I could do to set my relationship right with my earthly father I found it so much easier to set my relationship right with my Heavenly Father...... and truly accept his love.