by J McFadden, born in Scotland, living in the Netherlands
My trip to Scotland: it was the first time in as long as I could remember that I was looking forward to going – I always visited in the years past as a sense of duty. I would always come back (to Holland) in no hurry to visit Scotland again. My mother would always say something that would hurt me deeply – she always was an insensitive and cold woman in my eyes, and I can remember feeling the distance between us as a small child. I was the third girl in the family and also a twin; I had a twin brother who was the first son born.
My parents, being of Irish descent, grew up with the belief that boys were the most important – more important than girls. This is an old, old belief that is handed down from generation to generation in Ireland, or certainly it is in my family. I remember when my son and daughter were age three and five, my grandmother was leaving after a holiday in Scotland, and the very last words she said to me were – “look after the boy”. She said this to me as if it was the most natural thing to say. I was stunned at the time, but in no way then could I fully understand the enormity or significance of those four words, and for how many decades this belief had been handed down through the generations in our family.
Being the third girl in the family I grew up feeling not seen and not heard, so I stopped expressing, and I felt pretty much invisible while my twin brother got the ‘little king’ treatment. You can imagine the resentment I had towards my brother and the anger I had towards my mother. Since my childhood my mother and I have never been close, and have always had issues. And I could never express how I felt. Feeling un-connected in the family unit, I always felt like the ‘black sheep’.
So in August this year I went back to Scotland, back to my roots – and what a different trip it turned out to be. I had a lovely time with all my family, I had a lovely connection with my mother, for the first time ever, and I cannot tell you the incredible healing that it was for me. It was like she ‘saw me’ for the very first time, and maybe that was because I ‘saw her’ for the first time.
What happened? What changed? I had, of course. What made the huge difference was three things:
Firstly, I had found a new ‘connection’ to myself.
Secondly, I didn’t ‘need’ anything from my family at all. I wasn’t looking for acceptance or any form of recognition – I wanted to just ‘be’ with my family, enjoy them, accept them, connect with them and was not looking for anything in return. I have always been ‘needy’ and deeply insecure and looking to others to meet those needs. Looking to others to meet your needs, always, without fail, leads to let-downs and disappointments. Looking to others to have your needs met also carries the undertone that you are not enough to meet your own needs. And so you never are! So many years I have lived like this…
Thirdly, for the first time I accepted my family and my mother for who they are. My father passed a few years ago. I have always ‘needed’ them to be different, and many times wished for a different family. Both my parents were addicted to alcohol which meant a lot of drama and emotions as I was growing up. Both my parents could only ever express themselves through the drink – which meant a lot of shouting, a lot of yelling, name calling, and also who would have the last word. This way of communicating was the norm – and was something I took on.
I am guilty of blaming my mother for the struggles in my life, yet on this trip I saw that I did not judge or blame my mother for our past differences, or for her choices. She still smokes, she still enjoys her ‘daily tipple’ (her whisky) – but here’s the thing – I found that just accepting her as my mother, without the ‘baggage’, opened up the space between us and gave me a clear picture of her life. My mother was also a twin, she had a twin brother too. My grandmother, her mother, was the one who had said to me, “look after the boy”. This was the ‘aha!’ moment – everything made sense; my mother grew up under the same belief… and she had four brothers. I can only wonder at the difficult childhood she had with this belief operating in the family. With this new understanding of her life I could see how hard her life had been, and my heart opened to her as I could see past everything that was not really her. For the first time ever, I felt love for my mother.
Accepting people, Understanding them and Allowing people to have their choices without judging, is so very, very powerful, so liberating, and also empowering to oneself at the same time. My family felt my non-judgment, which allowed them to open up to me. And they did not judge me in my choices not to smoke and not to drink… so we could be together. The black sheep of the family had gone. The black sheep was replaced with a woman who for the first time was able to ACCEPT herself, and from that place of self-acceptance was able to slowly see that she is worthy of loving herself, of taking good care of herself and that she does count in this world. Her expression counts, and boys are not more important than girls. We are equal, we are all equal.
The transformation of the ‘black sheep’ of the family was because I attended courses by Serge Benhayon. His courses and presentations expose all the things we are not and have taken on, like the examples I have mentioned above. Serge presents another way to live, a way that develops a loving relationship with self first. When we begin to heal and love ourselves, our families automatically benefit because when you stop judging yourself, you stop judging others. When you understand and accept yourself, you can understand and accept others; and when you are honest, open and loving with yourself, and with others, it allows people to be honest, open and loving back. So developing a loving relationship with self first, is developing a loving relationship with everyone, because you bring your ‘loving self ’to your family and to all your relationships. Everyone benefits.
I feel the full circle of life is that we live, we die, we come back and we do it all over again…with each generation passing beliefs down to the next as previously shown, and round and round in circles we go. It only takes one person to break the chain; and so I see that I do not pass on the belief that ‘boys are more important than girls’, and I do not pass the ‘inability to express’ on to my children and my grandson and his children, and the children of his children etc. To me it feels like the ‘inability to express’ has been deeply ingrained in our family for a long time and has caused so much pain and suffering on so many levels; now it is starting to be exposed, it is starting to heal for me.
In healing myself, in loving myself to the best of my ability it benefits ALL my family, the ones living and the ones on the other side. Then multiply this by the 2000 or so people who have attended the courses, and their families…..