You may not realize that often, having compassion for others is merely lip service. Because, if you don’t have compassion for yourself, it’s impossible to have the same for others. First let me define what it is. It simply means deeply feeling the pain of others (or self) and seeking to alleviate it in any way possible.
These days, I’ve been shedding the tears that are long due from the sadness and rage of my neglected inner child. All those times that she was scared, hurt, beaten, and blackmailed when she was too young to defend herself. Those tears she was never allowed to cry. It’s such a huge relief that she’s now finally able to safely cry it all out, to be assured that those times are long gone, that I’m very sorry for not having been able to set boundaries to protect her. But now I do. I had to dwell in the depths of my despair. Feel the pain deeply and release it once and for all. Something interesting happened after that.
This very morning, I thought of my late dad. He passed away almost 13 years ago. Unlike before, I no longer feel my pain of his disappointment of me for not being a son. I cried hard, but this time I cried for his pain, although it’s too late to do anything about it now. Yet I feel that I’m now properly grieving for him and forgiving him. I’m not saying that his disappointment was justified because he was in pain. But rather, I finally understood where he was coming from and it actually had nothing to do with me. I’ll have to tell you about his family background so that you’ll understand better and perhaps find clues to heal your own hurt regarding your own parents.
My dad was given up for adoption when he was an infant, to an elderly Cantonese couple from China with the same surname as his birth family. From the little that he knew, he was given away because he’s the weaker twin who had a health problem. He’s the 9th child of his original family. His stepdad had a soy sauce factory, a partnership business. He was kind to my dad, but his stepmom was another story. She gambled with mahjong, was physically abusive and every time she loses, she would beat the hell out of him. Despite all that, he was an exemplary son, was great in his studies and knew how to fix just about anything. He was even the Head Prefect in high school who had rascals as friends. But they loved him even though he calls out on them every so often for things like gambling with poker in the school toilet. They were friends for so long that they even attended his funeral.
His stepdad died when he was 14 and his stepmom a few years later. At about 17, he began working part time in a radio station. He never directly told me why, but I understood that he wanted to find his family of origin. It’s his only way, he wanted answers. They would know where to look for him when he’s over the airwaves. He later worked on TV as well. Still no sign of them. He was 27 when I was born, and after my sister, my brother whom he so hoped for was born when he was 34. On the surface, it may seem like just an ingrained patriarchal habit for wanting a son, but it goes deeper than that. He sees his son as himself, wanting to give himself a new life, of being wanted instead of abandoned. He was seeking to heal this deep hurt he never got to resolve with his biological parents.
The irony of life is that, he married a woman who’s like his stepmom, whereas he never once lifted a finger upon us. He was like his stepdad; kind, generous and honorable. He never talked bad about mom to us, but she always found faults with him, lamented about them to me and basically put herself as the victim. Inevitably, with a young and susceptible mind, I would hold some resentment towards dad, which was what she wanted. How terribly regretful I was to find out about the truth only after he passed away at the young age of 48. His repressed anger ate him up from the inside with cancer. He never heard from his family of origin, but he had already given up years before. My brother was 14 when dad left all of us.
As an onlooker, you may think that perhaps my dad had a better life being adopted as the only son rather than being the last child in a very big family which probably couldn’t properly care for him. Who knows what his biological parents thought? Yet the emotional pain from being abandoned by one’s parents is very real. Where does such a child find his roots? His self-worth?
Being a mother myself, I finally understood that our parents had good intentions for us and were doing their best the only way they knew how. Due to their own unresolved emotional trauma, they won’t even know that they have hurt us. Just be aware that your own unresolved trauma will be handed down to your child like clockwork, perpetuating a vicious cycle. Of course, you could choose to forgo having children altogether. But for those who chose to be parents, is there a way out? Definitely.
Even if you’re not a biological parent, you owe it to your inner child for healing their wounds which unconsciously affect your daily life. The key is to have compassion for yourself, trigger your old pains, cry yourself out and journal about it. Talking it out with a therapist or friend wouldn’t work as well (unless they could trigger your heartfelt tears), because emotional hurts are held in your body’s cellular memory. Whatever was felt needs to be released in the same way, by deeply feeling it again. This process may take days, weeks or months. Only then, will you break the cycle and be free.
Special note: Using your soul’s discernment, please take only whatever resonates with you.