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Thursday, January 30, 2014

My Spiritual Bondages - Part 2: Papa

My Papa and I -  a year after Mama died 1994

I am my father's daughter.

Wow, legs! Mama as a college senior - 1970s
Me, a TV host; Mama, a director -- 1990
Though I am very much like my mother as most of the people who are close to her say "in the way I carry myself, my energy, my generally sweet and fun temperament, and even my penchant for mini skirts (!)", I have many qualities and traits similar to Papa.

I am a deep thinker; I like keeping to myself and staying home over going out; I am very private (Well, this blog may seem that I enjoy airing my dirty linen in public, but I am doing this for God so  I have to sacrifice by sharing about my most private thoughts and feelings to serve God's Purpose); I don't like traveling; and I love reading and writing.

Papa is the one standing at the right.

My father was a lawyer. His father, Lolo Senen was a military man. According to Papa, he had no memory of his childhood from age ten below. :( When I asked him what had happened for him to not remember anything, he said he didn't know. He would always tell me that I was lucky because I had a happy childhood and he didn't. (Well, that is relative...).

1992 - a year before she died

Suffice to say, growing up, I think subconsciously I wanted to be like my Papa. I took up Political Science as a freshman in College wanting to be a lawyer just like he was, only to shift to Communication Arts in my sophomore year to pursue my Mama's field. (Mama was a TV director/producer.) Good choice though because broadcasting, apparently, was really my cup of tea. :)

They say I look like Papa too. -  1978
He and I did not have much of a deep relationship as I was growing up. Papa was always distant and busy. I was also scared of him because he seemed grouchy and always angry. But, I loved my Papa. I was so proud of his intelligence (He was Top 7 in the Bar Exams in 1977!) and in his ability to provide for our family. On the emotional front though, Papa had almost nothing to give. His forte was in being a breadwinner.  To him if he provided for us and enrolled us in the best schools, that was already enough. Money though was never enough. :(



Mama passed away too young at the age of 43 due to cancer and after that, my sister and I were
Mama in Baguio - Jan 1993
left with Papa, a near stranger, having no warm relationship with him previous to that.

My room in high school - early 90s

Unknown to my conscious self, I craved for his attention and approval to the extremest level. Proof of this was my decade-long eating disorder which started with a simple thoughtless comment he made on my weight when I was 12. Dong's love and God's Mercy healed me of it. But it was a very, very difficult trial. I even got hospitalized for it. I only realized that I had an eating disorder after deep introspection at age 25. By then, I had already been battling it for 10 years. People thought I was just self-conscious and loved to diet.

Speaking of Dong... Just when Papa and I were sort of having a good relationship already and getting to know each other as father and daughter a few short years after Mama died in 1993, Dong came into the picture in 1997.

He was handsome; he was articulate; he was
1999
super Mr. Goody-Two-Shoes (did not drink, did not do drugs, did not smoke, did not womanize). Papa thought him to be "too straight". (Papa did all of the above except do drugs.) Dong had no vices at all!

With our shihtzus -1998
In the beginning, things were okay between them. I felt that Papa approved of my choice unlike my previous boyfriend, whom he outrightly expressed disapproval of, and so, I was happy. Papa liked Dong! Yipee! :)

Things would soon take a different and sad turn in 2002 when Papa suddenly brought in to live in our family home his girlfriend and her child from a previous relationship (whom I thought was Papa's child initially). I got so hurt by the setup that I retaliated by making Dong stay and live with us too. This would be the beginning of the end. :(


(Note: That was a very disrespectful thing to do against Papa. At that time, I just felt that I should give him  a taste of his own medicine. If his girlfriend stays, Dong stays too! Papa never said a word. :( Looking back now, especially since I've been on my respect journey, I grieve for how I deeply hurt Papa back then. :( I just was so depressed and confused. It didn't help that Dong too wanted to get away from some family problems in their home that time. A night or two of  sleepovers in our house turned into nearly a year of sleeping in, but not sleeping with me, just to make that clear. We still never "slept" with each other. We made a vow to God, and we kept it. Thank God! But, I still think living in was a sin. We should not have done that. :(  ) 
Dong's weird bangs and my short skirt :)  -2000

Here's a letter to my Papa dated August 27, 2002:

Dear Papa,
I talked to Beatrice (Note: not the girlfriend's real name) and found out that you were affected by my relationship with Dong.  Blame it on insensitivity or selfishness, but I really didn't know that it affected you that much. I just wanted to express my deepest apologies for hurting your feelings in my decision to allow Dong to stay for the longest time. That was a wrong judgment on my part. I know that you want what is best for me and for my future. I also know that I am accountable for my actions and if I stray, I know that it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with me. It's just that for the longest time too, because of this new set-up, I've really felt alone and displaced. I needed somebody to be with me on a daily basis and so I convinced him to stay even if he felt uneasy about it. I am not writing to defend Dong... I just wanted to apologize because I was selfish and insensitive to you, being my father and the padre de familia. It's ironic too that this should come out at a time that he no longer stays here. 
We loved going out on dates as a couple - 2002

I was brought up to be an intelligent and spiritual woman. I will not put that all down the drain just because of anyone, much less a man.  We love each other, yes, but Papa, I know my limits and  I know that I cannot marry him if he cannot support me. You have always been my fine example of a husband who provides for his family. I cannot expect anything less of the man I will marry.

I don't mean to spite you with what I did or do. It's just that, as much as we wouldn't want to admit it, we are a dysfunctional family and the emptiness sometimes is unbearable. Forgive us if we hurt your feelings.

Sincerely,
Nikka

I thought things would then pan out and become better, but no, things turned for the worse. We still were not talking; his girlfriend was still living with us; our relationships were all strained. I also felt that he was now taking sides, his "new family" versus us, his real family.

On Father's Day, I wrote him a pointed letter which he took really badly:

June 20, 2003

Dearest Pa,
I am hurt beyond words. The feelings of being displaced and unfavored are extremely painful. However, I know that God will heal my wounds in His Time.
Sabi nga sa kasabihan, "Ang asawa napapalitan pero ang anak hindi." (There is this saying that you can change spouses but not children.)" This applies to us because I will forever be your daughter and you will forever be my father.
I hope I can still count on you in the future if and when I need your help.
I may be reeling right now but you are still my father and I'd like to thank you and Mama for bringing me to this world.

Love,
Nikka

That was the straw that broke the camel's back for my father. I was bastos (disrespectful)! Too much disrespect from me, his daughter, led him to lash out at me via a letter too. In it were very grave accusations and misjudgments that Dong was "using" me, that Dong was "manipulating"me, etc. etc.

(Note:  I have long since burned that letter and offered it to God when Papa and I patched things up in 2005. We were already close to each other and had a very loving relationship as father-daughter by the time I gave birth to our second child, Andre, in 2007. He died in 2008 knowing that I loved him. I thank God for that.)

I used to call this the "hell house." - 2003
That too was my last straw. What did he mean by that?! He didn't know what he was talking about! I wanted out of that hell house! I would go find myself an apartment and leave him and his favored family for good! He could choose them for all I care! (I was very prideful and very hurt!)

Actually, I couldn't bear for my Papa to not LIKE Dong. It meant that he did not favor whom I loved. It meant that he was disappointed in me. It meant that I was a failure in his eyes. :(

Previous to that, Dong already knew that I was obsessed with my Papa's high opinion of me and my choices, when he confronted me in March of 2003. Dong has a penchant for seeing through people's facades. It's an eerie gift of his. He tells it like it is, with no sugar-coating.

This was what I wrote on my journal that day....


March 12, 2003

Just got back from Dong's. The weirdest thing happened today. Honey psycho-analyzed me. I was crying like a baby and then after I did, I paused and said, "I feel tired. I feel so far from God. I feel so hopeless." Then he said, "So moving out right now will be a form of escape. You will still feel hopeless. You will still feel miserable. Your problem stays." "No", I said, "when we have money, I will be okay.
(Note: I wanted him to have a stable job so he could move me out of our house.
Hosting a friend's wedding reception  -2001
Then, he said, "So your problem is me. You want me to have a job that will earn me much -- a flashy car, etc... so your Papa will like me. Now, you are so miserable and depressed because you think I am a failure, but are denying it to yourself. You want your Dad to like me so that he will inadvertently say he approves of whom YOU chose. That you are right with your choice. The only reason why you are this miserable is because YOU LOVE ME. So, the only way you can move out from your miserable state is to deem me a failure. Accept it. Then ask yourself, "Can I still take it and can I still love him despite it?"
This coming from Honey was too close to the core but I didn't admit it. He made so much sense.
He also said that he from now on isn't promising to be the BEST provider or father or what. He's just going to do his best. Again, a wise answer because just awhile ago I was thinking to myself, "If Honey lets me down by promising to 'save' me, then fails, I will resent him."
*******************************************************************************
Wow.

Heavy stuff coming from my 26 year old self this time. :(

My first bondage was my ridiculous obsession with BEAUTY which got worse with my eating disorder that started from a thoughtless fat comment by my Papa at age 12.

My second bondage was my nearly crazy obsession with my PAPA'S APPROVAL.

Let's define terms again.

What is BONDAGE?

According to the dictionary, BONDAGE is the "state of being a slave."

What then is SPIRITUAL BONDAGE?

Spiritual Bondage, according to Freedom Now Ministries, is "any area of our lives where we come into agreement with a lie from the enemy that is in direct opposition to God’s Word. In those areas, it gives the demonic legal access, and it’s like an open invitation for them to come and torment us."

As my then boyfriend Dong hit the nail on the head with his analysis, "You are so miserable and depressed because you think I am a failure, but are denying it to yourself. You want your Dad to like me so that he will inadvertently say he approves of whom YOU chose. That you are right with your choice..."

I was thirsty for Papa's approval. I was thirsty for his validation. Not getting that with my choice of partner, I got angry and depressed. I rebelled against him by leaving home. I couldn't stand Papa not liking my choice! That meant I was out of his favor. That meant I was not his golden-haired girl! I was a failure!

There were so many nights of deep depression following that outburst from both Papa and I. That incident led to me leaving our family home, getting my own apartment, and being out of Papa's protection. This eventually led to my demonic possession. 

Papa was clueless I was self-destructing. :(
My bondage of Papa's approval was so strong, it debilitated me. One time, I even drove without any specific destination, wanting to crash my moving car in the highway, just so that I could just stop all the pain in my heart and the non-stop torment of the voices in my head for good! :(

At my worst moments when I was hyperventilating and all cried out over feeling unloved by Papa, these words played again and again in my head as though a broken record:



YOUR PAPA DOESN'T LOVE YOU!
IF HE LOVED YOU, HE WOULD HAVE LEFT THAT GIRLFRIEND OF HIS!
HE IS CHOOSING THEM, NOT YOU!
IF HE LOVED YOU, HE WOULD VALIDATE YOU!
YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO REBEL!
YOU DON'T NEED TO RESPECT HIM. HE IS NOT RESPECTING YOU TOO!
IT IS BUT RIGHT TO HATE HIM. CONSIDER HIM DEAD!
YOU ARE THE VICTIM HERE. HE SHOULD APOLOGIZE TO YOU!


The sad and pathetic thing was, I really believed all of those to be true. The devil was feeding me all those lies and I was believing every single one of them. 

The devil knew that Papa was my weakness, my Achilles heel. For all my Papa's faults, he was not entirely to blame for my stupid actions and my playing the 'victim card'. I still had the free will to act correctly and to "repay evil with good." We cannot blame anybody for our mistakes. Save for the little children who are defenseless, we adults always have an option to choose good over bad.
                                                              1 Peter 3:9 
"Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and He will bless you for it."
The devil used my bitter and unforgiving heart to  pounce on me. He even chose the "perfect bait" -- same age as Papa, very intelligent, self-made, arrogant and snobbish just like my father was. Their only difference was this man told me things I needed to hear -- that I was beautiful, smart, talented, etc.etc. Things I never heard from my Papa. The devil couldn't have plotted a more perfect plot to POSSESS me in 2003. I was ensnared so easily without much effort from his part. I was ripe for the picking. I am pretty sure the demons all gave each other high-fives over such a no-sweat, "successful" capture. :(

         When you don't know your enemy, you have no way of fighting it.

( Note: I was/am a devout Catholic but it was only in 2003, when I got possessed by the devil himself, did I believe in his existence. I believed in evil, but not in the devil as an entity. He hid himself from me. That is the greatest lie right now of the evil one: that he does not exist. That way, he can ensnare us without us ever knowing what hit us.)

How did I free myself from the bondage that was my FATHER'S APPROVAL?

With my sister and Papa - Apr 17, 2004



Initially, following the possession and succeeding exorcism, and after I got married to Dong, the
devil's stronghold on me via my Papa was loosened. I was under my husband's protection because at that time, I was still submissive (though I did not know that submissiveness was what I was practicing that time. I just let Dong lead me, having just come out from a deathly experience.). I was very prayerful and not concerned at all with worldly affairs. I too was a housewife at that time and pregnant with our first child. Dong had his computer business and was the sole breadwinner.
5 months pregnant with our 1st child - 2004
       




I was happy and content, just being his wife, serving him his meals, attending to his needs, and waiting for him to come home.  We were renting a small but lovely apartment 25 minutes away from where the family house was.



The devil's stronghold would come back when Papa encountered financial problems and had me save his property from bank foreclosure by continuing with his mortgage payments. He also asked that Dong and I, with Baby Therese live in the mortgaged house while at it. This was the start of our marital problems. Without consulting with Dong, I just agreed to what Papa wanted me to do. My approval-seeking behavior was on high gear once more. Things would get bad. :(

At our son Andre's baptism 2007- He died a year later. :(
Things turned from bad to worse after Papa died of a massive heart attack in November of 2008. 


My bondage of seeking Papa's approval came into full force when he surprisingly left a small fortune from his life insurance plan for me and my sister.

All the misjudgments he made against Dong in the past replayed in my mind. Papa was 'providing' again, even in death! Dong could not measure up to him, ever! I felt the need to "guard" Papa's money so Dong would not touch a peso of it, so Papa won't think that Dong was just "using" me, "manipulating" me, etc. etc.

The sins of old, resurrected again.




The devil found the opportunity to feed me with his lies again... 

After Papa died in 2008, I might not have been POSSESSED (The devil could not do that
2010 
again. I was already wary of him
.) but I was very much OPPRESSED -- 
feeling depressed, hopeless, bitter, resentful, angry, almost on a daily basis because of perceived flaws in my husband. I wanted Dong to change and be a better provider so Papa (in death!) would approve of him!!! I was not aware of the devil's movements this time. He was sly. He was cunning. My sinful flesh and selfishness were about to go full-blast. I was to start putting all faith in myself. I was to start putting all things in my hands.

I was about to go into MY MOST CONTROLLING PHASE ever. (2009 to 2011)


This third and last bondage permeated all areas of my life. It was my to be my greatest BONDAGE. 

Every single depression and oppression stemmed from it. When I was finally able to break free from that stronghold, the devil lost his control over me and my life. In 2013, I let go and let God. After 37 years of bondage, I was to finally find my most authentic self. :)



... To be continued.

P.S. I posted this on the birth anniversary of my dear mother, Thea. I just got back from the cemetery. Rest in peace, Mama. I love you.

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