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Thursday, January 30, 2014

My Spiritual Bondages - Part 3: Control

Very controlling Nikka - 2009

Anorexic - 1997
    My first spiritual bondage was my unhealthy and ridiculous         obsession with WEIGHT and BEAUTY.
Papa and I -1994

    My second spiritual bondage was my abnormal and absurd obsession with my FATHER'S APPROVAL.

Both are somehow interconnected  with each other and with my third and greatest spiritual bondage -- my destructive and maniacal desire for CONTROL.

At a family outing - 2010
To be fair to myself, I was not always a control freak. There were some periods in my life when I would let go and let God, only to be depressed, freaked out and panicky just a few short weeks after. The Holy Spirit was already in my heart but I was still in great spiritual bondage, because of so many factors. :(

I also did not know I had a problem with CONTROL. I had no idea that it was even an issue of mine.

I did have problems with understanding God's Will. I had a wrong notion of it.

Onstage with Therese at a school activity- 2011

I also thought myself to be very responsible, deeply spiritual and efficient. I was blind to my own sins of pride and self-righteousness.

This third and last bondage, once I identified it for what it was when the Lord convicted me and opened up my spiritual eyes in September 1, 2013, FREED me from all the other bondages that had been weighing me down for 37 years. Thirty-seven years too long. Thirty-seven years of being "controlled" by the father of lies, the devil.

I start this post with a journal entry I wrote sometime in March of 2003. This shows how twisted my view of God's Will was.

December 2003

"I am not happy. I think I am actually depressed in the truest sense of the word. Will I ever snap out of it or will I forcefully do the snapping out? These months have held nothing but trials. I even feel alienated from going to mass nowadays. Stopped the daily masses or even the novenas. I still pray, yes, but it seems to me that God's Will will prevail come what may and no amount of praying can change that. I also stopped going to mass because maybe, just maybe, I am "bribing" God to do things I want Him to do by being overtly religious. I am trying not to overdo it but still have faith in Him. I know I can't count on anyone but God and His Mercy nowadays.When one's life is this messed up, only God Who created life can fix it."

It was good that I saw my legalistic actions  (externally religious, but impure motives) for what they were -- bribes to God.  I wanted God to submit to my will. Though mentally I was aware that my actions were wrong, I still was in deep bondage. I wanted to CONTROL God's Will to conform to mine. At this time, I had stopped praying because God wouldn't do what I had asked Him to do. (What a bully!)

2001- 25 years old Nikka with 32 year old Dong
"I am so scared of rejection that I cannot pray to God for my particular intention lest He not listen to me and I just crumble even more. In my heart, God knows what I want and I don't want to force Him to give it to me, so I don't pray altogether. I'm scared that God will reject me."

I wanted to set the tone for this entry, that as early as 2003 when I was just 27 years old, I was already ensnared by my obsession to control events. So much so that if things did not happen my way, I would refuse to pray to God! I pouted, I whined, I threw a tantrum towards Him!                                                       I wanted my will, not His will to be done!

If I was already like that towards GOD Himself, how much more towards just a mere fellowman?
Baptism of Reuben - Oct 2010

My sister and I at Papa's wake - Nov 2008

As I've mentioned in my former post on being obsessed with my father's approval,  Papa's death would resurrect my old feelings of disappointment and discontentment with Dong. Feelings I thought were long buried and already forgotten. Way back in 2003, before my demonic possession, Papa and I got into an ugly rift that involved my then boyfriend, Dong. He felt that Dong was not worthy of me. I wanted to prove to him that he was mistaken! Dong loved me! (That was the truth.)

(Note: I think Papa reacted that way because he felt unneeded. He was also just craving for my attention which I was then giving in huge doses to my boyfriend, Dong. He was sort of competing with Dong for "Best Breadwinner Award"  which Dong had already conceded to and did not even join long ago because it was a no-contest contest. That was the one area Papa excelled in. As Dong himself jokingly said in 2003, "Nikka, I am a "loser". ")

Not so happy smiles from arguing - 2010
Even in death, Papa would once again do what he did best -- provide money (by way of insurance) -- and Dong would once again pale in comparison!

(The devil would once again bring back the past to haunt me in the present. The enemy has a good memory after all. Remember he has memorized the Bible by heart. My history was just a page in his little black book. But this time around though, my sinful flesh would rear its ugliest head. I cannot fully blame satan for this one. In this next phase of my life, it was mostly ME. I was to be my most prideful, most controlling, most faithless self.)  

I had to "prove" to my dead father once more (I didn't know how he would even see this 'proof' or even care!) that I chose well. That Dong was a good husband, father and provider. That Dong would not touch a single peso of that insurance money (I really made sure of that! :( ) because it was mine (!), given by my Papa, the great provider!

My approval-seeking behavior with my (now) dead father went full-blast once more and I didn't even know that that was what happened till the Lord convicted me and opened up my spiritual eyes and enlightened my mind in 2013.

Anyway, to cut the long story short, in 2009, a year after my father died, (Papa died in 2008 from a massive heart attack.) I started becoming overly critical of Dong and his perceived inability
Note the hand gesture.I was already very controlling here.Dec2010
to provide the way Papa provided. He was employed but that was not enough for me. It got worse when he quit his job because of too much stress (He worked for the Business Process Outsourcing industry) and that made me resent him even more.

After all, I was "proving" to my dead father that Dong was a good provider too, and being unemployed was not what I had in mind! 
Newscaster - 2010

It didn't help too that my career was doing well. I had projects and newscasts that earned much. I
would become more judgmental, more dominant, more self-righteous. I would also become more bitter and more resentful towards my husband. :(
Hosting Stint - 2011

Dong would apply for many jobs during this time and for some odd reason, he would not be hired in any although he was overqualified. This caused much stress in our family dynamics and so in 2009, I started leading the family. I controlled the finances. I decided on where our daughter would go to school. I decided on what to do with my father's insurance money. I didn't consult with him on anything. I basically told myself, "If you won't move, then I would. If you couldn't provide, then I could."

That shift in dynamics from my husband's helper to primary provider was to be the heaviest burden I was to carry - a load that I was not designed to carry in the first place. :( Remember, providing for the family was the husband's job, as well as being the head of the family.
                                          Ephesians 5:23
23 "For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior."

In a TV coverage - Feb 2010
But by then, I had already decided to wear the pants. He didn't have much choice. I imposed that responsibility on myself because I felt that I was more capable, more hardworking and more responsible than he was.

Dong, already passive by nature, and by this time detached, depressed and direction-less, would just let me do whatever I wanted to do. By this time too, he had decided to just follow me to keep the peace. The roles had been reversed. I hated it. :(
For all his perceived faults, Dong was a great Dad. :) - Dec 2010

I would cry in the bathroom before I would go to work almost every day. I felt so masculated! I felt so unfeminine! I felt so tired! I was providing for the family! I was doing all those plus still being a wife and mother! I was thinking to myself, "How dare he do this to me"?! I felt so alone! I felt that he left me to fend for myself! I was so resentful and bitter of Dong by this time.   :(

In July 2011, a friend of mine introduced the book, Fascinating Womanhood by Helen Andelin. It was a lovely book full of tips on how to make one's husband the king of the home and in effect, have the marriage of one's dreams! (Note: It was an interesting book but it was too secular to be deemed Christian. Read about my critique of it here.) I tried applying the book's "Ten Secrets" to Dong and I thought I was doing quite well! I even wrote him a letter and got him a (cheap) watch, because it was one of the homeworks in that book.

This was my letter to him dated August 2011.

                                       CERTIFICATE OF LEADERSHIP
It’s time…
 To let go of my desire to control what is happening in my, your or our lives. To let go of my fears of the present and future. To relinquish my role as decision-maker. To change my wrong and misplaced attitudes on handling family matters, especially the issue on finances. To be submissive to you and to trust in your good sense and wisdom as to what is best for all of us.  
It’s time… To hand over the reins of leadership to you, as my husband and the father of our three kids. To hand over to you the primary role of handling the family’s finances. To let you decide on small and big matters as head of the family. To let you lead this family into its prosperity. To let you protect and guide us from harm. To let you be the king, leader, and boss of this home. To let you  always have the LAST SAY.  
I sign this and have no intentions of ever getting back the role that God gave unto you, on this 14th day of August, 2011. I am your wife, your supporter, your cheerleader, the mother of your children. You are our leader, protector and provider.

I love you, my husband. God bless you and be with you all the days of your life. 
P.S. The watch is just P50. Don’t feel guilty.  :) 
 Nikka Cleofe-Alejar

I thought I got it all down pat! I thought I was finally getting it! But, I still obviously didn't. :(
He was good! But he was not happy. :(

Just two weeks after giving him that letter, I would force him albeit gently, to apply for a job which I loved for him. I got busy talking to people, calling colleagues, and all but pushed him out of the house to apply, all the while thinking myself to be "fascinating" and a great cheerleader! I mean, I used my contacts to get him that job, and I was being so "supportive" to him, right?!?! (Note: He got the job by the way and he was good at it, but he hated my having forced him to do it. It was also extremely stressful and got too much of his family time with the kids, which he treasured.)

I was still controlling him. I still haven't really let go of the reins. I wanted him to do the leading, but I wanted it MY WAY.

Dong considers being a dad the greatest 'blessing'.

One night after a very stressful day at the office, he went home and cried his eyes out in front of me. This was not usual of Dong. With his voice raised and his eyes red, he told me all his resentments and hurts. Of how I always put things in my hands, of how none of the decisions in the household were his, of how I seemed to get a rise out of being "successful" while he was down in the dumps, of how he never felt unconditional love from me, of how he never had a say anymore in the family... On and on and on he went and I just listened while crying.  :( I was dumbfounded. I thought I was a "fascinating woman"! He even said, "You are not fascinating at all. You just don't get it." :(

On that fateful night of many heartbreaks, was when I first decided to stop controlling Dong for real. I told God that whatever Dong wanted to happen, I would just go along with it. I asked that God change my way of viewing things if I could not change Dong nor the situation. I felt a bit of peace from that decision, but it was but a tiny glimpse of what was to come. :)
I never knew she would be crucial too to my change of heart! Our youngest, Isabelle Veronica. :)

In 2012, I was about to have my most wonderful year ever. I was to fulfill ALL MY DREAMS as far as my CAREER was concerned! By this time, I was no longer as controlling and Dong and I were starting to become a team. I still had my fears and short bursts of sadness, but they were few and far in between.

Unbeknownst to me, God was about to leave no stone unturned for me that year because He had something planned. I was to become pregnant again and He was going to give birth too... give birth to the new me. :)

Busy, busy year of 2012 :)
... To be continued.


  1. Thank you for sharing I look forward to hear more of your story!

  2. Hi! Thanks for enjoying my story. :) I hope it blessed you as well.

    Here's the continuation to that:

    God bless you!




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