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Monday, March 03, 2014

Making a connection

It has been nearly 18 years since my family dynamic changed drastically. I haven't had a lot of opportunities to connect with others with similar experiences, which could be considered both good and bad. I mean, I wouldn't want someone else to go through something like what I went through, but I do want to be of service to anyone who has.

In the past week, I've felt strongly that I could reach out to someone whose situation, while very different from mine, hit close to home for me. I imagine questions are being asked both in private and aloud that sound a lot like the ones that ran through my head for years (and I must admit they still do creep in from time to time).

Wondering about the existence or strength of a parent's love is a very scary thing. It's far too easy to believe that choices made are a reflection of how much, or little, a child matters to a caregiver. But it's not always so black and white and that was hard for me to see for a long time. I related my dad's actions to how he felt about me and my family. In reality, his problems were his own and they consumed him so fully he didn't have any room to think of others.

But separating one's own self-worth from the approval and interactions of a parent can be difficult, especially when one has yet to come into one's own. Now, as an adult, I feel more comfortable in my own skin and can believe my value is independent from anyone else. But as a child... that's a tall order.

So, having extended the invitation, I'll be here. I'll listen, I'll validate, I'll emphasize. Hopefully I'll stand as an example that time really can heal deep wounds, and life can go on. There can even be joy.

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