Painful Lessons: Discovering the Gifts in Our Suffering

woman standing against cement wall.As human beings, we have all had to deal with our share of suffering. The causes of our suffering may change, but the experience remains the same. For some, their struggle may be with depression, anxiety, or having experienced abuse or trauma, whereas others may have to deal with a serious illness, chronic pain, an addiction, or the death of a loved one. In all cases, we may ask ourselves why we have been given this cross to bear and whether the pain will ever go away.

In most cases, we tend to make our suffering worse by our ongoing negative thoughts and ruminations about the situation. We create worst-case scenarios in our minds or believe that our agony will never subside. In so doing, we perpetuate and amplify our suffering, remaining attached to our pain rather than looking for the life lessons or gifts that may be present within the experience.

What are some ways we can choose to heal from our afflictions and discover the gifts they may have to offer? The following are a few methods to adopt in order to begin to examine our suffering from a different perspective:

1. Develop a Different Relationship with Your Emotions

Most people shy away from uncomfortable feelings, preferring to deny or repress them rather than exploring their purpose. If you become more curious about what you are feeling, you can begin to relate to your emotions in a different way and discover what they may be trying to communicate to you.

Although suffering is an integral part of the human condition, we can learn to look for the gifts and life lessons that are present within the experience rather than remaining engulfed in our pain.

For example, we tend to become anxious when we try to conform to others’ expectations rather than remaining true to ourselves. Making an effort to become more authentic can help to alleviate the anxiety in this case.

When we are feeling depressed, on the other hand, our emotions may be asking us to make more time to really listen to what is going on inside of ourselves. These feelings present us with an opportunity to turn inward, examine our lives, and determine any areas where we may have gotten off track and need to make changes.

For individuals who are struggling with the residual effects of trauma, their emotions may be an indicator that they need some help coming to terms with their painful experience. In this case, reaching out to a therapist or support group may be what is most called for to help in the healing process.

The gifts that are available in all of these cases would be in discovering new ways to listen in to what our emotions are trying to tell us and to develop a healthier relationship with them.

2. Forgive and Let Go

Often, we remain attached to our suffering because of our inability to forgive others and/or ourselves. Our inner anger and resentment can lead us to try to punish others in various ways, but we end up punishing and hurting ourselves more than we can ever hurt anyone else. We may rail against the unfairness of the situation, the universe, or even God. In doing so, however, we tend to remain in the role of victim rather than taking responsibility for our lives and attempting to gain understanding. We can never be truly happy as long as we are holding on to grudges against others.

The gift that can be found in this situation is in learning to forgive others and ourselves for any wrongdoings and bringing more understanding and compassion to the situation.

3. Learn to Surrender Control

We tend to want to maintain a sense of control over our lives and can feel helpless, anxious, or heartbroken when something unexpected occurs that disrupts our sense of comfort or peace. Learning to become more accepting of the fact we ultimately are not in control of our lives, and surrendering to the experience of the moment, can help us to find more serenity, despite the struggles or pain we may be going through.

When someone close to us dies, for example, we can grieve the loss and the hole that is left in our lives, but also be thankful for the gift of the time we were granted with the person and the joy that he or she brought to our lives. Meditation and mindfulness are both helpful tools to learn to accept the things we cannot change and to remain grounded in the present moment rather than ruminating on the past or fantasizing about the future.

Although suffering is an integral part of the human condition, we can learn to look for the gifts and life lessons that are present within the experience rather than remaining engulfed in our pain. For individuals dealing with severe emotional or traumatic issues, the help of a professional may be required in order to help them on their healing journey.

Often, we find that the most painful experiences of our lives are those which teach us the most. Living our lives from this perspective can help us to remain more open and present on our ongoing journey of inner growth and discovery.

© Copyright 2015 All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Wendy Salazar, MFT, Stress Topic Expert Contributor

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • Savanna

    July 2nd, 2015 at 8:16 AM

    Though we might never understand the reason behind it, it can be a time for learning and growth that we may have never had otherwise.

  • teeny

    July 3rd, 2015 at 7:01 AM

    Burying those feelings is not the answer- instead feel them and address them, and you will be amazed at how strong you start to feel once they have been acknowledged. Then you can bury that part of your past and move on.

  • Joanna

    July 3rd, 2015 at 12:44 PM

    Well written post and can be very helpful for anyone who is experiencing suffering in their life due to different circumstances. It gives us examples of useful methods which we can learn and apply to help us face and accept stressful and challenging causes of our suffering as well what we can learn from it.

  • Salvatore P

    July 3rd, 2015 at 4:32 PM

    Thank you for helping me get to a professional and up to date Therapist

  • A Dad ...

    July 3rd, 2015 at 7:03 PM

    I take exception with several areas. First, how about the suffering inflicted with intention upon one human by another? Not a random event of life – but an intentional act to make another suffer. Let’s take for example, parental alienation – spearing another parent in a divorce by keeping their children away from them through mind games and stories created by an indelible poison. Yes, the adult of the two parents can forgive the other; but the loss of a child whom is still living through daily doses of Dad poisoning creates a suffering beyond comprehension as a responsible parent and husband. So what is the gift or purpose in this targeted ; inflicted suffering that can go on for years. On depression; an opportunity for introspection. Well. I have been clinically depressed; I am drug resistant, First diagnosed in 1992; maybe I have not had enough time since 1992? In the area of depression; the author should understand the degree and debilitation of this disease for some people. If it was something I could have cleared up with introspection; my depression would have been gone decades ago. Feeling down, or “blue” versus other degrees of depression; are not “managed” with such ease as described. And the purpose and gift of this degree of depression is …
    It is a test of one’s will to live with purpose until that purpose gets speared by the direct intention by another as that is the only way that person has determined they can inflict pain upon you – no other loss can – materiel wise or money. That is a gift that keeps on giving each and every day. Coping skills – when your purpose, a life long investment into your family is destroyed by another and spearing Dad is sport? Try empathy towards others first and such suffering and situations amongst “responsible” people for their actions would be greatly diminished.. Free will – people making poor choices and damaging others – inflicting purposeful suffering and stealing life events you can never get back is just a normalcy or happenstance of life … let’s meditate it away. Ms. Salazar; I suggest reading “The Meaning of Life” by Dr, Victor Frankel and studying up on Logotherapy. It may help yourself frame suffering slightly different with overall humanity as a backdrop. You only get one life on earth, and it is short compared to the infinity of death. Suffering is conditional, some suffering is not which has no sense of purpose or is a life gift to learn from. It is what most may call evil. And it exists.

  • Mike

    July 3rd, 2015 at 9:58 PM

    My early life was traumatic and my self-defense was to develop extreme aggression and hostility toward myself. I’ve been working in therapy for years on forgiving myself. I hold some very deep-seated resentments and blame against myself. But the result is that I’m a far more compassionate person than I ever would have been if I hadn’t been forced to deal with this. I am blessed to have a therapist who is able to help me skillfully.

  • Mike

    July 4th, 2015 at 10:47 PM

    To A Dad, I tend to agree with you in the sense that a person needs certain minimum needs met before they can make sense of their suffering and gain from it. I am a victim of harm deliberately inflicted upon me (child abuse) but once I had certain needs met — specifically, safety (away from the situation), an empathic therapist — I could forgive and my overall compassion increased. I also struggle with clinical depression and I know the difference between being unmedicated (or people who are medication-resistant) on the one hand, and on the other hand getting that boost from the med that I think is not something I could otherwise choose simply through willpower. My wish for you is that you find sources of emotional and spiritual nourishment and are able to come to a peaceful place in life, however unlikely that might seem right now.

  • Wendy Salazar

    July 5th, 2015 at 10:36 AM

    To a Dad: I am sorry to hear that you have been dealing with such a difficult time. When in the midst of such suffering, it can be difficult to find any sort of meaning for the pain one is going through. When this is the case, meeting with a compassionate therapist can help by providing a safe space in which to explore one’s feelings and begin the healing process. I hope that you will find the support that you need to embark on this healing journey.

  • Tabatha

    July 5th, 2015 at 11:13 AM

    I’ve tried multiple western medicine traditional ways of dealing with multiple types of abuse that started at 1 yrs and younger.

    It was bad, really bad, but it could have been worse.

    I feel we always need to remember that.

    I’ve forgiven the multiple abusers in my life so that I can be free. I do not say that they are ok, but I say that they no longer have that control over me.

    Abusers can pick a victim such as myself out of a line up in a second. I have spent more time unlearning what I thought was “love” and “normal” to be able to even accept real love and affection.

    The key is, when a person finds themselves stuck in that stinking thinking, so the opposite. If you don’t want to get out of bed today, and it’s because you can’t stand your life or your surroundings, get up, get arround, and go help someone else. I almost gaurantee they’ll call.

    When you want to hermit and spend the whole world in bed, get ready every day and do something for others with no expectation for yourself.

    When you want to end your relationship because you feel like they don’t love you anymore and they are thinking all the things you’ve been told, tell that voice to shut up, get up and do something nice for them.

    Love is the answer, and forgiveness, forgiveness does not mean saying it was ok, instead it means freeing them from the power they have over you and recognizing that they are sick.not YOU.

    I have chronic pain, illness, recent brain damage, generalized panic disorder with attacks the list goes on and on. It’s from reppression of negativity. Positivity and balance is way our body needs to thrive, to crave the right foods and activity, etc.

    Find love, it comes from within. Blame no one. Share the love you find with those inn a spot similar, but remember misery loves company. Do not speak of negative things. Others do no need it either. You’ll break down occasionally, that’s fine, but not when your helping and not constantly.

    Find peace and commonality in the positive. Then find your light and let it shine.

  • Aldie

    July 6th, 2015 at 6:47 AM

    The longer that you hold onto that hurt then the longer you will be unhappy with life in general. Me, I am choosing as of this very moment to let go of so much of the hurt and the pain because after reading this I see that I am the only one who has control over that. I think that for a very long time I have relied on other people to make me happy. But that is not their job, I am the one who controls that and from this moment on, I am vowing to remember that and to make it my mission to live in happiness and forgiveness, both of myself and of others.

  • A Dad

    July 6th, 2015 at 9:48 PM

    Aldie: I drew my happiness by being the best Dad a daughter could want as well as a responsible parent. And a dedicated husband. My center of happiness is not derived from materialistic things or a label usually what people call “work.” No my center was my daughter and watching her grow, along with myself growing with her as a Dad and parent. Now, a great relationship with her has been poisoned by a now former wife as she knows the only way to cause me pain and suffering is through my daughter and the closeness we shared. That is her only spear. I know nothing about you; but parental alienation is a bad thing in this country. If you have a child or children – just consider having one or all of them poisoned to the extent where they do not communicate with you for 37 months … and the poison went on like a light switch. How do you fill that void which was my purpose and happiness? My center. Any idea how many life events I have been cut out of for 37 months that can never be done again? I have just my daughter; no other children. There is no time machine to get anything back. It’s pure evil being played out in a very conscious manner. I have seen psychiatrists and therapists – they all have used the term “evil.” My days are long and so are my nights. I seek nothing from life as I fell in love with her the day she was born – my daughter. A gift from God. Healthy. I can take the darkest of depression in comparison to this level of impugned suffering. The moment my eyes open in the morning – every day for 37 months – you sit alone at night wondering; is she okay, I hope she is happy, she is in college, who are her friends, I have no idea what her major is – I had so much taken from me that I waited for as she grew into a smart, vibrant young lady. All anyone can say is – she will come around … you ever notice how parents stop counting a baby’s age after 24 months – all of a sudden they are two years old. Or two and a half years old; etc. I count by months now … I am at 37 months; not a single word or connection. Pick any form of communication – nothing. All I did was be her father and Dad. The divorce – her mother just wanted money; she was never abused – even a trial judge spoke it out – “it’s all about money” to her attorney. Go be a male and play in the divorce game – when your former spouse of decades can commit perjury 12 times and nothing happens. You get accused of all sorts of fiction and it is all proven as fiction; the dualism is striking. My child dies every day for the past 37 months – that is my core as a human being to have been responsible to my family; and I was beyond repraoch and committed. Greed and poison your only child against their Dad – a great pairing. How do I reestablish a center – I happen to believe in commitment, vows and placing oneself behind a child or children; it’s called scarifice so they can have a better life than you have had and also grounded in a moral foundation. That is all I have done – but for 37 months so far – nothing. How do you put your only child in the rear-view mirror? A life of mutual happiness with her; poisoned beyond belief. How long do you sit, wait or hope? You just don’t “move on” after so many wonderful years and memories. At the same time; how long can one take the beating? And, what is left after 47 months, 57 months … what are you even breathing for anymore? The only way to hurt me has been done with a scalpel of sorts. I wish i had the answers. I know what I need – 37 months and waiting. I hear my clock ticking away … as I write. Each tick of that clock is a reminder. For years, I often say to others or end a correspondence with … be kind.
    A Dad

  • antonia

    July 7th, 2015 at 11:31 AM

    sort of hard to see the good in something when all you feel is the bad

  • Michele Miller

    July 9th, 2015 at 4:20 AM

    Many of you won’t understand ‘a dad’ & the deadness inside he’s experiencing, something I have felt several times in my life unless you’re a parent. Not just any parent, because look around & realize that something like 94% of the population are parents. A parent who, ever since your child was born you could never love anyone MORE than you love them (except your other children). Unless being with your kid(s) has been among your greatest joys, if their safety, happiness & well-being has been the most important thing in your life since they were born. If not, it’d be virtually impossible for you to understand the heartache from our children being lost, being in a lot of pain, being in a bad place, or they’ve been away for what seems to us almost an eternity. We do the best we can to carry on during these times but except for brief respite, the void pulls you down into it’s deepest, darkest places where there’s no sound, no light, no sound, no hope. I crawled out when my son was no longer in despair, so I could see a sliver of light to head toward. Life’s struggles, ups, downs, losses & tragedies don’t fit into some neat set of coping strategies. Sometimes you have to do the things that help you cope just to survive, sometimes you’re in a place where they help you be happy much of the time. The black pits often mean taking some action to right a wrong, to help fight injustices. It’s all in the serenity prayer.
    I had a male client who the court & DCFS had given custody of his & his ex-wife’s young children, a 3 year-old girl & a 7 year-old boy to his extremely abusive ex-wife. Despite he & his pastor having previously reported abuse to DCFS. Many times DCFS – who has way too much power & money, way too little oversight or well-trained, experienced workers – (by the way, CSWs & SSWs aren’t social workers so they’re certainly not therapists! They’re social service workers & are paid salaries far above their pay grade, like $72 K/yr.! Why? To overlook things others do that are wrong, to not think about the harm they’re doing to children & families (again, mostly single moms), the things they’re willing to ignore. They may have a B.S. degree (ha, yeah they do), but not a Master’s degree. So these caseworkers pick a parent to help, usually the most/only abusive one & back them up for years no matter what they do; & in spite of mountains of documentation that show they continue to abuse their children. In this case, DCFS & co. was backing the mom. Their schools constantly reported how frightened, disheveled & often bruised his little kids usually were when they came back after being with their mom. Nothing happened. I spoke with them in therapy numerous times over the years & every time they said they hated their mom, she was so mean & didn’t love them; she’d threaten to beat them if they cried about wanting to go to their dad’s or to call him. They showed me injuries from being hit with objects on their legs & butts, scratches & cuts on their faces from her slapping them. Being fair is important to me, so I’d asked what their dad did when they misbehaved, which to him didn’t include existing, like it did to her. They reported appropriate consequences for misbehavior, which they said was rare. I reported it every time. No change. Even when I started to report to the police because calling DCFS did nothing. The children cried every time they talked about lives – as they got older they started being angry too – & asked why they couldn’t go to live with their dad. They were so upset that no judge or DCFS caseworker believed them about how bad it was for them with their mom. They had PTSD for years. All I could do was tell them we were going to keep trying until they went home & to keep telling anyone official what was happening to them at their mother’s. She had been raised in a fundamentalist polygamy family, where she was also abused as these groups tend to use child abuse as discipline. Also she could take them & disappear any time with all the ‘safe houses’ they have around this state, Colorado & Arizona. She broke every court order every judge gave her, without one consequence. DCFS agencies have absolute power & so are absolutely corrupt. They bully & reward bullies.
    My client, their dad, was often so distraught at not being able to save them from her abuse no matter what he did. Naturally he’d feel hopeless & often contemplated suicide. I totally empathized with his pain, despair & frustration. However I repeatedly told him that time was on his side. Eventually he would get them back because as they got older they’d be harder for her to control/scare, & judges would start taking their feelings & what they wanted seriously & let them come home. I strongly urged him to focus on when they’d come home how he had to be there for them. Also that being in the best mental & physical health he could be in would be very important. So he needed to keep exercising, eating, socializing at least some, taking his pills for anxiety so he could function & think, to ride his horses, etc. Once they got to come home, if he was dead they would have nothing & no one, which would most likely destroy any hope of them being able to be mentally healthy, have any peace or be happy in this life. If he was dead, who would they live with? Their hearts would be broken because they loved him so much. They’d need him to help them recover from all they’d suffered. Finally, that day came. A judge listened to the kids & he ordered them immediately removed from their mother’s custody & taken to live with their father. He called crying tears of joy. And relief that he was still here when they came home. I cried too, I was so happy & gratefuI that what I’d convinced him to hold on to had finally, actually happened. It had taken the child welfare system EIGHT YEARS to stop those kids’ abuse. At least now they could begin their healing journey.
    ‘A dad’, you say you’ve been the victim of ‘parental alienation’ for at least 37 months, which is a tad over 3 years. I have no way of knowing if you haven been or not. But the numbers made me wonder a bit. If you haven’t had any contact with you daughter for three years & she’s now in college, I figured the youngest she could’ve been when custody & visitation were being decided would’ve been 15. You said all her life you two had been very close prior to this separation, which makes me wonder what could’ve happened to have so alienated your daughter at that time that she hasn’t contacted you in 3 years? Sometimes, when a parent doesn’t want to face that they have done something/things that their child is angry, hurt, afraid about, it’s easy to blame someone else for their child’s feelings (i.e. ‘parental alienation’). Doing some soul-searching is always a good idea, because only when we are aware of what our share of a problem we are responsible for can we know if we’ve done all we can to try to fix it, to make amends. Empathy is always a great place to start, you put yourself in their shoes to see how it probably felt for them. But if your experience has indeed been just a travesty of justice there is still hope. Teens & young adults brains don’t finish total development until we’re 25. Yes, most of your dumbest teen/young adult disasters can be blamed on this deficit. The frontal lobe helps us learn from our experiences, sort through info & come to a decision, decrease impulsive behaviors, make & work toward long-term plans, better learn what we like, don’t like, who we are. Have a more realistic view of life, it’s our higher order thinking. So as your daughter gets closer to 25 she may well start reconsidering earlier decisions. But the term ‘parental alienation’ should only be considered if there’s absolutely no past or present evidence of abuse, including testimony. It should never be automatically assumed that a person is committing ‘parental alienation’ because they’re reporting abuse of their child or what their child has told them. It’s critical that good & responsible parents don’t lose credibility because they are trying to protect their child from abuse by advocating for their child & someone in the system, even some caseworker, assumes that we are planting ideas in their child’s head. Children have their own ideas, thoughts, feelings & can feel them very strongly & passionately. So it’s vital to not have a bias against any parent who has concerns about neglect, poor treatment/abuse by the other parent. I have heard & read about many judges, lawyers, GALs & other court people who have actually been taught to be biased against the mother & suspicious of abuse allegations, which is of course discriminatory & illegal. [check out a former California Family Court Judge’s information about their anti-mother/female training as part of 40 hr. Family Court training @ website:]. There are men who face this kind of anguish by losing custody or regular visitation with their child. But you going to the ‘poor dads can’t get a fair break re custody or visitation in a divorce court’ is old news & is no longer true. For every father this happens to it happens to at least ten women, & they’re particularly sticking it to single moms. Over at least the past 4-5 years, if a father fights for custody of his children, 75% he gets it. Which is evidence of further sexism because the judges like a man’s ‘less emotional’, smooth demeanor. When the mom has custody the dad usually gets visitation. But with these aggressive dads who get custody by being emotion-challenged, most of the time the mother isn’t allowed to talk to or see their children for years! I have two single mom clients in this boat. & three other moms this happened to tragically killed themselves. If it’s believed that pretty much every time a mother reports abuse against the father, especially after a divorce, that it’s ‘parental alienation’, then there are going to be many children unprotected from abuse by an abusive father; who even may get physical custody of them, not even supervised visitation. There should be an objective investigation of all allegations of abuse, & make marital/divorce status irrelevant. It is irrelevant. If there’s evidence of abuse, there’s abuse. When one of my clients was filing for a Protective Order due to her soon-to-be-ex husband being abusive to herself & their son, a court clerk snarled at her, saying, “I know what you’re doing, you’re just trying to keep his dad away from his son!” This was a completely outrageous, false & clearly misogynistic conclusion to jump to. I can’t think of a better reason to get a divorce – and a Protective Order -than having an abusive spouse, can you? And the abuse he’d committed was documented by pictures in the file. Guess what? She didn’t get a Protective Order. Some states even have laws that forbid convictions/substantiation of abuse by a parent from being brought up in divorce & custody cases?! Ludicrous. Since statistically the majority of DV, DV in front of the children, child abuse & murder are committed by ex/husbands & ex/boyfriends. No doubt they know this, so the only conclusion I can draw is that these states still consider a wife, even an ex-wife & their children to still be the man’s property. They don’t want to anyone to interfere with his right to abuse & even kill his past/present wife & their children.
    Of course there are some cases of parental alienation, but they are not as common as it’s believed. It’s very difficult to do & have it last unless the child is quite young. Then it is possible to do if one of the parents is able to manipulate, force, bribe, coerce, lie or frighten the child enough to alienate them from the other parent, for some amount of time. This is due to greed, wanting to hurt the other parent, being extremely immature & selfish, needing to control the child & by extension, their ex, trying to buy a child’s ‘love’ by spoiling them verbally & materially, not being able to accept the child’s preference to live with the other parent so having to ‘win’, to have the appearance that you are the better parent & to be able to continue to control the child & by extension, their ex. This is despicable behavior, emotionally abusive & could seriously ruin their child’s ability to feel good about themselves, to be able to form trusting relationships, etc. I tell parents who are/allegedly doing this that if they are, it may work for them short-term. Long-term, it’s going to blow up in their face. If you force your child to be with you when they’d rather live with the other parent so they’re very unhappy; you may save child support, you may get obedience, control & compliance, fool them for a while with lies about their mom/dad, & get back at your ex (unless they really are that sick, abusive & scary). But at 18 they can leave. The truth always comes out eventually. IF you’ve cheated them out of significant periods of happy, important life events with their other parent, prevented contact with the other parent who they loved & were closer to by kidnapping, lying, controlling, withholding information, etc., you’ll lose their respect & trust (if you ever had it) & you will lose them. They’ll stay as far away from you physically & emotionally as possible. Maybe they’ll forgive you someday. Maybe they never will & you’ll never see them again. Which would serve you right. Never take your happiness at someone else’s expense. Especially not your child’s. Karma, you know?

  • A Dad

    July 9th, 2015 at 10:00 PM

    Michele Miller : I know where I came from, my experience with my former wife and daughter, My sisters have told me after the pain of the divorce itself had somewhat subsided that their inside “joke” for years was that if any of them ever died they wanted to come back as my wife – I sure sound like a vicious, uncaring parent and maybe in need of some introspection? What a I am living with you have no ability to assume or judge. My former wife and daughter had anything; as I adored them. They were my center and purpose. Why my former wife blindsided me with a divorce – to this day I have no answers. I was served and it was abrupt. She demanded a trial, of which prior to I made her three settlement offers over a trial – she refused all three. I told her going to trial a Judge has control the day it starts; it’s like going to a Casino. Well, financially in hindsight my former wife should have taken any of my three settlements and had heeded my advice about a trial. Even the Judge in the trial stated to her “fine” Lawyer and I quote: “All she is here for is the money.” This is a Judge that has been through thousands of motions trials. She committed perjury twelve times; unfortunately her own deposition and testimony did not hold up. All the outcome of her trial and her divorce was more poison added to what she had already started with my daughter. Think of what is the worse thing a grown women can say about her husband, while she had already turned my daughter away, to drive our separation further? Use your wildest imagination . This is the same person in a trial caught 12 times committing perjury. And you draw an assumption about myself. Obviously by your name you are female – yet another insensitive anti-man type. Explain this one to me, by affidavit and under oath my former wife stated that she had to protect herself and our daughter from me by fleeing to a neighbors home. When asked if she had ever called the police? No. Did you get a restraining order? No. If we subpoena your neighbors, will they support your testimony? NO. NO – did you hear that one; she said NO – just one of twelve points of gross perjury. My happiness was my life with my daughter that has been stolen by poison. I don’t care about materialistic goods, or money; as I came from nothing and became successful. The only thing my wife had left to damage me with was to keep my daughter from myself by any means and she has done one job on my daughter. My daughter is bright and I brought her up to be an objective critical thinker. So whatever venom she has been fed;it has to be disturbing. My wife, who chose a trial; was stung my her decision. You try 37 months of zero contact with your child – put yourself in my place. My former wife chose divorce for whatever reasons I have zero idea outside of what the Judge already concluded in open court. My former wife has been hostile, angry – only communicates in writing if necessary. Wouldn’t one think that if you got what you wanted a divorce you would be happy? You tell me. I should be the angry party. But I am not – I have forgiven my wife; she is acting on what logical reason; I have no clue. But placing our daughter in position of similar evil; that is not a person acting in the interest of anyone but themselves but to what purpose and to what end? You tell me since you believe you have the answers.. I am left abandoned, my life happiness and center of being ripped from me and you dare insinuate cause. You are so squarely wrong and obfuscated. This is a suffering that makes drug resistant depression for decades seem like a walk in the park. When you take away not only my daughter but also my dreams for her future of my daughters choosing; while already stolen life events that will never occur again as we only had one child; you have no ability to stand in my shoes. I do nothing but live alone in silent desperation and loss. My purpose and happiness was centered on my family; not my career, not any house, not any car, not any vacation but the thrill and journey of watching her grow. We don’t know each other but all I can tell you is the reaction when other people or couples first heard of a divorce, the common reaction was; “Is your wife nuts?” That is it, 99% of the time. They double down on “nuts” when they here of parental alienation – and oh yes, parental alienation is very real in America. As I said before, every day is taking time off my life, as every day when I wake up is like either my daughter has died or had been kidnapped and it all unknowing -with the exception of the reality of the deep poisoning now in month 37. No Holiday cards, no Fathers Day, nothing – can’t you get that. That is my life and experience. I reach out to my daughter – nothing. I send her cards for every occasion – nothing. Gifts at Christmas – nothing. It’s like I am dead. You don’t cope with what I am living with – it’s impossible. I am sorry if I can’t be as callous as my former wife as her behavior is going to hurt my daughter in the long run as some day the truth will see light; just as it did in court. The only good thing about a trial – it is all recorded in writing; waiting for my daughter to read some day whether I am alive or dead. If you read it; you might not be so easy to offer or insinuate my circumstances or lightly brush off parental alienation which the majority of the time is used on men. Go read some of the research. Then read the affects it has on children for the rest of their lives. If I were a bad husband and abuser; didn’t care – I would not be feeling a thing – I would be “free” one would think. Why would I even post about suffering? I live with nothing every day and nothing to look forward too. My remaining years were to watch my daughter continue to excel in life as I am no control freak; she was on a wonderful life path and she was making great life choices on her own – 37 months ago – I have no idea where she is today on that journey, I am not allowed to spectate, let alone what I have been reconfigured as to drive her this far away and deep from me. Face that mystery every day. As much as I am hurting, I know other people have it far worse or better; but all I know is my self-worth and center of being happy and joyful has been abruptly ripped from me. I would give up my life at this point just to spend one hour with my daughter. I am a real Dad; authentic; nothing more, nothing less. Thus the pain and hurt. As a Priest who has known me for close to 40 years, my former wife and my daughter told me of the divorce; because of my character, morals and values he has watched for nearly 40 years – this is my walk in life to Calgary. You know, he is right. He knows what I am made of and the hurt inflicted for just being a dedicated, loyal husband and Dad. Don’t try offering up “hope” as that is just being indifferent; read – some children come back, some decades later, some never – what kind of life is that to live hoping and waiting? 37 months … people have gone to prison on manslaughter charges for less time. If suffering is the gate to heaven; I will be blowing the gates of their hinges then.

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