For a personal story-telling attempt to figure out my own daddy issues, check out my Youtube video where I delve deeper into some stories and considerations.
I’m currently on an introspective mission, delving deep trying to understand where my self talk and limiting thoughts come from, positive or negative. Every time I understand the original context of an encoded rule or dictate, I find myself liberated from it. Now that is not to say it never ever rears its head again, it does, it is still a lesson. But in not assuming it to be a “true and right and unobjectable” idea I never even question, it becomes this recognizable old friend. “Oh yeah, that did work pretty well back then,” or possibly “Oh goodness how terrible I was forced into that position.” Either way, the source is validated, the inner-child is nurtured and heard, and any negative consequences of out-of-context use for that built-in reaction can be more readily avoided.
It is one method of coming a step closer to understanding how you work, and understanding that leads to greater and greater degrees of self-consciousness, sentience itself which we all take for granted. Is one being sentient when they are acting according to rules and rote assigned to them years ago for reasons they don’t even really understand? That just sounds like an if/then computer program to me. I don’t want to be in the matrix. Do you? Maybe you do. It feels safe there. But it isn’t. You deserve better. We all do.
When on this quest, I have raised a little thought filter which scans more actively for any red flags. Assumptions are a big one. Protective/Defensive ones are too. And of course the negative self-talk, that one is the biggest offender in my world. One which came thru was: “I never had a father and I’m alright.” Now, for one thing, it isn’t even factual, I do have a father and he is still alive and I still talk to him occasionally. But it was such a quick little thing, it flew by like the wind, like a specter. It was so fast, if I wasn’t specifically looking for odd thoughts, I never would have noticed it. It was in response to one story or idea or some sort revolving around an individual spinning out of control due to the lack of a proper father figure, and I found myself feeling contemptuous (repressed because that’s a bad, bad thing to feel, right?) and so that thought raced on by, and the contempt faded a smidge along with it, because it felt validated, however superficially. If that isn’t a coping mechanism, I don’t know what is.
But how is it bad? Well, it is putting my experience and journey automatically above another’s experience. I am saying “Why can’t he manage, I’m perfectly fine and I experienced similar loss. Clearly he did something wrong,” because, obviously, and here’s the delusional thoughts “I am right. I handled it perfectly. I have nothing to correct here. I am perfect.” All very unconscious little assumptions here laced in that simple defensive statement, right? And I wouldn’t have even noticed. Is that sentience? To automatically sooth a stab of deep, painful associations with a lie which places both the burden of perfection on your own shoulders and the inferiority and oppression onto others is not sentience, it’s pure repression.
So then I went into that. Why would I feel like I don’t have a father. Well, because I never really have. Okay. Keep climbing down that rabbit hole. Is it true that I never have? Did I forget something? Then climbing thru more memories, more situations, it becomes akin to going back to an old book you didn’t realize you still had around and rediscovering all the lessons and situations. Why does it seem new when we come back to something after such a long time? We are better able to read a wider array of contextual variations in interpretation, and depending on our mindset, we will or won’t see certain aspects of a story. Now when we are delving in this manner, objectively, almost scientifically, reaching down toward the truth of each chapter, a truth buried behind previous assumptions borne in ignorance or bias.
As an INFJ, or any personality type with limited control over Introverted Sensing, this search backwards thru time can be extremely challenging. I have a lot of difficulty remembering details, I mostly remember feelings and impressions. This is in-line with how an INFJ thinks, certainly, and presents problems which require a bit more effort to align yourself with the past. Side note: personality type preference and cognitive function use in relation to common coping mechanisms to trauma like repression, freezing, lashing out severely, etc. would seem to have an almost direct correlation. Traumas help dictate your personality preferences, as do all life situations, but you know the big painful events have a huge impact. Just because your preference in type has a corresponding weakness in say, remembering past details (being fixated on future goals), that does not mean, at all, that you are incapable of doing so. It means, likely, your preference is part of a coping mechanism designed to keep you safe from details of the past you would rather not look at or acknowledge. See where I’m going? Forget your type as a badge of self-enabling. It stops being useful at that point.
This stuff is universal.
Personally I am quite fond of visualization, so I do recommend you try to see yourself next to your past self as you immerse yourself into the situation. It is not enough to look at the shallow data. When you have gone as deep as you can in surface scanning and you find a specific memory which feels like a source, put yourself right next to you in that time. Sit next to yourself, lie next to yourself in bed. Be there for yourself and stay with the situation as it comes, just take it in. Don’t try to make sense of it while here, just watch and empathize. You will want to retaliate, resist, possibly even rewrite the situation. This can be tricky. But if you feel a sense of artificial relief, like OH you saw this one lovely gesture made by a parent in the moment and it instantly felt like “Oh well, nothing to see here after all, this is lovely, I was reading too much into it, I am so glad ____ didn’t happen,” question your assumptions again. What could have happened? What are you still afraid of in the moment, and why? Stay with the moment. Don’t excuse anything, don’t undermine anything, at least try not to for as long as you can. And it may well be you need to do this in shifts, many many over the course of your entire life for the more traumatic memories, simply because the built up resistance is too strong yet. You’ll get there. Give yourself the space to discover yourself in your own time.
And in many cases as you dive, you’ll find yourself remembering a feeling or motivation you had then, and you can grab onto that and let it take you deeper to an even earlier recollection which puts into context that decision made then. For instance, in the video I talk about a time when I locked my bedroom door in a playful fit, to which my father strongly reacted by yelling and banging on the door to let him in. This not long after witnessing the situations of my parents physically assaulting each other, an eviction (pounding on the door by the landlord), a move from the first best friend I ever had, molestation by another kid in the neighborhood, and even my father considering suicide. I froze and retreated to my bed, terrified of him, terrified he would hurt me or throw me out of this new home we were in. So I grabbed onto that: Why was I afraid?
Back to visions of mother’s head bashed into a cupboard, a gun on the table, the smell of rum and wine and sweat, and my own voice screaming at my father “Don’t hurt my mom!” And then pain, a stab in my back, I must have fallen or been pushed away and hit something. It hurts. I’m crying. And then, I don’t know. Nothingness. My consciousness stepped out of the room then, and my next recollection is sitting at a table or desk in my room fiddling with some drawing or letters. And I feel sick, so my mother is doting on me, and I don’t know where father is, and I don’t care. And then… visions of being at my sister’s house, meeting a lovely man who played video games with me, oh he was a lovely man who saw me. How lovely it would be to have a father like him. A tender and honest man who treats me like a human being and tries to join my world a little. Includes me.
Whoosh. Bam. I have a very early reason now why I would react so defensively and strongly against someone who physically lost their father. How dare they complain, I had a father all along and never really had one at all, and that is a shaming and confusing thing for a child to deal with, which of course, because I still haven’t worked thru these issues entirely, the child, more likely adolescent, brain is the one making all the accusations and throwing coping mechanisms in there. On some level it feels like it would have been easier if he wasn’t there even, I crave the release, the finality, because it would bring peace to the disharmony inside, the knowing I have a father and feeling as I don’t.
But there’s something deeper. Somewhere deep inside, sometime long ago, I did have an undying love for my father as my father. I looked at him in wonder and respect and trust. I still do not remember this, but I know I did. And by the time this situation happened… well, notice I already had dissociated him as part of the family hadn’t I, “Don’t hurt my mom.” She was my mother, not his wife, he had nothing to do with me, he was an invader in our house and how dare he hurt my mother.
Maybe some earlier encounter with a very drunk version of my father was the culprit… It most likely was. There was a Jekyll and Hyde tendency to both of my parents with alcohol, so when they had too much in them, they weren’t really my parents anymore. They became these empty husks of violence and chaos I could not accept as the same people as the parents who loved me. Hmm. Still, I feel like there is more to it that needs to be discovered, so I will continue looking for that string that connects even farther back, and I encourage any readers to do the same with their own introspections. There is no such thing as going too deep. The deeper you go, the more you can grow. You know, out here in the external world where all your dreams and hopes and fears project themselves. Important stuff.
If you find yourself wanting to write or make videos to help explore your own important stuff, and you are willing to share, I would love to hear and see and be there with you on that journey. Seeing others plod along toward themselves inspires me to continue doing so myself, helps to feel not so alone, which is really what the entire point of this blog, any of my projects, is. I put my feelings and my stories out there in the hopes it brings some comfort and nourishment to others, that some of my reflections can bring some answers or moments of clarity to others, but at the very least, I hope it helps others to feel not so alone and lost in themselves. I empathize as I am much that way. I also am very much still trying to find my own answers. We all are really. And I believe in making that quest a top priority in day-to-day life.
No more hiding. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of it. It is time to move forward.