December 16, 2008

Being a Puppet to the Past

I was 3 yrs old in Rangoon, Burma. I attended a small preschool which was above an auto body shop. One day, class was dismissed and all the children were picked up by their parents except for me. The teacher finished up her work soon after all the other kids left and started to pack up to leave. A cleaning lady came in to sweep up after us. The teacher left me after reassuring me that she's sure someone will be here to pick me up soon. I waited at the top of the staircase listening to the noise from the auto body shop downstairs, periodically looking back at the cleaning lady to make sure she was still there. The auto body shop below seemed like a different universe and I felt so alone in my world. Finally the cleaning lady finished and packed up her stuff to go. I started crying at the top of the stairs. Right then, my uncle came running up the stairs two steps at a time -- swept me up by the legs and ran down just as quickly. Dumped me into the basket of his bicycle and off we went.

When I was 4 yrs old, my sister, who was one yr older then me, was taken to the hospital in the middle of the night where she passed away. All I remember was waking up in the middle of the night and she was missing from the bed never to return to me.

I came to this country at the age of 5 and was entered into 1st grade immediately. By the 3rd grade, I made myself a best friend named Margaret Orlinksi. We were inseparable. At the end of the school year, she moved away to upstate NY and I never saw her again. Her father had to relocate for a new job. I didn't understand it.

Each of these turns of events along with subsequent ones like the passing of my loving boyfriend 3 yrs ago embedded in me a fear of being forgotten/abandoned/left alone. It's not so much a fear of being alone but rather the fear of the act of or transition period when such an occurrence takes place. I think.

Of course, none of these words are fact in my cases. My uncle simply lost track of time. He didn't forget me on purpose. My sister died. She didn't "leave me". And my best friend had to follow her family when they relocated. She didn't "leave me" either.

This fear is noticeably running my life today in new relationships. When my fear is activated, I turn onto autopilot and behave in ways that are destructive. While I understand the logic of the destructive behavior (to protect me from being abandoned by preventing/sabotaging my love relationships), it's also quite senseless. It turns out that this fear is activated when I realize that I love my partner. I push him away when I want him the most. It makes no sense yet this is the autopilot I've conjured up to "protect" myself.

Now that I understand this behavior, I release my fears to be dissolved in time and will continue to do so each time it pops up again. No longer will I be played like a puppet by my past. Today is the Now and I deserve all the love that God has created for me.

Consider how you might be a puppet to your past...

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