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Monday, April 12, 2010

My Foggy Belief Window--with an aside

Before I get started on how my belief window has cleared up, I want to tell you about my awesome anniversary!  One of the great things about being married so long is that you know each other so well.  Darrell is a great gift giver--he gives me presents and thoughtful mementos all the time.  I tell him that every day is Christmas and Valentine's Day.  Neither of us needs to wait till a specific day to buy a gift or show the other how much they're loved.  Our anniversary is no exception.

So, what did we do?  We had a lazy morning in bed watching old Westerns.  Then I went to get my hair straightened (one of his gifts) and Darrell made a trip to Nashville.  That afternoon I piddled around in the house while he was out in the garage.  We then ran some errands and went to dinner--at Chick Fil A!  Most of the nicer restaurants are super busy on Saturday nights and we didn't want to fight the traffic or crowds.  Besides, we go out to eat all the time (Darrell knows I hate to cook).  When the manager at Chick Fil A found out it was our anniversary, he gave us a stuffed cow!  Then we went home and just had a great night spending time together.

Okay, on to the belief window.  This will probably be long and so may come in installments.  However, we are leaving for a 2-week vacation this Thursday, so it may drag out longer than I originally intended.  For my family members who read this blog, please know that these skewed impressions came about long before you did, therefore none of it is your fault or responsibility!  (This means you, Sharon!)

So, boys and girls, did you do your homework?  Did you at least skim one or more of the links?  I hope so.  If not, I'll wait while you do that now.

Oh, back already?  Let's get started then!  I've thought and thought about the best way to present this so it'll make sense and not be too awfully long.  Here's what I'm gonna do:  just list my "beliefs" and how I came to that way of thinking, and what I've replaced that belief with.  We good?

1. "My own parents didn't want me, so I must not be lovable."  I believed this because my birth mother left my father and me when I was about 6 months old.  When my father couldn't take care of me, I went to live with my aunt and uncle at age 2.  I only saw my father twice in the next 15 years--he never called or wrote.  I saw my birth mother occasionally when she would come to visit from out of state.  She never wrote to me or called me, either.  She never acted like she was my mother when she visited.  Maybe she didn't want to confuse me or felt she had given up that privilege. 

I've replaced that belief with this: "My own parents couldn't take care of me and loved me enough to find people who could.  They loved me enough to let my aunt and uncle raise me and not get in the way.  They loved me enough to give away part of themselves and live with that decision for the rest of their lives.  My own parents wanted me and loved me."

What changed this belief:  Four years ago, my oldest daughter died unexpectedly.  Two months later, my birth mother Ann came to visit my aunt.  Since I hadn't seen Ann in over ten years, I went to see her.  Losing Shana had softened my heart considerably toward the world in general.  Plus Ann had lost her husband not long before and I knew she would understand my pain.  When I got out of the car, Ann came to greet me.  No words were spoken--she just wrapped her arms around me and held on.  That was the closest thing to a "mom" hug I'd ever had.  She whispered in my ear how much she loved me and how sorry she was about Shana.  My broken heart started to mend from that moment.  In the years since, we've spoken on the phone many times.  As I posted recently, she just came for a visit.  I've also spoken to my sisters Sharon and Connie.  I asked hard questions and they've all answered honestly.  Hearing of how they grew up and what they went through has let me know how much better off I was with my aunt and uncle.

2.  "The family I was adopted into sees me as an interloper and doesn't want me around."  While I wasn't officially adopted, this is the only way I can think of to describe the situation.  The aunt who took me in had 5 children of her own, and even grandchildren by the time I came to live with her.  Those children had been through some tough times while growing up--hunger, poverty, etc.  By the time I came along, all that was behind my aunt and we lived in a nice house.  My aunt had a good job, and my uncle was in the Army.  While we weren't extravagant, I never went without.  I had nice clothes, enough to eat, a bike, etc.  Some would say I was spoiled.  I basically grew up as an only child, since my aunt's youngest was 15 when I came to live with them.  All the others were already married.  I always felt they resented me because I was reaping the rewards of what they had helped build. 

I've replaced that belief with this: "I am considered part of the family.  They include me and want me around."

What changed:  My aunt (the one who raised me and I call Mama) was recently misdiagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  I spent a lot of time at the hospital and had several opportunities to talk to the family members I felt had resented me all this time.   I've come to realize lately that they weren't excluding me--I was excluding myself.  My tendency is to build a wall around myself and not let people in.  That way I can't get hurt.  Some people have cared enough about me to scale the wall or tunnel under it--or just keep chipping away till they get in.  Usually though I go around in a glass bubble--I can interact with people, but no hurt (or worse rejection) can get in.  I decided it was time to face my demons and talk to those involved openly and honestly.  Tears were shed, hugs were shared, and understanding was given.  Healing has begun.

That's enough for now.  I hope you'll stick with me on this.  Feel free to leave a comment.  I hope too this may help any of you who might also be looking through a foggy window.


Lauren said...

Happy Anniversary!

I know you think your post is long, but could you share what made your belief window change?

Connie said...

Wow, you really have my wheels turning. Hmmm, I am going to have to digest the whole 'belif window' theory.

Keep going, I am finding this quite interesting.

By the way, Happy Anniversary to you and your sweetie.

Shawn said...

Awesome! I look forward to hearing the rest. I need to start working on my own. Thanks for the inspiration.

Jenn said...

I am really looking forward to reading the rest of your story. Thank you for sharing yourself, I know it's hard to do, at least it is for me. *climbs back in her own bubble*

6L's said...

hey, did you get your hair chemically straightened? i know it's off the subject, haha, but hey, i think i knew all this about you. loved your hair sunday!!

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Congratulations on the change! So many people go through life with wrong belief windows! You are wonderful. This is such a great example of the Truth Tool Revision. Do you mind if I put a link in my blog to this entry! It is powerful. You can answer me through email at or on my blog. Thanks for sharing this!!!!

Sweet Tea said...

Our youngest daughter is adopted and reading how you perceive the world through your eyes gives me pause. Some interesting things to digest. Thanks for sharing this and doing all the hard work of sorting your feelings.

Sharon said...

I know I am behind on reading your post. Im sorry. I will do better. I want to say I am truly sorry for all that you have been thru. I wish I could go back in time and change the way things happened. I am truly blessed to have you in my life and I thank God for you!!!! I wish I could take away just a little of the pain.
I just want you to know I love you and thank you for letting me into your life. I love you!

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