Updated: Mar 2, 2019
I grew up with a father who was demanding and critical and I did a lot of crying. As I grew, I continued to hear his voice as mine, and I continued to cry easily as an adult - I was never quite good enough. I used to believe that I was a super sensitive person, and that's why my feelings were always getting hurt.
The learned conditioned response is often what we identify as part of our personality - 'this is just who I am'. But I didn't like who I had become - the victim who would cry at the drop of a hat. At age 53, I was finally able to see that I didn't have to identify with the hurt victim. I could hit the 'pause' button, and actually choose a different response. I could choose not to take things personally, and instead to have compassion for the other person and what they might be going through.
Detaching from learned responses has allowed me to recreate myself in a way that is healthier and liberating. My relationship with my father is no longer based on fear, and instead is based on understanding, connection and love.