Just the other day, I read an article from someone who, now in his middle-aged years, found himself plagued by feelings of hatred and animosity toward his mother for the abuses that he had incurred as child. He spoke about difficulties that he now had in his adult relationships where he would pull away from his wife, without realizing it – or understanding why. This article addresses this gentleman’s experiences and speaks to the broader issue of how we can come to terms with pain that was inflicted from our early or past relationships.
First of all – the classic approach-avoid scenario in relation to intimacy is VERY common and VERY normal in situations where children are raised in homes that display both Love and Rejection (or at the least – repeated disappointment).
But, it isn’t really so much Love/Hate – as it is Love/Fear. There are only two energetic forces – Love and Fear – all other negative emotions (including hate) are simply derivatives that arise out of fear.
I was raised by an alcoholic mother and my father committed suicide when I was 9 years old. My mother would be sober during the day (Love) but then every night would transform into mother from hell and abuse me (Fear). As I grew older and entered into intimate relationships as an adult – I went through the same process – approach (because I knew love was possible) but then avoid (because I had learned that the love never lasted).
These feelings are very primal – they are reflexive – and are often triggered “pre-cognitively” (before thinking). They are like knee-jerk responses. Ironically, sometimes things are the hardest when everything is going well in our relationships because we are consciously or unconsciously waiting for the other shoe to drop. Sometimes, we may even go so far as to sabotage the good just to make sure the pattern that we expect plays out – rather than waiting for it to happen.
Please know that Hate is simply not going on. Anger is the same way. It’s like reducing fractions – Hate is 4/8 – Anger 2/4 – but when reduced to the smallest extent possible – we have Fear at 1/2. Fear is the “sponsoring” emotion. And of course when it really comes to down to it – Fear is just the absence of Love.
Just like darkness and light. Darkness really has no substance in and of itself. Unlike light – darkness only appears as the absence of light. Picture a darkened hallway (like a motel corridor). You have no light in the hallway – but each room, behind each door, is lit. If you open one of the doors – the darkness doesn’t spill into the lighted room – it’s quite the other way around.
I’ve been there as well, and have only recently come to terms with it. I cared for my mother for the last 13 years, and finally in hospice, she passed away at home last April. Despite all the childhood abuse, I loved and forgave her – realizing that she sincerely loved me to the best of her ability.
Many of us feel that our childhood has long since passed – it is no longer a part of us and we should just “grow up”. But just like a tree, our early years are still buried beneath the outer rings of our maturity and remain part of our core. In many ways, the inner rungs of our youth form the very foundation upon which our adult lives are formed. Now, as we react and respond to buried feelings triggered by childhood events, we must reach deep within ourselves with love toward that wounded inner child. Know that when you experience surges of pain related to your past – you are only reacting to the “Little You” who is buried deep inside who is calling out to be heard - finally ready to transcend all the childhood pain. Connect to your Higher Self and reach out your hand to him or her. Tell them you love them and that’s it’s okay now – they are safe. Ultimately – there is only love to be concerned with – and there is more than an ample supply to draw upon.
We must forgive our parents – as their journeys were their own and we may never know what it was like to walk a mile in their shoes. Realize that whatever drama ensued within your family acted as a catalyst for growth – and ultimately, you have your parents and all their problems to thank for making you who you are today. And perhaps most importantly – forgive yourself. Don’t harbor any guilt over feelings toward them that represent your pain. Our pain is the gateway to growth – for one never evolves from the sanctuary of a complacent comfort zone. Like labor pains, the end result of tragedy is the birth of new perspective, strength and compassion and our doorway to a more expansive expression of self.