Sunday, May 24, 2015

Fighting the Fight

Do you sometimes feel like you're in a battle?
Do you find yourself asking, "Why do I keep doing the same stupid thing over and over?"
"Why are some days harder than others?"
Maybe you've heard, "Well, change what you're doing and maybe you'll get different results."

Sometimes the battle is: stopping an addiction; food, shopping, eating, TV, drinking, attitude, old habits, etc. Sometimes the battle might be gravitating to the negative rather than thinking positive and thankful thoughts. Sometimes we want to break tradition after 30 years and have the Thanksgiving meal at our home or a restaurant. "Oh my!"

You're response might be:
  • You're not in my shoes
  • It's not my fault 
  • Somebody hurt me
  • How do I change? 
  • Change what? 
  • What battle? It's how our family is.
  • It's part of our family history 
  • Even my grandparents are like this 
  • It's in my DNA 

Maybe you don't think you're in a battle but wonder why you're frustrated.

Often I ask, "Am I getting it?" "Have I changed?" "Why am I going around the same Mountain ... again!"

On a bad-battle day I can feel like I've regressed and nothing has improved. But if I let the battle-dust settle for a minute, stop and pause, the backwards barometer encourages me as I reflect and realize my attitude is changing, my pity parties are getting shorter, I didn't cry this time, or I didn't cry for two-hours, or I didn't stay mad for 6-months, 5-days, 3-hours (well I'm still working on the 3-hours one :-). 

Are you one of those people wanting "something" to be different, but say, "I don't know what to change?" 

There is no cut and dry answer because everyone is different. However, I can share with you based on my experience what I have discovered.

You can imagine after growing up in a tense environment filled with yelling, throwing, breaking, drinking, being thrown out of the house, dragged down the stairs, smacked, shoved, beat with a belt, dinners thrown on the floor, while attending church regularly, and all the other ammunition that goes with this fun upbringing, that I had some issues and obstacles to overcome. 

Tammy Sue Willey blogspot
Elementary - already afraid of Dad.
That was my battle ground. When the 18-year-war was over, my aftermath was a view of myself and of the world through eyes of distrust, too trusting, uncertainty, insecurity, wanting to be loved, fragile yet on guard and, thanks to survival mode, heightened awareness to everything that moved.

Hey, these skills have served me well and still do. At first they served me because, well, the survival part was necessary. But after a while of being out on my own, the aftershock of my war started creeping in and catching up with the young adult that I was. 

Those skills that I once relied on didn't have the same affect. Instead they held me back and entrapped me in an old way of thinking. Today aspects of those skills serve me anew. I have a keener radar with better discernment. 

BUT NOT UNTIL I gained a healthier understanding of who I am today.

Of course it wasn't my fault I was abused. Nor does any of this give it license. So what does all this have to do with ones grandparents, watching too much TV, family history or a DNA train we can't stop? It occurred to me that sometimes it's the family culture that needs to change but that's like trying to stop a locomotive. 

"Sometimes the fight we are fighting 
is our own family culture."

Hang with me. I am not knocking family traditions, history and backgrounds. But I am knocking the pieces of them that haven't worked for one, two or three generations. I'm knocking the attitudes, anger, bitterness, not talking to someone for 5, 10, 30 years because they slighted me. I'm talking about not avoiding the obvious in the room that is making everyone else walk on eggshells, or because it might mean I have to look at my own behavior. Those are the tense family parties that are no longer fun.

I'm suggesting some of our attitudes, mannerisms, behaviors, views on the world and view of ourselves come from what we were cultivated in. I am not saying every bad choice a child makes is always the parents fault. What I am suggesting is perhaps how some choices are made or handled, may come from strains of our family culture (habits and patterns) and if the results are not serving us (not healthy), maybe we need to revisit another way of looking at it. Another way of thinking about it to not repeat it.

I had to decide that I wanted a change. I became determined to grow a healthier self-image of myself and not swallow the poison of bitterness. This required many things including resisting parts of family culture. 

None of this happened overnight nor was easy, but slowly I began to view myself and the world in a brighter light. 
I determined to
"Change my view and change my world, 
one step at a time."

We can cut off strands of our family strain that literally strain our families while embracing the healthy traits we learned. 

We don't throw the baby out with the bath water, 
but we do change the water when it gets dirty! 
And we still love the baby!

Rather then continue to be angry at my mother for not protecting me, I decided to ask how can we repair and move forward? Rather than be angry at church for not doing something, I realized they are people too. And our extended family members? Stay angry for not stepping in to protect us? Well, I learned many didn't know there was a problem, others had their own crap to deal with and they are all part of the same family culture. 

Rather than live as a victim in terminal survival mode 
I choose to live victorious for not letting my past win! 

It is so hard to be the one who makes a move towards changing a piece of the family culture that is not working anymore. But the outcome is so much healthier and fruitful. 
Tammy Sue Willey blogspot
Burying my Dad, my abuser - twenty years after he died.
 Perhaps rather than continue to say why do I keep doing the same thing, consider asking "What can I do different this time to start changing my view and outcome of my situation."

I would love to hear your story on fighting the fight!


Anonymous said...

Beautiful and brave to share your story. DCP

Linda Loegel said...

This is a beautiful testimony of not just survival, but of making a determined change to be who you ARE, not who you were brought up to think you were. A lesson for all of us. LL

Tammy Sue Willey said...

Dear DCP,
Thank you because your words encourage me. Part of my healing has come from listening to others share pieces of their heart. Perhaps I can help someone too and offer hope.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for opening your heart and even old healed wounds to help others. (TLCM)May 24, 2015

Anonymous said...

Sending you hugs my friend! (DC)May 24, 2015

Anonymous said...

I also grew up in an abusive home; complete with the black belt with large buckle. I was able to put it behind me when I realized that he (Dad) did the best he could with what he had. He also grew up in an abusive home and went to bed hungry often (the Depression era). Let it go. Stop being the victim!

Tammy Sue Willey said...

Dear Anonymous,

I too discovered things about my dad that helped me look at him differently. For me, it didn't mean it was okay what happened, but as an adult, I could start to understand a different side to the story which helped me forgive. I also learned forgiving does not mean condoning wrong behavior. What a journey. Thank you truly for sharing! I'm sorry you went through it too, but so glad you persevered. Your words can help to encourage another person that it is possible to move on from victimhood. We all need that hope!

Anonymous said...

Tammy Sue,

I read your blog and I think that it was just right. Very well written and provoked a lot of emotion in me just thinking of the struggle.

Thank you for sharing but most importantly thank you for not STAYING the victim. You are something new and You have overcome!

Stay strong sister!

Grace to you,
Anonymous (JLCM) May 25, 2015 10:19pm

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tammy Sue wow that's what we were talking about today. (L-LCM) May 25, 2015 7:40pm