A client of mine thought he had resolved his troubled relationship with his father by putting distance between them and deciding to not expect anything from his father. He told himself that it didn’t really matter and he didn’t care that his father never seemed to care about him or what he was going through in life. The problem is that was not the truth.
After his wife discovered he was having an affair she confronted him with her perception of this truth: “you are just like your father”! This is the last thing he wanted to hear or acknowledge but in truth his behavior was a replay of what he saw his father do to his mother. Those carefully compartmentalized feelings about his father were being acting out unconsciously. As his marriage fell apart so did his defenses and he now started to confront the reality of his choices, painful as it was. He started to heal as he allowed himself to feel his pain and regret. However, the presence of his father still loomed.
Emotional healing happens at different levels as you are able to access compacted areas of pain stored within. It took a while for this client to get to this layer because his immediate need was processing the loss of his marriage. As we began to explore the relationship with his father he realized he had been lying to himself since he was a child in order to protect himself from further disappointment. His task now is to tell the truth and give himself permission to feel what he really feels about this primary relationship he long ago rejected. This will open up possibilities to release previously unrecognized pain and to redefine his relationship with his father. He most likely will still not get what he would like from his father but he will be able to relate to him and to himself differently.
You cannot find emotional freedom by simply pushing aside the experiences and parts of your life you don’t like or don’t want to face. Freedom lies on the other side of your pain and fear about whatever it is that you have avoided. Begin by looking in the mirror and being honest with yourself. You don’t need to force anything, simply give yourself permission to feel what you feel. As feelings get stirred within, notice yourself noticing them and be aware of how you choose how to respond to them. As you become more aware and experience your own feelings you can choose to respond with compassion, forgiveness, and release, first to yourself and then also to the others who have hurt and disappointed you. Then you can decide how to redefine these key relationships and integrate your experiences in new ways.