The choices in my life have bound me to them. It doesn’t have to be this way, but sometimes, I let the consequences take over instead of changing my choices. Being beaten down, not just physically, but emotionally, I feel undeserving of a good life. Sometimes, I live with consequences of choices (whether they be mine or someone else’s) because I haven’t accepted my own role in making the choices. I look at one side of the coin and say, “I really had no choice,” when all along, I did.
I’ve learned that the key to changing my destiny is to accept the past as is and change my attitude. How complicated for me when I look at my life, and all I see is hardship and heartache. I didn’t choose to be an abused child. I didn’t choose to have my brother taken from me when we were only children. I didn’t choose to have my own child die before I could even hear her breath or see her eyes open. It is in my acceptance of these things that change begins. It is my attitude toward these events and others that will shape my journey.
I would never presume (well, actually, if I am honest, I would and have presumed) that I am in control of my overall life’s plan. I am merely stating that, even though my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God, has a plan for my life, I do have a hand in shaping the experiences of life that come along as that plan unfolds. These are the choices that I speak of.
Acceptance is a difficult pill to swallow. But like any good medicine, it is needed for my emotional health. It is in my putting aside the illusion that I have done no wrong. It is in putting aside the blame I have toward my narcissistic mother for all of my troubles. It is in putting aside my fate as a victim and looking at my life as someone who has (or is working on) recovery that is going to make my life better.
Yes, my mother was abusive. Yes, I was a victim. Any child who has suffered at the hands of an adult is a victim. I am not a child, now, so I no longer am bound to being a victim. A victim, by the very nature of the definition, alludes to some harm being done from one person or persons to another by crime or some other heinous event. The harm that was inflicted upon me is no longer being inflicted.
The choice I had to make was in whether I want to continue to be defined as a victim. This implies some sort of on-going helplessness. That certainly isn’t the image I want to see when I look at the man in the mirror or when I look inside my own psyche. I’d rather see myself in recovery, or “returning to a normal state.” I like the sound of that word “normal.” In the past, it was not a word that I equated toward myself.
Acceptance has helped me put aside my obsession for what could be different from what it really is. I’ve spent countless hours pining away for something that never was and never will be; my mother will never be the type of mother I wanted or needed. The price for my yearning is the peace of mind that I could have each and every time I worry anxiously or become overly critical of myself, of my situation, and of the people who really love me
In the past, I reacted in a negative way toward someone simply because of the way I judged their personalities. I fixated on certain principles I felt were important to me, and was unwilling to budge from those. When someone’s actions did not fit my principles, I was devastated.
It took me quite a long time to really figure out what that meant. For me, it means that if people did not live up to my expectations, I dismissed them as being seriously flawed without ever looking at myself. I could not accept people for who they were along with their flaws because my own inferiority complex. By not accepting others as flawed, I wasn’t accepting myself. My God, we are all seriously flawed in some way. That doesn’t mean we aren’t worthy of acceptance.
The choice I made in the past was to remain resentful and unhappy, wishing for a changed past, not accepting people who could not live up to my impossible standards. Misery was my closet companion. The shedding of misery is long-overdue for me. The choice I am making today is to change my attitude, and inevitably, the nature of my relationships will also change.
It has been a great relief to bring my long, hidden, torturous thoughts into the light of day. I cannot change my past. I can only change my interpretation of the past in shaping how I feel today. It’s my attitude, not the relationship with my diseased mother that keeps me trapped in the past. It is in my acceptance that I can maybe one day forgive.