Thursday, April 7, 2016

Post Estrangement: Processing Acceptance

As always I find it fascinating how something we read can trigger something in the healing process.

Today I read this quote:

I am getting to a place where I more confidently believe in a certain degree of separation between me and what was done to me. 

Yes I continue to own everything that I might have done to contribute to or escalate the situation that is only logical because it does take two in any dispute.  However, I no longer accept blame.  That is a huge change in my personal healing. 

However, having said that, I also do believe that estranging adult offspring have problems in their own minds fueled by their opinions and their beliefs and their point of view and until they face those head on and work on healing themselves there really is not a possibility of a convergence of pathways.

So in the meantime, it is self-destructive for me to allow my estranging daughter's actions to be a statement about my value.  My value has nothing to do with any mistakes I may have made.  People make mistakes but the mistakes do not diminish their value!

When estranging adult offspring act badly that does not diminish their value either, it simply reflects that they are humans with problems and character defects that prevent them from acting in a more compassionate, re-conciliatory, honorable way.

Bottom line, why should I feel diminished as a person because my estranging daughter treats me badly as a result of the demons she is not facing?  She does not feel diminished, rather she feels justified.  To allow myself to be diminished gives her actions toward me power.  If I do not allow myself to be diminished by her actions I take my power back.

Healing is about taking power back in a situation which leaves us mostly feeling powerless.

Healing means I have to give my estranging daughter ownership of her problems and her choices just as I take ownership of my problems and my choices.
Neither one nor the other should feel diminished.

In estrangement, the person doing the estrangement attempts to diminish the other in a bid for power and control.  A bid for power comes from character disturbances characterized by manipulative behaviour. Gaining personal power by taking away someone else's is a sign of not only weakness, but a character flaw.  

I can accept a person's character as a reflection of their own inner demons.  I can even accept that they will act in accordance with those feelings that come from them allowing their inner demons to control their actions and behaviours.   However, I can also recognize and label those actions for what they are, an act of deliberate manipulative behaviour and an attempt to diminish me through emotional abuse. And I can also accept that when they act in such a way that allows those inner demons to reveal themselves they may or may not be in control. 

However, I do not have to accept that they have the "right" to attempt to diminish me to satisfy those inner demons.  Just because they have chosen to act in a certain way based on their inner demons does not make the action right. It also does not mean that I have to allow myself to suffer the emotional consequences of their actions against me.

Rather I also have the right to create boundaries against further hurt by choosing to not allow their actions to diminish me. When I stand up for my right to not be controlled and manipulated and harmed, I give them back ownership of their own demons, even if they don't realize that this is what I have done.

Separating myself from their actions in this way is healing for me.

Of course this whole story can and should change the day she takes ownership of her own demons and demonstrates her willingness to work toward her own healing without making me the scapegoat for her actions.  Healing a relationship begins when both parties have healed themselves, when there is no finger pointing or blaming, just accepting of unacceptable behaviour and devising a way to forgive and atone.

But since that is not happening today; today I have to care for my emotional well-being, which requires me to heal, to resolve my wounds to regain my self-confidence and self-esteem, to be the kind of person that knows the boundaries between being used, put down and manipulated or working on joint solution finding.  

I need to become the kind of person that clearly understands that acceptance of a situation does not mean that I have to diminish myself in the process. 

deserve and I have the right, to reclaim my power to differentiate between acceptable  and unacceptable behaviour, regardless of the intent.

I have a right to expect correct behaviour as opposed to behaviour whose intent is to coerce through punishment. 

Renate Dundys Marrello
2016 – 04 – 07

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  1. Bravo Renate. You expand and explain like someone who knows what they are talking about. You help me get in touch with the feelings I so need to "realize" too. Thank you.

  2. Couldn't have said it better! Fantastic insight! Thanks for sharing

  3. You just used the words I needed but was unable to express. You wrote my story. I will read and re read until I feel whole again. Thank you

    1. . . . many, many echoes of "Thanks!" too!! . . .

  4. Perfectly explained to me what I've been feeling. Thank you.

  5. You are wise. I am at the beginning of this process and I have a long long way to go.

  6. Wish I had found this page a long time ago. Thank you!

  7. Thank you so much for these things to think about. If only my son and daughter-in-law wwould read this and find meaning. Its missing the son I used to know and the sadness that comes with it that is hard to deal with though. But I feel empowered from reading this.

  8. As Jean stated above, I wish I had found your page a long time ago. I have felt so guilty for whatever I had done that caused my daughter's estrangement, even though I had known in my heart I had done all I could to atone. As you stated, no one is perfect, and I take responsibility for any part I did play. But never once did I ever receive an apology for hurtful behavior from her. Your post has enabled me to see the situation in a new way, and I realize that my healing is in my hands. I do not have to allow my daughter to diminish me. I do have power over my life and how I live it. It is time to stop allowing myself to be punished and controlled by someone with an unjust opinion.

  9. Thank you so much for putting my feelings into your words. I am further into my healing because of your written thoughts.
    I am mentally exhausted from all of the introspection that I have done over the last 24+ months but it has paid off for me in some ways. I cannot forgive; and do not know if I ever will, but I now have a better understanding. Understanding of how and why these events have evolved in our lives. Eerily, it parallels the relationship between me and my mother in her later years. Different causes, similar outcomes. It leaves great sadness when I realize that these actions will probably perpetuate in succeeding generations.
    It also has had and will have an effect on the number of years that remain for me. Another reason I find it hard to forgive. I have few years left and truth be known, perhaps it has shortened my life altogether.

    1. . . . forgiveness is the only key sometimes to end the cycle of the karma that endlessly continues. . .

  10. Thank you everyone for your encouraging feedback. your comments let me know that what I am attempting in putting together a healing workbook has value and I will continue to plod along with my reflections.

  11. It's so positive to have such emotions released and accepted by others as real and worthy...we are being and have been emotionally hurt beyond any comprehension, no wound to our bodies could ever compare. Thank you to our friend Renate for her ariculation and also to you all for the deep comments.

  12. As always you put my thoughts to words and then some. Thank you.

  13. Bravo. Everything I feel and work on everyday.

  14. Thank you! Resonates strongly with me.

  15. I loved every word of your reflection. Thanks for the pep talk.Never thought of it in those terms.