JOURNAL ENTRY: Friday 14 June 2019

My back tooth infection hasn’t been any better today and I’ve felt kind of ill because of it. I don’t feel particularly bad, but I don’t feel that good either. I’m wondering if I’ve got the beginning of a cold?

I haven’t done any writing today, as England have been playing the West Indies in the cricket world cup, so I’ve taken a day off to listen to that. Quite fortunate, given how I’m feeling physically.

What I did do was walk into town at lunch time and get a fathers day card. I was surprised how conflicted I was feeling whilst doing it. I haven’t seen my dad in some time. It’s probably been about 18 months and to be honest, I’m not really sure why, so this was a good opportunity to have a think and a review what’s going on with me. Here goes…

I know my dad is a good guy. The more I work and learn about the 12 Step program of ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families), the more I’m able to accept my parents for who they are. The main theme of ACA is that family dysfunction is hereditary. Dysfunctional families struggle to communicate and I can’t relate to that. I have very little contact with my family, mainly because I find them so triggering. It’s just easier to not have contact. As a co-dependent, I used to want to fix that, but I seem to have accepted that this is just how it is now and I have detached with love. Yeah, I think that’s it. If I’m being completely honest, I know I love them, I just don’t particularly like them or have any real desire to get to know them.

Maybe it’s enough to just do little things, like cards, to show that I’m thinking about them? This is interesting, because previously I’ve closed myself off from even thinking about them, so I haven’t done cards or presents in ages. I can’t remember the last time I sent my dad a fathers day card and I’ve avoided sending anyone else a birthday card for the last few years. At the moment I’m feeling like I’m willing to take a small step to let them back in, but that’s it. I don’t want full blown contact, but a little reminder now and then, I can cope with.

It’s no coincidence that my depression has been in remission for the last 12-18 months, because I’ve made some life choices to keep me safe and sane. I use the sphere of influence to determine what I pay attention to. Essentially I am at the centre of my REALiTY, which I used to believe was selfish, but I now acknowledge as simple fact. REALiTY is entirely subjective and I am the observer of my REALiTY, so it does revolve around me. If I can’t change it, because it’s outside my sphere of influence, it’s not worth me worrying about, because it’s a futile effort. Politics is a great example. Unless I’m willing to engage in the political process, there is NOTHiNG I can do to change things on a day to day basis. Reading and watching the news only winds me up, because it makes me realise how ill our designated leaders really are. I always vote, even when it seems pointless to do so, but that’s my contribution. I don’t have the energy to do any more, so I set a boundary that that is all I do. LiFE has been so much easier since making that decision, as I don’t get pulled into a “fix the world” mentality anymore.

Family is another good example, because as a co-dependent, I used to want to “fix” them. I now accept that they are their own people and that they are responsible for their own choices. It used to be easier to focus on their shit, rather than focus on my own. To be honest, it’s enough work learning to understand and manage my own emotions, without trying to do that for anyone else.

When I look at what my part is in all this, I see that I wanted to assert control over others. This is a trait that would also play out in my other relationships, particularly romantic ones. I’m seeing that this relates to my perfectionism, because firstly I was really arrogant and saw myself as perfect and secondly I wanted the other person to be perfect. I couldn’t accept that we all make mistakes and that mistakes are a vital part of the learning process. First Attempt Is Learning (FAIL). Rather than support and encourage, I would criticise and attempt to control.

Hmm… I think this might be what I find so triggering about being around my family. We are all controlling people who like to dish out advice without being asked. Thinking about this, I’m now much better as accepting this trait in others, as occasionally my recovery buddies will do this, and I’m able to recognise that they are just talking about themselves, even though their advice appears to be directed at me. Interesting. It’s about remaining in control of myself and seeing the other person for who they are. I can listen to their advice, and accept it as valid for them, without needing to criticise or argue the toss with the other person.

Again, it’s all about acceptance. Acceptance is the key. If I accept myself and my own experience, knowledge and wisdom, I don’t need to argue the toss with someone who I don’t agree with. As the saying goes:

The warrior who trusts his path doesn’t need to prove the other is wrong.

Paulo Coelho
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