As soon as I saw this card appear I knew that the answer is “my father” or rather the part of me that behaves as my father did. His alcoholism, emotionally scarred and scarring behaviors, his wounded inner psyche, all combined to make him someone who caused damage because of his need to be loved and his fear that no one really did love him. He had a wounded heart that never healed so he medicated it with alcohol and drugs.
I have a wounded heart that I medicate with food and sweets. Initially these behaviors might not seem as damaging and destructive as my father’s but when one adds in the fact that I have Type II diabetes, these behaviors become very self-destructive indeed. I have often wondered if I have a death wish. Not something conscious which would drive me to commit suicide but a quiet, deeply ingrained sense of worthlessness that makes me feel my death would end my suffering and cause no major ripples in the world. I don’t to believe this is true but I guess on some level it is human nature to feel this way.
This situation is also complicated by the relationship I had with my father and the fact that many of the emotional scars I bear are the result of his behavior towards him. The sexual molestation and physical abuse left me feeling worthless but defiant. I might bend to his will because he was bigger and stronger than me but I would never give in and become my mother. I refused to subsume my personality to his in order to avoid beatings. That is not who I am nor is it who I want to be. Beatings only tend to make me more determined, defiant and angry.
And yet, by continuing to behave in ways that damage my health and may ultimately threaten my life, I am subsuming myself to him. I’ve given him mastery and control over my emotions and self-worth. I’m accepting and embracing his self-destructive behaviors as though they are my own. They are not. I want to live (no matter how much of a struggle that might be). I want to have healthy, loving and supportive relationships in my life and I won’t compromise or sell myself short in order to get them. I am not a coward nor am I weak. I can overcome this. I cam beat this emotional inner demon just like I overcame many of the other challenges in my life. In fact if my life were a movie right now Helen Reddy’s classic 70s feminist anthem “I Am Woman” would begin swelling up right about now. As she sang, “Oh yes I am wise, but it’s wisdom born of pain. Yes, I’ve paid the price but look how much I gained. If I have to, I can do anything.” That pretty much says it all.