The A-HA Christmas moment that has changed my life forever: Gratefulness project day 23
My Christmas holidays went very differently than I expected.
But not on the surface. There it was like it is every year pretty much.
Eating good food, playing cards, relaxing, talking and baking.
No, it was under the surface that it all changed. There was a major KABOOM, A-HA moment that, well, just slid into a family conversation, and I have no doubt changed my life. Completely. For the better.
Sometimes these big life-changing moments just happen (with lots of soul-searching work and forgiveness before them I might add!!!).
My issues with dating aggressive guys come from my relationship with my mother. She was a bully with me as a girl and consequently I tend to feel “comfortable” with guys who get in my face and blame me the way she did.
Some of the men I’ve dated have blamed me for their abusive behaviour, claiming I have done this or not done that, but really it’s because it’s easier for them to blame me than face themselves and the serious problems they have with communicating with people, especially women.
I have known that I had this issue for years. But I don’t think my mother did, or at least I’d never connected the dots for her about it.
So there we were sitting at the dining room table talking about my most recent abusive ex-boyfriend when I connected the dots for my mother. The look of pain and genuine sorrow on her face was quite a gift I can tell you. But during the conversation she, I and my step-father came to the interesting point of, “Why would I want to be with an aggressive guy anyway?” and it was there that it all kind of hit home and came together for me.
As a girl I tried to win my mothers love over and over again. I believed that her treatment of me was about me. It was only later when I saw her begin to try to bully my son that I realized it was about only her.
It’s like in the The Four Agreements when by Don Miguel Ruiz says how people treat you has nothing whatsoever to do with you, whether they treat you well or they don’t, it’s only about them.
That has some very amazing implications. Freedom of mind is one of them.
And I have settled for the bullying treatment because I thought that was somehow what I deserved. And settled is the right word because I have often felt trapped in my relationships, as if I should (I hate that word!) stay because…because…I deserved the pain? The anger? The cruelty? Yes, I guess I’d unconsciously internalized that belief as a child.
But here I am as an adult starting to see that being in these relationships hurts, and I don’t want to keep being hurt by people who “say” they love me, but don’t act like they do. Because you can’t really love anyone by enjoying hurting them or belittling them or bullying them.
And I feel very keenly that my cycle of abusive relationships ended in that A-HA moment (thank you Oprah!).
I had already forgiven my mother and she had already apologized to me many times.
I was at the turning point where I just wanted to stop being attracted to men who enjoyed hurting me emotionally.
And now I’ve turned the corner because the look of pain and sorrow on my mother’s face reinforced what Ruiz said, her behaviour was NEVER about ME!
And the bubble that I was living in that caused me to feel beholden to abusive people burst. And I am eternally happy for it.
And for the first time in years and years I could hug my mother wholeheartedly with no reservations because her accepting my truth was very courageous.
So today I am thankful for forgiveness because I have no doubt that my ability to forgive my mother allowed us to reconcile the past the way we have, and I will forever be thankful for that.
From the series, Because I’m a woman and because I can! by Jacqueline Snider, writer and editor
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