Having to speak the hard truth, especially to a person you love, is so very difficult. The older I have gotten and the more I’ve had to deal with these sorts of situations, the more I realize I really fear them. The thing is, I never knew my biggest fear was actually being honest with myself.
When I was very little my parents got divorced. Divorce is one of those things that don’t just come out of nowhere, there is a build up. There are reasons for the fights and the neglect in a marriage. I witness more of this than I realized when I was just a little girl. I remember my parents fighting. I remember my mom driving away. I remember my dad crying out of anger. I was little, no more that 4 or 5.
As I grew up I took on so many coping mechanisms. I became my younger brother’s “mom” in my own head. I felt responsible for his care, every action and happiness. My parents both eventually met someone new and remarried having more kids along the way. That “mother” role stayed with me, but it started to leak onto my other siblings and even my parents. I felt like I could help the, save them if you will. Part of me still does. I wanted to heal their hurts and move past the pain of a broken family. But I couldn’t.
Just because they were hurt doesn’t mean I wasn’t.
By the time I was about 12 or so I had a total of two sisters, four brothers and four parents who fought over my brother and I constantly. I was so confused. Part of me was blessed to have parents who loved me so much and the other part of me was hurt. I was hurt by their selfishness and by the confusion they caused me. Though, I never admitted this to myself.
At 12 years old I remember starting to notice my parents coping behaviors. All four of my parents have had pretty severe trauma and abuse in their own childhood. Add a messy divorce and a broken family on top of that and you get quite a tragic adult life too.
One set of my parents moved everywhere. Nonstop. When I was an adult my mom and I counted all of the places she has moved to. Since I was born my mom lived 50 places! It was hard on my brother and I never having consistency in an already inconsistent childhood. We felt neglected and mistreated. We hated it.
The other set of my parents are hoarders. Gross, messy, over-the-top, hoarders. That kind of environment made me feel like I never had a home. I didn’t have a home. I wasn’t comfortable in my own bed. I suffered from severe stress headaches and my anxiety was at an all time high. Then depression set in.
Despite my parents coping behaviors I knew they loved me. And to be honest I didn’t even believe it was there fault. It was my fault. All of it. I would never say that out loud, that sounds ridiculous! How could this be my fault? And yet, somehow it was.
Forgiveness is a choice.
I remember cleaning the bathroom, for the one thousandth time and thinking to myself how much I hated everything. I hated being here. I hated the smell. I hated that whenever I brought it up they made me feel so very guilty. I hated that I wasn’t heard. I remember when that tiny thought popped into my head, “Well, if I wasn’t alive I wouldn’t be able to hate any of this. I might be happy then.” Immediately, I felt awful. I knew my situation wasn’t nearly as bad as other children, I knew I was loved and I knew I needed to stay alive and keep doing my best to care for my family. I needed to.
I was so scared.
After going through counseling as an adult the thing I that I learned the most was how to be honest with myself. Sure, my parents have endured physical, mental and emotional abuse, some of which in very extreme forms. Knowing this helps me to have compassion for them. It helps me to understand why they say and do the things they do, but it doesn’t take away the fact that they hurt me. It isn’t an excuse or even a reason. Just because they were hurt doesn’t mean I wasn’t.
I learned that I was so mad at them. I was so scared to admit that. I was shocked myself! I had no idea that I felt this way. I had bottled it up under layers and played or “mothering”, a fix-it mindset and lies.
God has a crazy way of taking us through our own worst fears to bring us healing and hope. Tweet This
My worst fear was being honest with myself. To have to admit that maybe they weren’t good parents and that I was so mad at them for that. To name the pain as it is, plainly and boldly. Otherwise, I will never experience the rest that comes from healing and hope.
Through the healing process I am learning how to grieve. I am learning to enjoy and let go of the guilt I have held on to for far too long. But, most importantly, I am learning to forgive. I have learned that forgiveness isn’t something that we can do alone. Otherwise, Christ wouldn’t have had to put his son to death on the cross! Forgiveness doesn’t come naturally to us; it’s not a feeling or an emotion.
Forgiveness is a choice. Tweet This
It’s a choice to ask God for guidance and grace. To ask him for the ability to love beyond what you’re capable of. Ultimately, forgiveness is surrendering to God’s perfect will. It’s trusting and and leaning on him for support. I can’t help but feel grateful for a God whose every desire is to see you restored and loved. I couldn’t do this alone.
My name is Dusty and I am married to a man who is 13 inches taller than me! Together we will welcome our first little one into the world this April. It is my personal goal to empower women to cultivate a relationship with God that is undaunted by fear and failure. I do this primarily through my website and blog Throwing Pinecones. I love to garden, hate sex trafficking and simply can’t wait for winter to come.
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