Today I am spending the morning with my partner’s 6 year old daughter on the couch, bringing her drinks and watching Fraggle Rock. In between I’m cleaning the linens and jammies that are spiked by her overnight stomach flu. It is a paradox because as unfun as having a sick child is, it is also an opportunity for me to show her how much I love her. This is important to me because when I was her age I had a stepmother who was emotionally & sometimes physically abusive. When I was about 5 I came down with the stomach flu not long after she became my dad’s wife and while having diarrhea I threw up in my pants. Her response has lingered with me for over 40 years.
It has taken me 2 years to be able to integrate these painful experiences. I have had to hear the angry and abusive thoughts that I’ve carried in my heart and my mind, thoughts that have shaped my view of myself and that have affected my ability to love myself and others. I had to sit in the moment, watching these little girls be little girls while feeling & listening to the way I was treated so many times so many years ago while resisting the urge to act on these beliefs I’ve been given about myself.
With my own daughters, I wasn’t perfect but I certainly loved them to the best of my ability and with a love I was never given.
I’ve been angry about the pain my dad subjected me to, and for the abusive women he brought into my life. It was necessary for me to have my own experience and to feel through these feelings before I could truly forgive and let it go. It’s like I’ve said in prose
To this truth I can testify.
Many of us have had painful childhood experiences that we have yet to integrate. The only way to do this is to feel the feelings we were too afraid to feel at the time it happened. It is safe now. We can be free and happy finally, once we let it go. We can let it go once we feel what it is we need to feel.