A lot has happened since my last post …
Several times in past years my youngest daughter has suffered injuries from an abusive boyfriend, the (married with children) father of her only child. She left him on many occasions only to go right back even though she was treated like a prisoner in her own home—not allowed to have a cell phone, all internet use was monitored, not allowed to speak with family or friends, go out alone, or even to work.
On numerous occasions I contacted the local social services department, finding it was difficult to get anything done when she was a willing participant.
About a month ago, I went to her home for a scheduled visit with my granddaughter. I found my daughter alone, bloody, and crying. She and her boyfriend had another fight. When he discovered I was on my way over, he scooped up the baby along with his other children and left. He knew my daughter was in the frame of mind to leave him but thought she wouldn’t do it without the baby. He was wrong.
The next morning we went back and got the baby from their home while everyone was asleep. I was praying constantly, ready to hit 911, as I waited outside. She was successful in not only getting the baby out but in gathering some clothing without waking anyone. Then we headed for the highway, driving for about eight hours to an out-of-state family member’s home who offered assistance.
Driving home I was feeling relieved that my daughter and granddaughter were finally safe. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. After about a month, the boyfriend showed up at her work and the next thing I know she’s back with him again. When I got my family member’s phone call and heard a wailing cry stating simply, “she’s gone,” my heart sank. I’m not certain I’ve ever felt this level of disappointment. We cried together on the phone in horror and disbelief.
So when, exactly, does hope turn into expectation? In 12-step recovery it is often said, “expectations are resentments in the making.” But isn’t it okay to hope for the best? When I was using, this certainly would have been a good reason (not that I needed a reason).
The first step when I become disappointed is to allow myself to feel whatever feelings have been brought to the surface and express them in a manner that is not harmful to me or anyone else. Crying works. Talking to a trusted friend works. Writing works. Screaming works (not at anyone, just in general). Now I’m ready to ask for spiritual help to see things differently.
I think that hope turns to unmet expectations when my thoughts fight against what is and I’m unwilling to change those thoughts. “My daughter should stay away from her abuser.” This thought is in direct opposition to reality and I’m the one that’s suffering.
When I ask for spiritual assistance to see things differently, calm myself, take several deep breaths, and go within I remember that the social worker said the average abused woman leaves and goes back about seven times before they leave for good. Maybe this experience is necessary for my daughter to reach her bottom in this relationship and get the help she obviously needs.
This is where having a Higher Power that I trust comes into play. I have 12-step recovery to thank for this. Now it’s time to do whatever I can do and leave what’s left up to Spirit. Yes, I was disappointed and I still am, but I choose not to focus on being disappointed. I’ve cried, screamed, talked, written, and felt all of those feelings. Now I’m ready, with God’s help, to move on without holding onto resentments towards either my daughter or her abuser. I pray for both of them and for my granddaughter, surrounding them with light and love. I pray for their health, happiness, and prosperity and I’m no longer suffering.
Everything happens for a reason that I don’t always comprehend. Anger and resentment block the “sunlight of the spirit.” When complete with the feeling and expressing negative emotions, I open to greater understanding through relaxation, meditation, and prayer. If there is something that I’m guided to do, I do it. If not, I accept the situation exactly as it is, trust God and God’s timing, and maintain loving thoughts.
Getting wasted was my old answer. Now it’s unconditional love!
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 www.thehotline.org
Photo from 2016 Super Bowl halftime show.