After realizing that forgiveness has so many layers, and I needed to go back and dig deeper to be whole again, I knew that I had to face the challenge of going back to my past and resolving it once and for all. I hope that my story will inspire you to take the steps to move past your fears.
My friend, Maria brought that to my attention recently and from now on, I promise I’ll do my very best to share my challenges with you as I’m facing them instead of waiting ’til they’re over. I want you to be able to see how I use EFT and other stress relief methods to carry myself over the humps so that you can do the same thing. I want you to know that you can trust me because I’m here sharing myself and my vulnerabilities so that I can inspire and guide you to overcome your fears and insecurities too. Facing the bug’ems in your life, head on is the only way that you’ll be able to loosen your mental and emotional hold on food. Once there, you will have the tools to make peace with food, manage your emotional eating, discover self compassion, feel respect and later love your body. The weight reduction will take care of itself.
Since I’ve Been Away: Catching Up
You may recall from my last broadcast that I was heading down to Florida to help my mother because she was ill. Her husband, Jorge, my abusive step father was put in a nursing home after suffering a stroke. Hearing this, I feared for mom’s safety because I knew that meant that she was a woman living alone struggling with bipolar disorder ( a chemical imbalance in the brain causing extreme emotional instability, resulting in erratic mood swings and radical “Who the heck is this person?” type shifts in behavior) For years mom and I have been estranged because after I came clean and told her about Jorge’s abuse, I felt so deeply betrayed that she chose to remain with the man who had sexually molested me and beaten my brother for so many years when we were younger. (About the abuse–No more gory details, I promise.)
As time marched on, I got to know her better. As an adult, I softened and became more compassionate toward her. Understanding and forgiving her limitations, I learned to love my mother ‘between the spaces’ on the rare occasions when she was coherent and present. But it was Jorge’s tyrannical control and her long cycles of depression and my fear of physically confronting him, that still kept us apart. Many years ago after seeing the extent of her illness, realizing that I couldn’t help her at all as long as he was still in the picture, I had thrown up my hands in despair, giving her up to God. Over the past two years as Jorge’s health has weakened, his hold over her has loosened. Since then mommy and I have been finding our way back to one another. A couple months ago when she first called me to tell me Jorge was in the hospital and she asked me to pray for him, I sullenly agreed, but I was torn, not knowing what to do. The next day I went to church intending to keep my promise to mom. When it came time to share announcements and prayer requests, I rose my hand and got up to speak.
Noticing that I was hurting and scared, my minister, Reverend Rob, came over to me and put his hand on my shoulder. As I began to speak and my voice first cracked, my daughter, Cara hugged me tightly and held my trembling hands. With my words disappearing into mere whispers, Rob listened and shared what I was saying with the congregation. Feeling overcome by emotion, realizing that I could first ask for prayers for healing for my broken relationship with my dad, the tears began to roll down my cheeks. After I finished speaking of my dad and our painful separation, my whispers turned to gasps as my thoughts formed words asking for prayers for Jorge. Feeling like a hyprocrite, I knew I had to be honest with myself. Most of me wanted him to die and I hated myself for my weakness, for being so broken. I thought I was past this. I thought I had already done the work of forgiving him. Evidently there were more layers of forgiveness that I needed to expose. I could finally see that the EFT work that I had done to forgive Jorge back in 2004 had barely scratched the surface. And it had only given me a sense of peace until now. Perhaps that estrangement with my dad and my unresolved feelings over that loss, was bringing up the old skeletons of insecurity, abandonment and fear. The room felt so hot, I could feel the truth rising in me. There was still so much hatred and fear that I felt toward Jorge and so much hurt and disappointment I felt toward my father.
As a coach, I knew that I had to release my unwillingness to forgive Jorge because the anger and resentment I still harbored towards him was causing the rift between my husband, Angel and I. It was also the reason I often had so much trouble relating to men in general, making it nearly impossible to find peace in my relationship with my almost 20 year old son, PT My withholding forgiveness was also preventing me from gaining more acceptance in dealing with the loss of the relationship with my dad. And most importantly, I was terrified that my anger and hidden resentments would cause me to manifest cancer in my body. I knew I was living in a hotbed of anger directed toward three of the men I loved the most, my husband, my son and my dad. In an effort to untangle my emotions and to be at peace again, I decided that I needed to dig deeper inside myself, confront my fears, see Jorge again, and do whatever I could to help mommy, putting my painful past behind me.
Scared As Hell: “Let me feel my feelings.”
Going into it, I had an intuitive sense that this trip was going to be earthshatteringly lifechanging, but I didn’t know if I was ready to actually face the prospect of seeing Jorge again and perhaps even staying in his home. Paralyzed by my fearful thoughts, the little Andrea in me was filled with dread, wondering who will take care of me? What happens if I’m not strong enough to face the demons of my past. The paranoid thoughts rolled in screaming, “What will I do? Where will I sleep? How can I feel safe being there? What horrors will light up in my memory? I’m so afraid that everything is contaminated by negative energy. I’d have to burn all my clothes because I could never come home and wear them again and feel safe. Just the thought of going down to Florida made me feel dirty and tainted down to my soul.
The night before I left, I felt like a ticking time bomb. With my raw emotions all sitting at the surface, I walked into the kitchen where the family was gathered. In an effort to get re-grounded and release my pent up emotions, I was tapping nervously on the side of my hand. PT and Cara’s silence told me that they understood that I was upset. Ignoring the signs and body language demanding to be left alone, Angel asked me a question about the trip.
Unable to respond logically and speak in a civil tone, my hands shook from overwrought emotions. I exploded. Completely overwhelmed, I tried to leave the room to escape his stupid ignorant questions. Feeling overwhelmed by anxiety and sheer exhaustion, I dropped down to the floor on my kness, clutching my hands together, asking him to please give me space so that I could think and breathe. Ignoring my words, he asked if I was ready for the trip. Had I made arrangements for the car to the airport and a bunch of other stupid questions that I didn’t care about. He just didn’t get it. He was so clueless to what I was feeling. I couldn’t figure out what to do the next moment let alone plan for a trip to hell. I didn’t want to go. It was as simple as that. But I couldn’t just give in, dog my responsibility and not help my mother. I rolled myself up into a fetal position, crying and screaming at my husband to leave me alone.
Suddenly a wave of certainty swept over me and I knew what I had to tell Angel to make my intentions clear. I rose to my feet. Speaking in a firm voice with a determined tone, I demanded that he give me space and stop placating me. I said, “Stop saying, “everything will be alright. You’re worrying for nothing. Why do you have to be the one to go? You should tell your brother to go instead.” Enough already!” It’s just enough! “For God’s Sakes, I have to do this. Nobody else. It’s up to me. And I’m scared as hell, but if I can get past this, I know I’ll be okay. I just have to let it out. I have to let my feelings go. The way I really feel has been bottled up for so long. Just let me feel my feelings. Will You? Just let me be afraid. Don’t tell me not to worry. I am worried. I’m so scared. I know you love me and want to take care of me but the only thing you can do for me right now is to let me be. Just let me cry and be scared. If it frightens you, then you don’t have to watch. You can go into another room. You have to just let me be.”
“Mom, If You Could See Yourself from My Eyes…”
Angel apologized and walked out of the room, still shaking his head in confusion. After just a few minutes of sobbing, I felt as though a weight had been lifted off my chest. The storm of cloudy emotion had passed and I was back to being Andrea. I had regained my composure feeling a blanket of peace enveloping me. Later that evening, my daughter, Cara told me, “Mom, if you could see yourself from my eyes, you’d see a very strong woman.” Her words filled me with strength, giving me the ability to do all that was necessary in the weeks and months that lay stretched before me.
The long and short of it is that my visit to Florida turned into several trips over the past couple of months. As with everything in my life, there was plenty of drama in between lots of bits of practicality and sanity. I couldn’t have kept it together as well as I did without the constant use of EFT to keep me settled more often than not. During the time that I was there my mother fell and had to be hospitalized, but since I was there, everything turned out fine. It was a real Aha moment for me realizing how incredibly strong a woman my mother really is. My trips yielded many fruts. Now she is doing great. She has an aide, a caring support circle of people who adore her, her affairs are settled, and she’s living more functionally, happily and independently than she’s ever been in her adult life. I done good.
But as Spiderman’s Uncle Ben says, “With great responsibility comes great power.” Okay maybe it’s the other way around. But anyway you get the idea. From this new revelation, many things in my life became more settled and others became a lot more screwy. I’ll tell you more about what I mean a little bit later in my next email to you. Until then, make it a great day! Bye for now, Juicy Woman!