Home > Family Disruption > How Am I Supposed to Feel?

How Am I Supposed to Feel?

This is another post in my series regarding my father’s affair and abandonment of his family. The day I found out a lot about what my father had been up to, I left the house where he was and went home. I was going to sleep there, but I just couldn’t. My stomach felt too sick, I just had to go home.

When I got home, I didn’t know what to do really. I talked to my wife about everything. I didn’t really know how to feel. I didn’t really know what to feel. I knew I felt sick. I didn’t know how to process what should be going on in my mind and in my soul. God used two events to help.

One of my toilets clogged the day after I found out about my dad’s crap. I spent a couple of hours trying out draino and a couple of different snakes to unclog the toilet. I couldn’t get it. I went into the basement and spent some time in the crawl space evaluating the problem. It turns out, when the sewage pipes were installed, some went at a slightly upward angle. This almost always creates issues.

After diagnosing the problem and trying to think of a creative and clean solution, I couldn’t. I used a skilsaw with a metal blade to cut  out the section of the pipe where it flowed upward. The whole section was full of feces and toilet paper. I cleaned it out and fixed the problem. This whole process, partially due to being in a very cramped space, took several hours.

I spent the day dealing with human crap. Some of it was mine, some of it was others’, but it was all disgusting. I felt so gross. In a weird way, it felt degrading to be full of human feces. I felt a little embarrassed. All I could do in the moment was to keep going, to move forward to fix the sewage despite how gross it was. Later on that night, I was very frustrated.

I was so frustrated with having to endure all that grossness. I was completely exhausted. First, I had to deal with my dad’s crap, and now I had to deal with actual crap. Both were frustrating, angering even. I even felt a little frustrated with God, as if he was the one who made my dad seek out an affair or as if he installed the plumbing in my house. I started expressing everything that was going through my head and heart, and then I just broke.

The frustration was overwhelming. I wept because I was overwhelmed. Everything that was happening was angering. I wept because I was angry. I was embarrassed by what was going on. I wept because I was embarrassed. The future looked impossible and I only saw difficult and painful solutions. I wept because I didn’t know what to do. It was painful to find out about the crap in my dad’s life that had been building up and to find out about the crap in my drains that had been building up. I wept because I hurt.

That night I had a dream. I dreamt that I was my 8 year old sister. I wasn’t actually her I guess, but I was experiencing her thoughts and feelings. In my dream, I had just found out what my dad had been up to. I found out how he had treated my mother. I saw him, and recognized him as someone different. It was as if the dad I thought I knew had died.

In this dream, experiencing the thoughts and feelings of my little sister, 3 things were overwhelming. I was very confused. I didn’t understand why this was happening, how it had happened, or if it was my fault. I was very afraid. I didn’t know what the future would hold. I didn’t know how I would make it. I didn’t know who else might leave. I was very sad. My protector betrayed me. My loved one abandoned me. My world was falling apart. I wondered if I deserved to be treated this way.

When I woke up I prayed. It then felt as if God responded, “You know those emotions you felt through her, it’s okay for you to feel that too. You were hurt in the same way as she was. You didn’t deserve to be treated that way either.”

So, those things helped me figure out what I was feeling about my father’s actions. Of course it is okay to feel however I felt, but for a day and a half, I didn’t really know how I felt. There can be a great relief in recognizing emotions for what they are, and even though they are pretty crappy, experiencing them and all the crap that comes with them. Walking through the pain can clear the emotional drain so the new crap flushes easier. 🙂

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Categories: Family Disruption
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