Two A’s: Acceptance and Attitude

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_by_Tanya_Dawn_Art

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.

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32 Comments

  1. It is hard to reprogram and go around the scars of the past, but you really seem to have a handle on going in the right direction. I like to think of my secrets and shame from the past as vampires being exposed to the light and suddenly turning to dust. I know I am wierd, but I like the image in my head! Haha. Glad you are doing well.

  2. I appreciate and identify with how one “interprets” the past. With acceptance and a different attitude comes a new interpretation.

  3. you’re right acceptance is a tough pill to swallow and if i’m being honest, i haven’t yet…the abuse is just becoming reality in the last couple years. i guess it will come in time and i’m so glad is for you. thanking you for writing your heart on here, it helps me and i’m sure so many others. xo

    1. You have to experience the hurt in an adult way (since you originally experienced it from a child’s standpoint), then experience the grief and anger that comes next. Only after that can you begin to have acceptance. At least that’s how it worked for me… It takes time, but getting it out in the open will help you see it in those different ways, I hope! I have so much hope and compassion for you, my friend!

  4. “By not accepting others as flawed, I wasn’t accepting myself.” I do a lot of this, usually catch myself, and try to readjust my thinking. And I so agree with recognizing that our abuse is in the past and we can choose to no longer see ourselves as victims, while still working to process and transcend the lingering effects we don’t consciously choose. Blessings to you!! Diane

    1. We look for the things we want in ourselves in others, and sometimes get so caught up in that we can’t see how it hurts them!

      Transcendence is a great word to use as we both trudge through our journeys of healing.

      Thanks again!
      Noel

  5. I love your writing so much. Although composed through the most hurtful thoughts and emotions your article is so well-written, with an engaging style and content that make the reader fly with you.

    And your post is so helpful to someone like me, an adult child of abusive parents. In fact I can relate to every sentence of what you wrote. It helps a lot to witness your openness regarding our flaws and your strength of overcoming them:

    “My God, we are all seriously flawed in some way. That doesn’t mean we aren’t worthy of acceptance.”
    How true, and how many times I tell myself the same.

    (PS: I tried to add my Likes too, but for some reason it doesn’t show, although I am logged in, and even after I tried to log out and back. It happens to me on some of the blogs, and so far I couldn’t figure out why)

      1. Thank you so much for your kind reply. Your posts and comments are so deeply soul touching and empathic with a powerful healing effect.

        Reading your life story often makes me shiver – it is really sounds like mine. It is so saddening to learn that you had to go through almost the same as I did and I also hope and wish you are healing from the effects of all the hurt you suffered in your family. You are such a wonderful, precious person and such a talented writer.

  6. Thank you, N. Your posts are so often like drinking the best most freshest, refreshing, nourishing exhilarating glass of cool clear spring water… (hope that makes sense ;-)…They constantly help me with my next steps…and help me look at the world, the future, myself and other people with a lighter more courageous heart. Your words are healing…so much healing.

    1. Thanks! Tons of things are going on! We are moving near the beach, so we’ve been busy buying a house and finding new jobs- not in that order. Things are settling down, so I have more time to continue my journey!

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