Growing up for me was difficult in many aspects. It wasn’t my childhood that was painful, but my adolescent years and the formation of Me during them. My parents divorced when I was around 9, and my mother did the best she could to raise me and my 3 siblings as a single mother. Unfortunately, that meant little time for us to bond or show love to one another in the way we needed. My mother worked herself to the point of exhaustion most days and did the best she could to cook, and take care of us. However, I didn’t feel loved because I didn’t understand at the time what love was or how she was showing it to me. This became a hard barrier for me to break down in my adult years and I'm still processing emotions at times. Having to understand my past gave me more appreciation where I had none before. My mother may not have been able to love me in the ways I needed, but she did show her love in the ways she could. Acts of service, she provided for us and kept a roof over our heads while we grew up. She cooked, she cleaned and asked for nothing but our understanding in return. After years of blaming her for not loving me I understood what she had done for me all these years. I forgave her because I realized I was wrong, and I had blamed her for things out of her control. The world made me cold and bitter not her. She only ever tried to love and support me even in my addiction.
I spent many years in therapy trying to come to terms with why I never felt loved, or supported in my life. I spent years being mentally and emotionally abused by a stepfather who blamed me for the failings of his marriage and called me worthless. I took those words to heart and for most of my life felt worthless. He was a drunk, and a mean drunk at that, but I came to forgive him in my sobriety. When I came in touch with myself, I found the self-love I always needed. I was able to see the ways in which my mother loved me, and they became my love languages as well. My forgiveness for a man who I hated for so many years came from a greater place of understanding just as I did with my mother. I chose to come from a place of love and compassion with the light of knowledge. You know why? Because I saw myself in my stepfather in some ways, my own alcoholism and experience in it mirroring that of his own. Without condoning nor condemning I gained the perspective to see him as a human dealing with great pain and hurt. Thanks to my higher power, My God, I could separate the man from the drunk. The alcoholic from the disease. In that forgiveness I found even more self-love for myself and the things I did while in my active addiction. I spent so many years basing my worth on my actions because of that man and when my actions became like his; how could I face myself in the mirror? My worth comes from within, from God and it always has. We all struggle to find the self-love within us because we feel worthless. We look into that mirror and hate what we see. We let the world form who we should be without questioning who we are. I want you to know you are worthy, you are worthy of love, hope, compassion and kindness. But your worth has to be found within yourself and in your higher power, not others, and not your achievements.
I know forgiveness isn't easy, and in some situations, it might feel utterly impossible to forgive an abuser. Speaking from my experience and what worked for me was choosing to give the same grace, mercy and compassion that God, my higher power, has given to me. It may not be possible for you to forgive right now, but I hope one day you can see them for the broken person they are and also chose to find peace for yourself. In forgiveness comes a swelling tide of peace, and it liberates you from that hurt, that pain and that resentment. I'm currently on my path to finding forgiveness for myself and my past wrongs, and every day I learn something new about myself. I pray that when you begin your journey, that you find the love and support you need along the way. I pray that people show up for you in a big way, and that you are present to experience it. I pray that you work towards healing, and inner peace with intentional action and time to allow the healing to happen. May your higher power hold you and keep you until that moment. I will always be here if you need me, let me be of service.
Much Love and Support,