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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thumb Sucking What Does Forgiveness Have To Do With It?

When I was a child I was a thumb sucker when I was tired, or sleepy. Whether it is sucking your thumb, or carrying around Linus’s security blanket, they are used for just that, security. Rather than crying for attention and security from elsewhere, the child will sooth themselves by clinging to their method of choice. For one of my sisters, it was rocking. No necessarily in a rocking chair, but anywhere she sat.

It caused my Father raging discomfort that I sucked my thumb. I can only imagine his discomfort came out of embarrassment, and he went to great lengths to stop me from doing it. The things that most stand out in my memory were; one of his friends who was missing part of his thumb, told me sucking his thumb was how he lost his, and what I had to look forward to, while my Dad sat back and laughed. As a child, I had no idea what he thought was so funny, other than my pre-determined fate, and what I had to look forward to, if I chose to continue my distasteful behavior.

Another time, he humiliated me in front of a bunch of other children, by putting shoe polish all over my thumb at naptime, because my behavior was unacceptable and weak, while the other children laughed, and made fun, which I sucked off, by the way.

But the one incident that stands out the most, is when I had been sitting on his lap while watching TV, he scooped me up in a rage telling me he was going to cut my thumb off. He carried me kicking, screaming, and begging into the kitchen, repeating his threat as he pulled out a knife from the silverware drawer, and pinned me to the floor, brandishing the knife above my thumb, before finally releasing me, all while the rest of the family looked on without a word or gesture. Just silence, and what I perceived as acceptance and approval of what was taking place. Oh, and proclaiming one of his favorite sayings, “This is hurting me, more than it’s hurting you.” And lets not forget, that no further emotion other than neutral or “happy go lucky” behavior was allowed, as always, to be seen or heard afterwards.

What did I learn from these experiences? I learned that love meant pain. The people and things that I relied on for security, and love=humiliation, pain and fear.

Dad,

I know that it wasn’t your intention for me to develop lifelong negative beliefs in me that would serve to cause me to fear, disrespect, and seek out men who made me feel those things; to associate humiliation, pain and fear with love; to feel that those feelings somehow were a measurement of love.

I know that you raised me in the best way you knew how.

You had no idea what I was taking away and learning from your actions.

I forgive you.

And Dad, I hope you can forgive me when, from now on, I reject men and people who make me feel about men and love the way that I learned to feel. That I know now my “attraction radar” is broken, and why. That I will no longer allow you to swoop in and be my “knight in shining armor” after I allow men to leave me feeling how I learned to feel. How I became comfortable feeling, yet somehow, deep, deep down inside, I instinctively knew something was/is not quite right with that. I understand you can’t stand to see me feel that way, because what I learned was not what you intended to teach me.

I’m sorry I rebelled. I’m sorry I became the “black sheep” of the family rebelling against your restraint, and conformity. Somehow, I believe I knew something was not right with the beliefs I had formed, so I rebelled, stood ground, turned my back in disrespect, because the part of me that didn’t accept the beliefs, and fears that ruled me, was right. So I went in search of my own way, in hopes that I would stumble upon the answers to the questions that I was seeking.

The same reason I rebelled against the religion that was forced down my throat, as a child. The religion that taught me that God was love, but that we must fear him. The religion that taught, if I did not succumb to that fear, and follow his angry rule, I would burn into eternity. The teachings that stated God is superior and rules all, and told me I must turn the other cheek when others wronged me, yet he was a God that would not turn his same cheek to me. How can that be?

Somewhere, somehow, I always knew something was not quite right with it all. Something has always told me…no…this cannot be the way it is. This is NOT how love is supposed to be. Love is not about fear. And so the battle began within me as a very small child, beginning from the time of my earliest memory. My rejection to what all those that I loved, and those that were above me, with more knowledge and strength than me, were teaching me to believe, through both there actions, and the words that they spoke. Yet I felt inferior, and not only did I feel wrong for questioning those beliefs, but also wrong for questioning those that were superior to me. And somehow, I felt inferior to all those around me, because I questioned their superiority to begin with.

So I have spent my life on a mission to find answers to the questions about what I learned that I could not accept. Because it was drummed into my psyche that love equaled fear, and pain, I was always in question and doubt.

In the end you helped to make me strong and wise, because I am the only one in our family who has learned and is learning to take responsibility for my reactions and decisions without blaming life, people, and fate, but my own choices for those things that have befallen me. Although I have struggled with myself my whole life, that struggle has caused me to go within and question myself, and my destiny. They have caused me to do more than just live life day to day, being tossed around by so called fate and circumstance, and look within and the Universe for the answers that I seek.

Even though, to this day, we do not agree, for that, I must thank you.

I hope you can forgive me, yet if you can’t, that’s okay too. I don’t need your approval any longer.



Searchingwithin,

I understand you developed those beliefs, because you were too young to know any better, or understand. I understand why you feel more secure relying on yourself rather than allowing anyone to be there for you, especially when you need it most. I understand why you push others away when you don’t feel you are your best self.

Come let me hold you. Come let me be there for you, and come to your rescue, rather than you always coming to mine. Let me comfort you. Let me accept you.
Let me forgive you.
open-your-heart

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10 Love note(s):

T said...

Wow. The thumbsucking post resonated with me on SO many levels. My little one sucks her thumb and we're trying to get her to understand how its ruining her teeth. No threats though. Your dad's actions were... wow.

Then on another level, my dad did some of this very same stuff so... I get it too.

*sigh*

Thank you for this.

t said...

yeah. most of us have baggage our parents gave to us, usually unwittingly. They did the best they knew given the poor tools they were given. :( but we now have the tools to do better...for ourselves.:)

searchingwithin said...

T & T, thanks guys for stopping by and the comments.

T(1), Thumbsucking is a way of feeling security, and there are many sites that have suggestions and methods to help your children overcome this habit. But what ever method we as parents choose to use, I hope that it promotes another way for the child to give themselves comfort and security, or to gain it within themselves, rather than destroy it.

t(2), Yes most certainly we all have baggage we picked up from our parents, other children, other authority figures, and acquaintances, we came in contact with as children, before we had the maturity to protect ourselves, that latch onto us and suck our self-esteem, and confidence like a tick.

Unless we are a psychopath, I believe we all are doing the best we know how, and are unwittingly hurting others all the time, without that intention, usually do to our lack of knowledge, and fears, and because we don't know any better. God knows I have left my son with baggage, I wish I had, had the knowledge to know better.

If only I had known then what I know now. In truth, I thinks that more of this should be taught in schools, but just my thoughts.

Clean Arrow9 said...

I don't know exactly your intentions but the article seems like it was written only to cut your father down, certaintly not to forgive. I have been considering forgiveness as a serious rehabilitation tool and were I to write a note or letter to my parents forgiving them for their behaviors I would try not to sound so self-centered and bitter.

Christian Counseling Dallas said...

great post really admirable work you have submitted here for your readers.

biblical counseling said...

Well i think relationship is depends on some facts and the most important thing is the healthy communication. So if you are having this and you are providing the best quality to your partner then this will be the sign of the long term relationship.

Anonymoussaid...

I appreciated your writing. I disagree with the person who said you were just cutting your father down. When I read it it just seemed that you were stating the what took place, no more or less.
My father was terrible but compared to yours would win father of the year.
Like some other person said, unfortunately we bear the baggage of some of our parents. That is true. Hopefully you either have or will be able to fully embrace the forgiveness of your father and not let him hurt you more than he already has.

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kold_kadavr_ flatliner said...

This aint spam, dear;
our Words have wisdom.
Choose your path.

If you're not too concerned
with WWIII and N. Korea
(their ICBMs could hit you),
you best follow us:

Find-out what RCIA means and join.
trustNjesus.
ALWAYS.
God bless your indelible soul.

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