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Back to Center: Can you forgive yourself for the years you couldn’t be there with your daughter?

Posted by Sarah Perron, Certified Coach

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Mon, Mar 21, 2022

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01:51 AM

'I was a lost man at that time and could not fathom having a child grow up in a toxic environment, so I did what I thought was right at that time'

Back to Center: Can you forgive yourself for the years you couldn’t be there with your daughter?

The purpose of the “Back to Center” advice column is to provide perspectives for personal realignment and empowered living in the COVID era. Sarah encourages you to reach out to her with requests for advice about self-development and emotional and mental well-being in these complicated times. Please send your questions to advice@aflds.org. Looking forward to hearing from you!

For all other inquiries, please direct your questions to info@aflds.org.

 

I’m pretty active in the COVID resistance movement. I don’t wear a mask and try whenever I can to inform people of their right to be exempt from mask-wearing. I speak out, I attend rallies for freedom. I send articles and research to friends and family who have been brainwashed about COVID. Sometimes I feel so fired up about fighting this fight. Other times, I just feel exhausted and depressed. I think, “What does it matter if I fight or not? This is all so much bigger than me.” I feel tempted to give up. What should I do when I hit those low points?

Wow, you definitely are a fighter! Thank you for all you have been doing to bring more freedom and truth to the world. I want you to know that the motivational rollercoaster ride you describe is so real and normal. Let’s talk it through.

Those moments of feeling fired up are awesome, right? There’s such an intense energy to them. You feel like you can take on the world, and nothing can stand in your way. 

But the times when you come off of that high, and dip down into fatigue, depression, and doubt…they feel bad. We don’t want to feel that way; it feels wrong, and there’s this impulse to want to scramble up out of them as quickly as possible and get back to that high place again. 

What I want to say to you is: Let yourself be low. It’s okay. It sounds like the effort you’re putting into fighting the COVID story is huge! It takes a lot of emotional and mental energy. None of us can operate at that all-out fight level all the time. Sometimes we will get tired, we won’t feel so great about things…but maybe that’s just a sign that we need a break.

When your rollercoaster car plummets down into a dip, ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” Maybe the answer will be to take some extra naps or take a break from reading those articles. Maybe getting more fresh air and exercise or spending extra time with friends is what you need. Or maybe it will be to just do “nothing” for a little while. 

While you’re taking whatever kind of break you need, it will be important to catch and send away any self-judgmental thoughts about feeling the way you feel. Even without COVID in the picture, we all go through highs and lows of energy and motivation in life. Just letting yourself be wherever you are on that spectrum at this moment will allow you to fully absorb the rest and reenergize much faster. 

You said, “What does it matter if I fight or not? This is all so much bigger than me.” Yes, it is bigger than you. But you only have to fight your part of it; don’t take the whole world on your shoulders. And you can fight your fight and be gentle to yourself too. 

All the best!

****

I am a recovered alcoholic who has been sober six years. Before my alcoholism became a dominant factor in my life, I left my ex-wife when my daughter was an infant. I was a lost man at that time and could not fathom having a child grow up in a toxic environment, so I did what I thought was right at that time and left. My ex was very angry, and became vindictive, using my daughter to "get back at me." When my daughter was four years old, my alcohol use became unmanageable, and I destroyed my life due to addiction and my actions. For about four years, I had to focus on myself and my recovery so I could be the father my daughter deserves. I maintained contact with my daughter through phone and visits about every six to eight weeks.  As my daughter got older, she "magically" began to want to stop all communication with me, and I only was able to get periodic updates through my ex-wife.  After I had been sober five years, I knew I had to fight to be in my daughters’ life, and I obtained an attorney…During my dark times when I was medically incapable of making a sound decision, I was manipulated into signing legal custody over to my ex…When it came time for the COVID shot, I begged, pleaded, sent countless articles, videos, studies, evidence to my ex about how destructive and pointless the shot is, and how wrong it is to get a child "vaccinated" for something they will never die from. She did it anyway.... because "she (my daughter) wanted to get it, so I said it was ok."

So here we are.  I still send info and articles in hopes that there will be no more shots, but they're met with silence. I'm hurt. I'm sad. I'm scared. I'm perplexed. I'm baffled. I feel hopeless and helpless.  I couldn't be there to protect my daughter, and my ex-wife made an irrational, emotional decision based on fear and selfishness.

My question is simple, yet it isn't.  How do I cope with this?

 

Thank you for sharing your story with me. It’s a very raw and painful one. I hear your feelings of hopelessness, fear, and confusion, and truly hope my words will be helpful to you.

I want to start off by witnessing you and your journey. You went through a dark and intense struggle with alcoholism that left you a “lost man,” as you said. But you did something that not everyone is strong enough to do: you made the long, hard journey back to sobriety, and have stayed there for six years. I want you to recognize for yourself what a tremendous accomplishment that is. 

Another thing I notice about your story is how despite the darkness and lost-ness of those years, it seems that through it all, you held on to the idea of wanting to do what was best for your daughter, as you understood it at the time. You left when she was a baby because you didn’t want her to grow up in a toxic environment. Later, when you were at your lowest point, you knew you had to focus completely on recovering “so I could be the father my daughter deserves.” You fought to stay in your daughter’s life after your wife cut off your contact with her. And when COVID came around, you tried with everything you had to convince your ex-wife to decide against the shot for your daughter.

Whatever choices you have made throughout this journey, however lost you may have been, whatever regrets you may have, it seems to me that against all odds you have held on to the essence of what it means to be a father – to love and protect your child, and continually work to become the best you can be for her. It shines out from the words you write like a lighthouse in the dark.

And now, you are wondering how to cope with the fact that your daughter has received the COVID shot against your wishes, and there’s no response from your ex-wife.

I think the first step to coping with all of this is to forgive yourself.

I’m not just talking about what happened with the shot; I mean all of it, the whole picture. Can you forgive yourself for having an addiction, for struggling, for the choices you made, for the years you couldn’t be there with your daughter?

When we do things in life that we later regret, it can be so easy to get stuck in self-blame. I think the key to beginning the process of releasing that blame lies in the words you wrote about leaving your daughter and ex-wife: “I did what I thought was right at that time.” Doing what we think is right at the time, with the knowledge and experience we have in that moment, is all we can ever do. In hindsight, we might come to feel that we’ve made wrong choices, but we can also choose to view our past selves with compassion. We did the best we could at that moment.

When working on self-forgiveness, it can be really powerful to write a letter to your past self, the one who made the choices you regret now. Try to use that voice of compassion, the one that says, “I understand where you were coming from. You were doing what you thought was best.” You can also tell your past self about who you are today – how far you’ve come, how much more you know now, and how you want to move forward in life. 

I believe that doing this work of self-forgiveness (and just know that it’s a process that will take time) will help you deal with the current situation you’re facing. It can help you shift away from still seeing yourself as the father who wasn’t there into a place of empowerment as the father you are now – one who is present and ready to connect.

All of what I’ve written so far has been about you facing yourself, which I believe is a strong foundation for coping with your current situation. I do also have a suggestion about interactions with your daughter and ex-wife, if you’re open to it…

I wonder what would happen if you were to hold off for now on sending more COVID shot articles and information. Instead, what would it be like if you sent personal letters from your heart? You could write to your daughter telling her how much you love her, how special she is, how proud of her you are…whatever loving words you want to tell her. 

As for your ex-wife, is there anything you can find to thank her for in the way she has raised your daughter? Even if it’s as basic as thanking her for providing a home for your daughter, feeding her, clothing her, sending her to school…I realize this idea might feel difficult, but I wonder what a letter like that could do to open up communication between all of you. Sometimes a few honest, heartfelt, humble words can change everything. It might give you a much better chance of having a say in decisions regarding your daughter going forward.

This is going to be a journey, and you have come through so much already. I believe the strength you have shown in battling your own demons will help bring you to new places of self-forgiveness and peace, and hopefully a wonderful reconnection with your daughter. Wishing you every happiness!

****

I am a newcomer to the AFLDS site and similarly positioned media. I’ve only just recently started waking up to the idea that maybe the mainstream COVID narrative isn’t as true as I thought it was the past few years. I feel confused, disoriented, and scared – it’s a “not sure which way is up” feeling. I’m looking for some support. Thank you!

Yes. What you are experiencing is big. You believed the story that was fed to you over the last two years, the story that probably most people around you believe too, and it shaped your view of the world. Now, you’re having the experience of “waking up,” as you say. It probably feels like those times when you wake up from real sleep, and for a long, disoriented moment you’re not sure what is dream and what is reality. The good news is those moments always pass. You will get through the way you are feeling now too.

I will share with you that I went through my own process of “waking up” to the COVID story a while ago. When it was happening, I experienced huge waves of fear. The realization that perhaps COVID had been engineered by people with motives was far more terrifying to me than the idea of the virus itself. Something that really helped me was to take it slow. Limiting my conversations about it and the amount of reading I did to small bits at a time helped to ease my feelings of overwhelm. I would recommend the same for you. It’s a lot to take in; don’t try to do it all at once. 

Finding someone you can confide in as you reconfigure your view of things is also extremely helpful. If you have a friend or acquaintance who also understands what’s going on out there, ask them if you could be a support for each other. I think we all know it but forget sometimes: The power of just talking out how you’re feeling to someone you trust is incredible. It can help ease tension, clear up confusion, and settle those jittery, nervous feelings.

The last thing I want to say might be a hard one to put to work for you right now, so feel free to save it for when you’re ready. Here it is: Be grateful to know the truth. I know; when the truth is scary or unpleasant, it can be so easy to long for blissful ignorance. How nice it would be to just trust that our governments are taking care of us, looking out for our health and well-being, that they know what they’re doing…

Truth can be hard to swallow sometimes but seeing something clearly is always better than staying comfortable in a lie. Aligning yourself with reality allows you to step more into the real you. This is the “you” who can rise to the occasion and take on the challenge of being a person of truth and integrity, who doesn’t just follow the masses, but thinks and finds out things for herself. I would suggest doing some journaling around the question, “How does knowing the truth about COVID give me an opportunity to grow?” 

These are hard times, but you are doing great. I believe that there will come a time when the truth will be clear to the whole world; lies can’t hold up forever. When that time comes, you’ll be able to help others through the very same process you’re going through now. Stay strong!

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Sarah encourages you to reach out to her with requests for advice! Please send your questions to advice@aflds.org

Sarah Perron is a Certified Transformational Life Coach. Her passion is to help people create a powerful vision for their lives, identify and eliminate anything that holds them back, and step into their own unique greatness and mission in the world. She believes deeply in the power of coaching to bring fresh perspectives, ideas, and motivation to anyone who wants to thrive in life. Sarah works with clients one-on-one and in group coaching programs and presents exciting workshops on self-development topics. You can follow her on her YouTube channel Find Your Fire.

You are invited to book a complimentary coaching call with Sarah! Please visit https://calendly.com/sarahperroncoaching/45min to choose a time that's convenient for you. She looks forward to meeting you!

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