I’m ever grateful for the time when I took on the role of caregiver/caretaker of my brother who suffered ruptured aneurysm in the brain due to drug abuse. It was a most transformative time for me.
That was in 2003/2004. I recounted that episode on one of this site’s pages here. It drew a response yesterday prompting me to write this post in addition to replying to the comment which, admittedly, for the most part, didn’t sit quite well with me. Oh, I detest being told what to do or being preached to!
Not too long ago, I also encountered a commenter who similarly didn’t practice Right Speech which I wrote about here. Both encounters gave me the chance to be the one to practice Right Speech for which I’m thankful.
I’m also thankful that this reader’s visit and comment gave me the chance to revisit that post and chapter with my brother. To see how far I’ve come along on my journey. To take note of the shifts and transitions. The growths and transformations. All the lessons learned, insights and wisdom gained, many of which have found their way on this site.
And I sure deserve a pat on the back, yeah!
I became aware of how much I had yet to learn in the area of boundary-setting, a life-long learning.
I have, thankfully, come so far since.
I have learned to say no to and stay away from those who do not honor, love, value, respect, and celebrate me — even including family and without allowing others to make me feel guilty.
There are times that we have to toughen up and practice tough love. Otherwise, we become enablers of other people’s harmful and hurtful behaviors.
Being an enabler was a role that I started to relinquish towards the end of this episode with my brother.
And it hasn’t been easy — both the saying no and staying away AND the not feeling guilty. I was, after all, still heavily influenced by centuries-old traditions — even as I had already started to veer away from them.
Being Up Against Centuries-old Traditions
As I enforced my boundaries, this episode eventually and later reminded me of the importance and essentiality of Self-Love. To fully embrace the Path of Self-Love.
We must first and always keep our cup full before we give to others. We cannot give what we do not have. We must love ourselves first before we can love others.
Sadly, it eventually led to my estrangement from my family. It was a personal choice. A most difficult and painful one.
It was a choice that I know elicits, quite understandably, unsupportive and questioning reactions and responses — including condemnation — not only from my family but the people of the Philippines, my country of origin. A country that values family, often, more than and above everything else — including and especially one’s self. At times, at whatever cost.
In fact, the more one sacrifices one’s personal happiness for the sake of the family, the more honorable and admirable one is. Their lot is to be emulated.
The Philippines is a country that has the majority of her countrymen pledging — at times blind — allegiance — to the Catholic faith. I was born and raised in the teachings of the Catholic Church. But I have found many of the teachings and dogmas to be ‘quirky,’ misleading, and disempowering. I can, of course, only respect them, but I’ve chosen to no longer subscribe to them.
And the concept of self-love goes against the fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church which emphasize and revere selfless service.
The church reiterates the magnanimity of ‘giving until it hurts’ and ‘serving others’ to the detriment of one’s personal joy as a sure ticket to ‘Heaven.’ The concept of a martyr, the martyred savior, of ‘someone’ who will ‘save’ humanity is at the crux of the teachings of the Catholic Church. #VeryPisceanAge
These are just some of the teachings that do not speak of my truth but speak of the truth of the majority in the Philippines.
So, my family estrangement and other empowering choices that I’ve made as an offshoot of this episode with my brother have put me up against centuries-old traditions. And it sure ain’t easy!
[Read more Loving Myself: My Caretaking Days Are Over]
Karpman Drama Triangle
I’m also grateful that I’ve become more mindful not to allow myself to be sucked into the Karpman Drama Triangle. It is the energy dynamics found in dysfunctional and abusive family and home environments, an environment that I grew up in.
The Karpman Drama Triangle is made up of the Victim, Rescuer, and Perpetrator. As these three roles interchange, the cycle, the ‘drama’ continues until one chooses to break the pattern and come out of it. Such energy dynamics are also found in daily social/human interactions.
As I write this post and look back at this episode, I shake my head in disbelief as I see how so much of my Inner Rescuer was playing out big time, whew!
I didn’t know that then, of course. No regrets, though. No mistakes. Only lessons learned. And blessings — in disguise and otherwise — to be thankful for!
Interestingly, as I shared on this site earlier on, it was this caretaking experience that opened my eyes and made me start to break away from my caretaking and rescuing tendency and which, as I wrote earlier, led to my estrangement from my family.
But it is what it is.
I choose to continue to follow the stirring of my Soul and no one else’s — no matter if I go against tradition or the majority or group thinking.
And that — the concept that the Divine is somewhere out there and up there, that there is ‘someone’ greater than and outside of me who is solely responsible for my fate and destiny, that it is the same ‘someone’ who is tasked to ‘save’ humanity yet must also be feared especially as ‘He’ is always watching over everyone, that anyone who commits a ‘sin’ warrants punishment from ‘him’ — is just one of the many disempowering and misleading teachings of the Catholic Church that does not reflect my truth but to which, again, the majority of the Filipinos subscribe. #Toeachhisown #Respect
Respecting all Kinds of Faiths and all Paths
My Trust was strengthened. My Faith deepened. This, despite that — or perhaps because — I experienced several major shifts in my religious and spiritual beliefs and values in the years following this chapter.
I continued opening myself to the teachings outside of the Catholic Church. I went on studying other ideologies, philosophies, and world religions. Such explorations and studies widened my perspectives even more. It allowed me to respect all kinds of faiths.
And such is my truth.
I will speak it and live it — whether or not others get it, whether or not others respect it, and even if others may get offended by it.
After all, I cannot please everyone. No one can. And we mustn’t. We mustn’t — and cannot — please everyone.
At the end of it all, it’s between my God and me. If there is ‘anyone’ to whom I’m answerable, it is my ‘God’ — whoever or whatever that ‘God’ is to me. We all, after all, also have different names or terms that we use to refer to a Higher Power — the Divine, Universe, Great Spirit, Source, Creator, The One, The Absolute, Lord Almighty…..
And let’s not forget that there are also those who do not recognize a Higher Power. And even that is ok, too. Totally. Again, #toeachhisown. #Respect
May Light continue to shine upon our unique paths, and may our Light continue to shine ever so brightly — and as uniquely as we so choose.
And so be it. And so it is. Om Shanti. Namaste.
🕉 🙏🕉 🙏🕉