I watched Gone Girl last night; it reminded me of my evil stepmother
I watched Gone Girl last night. It reminded me of my evil stepmother.
Wow, I can’t believe I wrote that.
I should delete it.
Not because it’s entirely inaccurate, but because it’s not a nice thing to say, and it may bother my peace of mind.
Actually, it’s already bothered my peace of mind. When I first saw where the movie was going I thought about it, and then I thought about writing this post while I was just out for a walk.
I should delete this.
Lest you think I exaggerate too much, the facts about my stepmother as I know them are:
- She and my dad had an affair for at least a year while they were both married to other people.
- She and my dad had a baby together while they were both married to other people.
- At some point during the affair, her husband died.
- As the baby was being born, she gave my father an ultimatum that he would have to divorce my mother and live with her, or she would “sue him for everything he had.”
- They lived together for a while. My father didn’t force me to live with them, but the two of them said so many bad things about my mother, my sisters, and that entire side of the family that they made me (at 17 years old) feel like living with them was the only option.
- She could go from a smiling carefree person to a raving lunatic in less than a second, and did so often. I don’t know that I feared for my life, but I hated living with her, and often drove her car nearly 100 mph on winding rural roads, hoping to accidentally wreck it.
- I don’t remember exactly when I moved away from them, but at some point I went off to college, and she and my father separated several times. After a couple of years they eventually got married. Then they moved 1,000 miles away, he developed lung cancer, and as he was drugged up on morphine and laying in a near-coma on his death bed, one of my sisters overheard her talking on the phone to her next boyfriend.
Purpose of this post
I published this post for a few reasons. First, so I could finally get the facts out there. Hopefully by sharing this crap, it will help get it out of my head.
Second, I wrote this to show that meditation alone won’t get this stuff out of your mind completely. I don’t know if I will ever get rid of evil/bad thoughts, but what does happen is that you become a third-party to these thoughts. Instead of just reacting to them, you see the thoughts as they come up, like you’re watching a tv show or reading a book, and then you have a choice about how you handle them. That’s what meditation does for you.
Peace of mind
AFAIK, the only way to completely dissolve these thoughts is to do what the Dalai Lama preaches: Practice compassion and forgiveness.
I know from my own experiences — like this one — that the only way to find true peace of mind is to forgive people like this, and to try to have compassion for what they’ve done (or at least for what you think they have done).
In my case I’ll work on my forgiveness for this woman during the coming days. Truthfully, I’ve already gone through this process a little bit in regards to her and my dad. I hadn’t consciously thought about her in a fairly long time, though Gone Girl definitely brought it all back up, so I know it’s still in there.
One way to forgive her is to say to myself that I wouldn’t be who I am without her being in our lives. I may never have seen certain sides of my father or my family without her involvement, and by seeing those things my character was altered. Had I wrecked her car and died at age 17 that would have been a bad thing, but because I lived through my behavior at that time (and didn’t hurt anyone else) I became who I am today, and I’m okay with that.
The second part of this is to have compassion for the other person. This is a little hard to write because I know very little about her upbringing. I met her sisters and parents a few times, and I thought her mother was a little quirky, but I never saw her be mean. I remember nothing at all about her father, but my sisters tell me he was mean.
She had two sisters, and I remember that one was very nice to me. I don’t recall anything about her other sister. Her best friend was incredibly nice, and I wondered how and why they were friends.
In the end I know very little about her upbringing, so all I can say is, “I have compassion for this woman. I know nothing about her circumstances prior to our meeting, so I don’t know how she became the person she was by the time we met. I imagine she either went through some things before I met her, or she had some biological issues, but either way, I will have compassion for her. I also know that I wasn’t perfect, and beyond that, once I saw her dark side, I did everything I could as a teenager to make her life miserable.”
I’m sure I can do better than that, but that’s all I have for now. :)
A few true stories about my behavior at that time: I used to dribble a basketball in her basement at night, and occasionally whip a pass against a wall. One night at dinner she asked what I learned at school, and I told her she had a Type A personality and that she would probably have a heart attack soon. I’m sure I did more than that, but those two stories come to mind quickly.
Peace of mind, Part 2
Hopefully after all of this blood-letting you can see the point of this post: Through meditation you can see your own thoughts come and go, almost like you’re observing another person’s thoughts, but the only way to obtain true peace of mind — and stop those thoughts from ever occurring — is to practice forgiveness and compassion.