Perhaps you can relate to this:
You have tried everything; meditation, yoga, books, podcasts, attend church or self-help groups, work on forgiveness…
Yet the deep peace that you long for remains just out of reach.
You are conscious of undercurrents of stress or fear in your body.
And it shows because you get triggered too easily.
You simply wish that you could press the RESET button on your nervous system.
Or that your emotional heart could receive a complete UPGRADE..
Well, that used to be me when it came to my innermost relationship with my dad.
It’s not that I didn’t love him….. I did!
There was simply so much fear in my body, that every time he was around, I went into shutdown.
I couldn’t really be my true authentic self with him and I hated myself for it.
There wasn’t an easy flow of love towards my dad.
I wrote about my father issues in my memoir: ‘You Are The Miracle! How being hit by a truck saved my life.’ (Which you can buy in local bookshops, at our facilities or online here)
It wasn’t until after I carelessly got knocked down and left for dead by a Dutch truck driver in 2006 that I started to connect the dots.
I had 12 weeks lying flat on my back, with nothing to do, other than survive the pain and think about my life.
Many painful memories came flooding back of domestic violence.
The most painful one is of my dad kicking my mum up her bum, as she tried to get away from him up the stairs.
I was 4 or 5 at the time.
I was rooted to the ground as if I got struck by lightning.
My whole Universe as I had known it collapsed there and then.
Normally my dad was a real gentleman to my mum.
He took all her idiosyncrasies in his stride (and she had many).
He overlooked her deformities. (She had a hunchback where her spine disappeared underneath her shoulder blade, giving her a very short deformed torso with incredibly long legs and arms.)
He loved and adored my mum…
But his Achilles heel was his anger problem.
To others, my dad was known as the calm one, the rock, the man with infinite patience, a picture of physical and inner strength.
They didn’t know that a small incident would break him open and hell would erupt.
But thankfully I only have the one memory where he physically lashed out at my mum.
The rest of the times, us kids would take the brunt of his outbursts.
For decades I believed it was normal, that I must have deserved it somehow.
This belief is so deeply ingrained that there is a small treacherous part of me that still believes this is normal behaviour for a father.
It surfaces when I watch a movie for instance.
I start holding my breath when the leading female starts to get a bit too audacious.
I tense up, my palms get all sweaty, expecting the lead male character to assault her to put her in her place.
Without this kind of external feedback, I wouldn’t even be conscious that I still have those programs running.
After my parents migrated to Tasmania, my dad continued to have little eruptions, resulting in whacking my kids in front of me.
Strange enough, he didn’t do it when Pete was around.
I would tell myself: it’s OK, its not a big deal.
“Out of respect” for my parents, I never broached the subject of domestic violence.
Because it was never discussed.
That was supposed to mean that it never happened.
But unbeknownst to me, it was a VERY BIG DEAL for me.
In those moments what came flooding back to me were the times when I shut myself down. Instead of standing up for myself, making my voice heard, demanding respect for my opinion or expressing my emotions or needs.
I needed a truck accident in 2006 and then a stint with PTSD from 2008 till 2013 to open my eyes to the real truth that it wasn’t OK. It was a big deal after all.
But let me get this clear: Anger is not the problem.
It’s being in denial of anger, not owning it or dealing with it, that creates the problems.
Anger is simply a feeling.
It isn’t bad or good.
It’s like a cloud in the sky. The sky doesn’t blame the cloud for being there.
Your Real Self doesn’t judge the anger either (or the sadness or fear or guilt or shame… its all the same to your soul.) It’s the ego-mind that resists, and what you resist persists.
The role of anger is to warn you that something isn’t right.
It is telling you to stop doing something or to change something that is causing you pain.
It’s warning you: Wake up! Pay attention! Make it stop!
I believe that at the root of anger is fear and trauma.
My dad was a simmering pile of anger and so was his father (I was just as scared of my opa as I was of my dad.)
A lot of my dad’s anger issues were inherited from his ancestors and exacerbated by his childhood and WWII.
See, when a whole lot of anger occurs over many decades and it isn’t expressed, it doesn’t go away, it compresses.
My parents and grandparents were devout Christians and they mistakenly believed that feelings of anger had to be denied, repressed or handed over to God.
My dad had a strict routine. He would get up early every day and spent the first hour reading the scriptures and meditating. Then he prepared breakfast for the family.
At night he meditated which was usually followed by a good night sleep.
I think his anger wasn’t a problem to him.
He was deeply unconscious about it.
This didn’t take away from the fact that his anger problem coloured my entire childhood.
Even when my dad was dying (at age 91) last year, I noticed that I still felt fearful of him when he got stroppy.
And he only got cranky with his daughters not his sons which was so typical of many Dutch men of his era.
I was always wary of the supersized steel tank that he’d put around his pressurized anger in case it would explode.
Eventually, when my dad started to age, he lost his steel grip on his emotions a bit and he often cried out of the blue.
Now I know that diverting your anger into sadness doesn’t really do the trick either.
Misdirecting the energy will make you feel better for a moment, but will do nothing to solve the problem.
It will not get you to the cause.
Ultimately, it will not resolve your anger.
That’s the reason my dad cried more and more, which must have been terribly uncomfortable for him because it was always untimely.
He never learnt to listen to the message of his anger, so he died with all that pressurized energy inside his body.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming my dad for anything.
I’m simply stating how it was for me because I see similar traumas in my clients.
And they lead to cancer, strokes or heart attacks.
Take Lucinda for instance.
She had been estranged from her dad for years, with a history of abuse much worse than mine.
When she got the news that her father had passed away suddenly, she collapsed.
She shook in fear for weeks.
She hadn’t realized how much fear she had stored in her tissues and now that he was gone, it all wanted to come out at once.
That was the beginning of the unravelling as she also got diagnosed with cancer not long after.
Thankfully she is now in remission and doing well, after years of regular sessions and a complete resetting of her nervous system.
The worst thing for me was that my heart could never entirely defrost towards my dad.
I hated myself for that.
There was always a tiny hard pebble there of mistrust, and it was completely irrational.
I was hoping that once my dad died, my heart would become all soft, secure and at peace.
That all my demons would vanish with my father’s last breath.
Of course, that wasn’t the case.
The truth is that the issue hadn’t been my dad for decades.
The real problem was my own bully I had created in the likeness of my dad (from my earliest childhood).
When I was young, my dad was my unconscious symbol for incredible strength and stamina, whereas my mum, who was always unwell, was symbolic of victimhood.
I must have made a decision at a very young age to be strong like my dad.
Hence the birth of my own legion of bullies.
After my father died, I actually felt a lot of anger.
This took me by surprise.
I was angry all of August, September, October, November, and then finally, in December 2018, the anger lifted just as quick as it had appeared.
I haven’t felt that kind of anger since.
If I had to describe it, it felt like a pure, steady flow of raw anger energy.
Thankfully, I knew what to do…. I acknowledged its presence on waking up, was conscious of it during the day, and said goodbye to it at night.
I gave it room inside my body and I listened to it and learnt from it.
There were many healing sessions, I wrote in my journal, screamed into a pillow, meditated and reflected.
But even after that process, the frozen pebble remained.
Then recently, 16 months after his death, my heart finally defrosted.
After 57 years of longing to have a father-daughter connection ‘like everyone else’, my father arrived home in my heart.
All the soul-searching, effort, time and money looking for answers paid off.
I can now feel his sweet essence and meet it with openness, coming from a very tender place of my heart.
Where there was fear and hardness, there is now openness and trust.
A secure knowing that I am being held by affectionate love.
Somehow this huge shift just happened ‘out of the blue’ one ordinary day.
But the truth is that nothing happens out of the blue…
Life is painful and it takes dedication, raw honesty and commitment to self-love to dissolve trauma and disconnect.
But I am here to tell you that it’s all worth it!
If I can do it, so can you!
If you are on a journey of personal and spiritual evolution: keep going!
Sooner or later, you will be able to get in touch with all the parts of yourself that you compartmentalized.
That you supressed and oppressed and split off.
It is a deeply revelatory and healing process, this coming home to yourself to a love that embraces you exactly as you are.
To enjoy moments of rest in this love, like floating on your back in warm water.
I now want to sit with it every day, live with it and further refine it so I can share it with all my clients and loved ones.
Lets face it….
We all have things to recover from.
Big things, small things. Bad things happen to all of us.
Some things are too big for you…
Remember you are not alone, you never were alone and never will be alone
You are always surrounded by your spiritual family.
You are deeply known and understood.
Your loved ones are conscious of your struggles.
Ask for help and keep asking..
Help will always come for those who wait…
Don’t give up on your quest for healing too early.
And be open to surprise gifts as well!
Focus on your own beautiful heart. Be your own parent. Be your own medicine.
Don’t waste time blaming others. They simply played a part in your story.
Things happen for you, not to you.
Above all, remember that you are on track.
You are right where you are meant to be.
Everything in your life is going according to plan.
Miracles happen when you learn to let go and begin to trust.
Your relationship hasn’t finished when your loved one died.
Sometimes people die so they can be close to us all the time.
Listen for them, ask for a sign, wait for a cue.
You will be enriched!
Much love as always, Grada
PS2: Remember I am here to support you in every way possible, so if you are stuck in pain, confusion or overwhelm, or simply want to enjoy deeper love and connection with yourself or others, book in for a series of sessions so you can move forward and shine your light.
Ring 03 6428 3007 or book online using the link below and make 2020 your best year yet!