Major Guilt and Buckets of Tears 16

It is either already or almost Thursday in much of the world so instead of Wordless Wednesday I share this post inspired by Breathe In Now « Try Defying Gravity.

Mistakes Made, Opportunities Missed and Guilt

I still cry sometimes over all the mistakes made and the opportunities missed. I think it is a common parental condition that comes with the autism spectrum diagnosis. I usually try to avoid talking about it publicly because I know my daughter hates to see me cry, not because she does not care, but because she cares too much. The diagnosis does not bring the tears in my case, the guilt does. All the years we failed to understand her and caused her life to be more of a struggle than it should have been bring tears.

Opportunities Missed: More Understanding, More Family Time, and More Travel

There are buckets of tears for opportunities that we missed, not for more therapy, but for more understanding, for more family time including travel that included consideration of her sensory sensitivities. The tears flow over the visits to Georgia never taken to visit my family after disastrous travel experiences due to our lack of understanding of transitional and sensory difficulties. I flew to Dad’s funeral alone when she was fourteen months old for this reason and to Mom’s bedside as she lay dying, alone again, for the same reason. I cry for all the times I failed to adequately explain to family and friends how much I wanted to be there and why I could not.

Others’ Lack of Understanding and Condemnation Including Doctors

Rivers of tears fall when I remember all the times I failed to protect her from others’ lack of understanding and from their condemnation of her and us. I cry for all the years we allowed doctors to treat her like a lab rat instead of a child with a big heart. I cry for the years we treated her differences like they are something to be ashamed of when they are not.

Seeing Her Heart

More tears for every time people have let her down and I have failed to call them on it. Many still do not see the heart of my delightful child who is now a wonderful teenager, soon to spread her wings as she blossoms into an exceptional young woman. I cry because I cannot get all those wasted opportunities back.

Cherishing Now

The best I can do is cherish the time we have today and hope and pray for more joy in her life in all of her tomorrows.  I encourage her as she shares her story, and I work to educate others so other little girls and their families benefit from our mistakes.  I work on forgiving myself and others, as I hope and pray for a future where acceptance and kindness are the norm regardless of people’s differences. I also pray everyday asking God to send his angels to watch over my family and to help heal the world.  I am grateful for the Delightfully Different Life I get to share and for the opportunity to educate others.

Final Steps to Learning How to Forgive 4

My Angel Music Box ©Delightfully Different LifeBeginning the Final Steps

The final steps to forgiveness from Dr. Luskin’s book Forgive for Good begin with recognizing what he calls the unenforceable rules of wishes and hopes.  This is what I fail victim to recently when I got upset about something that was out of my control.

Sometimes we have to accept that the goal we set will not be reached in the way we envisioned.  That does not mean our goal is bad, it just means that we do not always have control over every situation.

Chosing Alternate Goals or Routes

We can make a decision to alter our goal or go a different direction when this happens rather than stewing over our disappointment and anger and allowing it to eat us alive.  This may mean severing a relationship or it may mean looking at it from a different view and adapting our plan, but either way the point is to get unstuck so we can move on with our lives.

Instead of demanding others comply with our demands, we have to change our thinking to hoping our wishes come true and working to make this happen while realizing there will always be road blocks in life.  Some we can go around, others we must go over or even under, sometimes we must turn around and regroup or walk or even run away. On a rare occasion maybe it is even okay to plow through the road block. However, first we must carefully weigh the danger and determine if it is safe or at least worth the risk.  We must put aside our anger to make the best decision.

Refocus on Positive Intention

We need to turn the focus back to our positive intention and find another way to make that intention our destiny.  I believe that our true purpose in life is to learn from our mistakes.  Dr. Luskin  states, “The person or event that hurt us is important insofar as we can learn from the situation.  In no way, though, do we allow our grievance to distract us from our goal.”

He goes on to say what so many of us heard growing up. Our greatest revenge on someone who hurt us is to move on and find peace.  He explains how to find your intention if you are unsure of what your intention is.

The Last Step: HEAL

The last step to forgiveness is HEAL.

  1. H is for hope.  Hope for understanding.
  2. E is for educate.  Educate yourself that you will experience disappointments.
  3. A is for affirm.  Affirm your positive intention.
  4. L is for Long-term commitment.  This is your long-term commitment to your well-being by doing whatever it takes to help you move forward.

I choose to educate others to help them avoid the same mistakes as part of my long-term commitment to heal from the mistakes I made when I did not understand my daughter.  Your long-term commitment may involve assertiveness training, counseling, stress management or something else. Near the end of the book Dr. Luskin also discusses ways to forgive yourself. Like me you may have to go back to some of these steps at times when someone unexpectedly pushes your buttons and you find yourself once again needing to forgive yourself and/ or others.

I am grateful for the reminders throughout this book that I can regroup and go back to the stages when I falter in my forgiveness journey. I am grateful for all of the angels on Earth and in heaven who help me with this and I am grateful to those of you who share this journey.

Back to How to Forgive Series 3

I have written several posts on forgiveness and I still believe it is important yet, recently I once again found myself stuck and reacting to hurt in ways that I know do not work.

Path to Forgiveness: Part III

Today, I am back on my spiritual path to forgiveness with part three of my review of Dr. Frederic Luskin’s Forgive for Good.  You may remember from my first post that Dr. Luskin makes it clear, “Forgiveness in no way condones cruelty or unkind treatment.” It is about letting go of resentment for your health and emotional well-being.  I thought I was doing this, but recent events prove I have not finished with this yet.

So far, I have changed our story from a negative experience to a positive one as my daughter is doing well since she got away from the negative school environment.  I have spent time focusing on the positives in our lives this year which is the second step. You can do this by looking for and noticing the good even if it is as simple as seeing someone smile or that pet that is happy to see you.


lt is time to focus on Dr. Luskin’s next step, PERT, the Positive Emotion Refocusing Technique.  This step is about managing our reactions and emotions.  We have to take responsibility for how we feel even if we do not like what happened.

Next is to give a breath of thanks two or three times every day when you are not fully occupied, focus on your breathing, allow air to gently push your belly out and consciously relax your belly as you exhale so it feels soft.  Do this for five to eight times while saying thank you for your life.  Now take two more breaths and then you may resume your regular activity.

Heart Focus

Once you have mastered the technique above, you are ready to move to the heart focus step.  This step is more of a meditation.  Do five minutes of breathing utilizing the soft belly method and then think of a powerful loving memory or a scene in nature that filled you with tranquillity.  Try to re-experience this and hold peaceful feelings for as long as possible.  Do this for ten to fifteen minutes before you slowly open your eyes and resume your activities.  Dr. Luskin suggests doing this three times a week.

You can try a shorter version of this when you are upset for any reason by trying to bring that positive feeling into focus instead so the negativity does not overwhelm you.  This does not mean you are never allowed to feel angry, but rather that you do not let that anger overwhelm you and cause you to make poor choices. Come back tomorrow for the final post on Forgive for Good.

Still a Work in Progress 19

I have to learn to expect less while still hoping for more. I have to try to be as good as my Golden Retriever thinks I am.

I have said it before and I am saying it again. Forgiveness is hard especially forgiving family members who seemingly fail to understand or even to try to understand. I had a small rant on Facebook yesterday related to this. I became the Grizzly Bear Mom again and charged ahead. The thing is I really think the people I get mad with are clueless. They do not see what I expect them to see.

Maybe they cannot see. Maybe they never will. Maybe I have to forgive them anyway and let it go. This is what my child is doing and now she has become the teacher.  I have to go back to my previous posts and make more time to work on the steps Frederic Luskin outlines in his book, Forgive for Good.  I hope to get back to posting about this next week.

Addendum to explain this post:

I asked all of our family to support my daughter and all of them are aware of how hard April and May of 2011 were for us. In July of 2011, I posted a comment to address my daughter’s You Tube video on my personal FB wall. I had posted her video on my wall the previous Thursday. She posted her video on her own FB wall the previous Wednesday, and she okayed my posting her video as long as I shared only with family. I hoped that my family would listen to her video. I believed that her voice and her words would touch their hearts since they have failed to comment on her blog posts.

I thought they were just not comfortable posting on her wall and they would comment on mine. Initially none of them responded, all of the families of my close first cousins responded either on my wall or hers except for one, who is rarely on FB and another, who is on vacation.

My brothers still have not been heard from although two of their wives did respond after my post. They are married to the two brothers who aren’t on FB. The third brother’s wife is never on FB, but he liked something she posted on his wall. I told him about the video when I talked to him Thursday, so I know he knew about it. Still he has not responded to her video. My brothers all married wonderful women, and as I mentioned in a previous post one of my brothers is battling cancer, so I can forgive him completely. Plus, he has always made an effort to stay in touch and to talk to my children.

I honestly believe all three of them love me, but it is very frustrating to realize they can watch my daughter’s video and still not call or at least e-mail. Their wives should not have to handle things for them. I have told them this previously and their wives have told them too. That is why I am so frustrated with them.

My daughter actually wanted to post the video on her blog, but I did not think that is a good idea since so many spammers and others sometimes try to make less than desirable comments on our blogs. That is also the reason I do not openly mention or link to her blog. Her blog has avoided conflict and spam while mine has not. She is growing up, but I am still protective.