Archive | September 2012

Healing is Your Choice

In physical therapy, therapists say to the patient: “You are with me for one hour a week and there are 168 hours in the week. Who do you think has more influence on your body’s healing?”

Go ahead and draw the comparison to dealing with broken relationships and emotional baggage. In the end, you choose.

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Domino Effect

Unresolved issues leak into other areas of our lives so deeply that we are incapable of seeing the connection.

The first domino is so far from the last. How could they possibly be connected?

Glossing over past hurts can open you up to new pain from different sources. Different dominoes. One source.

Think of the original piece as an infection. If the infection is never fully treated, you never truly heal. As dominoes fall, you carry the disease. Whether you are physically affected or not, you are a walking time bomb of disaster waiting to happen with the culmination of vulnerable moments combining into the explosion of symptoms.

Tipping Point: a dad neglects his daughter.

Domino 1: She feels like she has to go over and beyond to be noticed.

Domino 2: She feels distrustful of people who validate her. If she were worthy of validation, surely, her dad would have told her so.

Domino 3: She pushes people away when they get too close to her.

Domino 4: She is uncomfortable with emotional intimacy because the hurt in being let down is too much to bear. Afterall, she lets herself down enough as it is. No need to give anyone else the chance.

Domino 5: She denies that her father’s neglect affects her in the least bit. If daddy were to ask, “Do you know how much I love you?” She would answer, “Yes.” Without hesitation, knowing she longs to hear an explanation. She would lie to please him instead of tell the truth to please herself.

Imagine her in the workplace.

Imagine her friendships.

Imagine her marriage.

Everything within reach of the falling domino pieces are being affected by the tipping point of that original neglect. Her survival technique is self-destructive and she is unable to see it. She refuses to see it because the truth might hurt the very one she is trying to impress: her dad. Sad part is that he does not see it. Thus, the cycle continues.

Be honest. If you catch the first piece, then in time, you can dismantle the rest.

Camouflage

One of my friends secretly had camouflage daddy issues. Have you seen good camo, like the stuff snipers wear? It’s awesome; a military sniper could literally be laying face down breathing on your shoes and you wouldn’t have a clue because they look more like the ground than the ground does.

One of my friends secretly had camouflage daddy issues. What this means is that even though the issues are not evident in her everyday life they are there. I don’t want to “beat a dead horse” by reiterating how important it is to acknowledge the issues in your life but if it doesn’t happen reading these blogs is about as useful as a boat in the Sahara desert.

Simply said, everyone has some kind of issue that affects their life in invisible ways.

Deal with it.

 

Courtesy of Peeta from the Hunger Games

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dad and DAD by Francis Chan

dad and DAD – an excerpt from Chapter 4, Crazy Love by Francis Chan

The concept of being wanted by a father was foreign to me. Growing up, I felt unwanted y my dad. My mother died giving birth to me, so maybe he saw me as the cause of her death; I’m not sure.

I never carried on a meaningful conversation with my dad. In fact, the only affection I remember came when I was nine years old: He put his arm around me for about thirty seconds while we were on our way to my stepmother’s funeral. Besides that, the only other physical touch I experienced were the beatings I received when I disobeyed or bothered him.

My goal in our relationship was not to annoy my father. I would walk around the house trying not to upset him.

He died when I was twelve. I cried but also felt relief.

The impact of this relationship affected me for years, and I think a lot of those emotions transferred to my relationship with God. For example, I tried hard not to annoy God with my sin or upset Him with my little problems. I had no aspiration of being wanted by God; I was just happy not being hated or hurt by Him.

Don’t get me wrong. Not everything about my dad was bad. I really do thank God for him, because he taught me discipline, respect, fear, and obedience. I also think he loved me. But I can’t sugarcoat how my relationship with him negatively affected my view of God for many years.

Thankfully, my relationship with God took a major turn when I became a father myself. After my oldest daughter was born, I began to see how wrong I was in my thinking about God. For the first time I got a taste of what I believe God feels toward us. I thought about my daughter often. I prayed for her while she slept at night. I showed her picture to anyone who would look. I wanted to give her the world.

Sometimes, when I come home from work, my little girl greets me by running out tot he driveway and jumping into my arms before I can even get out of the car. As you can imagine, arriving home has become one of my favorite moments of the day.

Through this experience, I came to understand that my desire for my children is only a faint echo of God’s great love for me and for every person He made. I am just an earthly, sinful father, and I love my kids so much it hurts. How could I not trust a heavenly, perfect Father who loves me infinitely more than I will ever love my kids?

Fear is no longer the word I use to describe how I feel about God. Now I use words like reverent intimacy. I still fear God, and I pray that I always will. The Bible emphasizes the importance of fearing God… our culture severely lacks the fear of God, and many of us are plagued with amnesia. But for a long time, I narrowly focused on His fearsomeness to the exclusion of His great and abounding love.

Regardless of the examples that are set above us by blood, season, or circumstance, be encouraged by the fact that God is above all of our perceptions. Our viewpoint does not dictate who God is. God is more than what we can imagine, hope, or wish for. God is our Father, provider, care taker, redeemer, Savior, and friend. We are His children and we ought to never forget that we have been adopted into the royal family and we can call God, “Abba! Father!” Our beloved DAD to lead all dads to his perfectness.

Reader, God bless you! You can buy Crazy Love most anywhere a book is sold.

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Not Everything is Funny


We could not contain our laughter when my dad climbs the stairs whistling as he farts. My brother, Quentin, used to hold a good one just to imitate my dad. “Who am I?” He’d declare quickly getting in place whistling a tune and making sure we could hear his “sounds of nature.” Such a hot mess, but so funny. I would even try to reenact my dad’s notorious stride and fart combination. Such a gross thing, but funny nonetheless.

Out and about, when we’d ask him for the small things like stickers, gum balls, or honey buns, he mostly told us we’d have to wait. Wait for what though? He’d crack a joke and laugh his head off in the dramatic way he does and we’d look at him like, “That’s not funny though.”

Nor is it funny when you swing a full size bath towel to kill a fly in the living room with all the decorative China and sculptures out, Dad. Mom will blame us for that type of reckless behavior. We are the kids here. Why are we telling YOU what to do? That isn’t funny.

Laughing off why you haven’t as much as called in 6 months is not funny.

My baby sister not even really knowing who you are is not a joke.

Seeing you take family pictures with strangers… not funny.

Knowing you live a mere half hour away and you never have gas money to see us? Not funny.

Laughing? I didn’t think so.

Seriously, Dad, the farting is one thing. However, not everything is funny.

 

It’s a respect thing

Men desire two things: being needed and respect. The problem with this is that many times they don’t earn it.

During all of our lives our fathers have failed us; it’s inevitable because no one is perfect. When these failures begin to outweigh the times that our fathers have loved us unconditionally, protected us, provided for us, or cared, we begin to lose respect for them.

Respect is earned; unfortunately men think respect should be given to them freely. At any point, the typical father will demand respect simply because he donated his sperm in the process of making you but what he doesn’t realize is that although his physical characteristics are automatically present his daughter’s respect isn’t.

Women stub their proverbial “relationship toe” every time this subject pops up. As daughters grow up, their picture of men is sketched on the forefront of their brain by their father. The components of man might be a physical beast with strong hands and large shoulders but whether that same being is worthy of any type or degree of respect is dependent on their individual history. At this very time, no matter how great of a guy walked into your life, you may or may not respect him based on how you perceived your father.

Think about your father-figure; did you respect him? Many times we can like a person or think they are fun without truly respecting them. In earlier blogs, I have recommended daughters to start thinking about how their father affected their past and current life; I want you to continue to do so but this time particularly in terms of respect.

Did your father earn your respect? Is it difficult for you to respect men? Without understanding your situation, I urge you to begin go back to the blue prints and reconsider your respect for men. Whether it is your boss, coworker, boyfriend, or spouse; if you can’t respect men, a great disparity will elude you to dysfunction.

Evil Coffee Beans

Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is bad. Starbucks is the worst. I’ll smash empty cups. Tear cardboard heat protector cup holders. I gag at the smell of fresh ground. Have I tasted it? Never. But why should I have to?! It’s addictive and drives people wreckless tearing apart families.

Sound a bit over the top? Of course it is! But you could never convince the 9-15yr. old Keila any different. My family would be eating ground turkey and rice for dinner while my dad took from the grocery fund to buy his precious cups of coffee. Coffee from the home pot wouldn’t suffice. No, his cups had to come from the coffee shop and the more expensive the cup, the better. His cravings were insatiable during the times my mother hated it most.

Dunkin’ coffee is bad. Starbucks is worst.

“Have a sip…” My father leans over to offer me the bitter poop colored liquid.

“No!” I pull away my shoulder and turn my back on him shamelessly displaying my displeasure.

“I want some daddy!” Leila’s voice rose from the backseat as she reached towards him, lapping her tongue like a desperate puppy.

I’ll smash his empty cup. Rip apart the cup holder to a million pieces. Maybe I can destroy his desire for the cup over the care for each of us.

I gag at the smell of fresh ground coffee beans. They cause my mother’s eyes to water outside the shop when He’s inside. I’ll never drink that blasted drink drug that’s driving my father away from us. I’ll never risk the chance to be addicted to the evil coffee beans. Coffee beans stink.

Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is bad. Starbucks is worst…

What’s ironic is that I had to get over my fallible point of view abruptly as I was offered a job at my Muslim friend’s uncle’s Dunkin’ Donuts to save money for my summer abroad as a student ambassador. I justified my accepting the offer as the act of desperation it was having no other options at the moment. I vowed to never drink a drop of coffee in my time there. Though it puzzled each of my co-workers, I successfully went through the 3 month period of work drinking green tea and iced vanilla lattes which I considered different than the normal hot brew.

Slowly, I began to see coffee for what it was: an energy-giving food item that could be manipulated into different forms for the pleasure of the consumer. My every-day customers weren’t home wreckers, they had formed a habit they enjoyed and could more or less afford. Coffee wasn’t for me, but it no longer immediately incriminated the character of its drinkers. On the contrary, as my anger towards the “offence” of coffee dissolved, the roots of hate and bitterness for the offender, my father, grew stronger. The irrationally displaced anger relocated as I grew to love coffee drinkers and eventually enjoy it myself during my international ventures. (As a side note: Honduras has the best coffee in the world.)

I refuse to drink it on a regular basis because it is a costly habit and even the teas, smoothies, and juices I love are not a daily priority. I’m exercising self-control. Something I realized everyone makes a choice to tap into or neglect. My father chose neglect it. His deciding to have no self-control meant an unhappy wife and emotional strain for his children. It wasn’t the “evil coffee beans” that tore us apart, it was his own selfishness.

Are you worth loving?

Today I spoke with a friend about worth. The conversation popped up because I posted a comment about being worthy of love and he said a few things that made me think. Here are the conclusions of that thought process; most people realize they are worth something because somebody loved them. You know you are worth loving just because you are loved. It made me think of the people who grew up without that love or who didn’t get it from their fathers… who taught them they were worth loving?

Many times women who have not been loved by by their father lack a self-worth especially when it comes to men. This insufficiency can manifest itself in some unhealthy ways; we see it all the time. Women, pay attention, feeling worth something via men’s attention, sex, approval, or anything else can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle. I know many women who crave attention from men; its the fuel to feeling needed, wanted, desired, and ultimately WORTH something. Ironically this is coming from me, a guy, who probably has too much experience knowing the right thing to say to get a girl to fall… most of the time its pretty easy (especially with girls who have daddy issues), just give them a compliment, act like you care, and make them feel special.

I know that ninety nine percent of the women who read this will fall into the above category to differing degrees but that is because its natural. Human beings have an innate desire to be needed and wanted; why do you think we pack ourselves down with a thousand unnecessary chores, groups, or responsibilities. Now if it is natural to desire what is the big deal with the above situation with men?

I am guessing you didn’t notice that all of the things that women delight about men are the same characteristics that their dad was supposed to give them. Think about it; approval, attention, time, and even physical touch (not in a dirty way of course). Here is my challenge to every daughter out there: stop finding your self-worth in men. This constant pursuit of worth leads down a never ending spiral of negative interactions that leave you empty handed.

You are worth something; you are worth everything this world has to offer even if your dad never showed you that. A man’s attention is short lived but your worth is not. I know its an inner battle to believe something your dad was suppose to instill but I will say it now: you are worthy to be adored, given attention, spent time with, or blessed with approval. Daughters, you are worthy to be loved.

Dysfunctional Love

This is a poem Leila wrote three years ago as a daughter to her father. Now that she has a son she can only imagine the hurt he will feel from his father not being there when he is older. She is thankful every day that she had a boy, because a girl without her dad is a girl without a definition of love, a boy without a dad is a boy w/o a hero, but at least another hero can take his place.

“Dysfunctional Love”

My first love was my daddy, he held my heart in his hands.
When he sat and listened he taught me love understands.
My first love was my father, I was daddy’s little girl,
When he gave me his time, He was giving me the world,
My first love was dad, my earliest memories revolved around him,
I’d give him my all if he asked me, doting to his every whim,
My first love let me down, When he walked away that day,
HE taught me try as hard as you will, but love won’t stay,
My first love scarred me, gave me this new perception,
That to love means to hurt, to have to live with deception,
My first love took a part of my heart, and was too selfish to see,
While he was hurting my mother, he was slowly killing that piece of me,
My first love let me invest in him, Trying to build up a hopeless case,
Let me love him so much, while he lied to my face,
My first love is still out there, determined to the end he wasn’t wrong,
I try to work out my issues, so the damage wont be prolonged,
My first love hardly calls, but I’ve learned to cope,
He taught me well that love revolves around hope,
My first love is fading from my mind, but he’ll always remain,
As the one who seemingly unconsciously gave love a bad name,
My first love showed me something, And now Im aware,
Any man who in any way resembles my first Love to BEWARE
And dad I hope one day you read this and things change for the good
Instead of you thinking this is just another time you’ve been misunderstood,
My daddy, my father, my friend, you were all of the above,
But you also were the man who was my first dysfunctional love.

I love you dad. I wish you knew how to love me.

-Leila Harris

written: 11/18/09

Check out her blog here.

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Rags to Riches or The Other Way Around

Most women don’t realize they already have everything they will ever need. At this very instant, every single daughter out there is rich even if she owns absolutely nothing. The only reason we, humans, don’t realize we are rich is because we are blind to who we actually are. When I say “rich” I don’t mean fancy watches, cars, houses, or even the Benjamin’s; what I really mean is YOU. This may sound cliche or even corny but stick with me for a bit longer.

Think about this, even with all your issues, problems, history, or misbehavior, you get to chose how you spend your next heartbeat or breath of air. You have the free will to step into the next moment of your life with the expectation of greatness, respect, honor, and success… but it is up to you.

With that said, it’s also your option to give up your riches for rags or give up your rags for riches. Simply put, you are rich because you have the will power to be the at your best even in the midst of anger, pain, or never-ending family issues. So how can you give up these riches? Everyday when we allow the nasty aspects of our history or identity to get in the way living whole. To start living in the richness we are already blessed with means we must become more than the side effects of rotten dads. We must grow in spite of our dads. Don’t give up what you are naturally blessed with because you believe that the rags of your life overpower who you should actually be. Don’t let the chains of anger tether you to the pain that seems to only ferment over time. Don’t allow yourself to become embittered because the man you loved never loved you back.

Nobody deserves to live a life bound to the rags their dad’s bestowed; rather, lets hold to the richness of  who we are and will be become through our Father.

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