It’s Fiction Friday and the last week of romance month. Every Friday, the Fiction Friday Femmes Fatales post different fictional stories based on the same prompt (see below). This is episode eight. If you missed the first seven episodes, the links are below.
Amanda sat down in a chair in her front yard with her laptop and her assignment. Just thinking about her childhood made her both angry and sad, but her counselor gave her online homework. If I want to start feeling better, I need to do this.. She told herself, even though she didn’t want to do it.
“Think about what it was like growing up. Are there specific feelings or situations that come to mind? Write them down and use a word to describe the feeling or situation (ex: mom was always angry: anxious).
Raised by a single mom. I remember a lot of fighting, frustration, and angst. Frustration.
Questions to ask yourself:
Was there lots of affection in your home or was affection withheld?
There was affection from my mom.
Were you frequently criticized?
Yes I was. I felt like I was never doing well enough at anything. My father was Korean and preferred by brother, my mom told me, because of cultural reasons. He didn’t want me because I’m a girl. And I never lived up to either parents‘ expectations-spiritually or academically.
Were your parents available to take care of you? Were your needs met?
My mom was for the most part, but she was very busy working three jobs to support us. My dad was not available. My physical needs were met, but not my emotional or spiritual needs.
How was anger expressed – or not?
Yelling, throwing things, fighting, crying, threats of suicide from my mom.
Were there addictions?
What was your parent’s relationship like?
Non existent. Dad sent a monthly check and visited maybe once a year. They never talked as far as I knew.
Was love freely exchanged?
Same answer as above. We were told we were loved by my mom. Not between me and brother.
Did you feel a sense of stability?
No. I didn’t understand why my dad wasn’t around and other kids had dads. I didn’t understand it when my mom got so mad and sad that she would threaten suicide. I wondered if I would find her dead several times and that it would be my fault because we fought.
Did your family communicate about feelings?
Not very well. My dad was absent. My mom did the best job she could. She would try to reassure me when I was sad about not having my dad. She explained that Koreans favor the first-born son. She tried to love me enough for both of them, but it didn’t work. She didn’t really listen to me about anything I wanted to do when I became a teenager. She said no to everything so I just started lying and doing whatever I wanted anyway.
Did family members support one another?
My mom supported me to be a good student, to keep my eyes Asian and not have plastic surgery. She supported me through college. She supported me financially. Brother never supported me. Not sure that I supported him either.
How about fidelity?
My mom was single so I never had an example of faithful parents. I learned that my dad was cheating on my mom when she was pregnant with me. My mom said not to have sex until marriage because of the bible. But I didn’t listen to her. I cheated on all my boyfriends.
Did you feel “safe” or anxious in your home?
Anxious. I wanted out. I didn’t know why I was born into my family.
Key Words About Home
Write down 6 keywords about your home life growing up.
Chaotic, volatile, critical, rebellious, abandonment, rigid
Positive examples might be:
Take the six keywords you wrote about home:
Home = Chaotic, volatile, critical, rebellious, abandonment, rigid
Now substitute the word home with LOVE = Chaotic, volatile, critical, rebellious, abandonment, rigid
This may help you understand how you have formed your beliefs about love and relationship. It may also shed light on past or current partners you have chosen as we tend to repeat the familiar until we learn new patterns of relating.” – read more and take the online quiz by clicking here
These were probing questions. The more she thought about it, the more upset she became until for some reason tears started erupting. She never realized how much of an effect her parents’ relationship had on her overall outlook on love. No wonder she had problems inside her own marriage. She didn’t trust the forever part of marriage even though that’s what she wanted more than anything in the whole world.
Her dad taught her to run from her problems, to abandon your children, and that because she was a girl, she was actually worth less than a boy. She spent her adolescence seeking male approval and the intimacy she lacked with her father. She blamed herself unconsciously, blaming herself just for being born. She didn’t know what to do or how to behave to gain his love.
Her mom taught her to be easily overwhelmed, to act out in times of stress. She taught her to be rigid and unreasonable. Amanda constantly fought off critical thoughts about how she didn’t measure up to expectations. Her mom was desperately depressed before Amanda was even born, yet when they fought, she would threaten suicide because Amanda was so cruel and hurtful. Amanda grew up with the irrational belief that she had power over someone else’s will to live. She wondered if she would find her mother dead from suicide and if it would be her fault because they had bad fights.
As a teenager, she started lying to her mother because she said no to everything. There was never an intelligent, rational discussion about life and how to live it. There were just angry lectures full of ‘shoulds’ and the only time she felt free was when she was away from her family.
She didn’t have a good example of marriage, love, or fidelity. To her, it was all pie in the sky. Yet she based her whole life on creating what she never had.
Amanda decided to write them a letter to let it go once and for all. Perhaps letting it out would be beneficial to her progress.
Dear mom and dad,
Thank you for bringing me into this world. Thank you for my life. I now know why I am alive, and I am changing things in my life from this day forward. Say goodbye to the old Amanda. She’s dead.
I forgive you for abandoning me dad. I accept that your life, your culture, your personality made you behave the way you did, I believe that you loved me even though you didn’t know how to show it. I forgive you for cheating on mom. I forgive you for leaving us. I forgive you for setting me up to believe that all men will act like you did.
Mom, I forgive you for your angry past. I know you’ve had a rough life and have done the best job you could have given the circumstances. I forgive you for criticizing me and for being so angry you threatened to kill yourself. I know it wasn’t my fault that you got so angry. Know that the guilty feeling you gave me still lives inside of me. Two of my kids died because of decisions I made. I really was my fault. It’s ironic that our fighting never resulted in your suicide, but that a momentary lapse in judgement killed my two kids. I can never fix that. And I can never go back in time to fix what you said to me when I was a kid. All I can do now is forgive you and myself for everything that has happened.
Richard loves me. Steven, Brad, and Robert love me. Richard weathers the storms with me. Richard and I have a life together despite all our ups and downs. We lost two kids, but we still have three who need us to be happy people and parents. I release you into the universe so I can live my life without a heavy cloud from the past hanging over my head. You tried the best you could, and you both really messed up. I refuse to let the past define me. And I refuse to use the past as an excuse not to fully appreciate and trust the relationship I do have. I believe in love and fidelity, and intend to live my life accordingly. From this day forward, I am vowing to life my life in a way that when my kids grow up and take this quiz or one like it, they will have different results and healthier beliefs about love.
Here is the prompt: Your character has a certain deep-held belief about love and fidelity. This belief may be based on religion, on something s/he learned from her/his parents, or on her/his own experience. Decide what this belief is and where it came from. In your story, something happens to the character that seems incompatible with this belief. How does your character react? Write the story.
Visit the other blogs to read what they wrote based on the same prompts:
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Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!