Friday, December 9, 2016

Thoughts on Anger and My Path to Resolution

Over the years, I've filed many things about anger and wrote about it on my journal. As you hear this you may begin to understand that anger was one of the biggest mountain I willingly climbed and was also the hardest to climb down from.

Anger to me was the most difficult emotion to understand. On one hand. it has protected me and has become my self-defense from pain and betrayal. Heck, it has even stopped me from physically hurting myself. Yet on the other, it has also stopped me from feeling relief from the pain that others have caused.

Throughout my journey (as it yet continues), I've written phrases about it that I wish to share with you. I wrote them down as they were my light bulb moments:

  • Anger can be directly and respectfully addressed

  • Anger can hijack and take hostage of myself....of yourself - it's called rage, or explosive anger

  • We have every right to feel anger. It is what we do with the anger that isn't always okay

  • Anger is real and no one is allowed to invalidate our feelings of anger. However, we are responsible for our emotions.

  • Persisting anger and blame can eventually lead to shame which will continue to spiral to anger, then blame then shame. It is a vicious cycle. However, it can stop. It is not permanent. It takes courage to move past that cycle. But it is not forever because we all have a choice. It really just takes a lot of courage to face it. Yet when we are ready for that change, we know, because somehow we are tired of being in that cycle.

  • Function of Anger: 
        • To motivate a change.
        • To protect or warn us when our moral boundaries or beliefs have been violated

  • Anger can help us determine if injustice is going on, we can ask ourselves if we can fix the situation, address it or must it be radically accepted that the abuser will never take responsibility for it, so we must move on for the sake of our own self - not them the abuser!

  • Distraction can help with anger. One may say that distraction is only temporary. I agree, but it can help delay and can help us from exploding. It can stop anger from taking us hostage. Distractions can either be:
    •  activities (sports, exercise, arts and crafts, places to go, books, puzzles, games, cooking etc)
    • feeling other emotions by assessing your entire experience which can be done by validation and understanding
    • pushing away and leaving the situation. Avoiding.
    • alternate thoughts, being mindful. So instead of saying, "I can't stand this", challenge your thoughts into "I can do it" or something less painful like "just breathe" or a more truthful approach and self evident like "I know who I am, and that's not me" or "I've come from worse times" or "I would never hurt anyone"
    • self soothing sensations using your vision, touch, hearing, smell and taste
    • connecting to environment (calling someone, making eye contact, honesty with treaters, volunteer, pet animals, go for coffee, asking someone and being interested of other's well being, hugging someone)

  • Some people deserve to know about our anger, especially our abusers and/or the people who have betrayed us. However, I've painfully come to realize that some of them don't really care about our anger and pain because they emotionally and mentally can't. Which gives it more evidence that they don't deserve any part of me, of us anymore. They don't deserve anything, not an ounce, not a second from us. They are simply suffering and sad human beings who are far more lost than we are. They live in a world with much more pain and that is why they can throw pain at us without any thought. They are thoughtless, and heartless and numb. They are farther than we are in the healing process. They are in pain just like we are but they are far more suffering. You may want to help them and give them chances, but ultimately, if they aren't ready for a change, as they have shown on how to handle our honesty and courage, they will continue to hurt us. Radically accepting the pain that they threw at us could possibly be the only way to heal and forgive. Accepting the fact that we may never hear their apology and feel their remorse. Forgiving them this way is giving up the hope that the past could be any different. We are accepting that it is not us to blame but them, yet at the same time, accepting that we can't change the person who made us feel this way. But we can change our own path, our destiny, our future so we can live our own lives how we want them, by our choice, not theirs. We make the decision to heal and move on for ourselves, not them. They can't stop us from feeling joy. We matter, not them.


I received this article about blame when I was at the hospital in 2013.  It is one of those things that made me think so much about the choices I make everyday and where I truly wanted to be in the future. I believe it is part of a book that deals with anger. I tried to research where it came from but unfortunately I couldn't track the book. Either way, it talks a lot about what blame is and what it does to us.

It is a great article to educate us more about our feelings surrounding anger. I truly believe that by understanding our emotions, it takes us one step closer to begin our healing journey.



In order to heal you must look at blame. Only after anger and blame are expressed and supported can they be replaced with forgiveness and pity. Without forgiveness, you cannot experience freedom from the anguish and control the abuse has over you. Many survivors join together to bash their abusers (and sometimes men in general). Letting out their anger towards their abusers and the world becomes the stopping point for some victims. It is important that you do not misunderstand anger. You have every right to be furious and rageful at your abuser. But when you get stuck in the anger or blame (either toward your abuser or yourself), it becomes destructive to you. There is a place and time to let out the anger and blame, then it is important to move beyond it. This journey is designed to help you deal with your rage and blame. You must tame those animals so you can move forward, out of the dark forest. If you do not tame or leave the animals behind, they will eventually control your life as they attempt to devour you.

Like other defenses, blame protects you from pain. As long as you are continually blaming others or yourself, you remain a victim. The pain that is protected by defenses creates a wall that keeps you in a powerless state. As you hold onto blame, your energy is focused on other people controlling you. It is hard to stop this pattern as long as you put yourself in the victim role. When you were a child you were truly a victim and others were to blame. This set up the pattern of coping during a time when you did not have control. That pattern often remains as one grows into an adult. The child's survival defense is based on the belief that people will hurt you, that they (or you) are to blame, and there is nothing you can do. The problem with blaming as an adult is that it continues to render you a helpless victim. Again, I need to make sure you do not misunderstand that I am not taking responsibility away from the abuser. Your abuser is at fault for the abuse and therefore deserves your anger; but when you hang onto the blame and the rage for years and years, it is you who is re-abusing yourself by allowing your abuser to continue to control your life and happiness. The abuser sucks you into the vicious cycle of abuse and you then pass the effects of it on to others in your life.

By now you are probably asking, "What am I suppose to do if not blame my abuser for what he did to my life?" First, you must see that your abuser only has true control over you if you are a child. Now, as an adult, it is you who decides what will control you. It is your wild animals which you must leave behind or tame. 


I wish I knew the name of the book from where this writing came from so I can share it with you and I can learn from it too. As I understand, the book is about dealing with anger and blame and understanding those wild animals inside of us. If you know the book, please share it with me and others.

I hope that by sharing this short piece with you that you may find hope in your life today. Also, that by reading this, that it will make you want to understand your anger and start the process of healing and moving on.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Power of Anger

I was 28 when I became pregnant with my first child. It was suppose to be a celebratory time. I've been married for 3 years and starting a family was naturally the next plan. I wanted that child before she even came. Yet in the first few weeks of being pregnant, my excitement was over shadowed by strong emotions that I couldn't decipher. I tried to do the usual task of preparing for a newborn but those turned into anxious activities. Thankfully, I was physically healthy and the baby was healthy. So, I ignored what I felt.

Almost to the end of my pregnancy, I began asking myself questions of how I was truly feeling. I knew I had to face the ugly truth that was blocking the joy I expected to experience. It felt like a shadow following me. But I wasn't able to clearly define it. I thought I was fearful of the unknown of being a new parent. However, weeks before my due date, one family advised me at my baby shower that I shouldn't be worried about the birth process. My anxiety was clearly obvious. I started explaining to her that I didn't have any worries about the birth itself, or the change of schedule, or the sleepless nights ahead of us. I was only worried about the 18 years of this child in my home. And that was the truth.

I didn't expect it to come that clear as an answer. It was truly how I felt since I found out I was bearing a child. Yet, it was so ugly to hear it on my head that I tried to break free from it. I was ashamed of my thoughts. I wanted to be a strong mother who could face anything. I wanted to be fearless. Nevertheless, the truth always breaks free and when it does, it relieves a person from the unknown, by then liberating one's self.

My fear was that I wouldn't be the parent I wanted to be for her. The parent I wish I had. All I knew about parenting was how not to be. To me, that wasn't enough validation that I could do this job.  And the ultimate fear was the hitting and the outrageous spanking I knew all too well from my parents. As I recognized my emotions and validated them, I prayed so hard that I wouldn't be anything close to my parents. I knew that hitting is a boundary I could never cross with my child. 

I've seen anger countless of times. I've heard the punch of the fist in someone's chest many times. I've heard the swoosh of belt into someone's body. I've heard the slaps of anger to someone's face. And I have felt some of those too. I haven't just been an observer, I've experienced them too. Anger that looks like a monster and feels like a monster.

It took lots of therapy after I gave birth to understand all of my fear. It took amounts of courage to dive deep into my past and face what I have been avoiding throughout my adulthood. But the past will always catch up on us, isn't it? I knew that if I truly wanted to be the parent my child deserved, I needed to work harder than most parents.

I learned so many things about anger throughout the years. I knew I have the same temperament as my father. I've felt that consumed anger several times throughout my life. The only difference was, the anger was always towards someone who can defend themselves. It has never been to a powerless child. 

I've learned that there are some types of anger that hijacks me. Too consuming anger that takes hostage over my thoughts and judgment. I lose control. The dragon comes out and none of me exist. I am conscious but I am not strong to make sense of what is right from wrong. 

Life can never be defined to me anything else but a journey through trials, and through ups and downs. Awareness comes from within but it happens because of ones choice. Healing and changing is a choice, a very difficult choice to make. But it is possible.

I've been a parent for a decade now. And I have never hit her once. I've learned to control my anger with the help of therapists and doctors. Every day, every situation, has been a choice. There are only two choices. It is either black or white. I believe that when children are involved and when their emotions, safety and future is at stake, there is no gray scale to choose from. My choices are always simple. Is it Black or White? Do I do what is right and respectful? Or do I disrespect her, violate her boundary and her emotions and safety? 

I don't think I can liberate myself from facing those choices every day until she becomes an adult. It is that critical to me. Puberty is around the corner and no matter how scary that sounds, I somehow feel ready to face it. I will take everything one at a time. I know the signs of my anger. I know myself. I can control myself. I don't know what lies ahead between me and my child, but I know my choices, and that gives me hope that I will always do the right thing.

What to do when one is experiencing strong anger like emotions

1. Recognize your emotions and try to determine exactly how you are feeling. Are there any physical signs occurring? Are you sweating? Are you shaking? Is your jaw clenching? Has your heart rate increased? Does your face feel hot?

2. Try to define the emotions by asking questions to yourself. Questions like, am I feeling irritated, resentment, irked, disrespected or am I feeling rage? 

3. Define it more, what am I exactly angry at?

4. Once it is clearly defined, validate your feelings. You have the right to feel them. 

5. Then decide and make a choice on how to react. We are responsible for our emotions even if we have the right to feel them. 

6. Remind yourself, that it is okay to be angry, it is what you do with that anger that counts. You have choices on how to react right now. Should you delay?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

When Pain Comes Barging at Your Door

I have always been a deep thinker. Which is probably why I am on this journey. It is part of who I am.

When I was 15 years old, I always wondered why nothing made sense. Most of everything that time was hypocritical in my mind. I was in pain because my parents and I couldn't find a middle ground to understand each other. They couldn't understand why I behaved the way I do, so different from my siblings or from them. I challenged them and I asked questions all the time pertaining to their values. I didn't do any drugs, smoke or drink alcohol. My only bad habit was asking the adults around me, difficult questions, which to them, in that culture was a challenge to their authority. So they retaliated back by saying things like, "I am medically crazy", "I am the black sheep", "I will never have a family of my own and friends" and many more that sparked not only anger but feeling of betrayal and confusion.

As I got older, I've always asked myself the question "why am I here?". In some ways the answers gave me direction of where to go especially on my hardest days. Sometimes that answers gave me hope. Yesterday afternoon, as I was re-opening this blog, I asked myself, why did I experience all of that pain? I feel better now, and I am so much healthier now but what was the purpose of going through all that pain. Pain that started in my childhood. Pain caused by people I looked up to and felt loyal to. Pain from people who I expected to protect me. Was it to share my stories later in life? Help someone possibly? It was a simple question sent out to the universe. 

Later that night, as if the universe was so in a hurry to answer me, my husband came home and told me that someone close to him has confided in him that I did something to her. I was shocked by the accusation. It wasn't an accusation that has a slight possibility of stemming from a misunderstanding. I was accused of being this person so opposite of who I am and what I stand for that even my partner couldn't understand how this came about and where all of this started. I quickly recognized it as a fabricated lie to make oneself feel better, just like before. She has done this before to me and to others. Naturally I was in pain immediately. The pain was of magnitude, I was physically shaking. Yet it quickly turned into anger within minutes. Then within an hour, I felt something too familiar.

I felt betrayed. Betrayed because I was helping and being supportive of her problems. I gave her suggestions on how to cope with her problems to give her hope. I didn't tell her what to do. I suggested as I wanted to give her hope. I racked my brain for words to console her. I went out of my way and took more courage to stay silent and to listen so I could be supportive. Yet in the end, because of shame towards her real situation, she turned it around as disrespecting her. If I challenged her that day when she was feeling low, I could say, her accusation is a misunderstanding. If I said something honest to challenge her, I can give her a break that this was a misunderstanding. But it wasn't. The entire time I consoled her, I was sensitive to her feelings. I made sure I acknowledged her feelings. I never challenged her because it wasn't my place and the problem had nothing to do with me, so I carefully supported her. So why did she turn this around on me? Why did she make me her scapegoat?

My quick change of reaction from sadness to anger to calm, made me and my partner worry. My reaction was all to different this time. It wasn't my normal reaction when I feel pain. Most of the time, when something hurts this much, I could be paralyzed for weeks. I would be in bed within an hour, hiding and curled up in the dark. There would be ruminations, unsettling of my mind, and spiraling of emotions. That didn't happen.

As I lay in bed that night, I was scared for myself. Pain like that magnitude can cause a down shift on my health so quickly.  I kept asking myself, how could she do this? Why would she do this? What did I do to deserve this? Why am I experiencing this? And it came like a light bulb. 

It was the answer to my question that afternoon to the universe. And the explanation of why I wasn't falling apart like before. It was because I was experiencing the same feeling of betrayal like before. It did really felt too familiar. I have been betrayed before from the people I trusted. I've given my loyalty to others who have betrayed that trust. It is all too familiar. It is true, when close friends say that I give a lot to others and leave nothing for myself. The only difference last night was that, the person betraying me isn't very close. And maybe that's why I am quick to move on.

When one is in pain or feeling something so uncomfortable like shame or fear, some people would rather throw that pain or that same feeling at others than confronting their own emotions. It is easier to relieve ourselves of our own emotions by pushing the focus on others than facing our own reflection. Is it a valid excuse? Not at all. It's what makes some parents deny the truth of their children's experiences. How many stories are out there that a child shares to their parents how they were sexually abused and the parents turns around and denies that it ever happened? I've thought about this situation so many times because it has happened to me. My parents have invalidated my feelings and experiences before. I don't think they do it intentionally or maliciously. I think they did it because they can't face the fact that in some ways, whether its their own doing or not, that they weren't able to protect their own children from that pain. This is how fear looks like. This is how shame looks like. 

When one is in pain, no one can ever tell you how to feel. No one can ever tell you, that your feelings are a mistake. What I have learned and hopefully will always remember that all of us are allowed to feel pain, sadness, anger, guilt, shame. We are allowed to feel all that. However, it is what we do with those feelings that we need to take caution of. We are allowed to be angry, but are we allowed to hurt others because of our anger? We are allowed to feel sadness, is it fair to expect others to grieve for as long as we do ? Or feel the same gravity of sadness as we do?  We are allowed to be scared and feel fear. Are we allowed to point a gun at someone without any clear and undeniable, and deliberate provocation and proof? We are allowed to feel shame. Are we allowed to shame others back? We are allowed to feel guilt. Are we allowed to blame our guilt on others? 

Our emotions are our responsibility. Not others.

No one is perfect. I am definitely not. And sometimes, it is easier to fall on that same mud that others have thrown at us. However, if we choose that easier path, after all that circus, and chaos that one has created to avoid what is real, we will come back to where we started. 

I ask the universe to give me the courage to continuously do the right thing and avoid confronting her. I know the real problem isn't about me. I also ask the universe to give her courage to look at her problems without fear and shame. 

“We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” Dumbledore

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Accepting Change.

When I was in the hospital in 2013 dealing with depression and with my suicidal tendencies, I came across these words in the hall of the hospital where I was. When I read it, I broke down crying. It wasn't because it made me sad but because it gave me hope. Hope that is rare to someone who is desperate. I've held on to it as a reminder that it really takes a lot courage to make that change. I hope to have that courage every day in my life. And I hope that these words will carry me throughout my life, and hopefully to others.


The pain of change is a reality. But so is the pain of no change. Changing ourselves takes only a decision.

If strength is needed, or confidence, we can only ask that it be ours. Our lives are in God's care and our needs are being attended to. Trust that all is well. Nothing lasts forever, and with each struggle brings new opportunity and growth.

We forget that new doors cannot be opened  until we've closed the ones behind us. The pain of closing those doors pushes us to new challenges and gives us a better understanding of ourselves and others.

When it comes the time for us to accept change, we will know it. Our present circumstances  will no longer be good enough.

Our experience cannot prepare us for change. But our faith can and will see us through.

By Judy Johnson

Time to turn the page. This was who I was in 2014

I have reconnected back with this blog. I have decided that I will blog my journey of hope, love, happiness, pain and life. This is not for anyone else except to document my own journey. I want to remain anonymous because this is real. I invite you to be a part of it, if you'd like. If you learn something from my journey, I'm thankful. If you don't agree with any of it, I asked that you to respect my journey as I respect you as human being.

The post below was the last one I ever wrote before I stepped away in 2014. I am posting it now because it is truly a part of me and I wouldn't want it to be buried by my other thoughts. I wrote it when I wanted to understand my path, how I got to be this person, and what lead me to be who I am today.


Why am I like this? Who am I? How did this happen? What is wrong with me? What is wrong with me? What Is Wrong With ME?

I've spent more and more time thinking and answering these questions, and why is that?

The day you brought me to the ER, when I finally accepted that things has to change drastically. When it finally dawned on me that this is now a matter of life for us or death. When I finally accepted that I can no longer toughen it out. When I finally realize that my physical body was giving up on my emotional and mental being - the last question I had on my mind was - what is wrong with me then? And the only answer I could say is - my dear father, my dear dad - why do I hate you?

We've had these conversations before with Claire, how "hate" is a very strong word. And that we shouldn't use it unless we understand what it meant. However that day, that time, that minute, that second-as I shiver from my pain, as I shake tremendously from my anxiety, nothing could make sense except the anger I have for my father then on to my own mother. How the hell did I ended up hating them? They aren't that bad compared to these other parents I've seen. They aren't sexually abusive. They sent me to a private schools. They worked hard to make sure I have food  and shelter and discipline and education, and every physical need a child would need. Why do I hate them now? How did I become this ungrateful.

Then my feelings moved on to, how I hate myself for hating them. How could I feel this way for these people who brought me into this world? Who is responsible for my very being? Have I really lost my mind? Is this really the person I want to become?

Guilt, fear, anxiety, ingrate, blame, lost. selfish, disloyal, unthankful, careless, hypocrite, hypercritical, cynical -this is me. And isn't it that these are exactly what I hate about them? Isn't this the very reason I fought so hard because I strongly disagree with them. This is what I never wanted to follow. This is who I didn't want to become. This is them and now it is me. 

-I am a southeast asian woman born in the late 70s
-I moved to the United States when I was 20
-I lived in a home where screaming was a way of life
-I lived in a culture where spanking is the well known way of disciplining their children
-I lived in a family where if my parents couldn’t make me stop my crying, they would spank me more
-I was raised to worry constantly what other people thought of me and to be concerned about it
-We always had to dress up nicely to guarantee respect from others
-My father used to say to my sister that she couldn’t wear her hair down or else she would look like a prostitute, and my sister was 12 then
-I was raised in the middle class community
-My parents had 4 children. They had help from maids to raise us when we were young plus the help of family. Although, my father was not big in family(relatives)  visiting us
-We all went to private all-boys or all-girls school until my older sister started having problems that we moved to a private coed school
-We were raised Catholic
-My father once said that he wanted to be  a doctor but he became an naval architect himself because that’s what his father wanted him to be
-I was the third child in the family. I have one sister and 2 brothers
-My sister wanted to become a TV news reporter but my father (with the help of his mother) forced her to become a nurse because they believed that it will be helpful in getting her out of the country and may guarantee her more money in the future
-I remember quite vividly as a baby(if you could believe it) I remember my mother carrying me and waiting for my father to come home (we were seated at the stairs) and it was dark outside and very late as my siblings were all asleep. My father came home very late and I remember her arguing with my father and accusing him of something and I remember my father hitting my mother as she held me
-I remember my father punishing my brother for skipping his tutor classes and so he asked him to stand by the wall for a period of time with his arms up high like Jesus in the cross. That was his punishment
-I remember my parents arguing about some woman
-I remember being so sad because my father would physically hurt my family (my mother and siblings)
-I was raised to believe that we could never complain or disagree with my father as he was the bread winner or that he might get a heart attack and to be always grateful that he is working hard for us
-I remember waking up in the middle of the night when I slept in their bedroom once. I heard my parents talking in the middle of the night of how to fix their problems. I didn't realize that they even talked to each other until to that point
-I was raised to be concern of my appearance all the time. I always hear my family talk about my sister’s weight and I always didn't want to be a part of it
-I was raised to be aware of what the currents events are
-I was raised to believe that a woman’s job is to take care of the family, raise the children and be faithful to her husband. If her husband was to cheat, it would be the wife’s fault. My father once said that my cousin cheated because his wife wasn’t doing her JOB as a wife. She wasn't disloyal so what else did that entail?
-At an early age, we were taught to work and help at home. I would have chores to help the family. At 13 my father decided to let go of any help as we were old enough to help our parents
-I was raised to always be considerate of others and to always make sure to give respect to everybody especially the elders
-If my parents were coming home and we were watching tv, we were suppose to turn off the tv and greet my parents in the driveway as they enter and to ask if they needed help with anything. If we didn’t turn  off the tv, we definitely would hear my father screaming at us
-If any of my parents were on the phone and we were watching tv or listening to the radio, we were suppose to turn down the volume no matter what was happening. No matter if we were watching tv first. If we didn’t we would hear about it for sure, or maybe even get spanked
-the word “initiative” was a constant word used by my father
-my father has a big Spanish background
-my mother has Chinese and Spanish background
-I remember my cousins not wanting to visit me at home and stay with us as my father was very strict
-I remember my mother constantly washing the dishes even before she uses them when they were already clean. She was always concern of being sanitary and clean
-I remember my mother making sure that she uses separate slippers for outside and one for inside. And one day, she was in a hurry and had to go back in and out of the house yet she managed to constantly switch her slippers correctly
-my father did our laundry during my teenage years. He would always complain how much laundry we had. I remember using my jeans for a month to avoid hearing anything from him
-I remember sitting at the dining table for dinner and I may be at the age of 7 or 8 and I remember my father screaming and lecturing my sister and I that if we were ever to get pregnant, that we would be out of the house immediately
-I remember trying to constantly please my father and wanting to make him say that he is proud of me
-I don’t know why but my father never attended anything that had anything to do with my activities in school, not my graduation from elementary or high school, not when I got awards or was commended in school. Only once, when I was a lead in a play and I remember my mother forcing him
-I remember my father being surprised at the responsibilities I had in school. Some of them were awe, and some of them were frustration that I spend a lot of time in school and never at home or never at focusing on my grades
-I remember my father pushing this black tablets in my mouth. He said it was going to make me feel better. I remember hating any form of medicine
-My parents believed on medication very well that medication was the very cure for all ailments especially antibiotics
-My mother woke up every single day and made us breakfast and boiled water so we can have warm water to give ourselves a wash every single morning. I don’t think I ever woke up during the week no matter how early it was that she wasn’t already up. She must have slept 5 hours each day during the week. My father would let her sleep up to 9 am during weekends
-My mother’s responsibility was to cook, go to the market and budget the groceries, take care of the kids, take care of the dogs, take care of my sickly brother, help my father with laundry, clean the outside kitchen and house every single day
-I remember her working outside and cleaning up until 11 pm every single night and her going to sleep very late as she would fall asleep in front of the tv, maybe around 1 am
-I remember hearing a thud and running outside and seeing my mother cry and realizing that my father just punched her
-I remember always being scared when my father came home and the house was messy
-I remember being scared and making sure that I did not make any noise while my father was asleep, as he was resting and we have to respect him as he has been working for us
-My father never wanted us to have birthday parties. I found out that in the beginning my parents would throw parties for my 2 older siblings but got tired of it as I got a little bit older. So were given money to celebrate it with my friends outside our home instead and treat our friends to eat out
- I remember my father handing me the newspaper at the age of 7 and telling me that it was necessary that I learn the current events and what was happening around the world and not only to be aware but to have my own opinion
-I love my grandmother in my mother’s side. She was always the one who explained things to me, why things are the way they are. I remember our walks together in the morning and in the afternoon
-I remember my father constantly scaring us with his belt, whether if my sibling were fighting or whatever our faults were, it was always “if you don’t stop that, I will get my belt” or “if you do that again, you will feel the belt on your bum”. I remember the fear and the panic everytime he walked to his bedroom and to the back of the door to grab his belt. The sound of it still makes me cringe and the anticipation of being hit was scary
-I remember my father not being nice to my grandmother (my mom’s mother). He would constantly insult her and her family. He would inspect her luggage before she came in our house whenever she stayed with us, accusing her that she was bringing rats or mice into our house
-I remember my father letting his mother and his sister constantly compare my sister and I. I was the dark one, the girl with the flat nose who looked more like my mother, while my sister was the first child, who had the fairer skin and the nice hair, tall nose, and great voice
-I was always measured against my sister. I remember wondering if I had talents just like my sister or if I was beautiful just like my sister
-I remember not wanting any pictures taken of me, as it seems to be a proof that I am ugly because I am not photogenic while my sister was the opposite. She loved having her photos taken. She had a beautiful smile and she was photogenic
-I hated being called Zoraida by my uncle, my mom’s cousin. Zoraida was this comedian in our country who was always portrayed to be very ugly. Every time I told my mom about it, she would always just say that they were just teasing me and that they don’t mean anything bad, so she never stopped them
-My parents always called me dramatic whenever I complained about how things were
-I remember coming home very late as I was finishing the prom details that I was organizing and that I knew my parents knew of it but even though, I was met with an angry father, who grabbed my head and slammed my head against a concrete wall. I remember being dizzy but all I could do is to shake myself up and and accept that I was late and came home later than the time that I told them so it was my fault. I felt a tinged of anger at the way he handled things but I also accepted it that he was just angry because he was worried about me
-When I was in high school, things got worse with my father and my mother would always show compassion in me but also telling me that my father was just either worried, or is having problems and that he just has too much in his mind.
-I remember feeling like I had to walk on needles every time my father lost a project in his business
-I remember my father blaming my grandmother for the reason why my mother had to stop working
-I saw photos hidden in the back of our shelf. They were photos of this one woman who had her bra and panties on and lying in bed. I remember seeing them and hiding them from my mother because I knew that it was my father’s and that I didn’t want to hurt my mother. When I was older and was having more issues and disagreement with my father, my mother kept taking my father’s side and so I decided to show her the photos because I was angry at my father for “brainwashing” my mother and I wanted her to be on my side but instead she got angry with me for hiding it from her
-My mother once told me as I was explaining to them that they were completely wrong and how could they still defend themselves and then she says to me that no matter if they were right or wrong, that they will always be right because they were my parents. I remember feeling so angry and calling them hypocrites. I remember feeling hopeless and wondering who am I in this family and why am I a part of them, I was the only one seeing what was wrong in our family. Even my siblings defended my father
-I remember coming home late and realizing that they had dinner already. My parents would leave food for us so we can have something to eat when we were late for dinner. I didn’t realize that my sister wasn’t home yet so I ate it all. There were a couple of very large shrimp, there wasn’t many, so I ate them all. My father saw it and accused me of stealing from my sister and because I disagreed with him because I really wasn't stealing, we had an argument that lead him to beat me with his safety boots that had metal protection on the toes. He was hitting me all over as I was against the wall, on top of the couch protecting my face. I remember feeling dizzy and my head pounding as he hits me several times on my head. I remember the pain on my back. After that, I went inside my bedroom and cried for hours. I remember my mother coming inside my bedroom and wondering why I was crying. She said that she never heard our screaming. She felt terrible for me that she wasn’t there to stop my father but instructed me to understand that my father is just having a rough time because he lost one of his projects again and that I should just avoid him. I cried until I could no longer cry and just cried myself to sleep. I remember waking up and feeling pain in every part of my body but knowing that I had to go to school or else I would be faced with another rage with my father. I remember going to school and seeing my friend’s face wonder in question what had happened to me. I remember staying in my seat the entire day and not wanting to leave the classroom until the day was over. I skipped recess and lunch. I remember my boyfriend in that time in high school approaching me after school was out and touching my back to comfort me and I squirming at the pain, and realizing that my back was so bruised. I remember crying to him for hours. I remember him just listening and not knowing what to do. By the end of the day, I remember resolving to the courage that, it would be the very last time my father would ever hurt me physically. And that I will never experience physical pain from my father. I remember being so angry and wondering why I was part of this family. Why my father hated me so much and answering that maybe because I spoke up and disrespected him, or maybe because I told him the truth, or maybe because he hated me, or maybe because I was the black sheep in the family that gave them grief, or maybe because he didn’t love me.
-There were of course many more arguments after that but because the next time he was about to hit me and I grabbed and knife and screamed at him that he will never ever touch me again, maybe he realized too that I would rather kill him or kill myself before anything happens to me ever again. I remember right at that moment when I ran and pulled the kitchen knife and pointed it at my father. I remember my mom screaming at me and my other 2 brothers at the other side of the French windowed door, yelling at me that I was crazy and dramatic and made every one’s life hell. I remember them saying that it was me that wrong in the picture, that it was me who was the problem in the family-not my father. I remember looking at them and wondering if I was part of this nightmare yet also knowing that it wasn’t, that it was my reality. I remember going to bed that night and asking God, why was I part of this family, what is His reason for giving me these trials. I remember wanting to hurt myself and kill myself then maybe my pain would end and that maybe they would cry for me and maybe tell me that they loved me
-When I was growing up, and every time something broke in the house like the radio or the table-they would first asked me if I did it. Not just my parents but by my entire family.  I remember  breaking a glass table and I was spanked for that. I remember turning the tuning dial of the radio and wondering what would happen if I turned it more and more, if there was an end to the turn. And that was my doing, but then anything that was broken from then on, it always became my fault
-I remember having arguments with my siblings and them saying that I was the cause of this family’s pain – my parent’s pain because I always disagreed with the way my parents disciplined us
-I remember one night my sister coming home late from work. She must have been 24 or 23. My father has been worried for her since she was suppose to be home hours ago. So when she actually got home 5 hours later because her office sent her to another location and the first location didn’t know about it and so told my father that she already did go home, my father accused her of running away with some boy. I remember her walking in the living room only to be met by my father’s anger. And to be met by a water bottle hitting her face. She spoke up a little but my father was already angry so she stopped defending herself. I felt rage at my father so I stood up to him and helped my older sister only to be met by my father’s anger. After that ordeal, my mother and my own sister that I defended told me that I made matters worse. That I was always the cause for the grief of my parents, the grief of my father
-I remember not wanting to go home and being around my family by then so I spent my entire high school doing extra-curricular activities to avoid being home. I remember several years later, my mother telling me how it hurt her that I never wanted to spend my time with them and that I always gave it to my friends, and I remember telling her why but then she accused me of lying
-After my third year in high school, I attended the Youth for Christ  camp for the summer. A classmate of mine invited me and my friends including my high school boyfriend. I really had no idea what it was. To me at that time, it just looked like fun to be away from home. Yet in the first day of camp, I completely turned into this hopeless person. I remember crying about my pain. I remember pouring my heart and mind to God. I remember being so involved in praying and having the strong faith to believe that all my struggles had a purpose. I remember being advised by one of the parents who manages the chapter that I should write my parents a letter of why I was arguing with them, why I was angry, why I was hurt, and what I thought was wrong in our family. I remember coming home from that camp. I remember pouring my heart out to that letter with big hopes that my father and mother would finally see where the problem lies. So the next morning, before I left for the day, I placed my letter at their nightstand having such high hopes. I remember feeling scared and worried. I remember also feeling relieved so when I came home that night, I remember first seeing my mother as I enter the house and her telling me how disappointed she was of me and that I really now have caused them so much pain and also have caused them embarrassment because I spoke about my parents and how tough it was being part of this family to other people and that I was ruining their reputation. I felt bad. I actually felt bad. I remember wanting to fix the problem immediately and to explain to them that I just wanted to fix our relationship and that because I wanted and needed help in understanding my situation that I approached another parent. I remember telling her that it was a private conversation  and that I know that parent would never tell anybody about what I shared with him. However when I found my father in his bedroom he said that I shouldn’t call him “dad” anymore because he isn’t my father after all that I have done to him. I apologized for sharing my problems with another adult but I explained to him that I was just desperate for some explanation and really just wanted to fix our problems, but he said nothing after that. He was completely silent. We didn’t speak to each other for more than 6 months after that. He didn’t show any concern if I wasn’t home in time, he just didn’t see me I guess. I was nonexistent to him. I remember sitting at the table for dinner and him completely avoiding me and showing me that I was no longer existing to him as his daughter. I felt pain but somehow I also needed him to not speak to me so I guess I was also relieved for the silence, yet I felt pain for my mother because I knew that she was in the middle of my father and I.
-I remember being very angry after that. I remember feeling lost-more lost than ever before. I remember asking God again why was He giving me all these struggles, all these trials. I remember going to church every day and hiding from family and friends in the room of the Holy Sacrament which was open 24 hours a day. I remember feeling safe there. I remember not feeling alone when I was there but at the same, I stopped praying the way I was praying when I was part of the Youth for Christ. I actually took myself out of that group because I was embarrassed, I was ashamed of what I did to my parents and at the same time I was angry at my parents and angry with God. I felt like, I devoted and finally gave up my life to Him only for Him to cause me more pain. I still prayed because He was the one “person” I could speak to anytime of day, wherever I am, but I was scared to fully commit myself to being religious because somehow I felt like the more I am religious, the more trials He was going to give me. I remember still praying and feeling bad that I was even questioning God when I know for a fact that He didn’t do this to me, so most of the time I prayed thanking him for everything that was good in my life-I was thankful for my parents even if they didn’t want me, my siblings even if they misunderstood me, my friends, a house to live and food to eat and clothing to wear. I was thankful for school, I was thankful for everything that kept me fighting. I was thankful for everything despite of because I know that even in the worse of time, I was still better off than other people out there struggling.
-I remember as a child being scared that something could happen to my parents and fearful of what would happen to me if I don’t have them. Life was not perfect-it was rough but it also wasn’t always rough. My dad was strict and does things beyond a normal minded person would do but I know that he loved us. In the back of my mind I knew that he loved us, he just didn’t know any better. This is what he has known and this is how he will somehow accept to be. He has a big heart. Every time he had big projects, he always made sure to donate a portion of his earning to charity. He loved dogs and worried about them so he allowed strayed dogs to come in and be adopted by our family. Whenever he has money, he would try to give us what we want. Yes he is strict and disciplinarian and I don’t object that but when his anger hijacks him-that’s when I start disagreeing. I know I was a tough kid to raised. I questioned everything, not just their parenting skills but their morals too. I questioned their principles and I questioned their values.
- My mother was the glue in keeping me and my father part of the family. I understand that she gave up everything for her family but somehow I wish she also took care of herself. I always wished that she would have the opinion of her own and hoped that she could fight for it and maintained it. I wish that she never stood up from bed every single time my father wanted hot coffee in the morning which is by the way instant coffee. I wish that every single time she wanted to explore cooking and my father put her down, I always wished she would stand up to him and at the same time I wished my father would be more grateful instead of complicated.
-I wonder if they had the energy to watch themselves and evaluate their parenting skills when we were younger and somehow got tired as we got older and just let things happen and let things get out of control.
-I remember my father having no patience at all. I remember my mother always in a hurry so as not to make my father wait. I remember grocery trips being so rushed because my father was waiting in the car and will be so angry if we were slow.
-I remember my father being cut off by a truck driver and him having a road rage. And as he drove fast trying to catch the truck, I also remember my mother screaming and pleading for him to slow down. I remember being afraid because my mom was afraid.
-I remember my father challenging my brother to a fight because one day my brother had had enough and was angry at my father. But of course, my brother never did anything because he was scared of my father and that his anger was subsided by his fear
-I remember waking up in the middle of the night and seeing my brother’s light still on. I remember going in to his room and seeing him  so upset at my father. My father’s expectations for my brother was so high he could barely reach it. And when he failed my father would belittle him more by saying that he knew he was right and that he knew that my brother would fail. He would also add how he spent all this money on him and only for my brother to disappoint him
-I remember when my younger brother came to our home for the first time. I remember being so happy seeing a baby and knowing that this baby is going to be part of our family. I remember getting jealous of the attention now given to him instead of me, and I remember my father telling me how lucky we were to have a brother and that we should all take care of him and not tell him that he was adopted because that will hurt him tremendously, so I never did and I protected that secret even today because that is not for me to tell
-I remember my mother always worried about my brother. I remember my dad always angry like as if my brother could really change the way it is with his health
-I remember my father preferring my brothers over us girls. He would used to say that his daughters were always trouble and never gave them anything to be proud of
-I was raised constantly concern of how clean our house it.
-I was raised to know that I have a part in this family by helping with chores
-I remember hating my grandmother (my father’s mother). I remember her being so miserable all the time. She would always compare me and my sister. Once she said that my hair was plastic and my sister’s hair was silk. I always hear her telling my father how beautiful my sister is because she looked like the side of their family while I look like my mother.
-I remember my father’s mother calling us at home and when my mother answered it was a quick conversation as she hanged up on my mother and didn’t politely say goodbye to her. She was never nice to my mother and I don’t know why my mother never spoke up about it to my father. I remember always being angry at her. Whenever we visited her, I would say hello to her as we arrive at her house to be respectful but after, I would immediately leave and go to my aunt’s house (the wife of my uncle-my dad’s brother)
-I lived in the culture where the first child of the family is always the favorite
-I lived in a culture where they bleach their skin to get a whiter skin because that somehow is preferred more because it gives you a higher status in life-what a joke! I remember asking my mom to buy me that soap to get my skin whiter, only to be under the sun for an hour and to be darker than when I started. I loved the sun and always loved being in the sun so I was always dark, and of course it follows that I was of course always the ugly one
-I remember stressing about family reunions, because I know that I would hear those words again-how ugly and dark I was, with a flat nose, whether it was from my dad’s side or my mom’s side. Yet somehow when I reached college, I felt more confident because I was able to get in a really nice college with a high status in the country. I always wondered if it was because that school was famous for graduating high political women who are outspoken or was it because lots of rich and famous kids go to that school
-I remember going on rallies to fight for abused women. I remember loving social work class in college because I got to explore my love for fighting for what values I have. I really enjoyed debating even when I was 9 years old. I remember debating in class about the values that were important to me
-I guess I always fought for what I believed in especially the oppressed, whether they were poor people, battered women, the lower class people, women’s rights in general in that society. I remember fighting  about social acceptance and ignorance. I remember being so angry about hypocritical people especially the ones who I always see in church only to start gossiping the minute the mass has ended-I avoided them whether they were my peers or my parent’s friends
-My father never liked going to church. We were forced to go to church early in life by both of my parents yet my dad would stay in the car and wait for us. As we got older, my father stopped asking us and left it all to my mother.
-I think we were good neighbors but my father didn’t like people coming to our house to constantly ask for help. At the same time, he didn’t like asking for help either because that would mean, he would owe somebody something
-I remember my mother always having to lie for him. Whenever someone was at the door or someone calling us over the phone, I remember my dad always telling my mom to lie for him because he didn’t want to speak to them or see them. Sometimes because people asks him for stuff, sometimes people came over because they know my father owed them something (not money but like they helped my father in some ways). So I guess in parts of the culture, if you were to ask help, it is immediately known that you will be owing this person something. I guess helping always meant-it is an investment to something. I don’t get it at all. Yet in some ways maybe that’s why I never liked asking for help too
-I lived in the culture where if you were invited to a party, they consciously get there to the party very late, because if you get there on time or especially if you were to be the first person to get there, that would mean that you are so eager for food. I was so irritated when I came home and my friends were more than an hour late and my husband had to wait for them too as we were paying for the food bill and we were all hungry and waiting for people. It was so rude to me. I guess never realized what I was doing myself when I lived there because I remember doing it. I guess because also parties lasts so long unlike here where events in restaurants or venues are always so limited with  time. Parties in my culture where sometimes 5 or more hours long even kids birthday parties
-I lived in a culture where drinking is a big thing for people even on kids birthday parties. Men get so hammered up. Now I feel like it seems so unclassy for people to get so hammered in kids birthday parties. I will accept it during adult parties but it just seems so rude to children who are celebrating to be so drunk in front of all those kids. It is one of those things that are so bizarre to me now but somehow accepted it when I lived there and never questioned it either