I am writing this article series to encourage you to not give up, regardless of what life may look like to you now. The pieces of your circumstances, that may make little sense to you now; will become clear to you. What was previously thought to be meant for your harm, will turn out for your good. I share this from my experience, as what I previously thought was meant for my harm, turned out for my good. What I could not value at the time, became my preparation. What you may not be able to value now, is preparing you.
Preparing to empower your path and give you hope. Preparing you to realize your dreams and your destinies. Preparing you to realize that you no longer have to limit yourself, because of your limitations. Preparing you to follow your dreams and your destiny. Preparing to guide and direct your path. Preparing you to take advantage of your power to choose. Preparing you to understand and be yourself.
I have come to understand life as a jigsaw puzzle. As each puzzle piece is put into place, at the right time and in the right order; the puzzle takes form. Individually puzzle pieces make little sense, but together…
Before I get started with this article series I want to share some thing that I believe is very important. Pointing fingers in anyone’s direction does no one any good. Pointing fingers only serves to transfer blame for what only we can change — ourselves. Pointing fingers only serves to keep the individual stuck and focused on the problem. Blaming perpetuates a feeling of helplessness. Pointing fingers serves to prolong a victim mindset. Blaming does nothing to empower or change the situation. Blaming does nothing to encourage not giving up. Blaming does not offer or give hope.
What I am about to share through this article series is part of my story. What I am going to share in this series is about me, not about anyone else. All parties involved, including myself; did the best job they knew how to do at the time. The best job they knew how to do with the information that was available to them at the time. I consider myself very fortunate to have gained the information that helped me to process and make peace with myself. Make peace with myself and in the process, make peace with family and friends. By doing so, I have learned how to trust the process, God and myself.
Growing up Pieces
Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live my friend. I am happy to have you around my table. The first puzzle piece that I would like to share with you involves my growing up pieces. I was born in May of 1957 in New Jersey. I grew up in the country in a small town of 10,000 residents. I had 2 step sisters, one 18 years older and the other 9 years older than myself. Five years after I was born, my brother was born. I do not remember a lot from my early years as a pup, beyond our family moving from one small town to another small town several miles away. The move happened when I was 7 or 8 years years of age. Instead of living in the smaller house, our new home was larger and sat on an acre of land with plenty of trees and area to play.
The yard, with its many trees offered both a wonderland and infinite number of leaves and falling sticks. Leaves to be raked and sticks to be picked up before the grass could be mowed and the leaves cut up by the mower. Looking back I now realize that my Dad was a perfectionist, who had high expectations for both himself, for me and for everyone. Although I tried hard to do a good job, many times I was told by my Dad that I did things in a “half-assed” way. His scolding and criticism motivated me all the more to attempt to do more to be more to be enough. His criticism and chiding, coupled with being emotionally distant, instilled anxiety in me. His criticism, withholding and unpredictability left me feeling emotionally abandoned.
No doubt that was the way that his Dad treated him when he was growing up too. In response, that is the way he learned to treat his son.
In addition to being told that I did things in a “half-assed” way, I found myself confused and anxious. My confusion and anxiety stemmed from the double messages that I received in the home. Some times I would “do” things right and other times I would be told that I did things wrong. When I did things “wrong”, or did not meet my Dad’s expectations he would criticize and berate me. The criticism and berating was accompanied with a “go-away” message. When I did things “right”, I found myself being given a “come-close” message. The “go-away / come close” messages left me confused and bewildered, with a fear of abandonment. In my fear of abandonment, I strove all the more make everything and everyone “OK” with me.
“OK”, so that I would not feel shamed and criticized for being me. “OK”, so that I could stop feeling like I was a mistake. “OK”, so that I would stop feeling unlovable. “OK”, so that I could stop feeling abandoned. “OK”, before I could hope to have a relationship with myself. What I learned through this conditioning was that I needed to gain my Dad’s approval and validation before I could feel secure as his son. What I learned from my interactions with my Dad was that I needed to be “perfect” to please him, to be approved by him, before I could hope to be OK with with myself. What I learned from these interactions with my Dad, was that I needed to gain the approval from all of my interactions with people, before I could be OK with myself.
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