Take the Good with the Bad or the Bad with the Good?
trapped like a fish on a hook
A couple of weeks ago, on the thread for the father’s day post in the emerging from broken facebook page, someone made a comment that bothered me. Everyone was sharing about emotionally unavailable fathers, and difficult father daughter relationships, and someone asked why we couldn’t find something NICE to say about our fathers. The writer posted that it could not possibly have been “that bad” and that there must have been “some good”.
Her comment seemed to suggest that sharing something good might help in some way. As though sharing “some good” would negate the bad. But why would “some good” cancel out the kind of “bad” that we are talking about? On that particular thread we were talking about being hurt and the emotional pain caused by having an emotionally unavailable father. Some of the readers had been sexually abused by fathers. Why did we have to include something good about them? Why did we have to have a good memory to go along with the bad memories? What good does it do to include “oh but he used to buy me ice cream on hot summer days?” I don’t get that.
A whole flood of thoughts went through my mind in reaction to that one comment. My default thinking and self talk mode came up. The default mode is those voices that remind me that I “should not speak ill of my parents” and “I am being so negative” and the “even worse” voice that says “oh it wasn’t that bad” and “you are such a whiner”. I also hear my parents and teachers and the people that I considered to be mentors voices saying “why do you have to dredge up the past all the time?” But I reminded myself that I don’t write about anything except the truth. My motive for writing this blog is very positive and for the greater good of all. And once again I started to question why I have to include something positive about the very people who caused this damage to me? Why do I have to include the “good bits”? Would it make me a better person if I said that my father drove me to Brownies every week, or if I said that my mother curled my hair sometimes? Or would that just make my story less painful to others?
Does my writing cause others to cringe? Does it poke holes in the unexposed truth and carefully concealed pain in their own lives?
I write the way that I write, because after years of searching for some way to overcome the depressions and dissociative disorders that I struggled with, I found freedom by facing the truth about my childhood. Why shouldn’t I share my recovery with the world? Why should I protect “their” reputations? Why is it wrong to talk about MY childhood and MY life? All my life I had been told to focus on the good things and forget the bad things. But the bad things seemed to rule my life, hiding in the dark under the surface of what appeared to be fine! The bad things didn’t leave me alone!
My belief system was taught, trained programmed and brainwashed into me and resulted in my believing that any complaint I had was wrong and that any thought I had related to the past was “negative” and usually distorted. I was taught that my memory was false and that my pain was due to my selfishness and self centered personality. I naturally concluded that my depressions were also due to my selfishness and self centered personality. That was a natural conclusion for me to come to because I was told that everything that happened to me was my fault. I either asked for it or I deserved it and that all my negative feelings were caused by self centeredness and selfishness. I concluded that my depressions were my also my fault and could be overcome by my accepting that I was selfish and self centered and that by putting everyone else before me, I could lead a happy life. The problem was that that is what I had been trying to do all along and it hadn’t helped yet.
At the same time I was not permitted to have my real emotions nor was I correct in naming them. Everything I felt was unjustified by others so I learned not to trust my own feelings, and I learned that I didn’t really have any right to them.
All of the above is a total recipe for depression but I never realized it. I also never realized the root of it. My depressions came from suppression of the truth about my childhood. My depressions came from trying to sort things out without looking at the truth about my upbringing. My depression came from trying to overlook the bad by covering it with the good.
I was taught to always look for the good, but not for the purpose of positive living; for the purpose of accepting abuse. I was taught to minimize my own value, I was taught to hold the abusers in high regard all the while accepting the little regard they had for me. I was taught that they had value, but that I did not. That system is bound to destroy everyone in its path, because it is built on rotten lies. That system is not related to love and it is not positive.
I don’t have to include the “good things” or “good memories” about anyone in my website about emotional healing. That is part of the old system and that system just kept me sick. I don’t have to honour my mother and father in any way different then the way they honoured me. They taught me the rules of love in a very unbalanced (one sided) and unfair way and I don’t play by those rules anymore. I opted for the truth instead. The air is better here. There is a brightness that I never saw before.
I realized that the commenter was reacting to her own issues. Not to mine. Her comment was about her own pain, not about my pain or the emotional pain being shared on the EFB facebook page and I totally understand that. I spent years avoiding facing my pain too and after years of trying to avoid, it only makes sense to have finally faced all of it and be done with it!
Although I write about the past almost every day of my life for the purpose of helping others overcome their demons, I am done with my past. I am finally free of it.
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