I’ve been staying at my father’s house for two weeks now. Because he lives in England, we don’t get to spend much time together. In fact, we’ve been living in different parts of the world for the last almost 15 years. However, every year for the last 5 years he’s been coming to visit his childhood home and I’ve been using this opportunity to spend time with him.
We’ve been through many stages in our mutual life journey. We’ve certainly had many difficult phases but somehow we’re managing to keep our relationship alive. Furthermore, every single year has been different as I’ve been progressing on my healing path.
Still, in certain moments I can barely hold myself back from exploding. The triggers are everywhere, it feels like I’m in a minefield. It takes tremendous effort, analytical skills and self-awareness to not go down the trigger spiral.
For a long time, I’ve been observing behaviours and have drawn many conclusions. I can see unhealthy patterns and behaviours such as codependency, victimhood, projecting, blaming, generalising, suppressed anger, unrealistic expectations, impossibly high standards and so on…
Now I can quite clearly see the environment I grew up in.
What is different this time is that I can also see my unhealthy reactions and responses. I can clearly see how my need to “fix” triggers me whenever somebody starts talking about a problem or a pain they have. I simply can’t stand this and see it as complaining or seeking compassion, which angers me. I recognise that this is my own feeling of powerlessness. I’m not sure where it comes from but I understand what I need to do in these moments of powerlessness – nothing, just be there and witness the person’s feelings, and not take them on.
I can’t solve all the world’s problems and it is not my responsibility to do so.
Another crucial thing is the lack of boundaries. I’ve been struggling with this for years but slowly I’m getting better at keeping healthy boundaries and prioritising my needs without feeling guilty about it. Yesterday I was feeling overwhelmed and I just couldn’t be around people. I had to close myself off and reconnect with myself. I had to put on my headphones while my father was still chatting in the distance just as a signal that I need some “me” time.
There is very deep guilt in me every time I put myself first. I just think that I’m going to offend, disappoint or anger someone by putting my own needs first. It’s like every time I say “yes” to myself I say “no” to others. It’s a deep-seated belief and it’s really hard to battle with it but I’m making small strides of progress.
Yesterday was a small victory. And I realised that I haven’t been connected to myself for at least a week (or for the majority of my life). I desperately needed to reconnect and I did a meditation on connecting with my inner child, and then had a nap. I really needed it and I’m glad I was able to recognise the need and do something about it. Today I feel much better and able to be around others, able to give to others.
There’s so much more to share but I’ll keep it for another time. What really matters is that there is progress. Small steps but leaps of healing.0