Wanted: Emotion Pt. 2 (The Brainwork)
Sooooo, how bout that last post? That was a sucky feeling there! When I hit those points I know, though sometimes it’s really hard to remember and apply, that there is always a lesson and essentially growth in turmoil...it’s actually WHY it happens. God, the Universe, whatever has deemed it necessary or deemed me worthy to level up in my journey through life. So once the initial hurt and frustration subside just enough to be able consider the cause and purpose, it’s time for me to go into the brainwork. So let’s talk brainwork.
“Brainwork” is certainly not an official AA, or medical term, it’s just what I’ve labeled my processing procedure. It’s getting my mind right through several methods to really get into the thick of a feeling or situation. Prayer, Meditation, Thought is pretty much what makes up my brainwork recipe. This is just what ‘works’ for me in providing some semblance of clarity; or at least enough to keep moving rather that walking in the confusion, frustration, and hurt. Obviously I needed to put in some work because I was all sorts of screwed up throughout that last post. While not wholly better, I am better than I was and this is the results of the brainwork (to this point) and kinda where I am now. (And a peak into my uber sketchy weirdo brain and the way it works.)
The Problem: If you somehow missed the preceding post, here’s the Clifs Note version. I’m unable to tap into, form, or cultivate emotions for my 6 year old son. This isn’t an issue with the other child I have contact with so why is this a thing? I’m talking to him daily and spending time with him and he’s a great kid but something within me isn’t allowing the feelings to happen. I need to identify the wall so I can maybe start figuring out where and how to chip away at this thing.
Prayer: For the people I work with that are totally anti-prayer I explain it as the great brain hack. Basically as soon as you put something in your mind your brain is automatically attuned to notice possibilities and solutions to fulfill that. In biblical terms it’s Philippians 4:6-7...point being, whether you’re beseeching God or the Universe, if you’re actively seeking something, you will find it.
I’m a God guy. This doesn’t make me right and anyone else wrong, it’s just what works for me. I use the term universe a lot because I think it’s more universally palatable. I just believe there’s a greater will for me at work. I know it’s better than whatever I could’ve had in mind so that allows me to fall back and trust the process. Sometimes it’s easier than others but that’s the value in prayer. Prayer is my side of the conversation in seeking out next moves. It’s where I get to put my thoughts and feelings out there and ask for a little (sometimes a lot of) help in fulfilling the aforementioned greater will at work.
My prayer went something like, “What the hell?! He’s in my life for a reason, he’s awesome for a reason, so why can’t I get on board with that? Even when I’m on board with Your plan there’s gotta be something to make it harder for me and I don’t get it! I feel like a terrible and damaged person and I’ve worked too hard to not feel like that anymore. I’m trying to do right so if you can please help me see where the connection is off in me, that’d be great. Thanks.”
My God is my homie so I talk to Him like a homie. I get to be frustrated, I’m human and He knows this. Besides, he has no ego so nothing makes him feel some type of way. He just wants the best from and for me, so everything I experience is apart of the fulfillment of that.
Meditation: I’m a huge advocate of meditation, if for no other reason the separation from the hubbub of a day's ongoings. But specifically for brainwork, I use meditation to separate myself and thoughts from my emotions which are what cloud my perceptions. God has never parted the skies to lightning bolt some miraculous shit in my lap or brain so I have to quiet things down and open a pathway for the closest thing to uncontrived ideas and thoughts to flow through. When I come out of a meditation the feelings are typically still there but I am at a heightened place of peace so I get to start handling them with a completely different set of tools.
Thought: So another term I like is braintree. It’s where you take a single idea (the trunk) and then commence to come up with all the possibilities (branches) from the idea. Then you take the possibilities and come up with all the possible outcomes (limbs) from there. You get the picture (literally and figuratively), this can expand infinitely. Well, brainwork thought is taking one of those limbs and working the process backwards to get to root of the issue so it can be addressed.
This is where it gets interesting (or weird as fuck) because I’m going to actually take you into my brain and thought process. This is really intimidating and uncomfortable because I’m basically putting my weird on display lol. I’m gonna try to make it comprehensible and track-able so when I get to where I am today you all are there with me.
So I’m trying to get to the foundation of the disconnect with my son. Let’s start with him...there’s nothing there. Nothing he is doing is preventing a block. He’s a great kid, loves me to death, actively wants attention and closeness from me so his actions are not the block. If his actions aren’t pushing me away then what it is about him that’s keeping me from him? The step back from the actions is the person, like the physical being. I have issue with the fact that he exists.
Side Note: This is where simply having the thought made me feel like shit and the feelings immediately would start to steer my thoughts. But remember, we’ve done the work to separate the feelings from thought so let’s keep going.
Why does he exist? I hooked up with someone and he was the byproduct of that. This has happened before and the same problem has never presented itself so what’s different about this situation. The girl. I wasn’t dating her, wouldn’t have dated her, and really wouldn’t have had whatever dealings had drugs and alcohol not encouraged and fostered the encounters. This is shame.
Side Note: Shame is not how I feel about a situation. Shame is how I feel OTHERS feel about my situation. At this stage I tried to put the shame on him being a product of my alcoholism. All but my oldest are products of my alcoholism and we already know the emotional disconnect is not there with them so I can’t entertain this line of thinking because it’s clearly bullshit. The shame is because of the mom and how I she impacts an image. I could delve into the psychology of pride but that’d be a whole nother post in and of itself. So the conclusion here is that my problem is me in relation to the mother.
She’s actually an awesome human. She doesn’t want to date me, isn’t trying to hook up, wants nothing from me outside of my being good to her/our son. Not a tall order, or at least it shouldn’t be. She’s funny, cool, and intelligent so any problem I have is shallow and translates to egoic thinking. There is everything wrong with functioning from the ego and since I have now recognized this, it is has to be directly combatted.
What I don’t want is for him to ever feel unwanted or unloved. This was a feeling I grew up with from my own father (unknowingly) and that fed my need for all the outside validation I sought. This feeling is what provided cause for my ego and pride to be what they were. It all trickled back down to my own daddy issues!!!
In an attempt to prevent my kid from having the same daddy issues I’m gonna have deal with mine and break the cycle.
This is GREAT!!!! Ok, so the good side of this is that I want to break the cycle. The fact that the idea of being the cause of any pain for him actually hurts me means my heart is in the right place. That’s like the first step, wanting the difference. Now how did my dad make me feel unwanted and unloved so I can try to alter those behaviors? Well, what’s his story as it pertains to me…
Now this is where irony is a mother fucker. My dad got my mother pregnant out of wedlock (unmarried). In the 70’s Pentecostal establishment, if you liked them enough to sleep with them, then you liked them enough to make an honest woman out them. They were made to get married because it was the right thing to do. ENTER RESENTMENT GALORE! My dad and my mom were polar opposite people in every facet of behavioral habits. My mom was ever content, my dad was ever driven and I know that didn’t sit well with him at all. But a church that forced them to wed also didn’t condone divorce so he was locked in.
My father had a kid with a woman he slept with that never would’ve been a long standing relationship. Sound familiar? They had zero but God in common. So you got this dude who is married, essentially against his will and he’s trying to do the right thing so he plays the role...badly, but plays the role. They produce 3 more kids.
My dad was an orphan. Literally no extended place to call home at times because even his family members wouldn’t offer him a stable extended residence. He was eventually adopted by a woman at a church he attended but he had to fend for himself for a long time. This had to provide an ass load of feelings of displacement, rejection, low-self esteem, and an extreme lack of faith in the familial construct because he never experienced it. How can you be a dad if you never had one? THEN, how can you be a dad if you didn’t want to be one? AND THEN, how can you be a dad when you never had one, didn’t want to be one, and are being forced to be one with someone you didn’t want to be with????? HOLY SHIT the mind fuck on this dude is pretty bananas.
How can I not understand his situation a billion percent more clearly when basically...IM HIM!
So let’s get to a stopping point cause I’m sure you’re either freaked out or grossly disinterested at this point. When I got sober the first thing on my list of wants was to be father to my kids and better to them than mine was to me. This was almost two years ago. I am in the midst of an answered prayer! The only way I am going to be able to give my son the love I so desperately want and he so rightfully deserves is to:
Forgive my father, like really forgive him. This is possible because I now actually understand what he felt and why he was how he was. He legit didn’t have any better tools to deal with his situation.
Gratitude. Act from the appreciation of having great kid and absolutely none of the relationship obligations. (Translated: More time spent with just him and I to forge a relationship that is especially OURS)
Get over myself. My discomfort about anything means less than zero when compared to his joy.
Sooooo, that was the brainwork. I am now much much closer happy again because I not only have clarity in my situation but I have an action plan to actualize the desired outcome. Unexpected cherry on top, I got to unburden an issue that I’d accepted as just a shitty situation. Whew, thank you guys for going on this journey with me.
I apply this process whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed and the result is usually a resolution. Typically it requires that I do a little more work (action steps) but the work is now clear and I’m in a place of peace.