A Son’s First Hero and a Daughter’s First Love

Have you heard the saying “A Father is a son’s first Hero and a daughter’s first Love?” No matter whether we are boys or girls, our first male role models teach us—just like our first mother figures—what love is. Through them we experience what it feels like to be safe, comforted and loved, or if they are unable to provide that for us, we learn to comfort ourselves and not to expect this from others. They also teach us courage and integrity, or lack thereof; they become our first heroes—if we are lucky.

Sons first hero daughters first love

How many of us have actually had a father, step-father or father figure who understood himself and his own wounds well enough to parent consciously and not repeat the same family patterns that are often being passed down from generation to generation?

In every love relationship, our childhood issues and family patterns are being revived. We watch our parental figures struggle to solve their old issues with each other. In the relationship with us, our parents also mostly respond and act from their conditioning. A father—or a mother for that matter—cannot love much differently from what they themselves have experienced when they were children.

Working with clients, I have over the years heard different family patterns repeat. Sometimes it’s patterns of addiction; other times fears and traumas are resurfacing from generation to generation. In some cases, the patterns don’t affect us negatively, for example a pattern to leave one’s hometown and move abroad, other times they cause a lot of pain. One pattern, I am sharing with the permission of the client, is the loss of a parent at an early age.

This father, let’s call him Dave, left his first wife to remarry when his son was four. Unfortunately, the ex-wife was so bitter that she estranged his son from him. Dave felt helpless and allowed her to continue doing this until he didn’t see his son at all anymore. The little boy essentially lost one parent due to the mother’s manipulation and due to Dave’s inactivity to counteract her words and actions.

Looking back at his own childhood, Dave realized that history had repeated itself. Dave himself lost his mother when his parents divorced when he was four. His father was the one who decided to take him away and remarry a step-mother Dave hated. But that’s not where it started. We can go back another generation to notice how Dave’s father Adam was unconsciously repeating the pattern of his own childhood. At the age of four, Adam’s own mother died and his father William remarried, presenting Adam with a step-mother.

The pattern of losing one parent and having an unwanted step-mother or substitute mother most likely goes back even further. Unfortunately, most of us do not know enough about our family history to notice and break those patterns. So we, for example, end up estranged from one parent.

I wasted many years of my own life grieving for the father I wished I had and believed I didn’t. For several decades, I chose to focus on what he was not, instead of accepting and loving all that he was and is. I used to look at him and see the man who did not stand up for me. I thought he was weak. I believed I didn’t matter enough to him to fight for a relationship with me. I felt I had an emotionally absent father. I listened to my mom’s story born out of her own wounds. Her story was having a husband who disappointed her and never stood up for her. She probably didn’t realize until he lovingly cared for her when she had cancer, that he was always there for her in the way he knew how. For many years, I allowed her to make her story my story as well. It wasn’t that she was doing this on purpose or that she was lying. She shared her perspective and experience unconscious of how that would affect me. This was HER story, it didn’t need to be mine.

Familie Kurth 1943 crop 2

My father grew up during WWII and for many years, my grandfather was not around as a male role model. When my grandfather returned after the war was over, he was emotionally exhausted and quietly took a place in the background of the family, not making much of an effort to connect with his oldest son. My father was only acting in the same way his own father had acted. He was absent. When I recognized the family pattern, I was able to let go of the story and heal the relationship with my dad.

Today, I see clients of all ages and the stories are similar. “My dad left…”, “My father didn’t care…”, “His new wife was more important to him…”, “My father was irresponsible…”, “My father had anger issues…” and it goes on and on. There are of course circumstances like severe addictions or sexual abuse where the only healthy interaction is no interaction. However, in all the other cases, I invite you to re-examine your stories.

Let’s use Byron Katie’s four questions:

  1. Is my story about my father true?
  2. Can I absolutely know my side of the story is the only truth? Or might there be other sides to this?
  3. How do I react or feel when I believe my story?
  4. Who would I be if I let go of the story that my dad does not care about me? What if I let go my expectations of what he should be saying or doing if he truly loved me? What if I worked on healing my old wounds and allowed myself to interact with him in whichever way is possible?

As children, we don’t really have much of a choice what happens to us, the adults in our life make the decisions. However, once we are young adults, we can examine our stories and change them. We can choose to continue with the narratives of hurt, disappointment and resentment or we can get to know the person our father or mother, step-father or step-mother really is. Life is not like baseball, three strikes and you are out. It is possible to extend another chance and to start over.

In order to do that, we have to stop wishing or hoping our parent figure was different from what he or she is. We have to stop waiting for them to change and finally do or say what we always wanted them to. They didn’t get the same “script” to this play called “Life” that we got and they have no idea what we are waiting for.

Script

A Father’s Day just passed and if you did not send a card and did not pick up the phone, you might have missed an opportunity to live a real relationship with your father, beyond all disillusionment.

Relationship Coaching,

Angelika, 905-286-9466,

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

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It’s Too Hot – Loving What Is

The thermometer in my car shows 34˚C. As I get out of the air conditioned interior, a wall of humid heat hits me. It feels like 40˚C. “Phew,” escapes my mouth and my eyes meet the eyes of the young man getting out of his car next to me on the parking lot of the grocery store.

“It’s one of those days,” he replies. Then he adds, “But in only three months, we’ll be complaining about the cold again! As Canadians, we are never happy with the weather. It’s too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer!”

He is absolutely right. We do this all the time. We focus on what we do not like and complain about it. We ignore all the wonderful things about summer—or winter for that matter—and focus in on the one thing we do not like.

What prevents us from loving the heat? Most of us have AC in our houses, cars, work places and in all the stores. What is all that complaining about?

We have a free choice to hate something, or to like something.

Last night, I was taking my daughter and her boyfriend to see a theatre show in Stratford. Originally, this was supposed to be a trip with two adults sharing the drive, but things changed. Yesterday morning I realized, I was focusing on the two hour drive home in the dark—which I don’t particularly like—instead of looking forward to the show.

What could have prevented me from enjoying the evening? Nobody has the power to do that but me. My choice to focus on the part of the experience that I do not like, instead of looking forward to spending time with two bright young people who love theatre at least as much as I do, if not more. Once I realized the choice is mine, I had a fabulous evening.

We do this all the time. We choose to focus on what is lacking when it comes to a situation, ourselves, or—worst of all—the people in our life.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. She was completely focusing on the “wrong” eating choices her grownup daughter makes, and on the weight her daughter has put on. By choosing to get all caught up in that displeasure and judgement, she was missing what an amazing young woman her daughter is, how beautiful and smart.

What prevents her from refocusing? What holds her back from trusting her daughter to figure out her overeating?

The same friend does not love her own body. So we can assume that the daughter is mirroring shadow sides to her. In regards to her own body, she also chooses to focus on “flaws”, her “big” tummy, the part of her body that she absolutely does not like. She focuses so much on how ugly that part of her body is, that she feels she is unable to lose weight in that area.

What prevents her from loving her tummy? What is in the way of feeling beautiful and accepting her body the way it is?

From a place of love, she will be able to easily shift her weight. However, it begins with getting rid of old limiting beliefs about her body and opening up to loving and accepting ourselves – or our loved ones, or the situations in our life – just the way they are.

It all starts with Loving What Is.

 

For a free consultation on shifting your subconscious beliefs with Psych-K®, or Hypnosis, or Coaching contact me

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

A Loving Reflection – Examining Your Stories with Your Partner

Byron Katie’s philosophy of “accepting what is” and her way of examining our thoughts for the truth are inspiring. On July 5th, Byron Katie’s posted this Facebook status:

“A relationship is two people who agree, two people who like each other’s stories. We call it love.”

This post contains some truth, yet it also feels somewhat incomplete to me.

For a relationship to thrive, the two partners need common ground. A strong foundation for a relationship is set when two people agree on some basic beliefs and values regarding life and relationships. Even though strictly speaking, these could be considered stories, those beliefs and interpretations of reality are supporting the bond between two people.

Beyond that common ground, we bring additional “stories” based on old belief systems into all our relationships. We might find ourselves creating experiences in our love relationship where the wounded child inside emerges and takes over. Many such interactions are based on myths about love and relationships.

Every story that surfaces is a gift. Either alone or together with our partner, we can examine our stories for the truth beneath. This requires one partner to hold the space, to be open and listen without judgement, and even to gently prompt us to examine a story for its truth and its value.

 

Examining a story with your partner might ideally and in an abbreviated form look like this:

Susan: I am struggling with the fact that you don’t ask me a lot of questions. The thought that comes up for me is, “Peter is not interested in me because he does not ask about my day.”

Peter: Thank you for letting me know. I am sorry you feel that way. Would you like to examine your feelings and your story with me?

Susan: Yes. It feels like this unpleasant emotion is going all the way back to my childhood. It makes me feel very small and sad. It makes me feel like my experiences or feelings don’t matter, and that I am not important. I experienced that with my parents many times.

Peter: I can see how that story makes you feel sad. Who would you be if you let that story go?

Susan: I would feel like I am important and that you care about me.

Peter: You are very important to me. I sometimes forget to ask questions, but I will make an effort to ask you about your day more often.

Susan: Thank you. I understand this is an old story from childhood and it is time to let go of it. I will remember that I am important to you.

 

Notice how Peter, being the partner who holds the space for Susan to do her work, does not get defensive and does not buy into her story. He gives her time to understand where this belief is coming from. He does not try to fix things for her but trusts her to clear the feeling and story out. Susan does her part by avoiding phrasings that blame or accuse. She takes responsibility for her feelings and knows it is up to her to work this out.

In a perfect world, all communications with our partner would unfold like the one above. Nonetheless, setting a clear intention for our conversations to unfold with such awareness is powerful. The effort is always worth it. Examining our stories together allows us to gain understanding of our partner, grow in loving acceptance, and strengthen our bond of love.

A successful relationship is two people who agree to work on their issues together, two people who recognize each other’s stories, two people who trust each other and love each other’s growth. That is what I call love.

 

How to Examine Our Stories for the Truth

“One of the most prominent characteristics of our left brain is its ability to weave stories. … It functions by taking whatever details it has to work with, and then weaves them together in the form of a story. Most impressively, our left brain is brilliant in its ability to make stuff up, and fill in the blanks when there are gaps in its factual data.” (Jill Bolte Taylor, My Stroke of Insight, 143)

Our logical analytical left brain takes facts A, B and C and connects them into a story by filling in the blanks in a way that seems logical based on what we believe. The more emotional charge there is around a subject because of our belief systems and past experiences, the more convincing the story appears.

For example, someone who has rejection issues will have a tendency to interpret other people’s actions as rejection. That is in perfect line with their learned belief system of “The people I love always reject and abandon me”. A belief like that can originate from childhood when the little girl was left by her father. Each time a situation even looks remotely like a rejection, the little girl part inside pops up in fear, and the left brain weaves exactly that old story of rejection.

 

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
(Socrates)

From a metaphysical standpoint, it indeed is not. If we don’t examine our stories for the truth and learn to choose consciously which stories to run and which to let go of, there is not much personal or spiritual growth for us in this life.

 

But how do we examine our life – or in other words our stories – for the truth?

Byron Katie gives us four simple questions to ask ourselves:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can I absolutely know that it’s true?
  3. How do I react when I believe the thought?
  4. Who would I be without the thought?

She also suggests trying turnarounds to see if a turnaround is as true as the original story.

The woman in our example notices that her boyfriend is flirting with someone. She deducts that he is rejecting her with this action and projects into the future that he is going to leave and abandon her like her dad.

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can she absolutely know this is true?
    Neither is it necessarily true that he is even flirting at all, nor is it true that his behaviour is a rejection of her. Maybe he is just being friendly, or enjoying the attention of somebody else. And it certainly is not true to assume he is rejecting her, or even remotely thinking about leaving her.
  3. How does she react?
    She feels like rejecting him in turn. Maybe it occurs to her to punish him by withholding sex or being unloving in another way. She might provoke a fight. As she projects her fear of abandonment into the future, she might even be thinking about breaking up with him before he can leave her like her dad did.
  4. Who would she be without the poisonous thought?
    She would be relaxed, could join in the light banter, or have a good time herself. She would signal to her partner through this that she is confident and trusts him. Feeling that trust he would be reminded how lucky he is to have such an amazing girlfriend. In that moment in time, nothing would be further from his mind than leaving this beautiful and self-assured girlfriend.

If the woman in our example continues to examine her story, she would have to try a turnaround as well, by asking herself if she has ever done the same. If someone triggers us with their behaviour, it is because the person is mirroring something for us.

Is it as true to say…

… I flirt and exclude, or reject my partner?

Being really honest with herself, she would probably find an occasion where she has acted in a way that could be interpreted as a rejection. Has she for example really committed 100% to her partner? When he suggested moving in together, did she not reject that for now?

… I reject or abandon myself in any way? Or I am not always true to myself and my needs?

If she is absolutely honest with herself, she might remember an incident when she let herself down, abandoning herself or her inner child in some way.

 

Examining her stories for the truth, allows her to take facts A (he is making eye contact with a beautiful woman), B (he is talking and laughing with her), C (the woman is single and looking for a partner) and weave a completely different story out of exactly the same facts.

She might now look at him and think. “I am so fortunate to have such a handsome boyfriend who other women are attracted to as well. I am proud of how relaxed he is in this social situation. I trust in our love and connection. I should let him know how much I love him later, maybe even suggest to move in together soon.”

 

What are your stories that your left brain is running?

For coaching and to clear our old fears and limiting beliefs give me a call for a free consultation:

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca