This is my old story, in a pseudo comic book layout. It is story I had been repeating to myself for my whole adult life. In order to fill the squares I needed to identify the key elements of my life story:
- Emigration – I was told, “you’re really a Dublin girl.”
- My mother’s illness, as well as her emotional needs
- My responsibilities as her substitute parent
- Promises of better days that never came. “In time to come…” and “when we move back to Ireland…”
The stick figures represent, from left to right:
- My father, who was often away from home, travelling for business. When he did come home he brought a big black cloud with him.
- My mother, who was often ill in bed, suffering from various ailments and depression.
- My older brother, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was in his mid-teens.
- Me, holding my new baby brother.
- My other younger brother, and my little sister
Then there were Eckhart Tolle’s words:
“As long as you make an identity for yourself out of pain, you can never be free of it.”
Wow! Stop the presses!
My story was about growing up in a family steeped in pain.
What good was this story doing? Was it helping me – at all?
Maybe it was keeping me stuck and in pain.
Maybe I needed a new story.
I didn’t need to pretend that these things never happened – they did.
And some things were still difficult. But a lot of my life was pretty great.
I could choose what aspects of my current life would define me.
I could choose!
If I chose to build my identity from the pain of the past, I would never be free of it.
And I wanted freedom!
One thought on “22. An Old Story”
What has always amazed me is how the Spirit within us can transform the difficulties and suffering from the family of origin into our growth and wholeness, Most of us come from dysfunctional families and yet the path to freedom and recovery is also a conscious choice.It takes time and persistence to be free and it is attainable.