Editor’s note: The following article refers to spiritual concepts. Please read Lovefraud’s statement on Spiritual Recovery.
My father appeared to be a very successful business man. Our family lived in a home on Biscayne Bay, had money and was very well known. He served as a pilot in the Air Force, was very good looking and extremely charming. From the outside, our life looked almost perfect.
Like any young boy, I idolized my dad. When in his presence, I was almost hypnotized by him. I was extremely attracted to the way he approached life. I guess it’s normal for a boy to want to be just like his father. I wanted to believe everything that he told me. As best I could tell, he treated me pretty well. He took care of me, gave me money, taught me to hunt and spent time teaching me lessons about life.
Unfortunately, these lessons were coming from a different perspective on life than most children are exposed to, from that of a sociopath. For the most part, sociopaths treat their children like possessions, and I was my father’s favorite. He treated me special and I liked it. All of this only added to my confusion as a kid, because much of the time he seemed like a great dad. Still, something wasn’t right. There were conditions attached to his love, and I knew it. This underlying uneasiness was causing me problems, too.
From as far back as I can remember I would have terrifying recurring nightmares. I didn’t understand why and didn’t talk about it because I thought it was a sign of weakness. I would wake up in the middle of the night, gasping for breath and feel as if the weight of the world was crushing down on me. I couldn’t breathe, and would feel a serious and frightening threat that I didn’t understand. This threat was extremely elusive and I couldn’t identify what it was. I didn’t know where the threat was coming from, only that it was close. It was always close, surrounding me on all sides. The dreams felt real. I tried to dismiss them as just “kid stuff”, but I was really scared. I hated myself for this.
I always felt unsettled and frightened. Something just wasn’t right, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. It might have been just a small detail, but it felt really important. My mind would tell me that it just didn’t add up or make sense. With no point of reference, the only thing I knew to do was to let it go. Whatever the conflict, I was not able to reconcile the problem or rationalize what it meant to me. Consequently, I would bury it. What I was seeing was so frightening that I didn’t want to know the truth. A lie was more acceptable. I lived in this confusing space.
On the outside I probably appeared to be like any other kid my age. I made good grades, was fairly outgoing, had friends and tried my best to fit in. It helped that I always had nice things and could afford to do most anything that my friends did. My dad taught me to be respectful and to say yes sir and no sir when addressing adults. They liked that, and I was typically a favorite of my friends’ parents.
The problem was that while my father was teaching me some of the right ideas his behavior was offering a different point of view. This was my experience with my father, and it happened often. His behavior was raising questions that I could not answer. I can see them now, but at the time, I didn’t want to believe what I was seeing or feeling.
Being raised by a sociopath creates its’ own set of issues that must be dealt with in order to break free from the suffering caused by these experiences. Forgiveness is the ultimate goal, but awareness of my own altered view of life also needs to be recognized and addressed to really have any success with recovery.
The result is seeing the world through this distorted filter, virtually altering all of my relationships and life’s experiences. Simply blaming my dad was not going to set me free from the damage done. I needed to acknowledge how and why I behaved the way I behaved.
For me, as many of you know, The Process of Forgiving is what set me Free. But, I had to take responsibility for how I used this experience to harm myself and others before I could stop doing it.
If we continue to harm ourselves with the past, we are, in essence, repeating the behavior that we so despise. At least, that was my experience. As a result, I am very forgiving of myself, and others. I do not interact with sociopaths or harmful people, nor condone the behavior, but I do forgive it. When I do that, I feel peace, and I like that better than nightmares.
The funny part and most rewarding is that when I forgive and let live I stop attracting sociopaths and start attracting people who are kind, loving and forgiving. That, in itself, is a very valuable spiritual lesson. Now, that’s A Miracle!
Thanks for reading this. Hope you experience a Miracle today. Peace.