Hi and welcome back to Second Chance to Live my friend. I am so glad you decided to stop by and visit with me. You are always welcome at my table. I am grateful for the opportunity to grow from the opportunities that are presented to me. I have been experiencing a difficult time letting go of a family member who chooses to believe that my life has not “really” been impacted by the traumatic brain injury that I experienced over 40 years ago. Although I have legitimate cognitive and psyche-social deficits and limitations that were created by the injury to my brain in 1967, my family member chooses to believe that my life has not been impacted by my traumatic brain injury.
For most of my Dad’s life he chose to maintain the above attitude. He chastised me for not being able to do more and be more. Although I was able to succeed beyond all reasonable expectations — as a traumatic brain injury survivor – my Dad was unable or unwilling to celebrate my successes because I was unable to fulfill the expectations he had for me. For many years I strove to do more and be more in my attempt to measure up to his expectation.Towards the end of my Dad’s life I was able to let go of his choice to deny my reality. His expectation of me no longer mattered. I no longer needed to have his approval to be OK with me. I was able to let go and practice live and let live with him.
I was able to to let go of my Dad’s inability or unwillingness to understand or accept my reality.
Looking back upon how I was able to let go of needing my Dad’s approval I had several realizations. I believe I needed to grieve my sadness over not being able to measure up to my Dad’s expectations. The process just took what it took for me. I had to move through the 5 stages of grieving. After letting go of my need to deny my Dad’s inability to accept my reality, I became angry and disappointed for my Dad not being able to accept my good as good enough. In the process, I turned my anger inwards. After I was able to sort out why I was angry with my Dad, I once again attempted to convince my Dad of my reality…that I was doing my best. After ongoing attempts to educate my Dad – without success – I experienced sadness and depression over that reality.
When the inevitable became obvious I was able to begin to accept reality – that my Dad may never be able accept my reality.
Not too long after my Dad died – January 10, 2007– while having a conversation with my Mom, she said something that has had a profound impact upon my life. She said, “Your Dad never knew the gift he had in you Craig.” My Mom has been and continues to be a tremendous blessing to me. In the difficult times of my life, when I was being chided and criticized by my Dad she encouraged me. I believe, had it not been for my Mom I may have given up on life a long time ago, even before I ever knew how being a traumatic brain injury survivor had impacted my life. Over time I have come to accept myself as a traumatic brain injury survivor with legitimate deficits and limitation.
As mentioned earlier in this post, I have another family member who continues to maintain my Dad’s denial. He chooses to believe that when I am unable to fulfill his expectation I am using my disability as an excuse. He states that I throw the disability card — when I attempt to explain why I am unable to meet his expectations. His inability to understand, as well as his choice to harbor resentments toward me is something I need to let go of when I interact with him. Intellectually I know that I am powerless over the perspective he chooses to maintain — for whatever reason. He is happy that I am helping people who visit Second Chance to Live, but he believes that the material I present on Second Chance to Live justifies why I say I can not measure up to his expectations.
I am in the process of grieving what I am powerless over. My interest is to not let go of my relationship, but to learn to accept his need to deny my reality — that may be too painful for him to accept for whatever reason.
5 Stages of Grief – As presented in On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
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