Journal of Alan Howard
May 2000 - 10:43pm
I've been going through a period of adjustment these past few
days. I didn't realise it until just a few minutes ago,
and once I realised it, I had to write about it in here.
For a long time now, I've been a devotee of the selfish
attitude, where you do things only for your personal happiness -
as long as it does not detract from the happiness of others.
Well, something is changing in my life. And I think I'm
happy about it.
Let me go back to a beginning...
For as long as I have known I was able to be a father, I've
never wanted kids of my own. I have never felt the desire
to have my own kids. In fact, I've had an aversion to
it. I thought that my ideal situation was to be with a
woman who already had kids. I've been thinking it was
because I didn't want to go through the experience of raising
kids from birth.
However, I've known that it's related to my own childhood.
It was never a good one, and I never wanted to run the risk of
repeating the patterns that a lot of kids have programmed into
them by their own parents. I never wanted to be the kind
of father that my father was to me.
In the past few days, this has really come to a head. It's
become a serious issue which has needed resolving.
Michelle wants kids. She really, really wants kids.
When she was here on Easter, her and I discussed it briefly, and
I expressed my aversion to the idea, but I was happy to possibly
end up adopting. A few days ago (Thursday), this came up
in a conversation with Scot's new girlfriend. She was
horrified that I could consider 'forcing' a woman to adopt when
she was capable of having her own. At the time, I just
shrugged and said 'deal with it'. On Friday, that
conversation came up between Scot and I, and he said that she
was ready to rip my jugular out, but - after discussion
continued and she learnt something about my childhood - she
realised that my attitude was based on my own bad childhood and
she forgave me. This really made me think about my past
and what I was doing right now with Michelle. I realised
how cruel my attitude was, and I was shocked at how insensitive
On Friday night, in a web-phone conversation with Michelle, she
was really depressed about her day and things that were
happening in her life. I was doing my best to provide love
and support and understanding. Then she started talking
about the possibility of losing her job, and ending up having to
leave New Zealand and return to England. She suggested
that a good way of preventing that was that when I come over
there, I marry her. At this very point, I spat the dummy
and got depressed myself. Michelle and I almost split up
then and there. I felt she was trying to pressure me into
marriage and kids, and I wasn't ready or willing - therefore I
felt that I would end up hurting her too much in the future if I
continued the relationship. I let the conversation
deteriorate to a point where she was 'letting me go and telling
me we'd always be friends'. I didn't want this
though! And neither did she. So after another couple
of hours of conversation, a few things were resolved.
After much discussion, it was discovered by me that my issue
with kids was based around the fact that I believed I was a
mistake. By being a mistake, I caused my parents some
incredible unhappiness, as they never wanted to be together -
they only got married because my mum accidentally got
pregnant. For my entire childhood, I had it drummed into
me that I was a mistake, that if it wasn't for me, they'd both
be much happier living different lives with different
partners. I was the blame for all their mistakes. As
a susceptible child, I was brainwashed into believing that was
During this discussion with Michelle, allowing all this shit to
rise to the surface, I realised that the real reason I didn't
want kids was because I didn't want to make the same
'mistake'. I didn't want the responsibility of causing the
unhappiness of the woman I got pregnant, and having us both
blame the child/ren that would be born and grow, and having them
feel the same way I felt. My entire existence was based
around the belief that getting married and having children was a
mistake. No wonder I never wanted to get married or
The 'crisis' between Michelle and I was resolved somewhat by her
stating that if she could be with me when I didn't want kids or
to get married, or to be with someone who did want kids and to
get married, then she'd choose me - because she loved me and
that was all that was important to her, and that she's never
found anyone like me anywhere else.
I was amazed! Immediately the 'pressure' came off, and
again I was amazed at how much this woman must love me.
She was prepared to sacrifice everything that she believed in,
just to be with me.
We had a nice conversation last night and tonight - everything
was back to normal in regards to our relationship. We were
happy and she is definitely over her depression right now.
We had a fun chat tonight, it was excellent.
However, earlier today was the next step in my adjustment.
Miss X - who I've mentioned before - wanted my company today, as
she went to see her children for Mothers Day (they live an hour
or so away in a town called Cooma). Her ex husband has
been giving her a lot of shit, and she needed my support.
This was fine by me. I love her dearly, she's a wonderful
friend, so it was good to be there for her. We spent half
a day with her kids, and during that time I observed her how
I've never seen her before - with her kids. She was so
happy, and it was obvious that it was a wonderful thing for her
to be with them on this special day. I watched her
happiness, and how she interacted with them. It was a nice
time for me as well, even though I sat and just watched for most
of the time. I did let her son play with a game on my
mobile phone... I think he liked that. Miss X liked
that too... she told me that doing stuff like that makes
kids relate to you more, when you can appeal to their interests
and be on a similar level to them. I thought more about
the ways I have interacted with kids in the past.
The latest part of my 'adjustment process' is what just
occurred that made me start writing this. I was talking to
a friend on ICQ, and she's been having some problems with her
teenage children. In response to her problems, I wrote the
all I really can suggest is that you hang in there.
I know it's hard... I was a hard child to manage... and they may end up hating you or you ending up hating them... but they need their mother
and I think that if you give them all you can give and continue hanging in there, they aren't going to hate you
they're just going through a difficult time right now, and this really is when they need you there for them
separate yourself from yourself and try to see life through their eyes, no matter how hard you find it
Suddenly I realised something! After I wrote and sent that
message to her - and then read what I sent - I realised that
I've changed! Before tonight, I just would not have known
what to say to a mother about her children. If anything, I
would have either ignored it or told her to concentrate on her
own happiness, and she'd then help cause the happiness of those
around her. But tonight I didn't say that.
Instead, I said that she needs to be there for her
children. I said that they are more important than what
she's going through right now. I said that is the
responsibility she has as a mother. I said that I see
children differently now - I see them as being important and
needing love, regardless of their actions.
I realised I see children differently now - I am relating more
to the idea of being a parent! I'm beginning to feel that
it's ok to have kids, and to raise them with the love and
understanding that I never had. In fact, as I write this,
I am also seeing an opportunity to right the wrongs of my own
past. Is that a good enough reason to have kids? I
don't know. I know that I've got a lot more issues to work
out, and I also know that I'm beginning to believe Michelle will
be the one who'll stick around long enough to help me work them
out. I have to thank Scot's girlfriend for helping as well
- she's the one who brought this to a head, and it's continued
positively from there. (I'll be sending this to her via
email to Scot.) Miss X played a part as well, allowing me
to see her fully appreciate her time with her kids.
These past few days have certainly been an eye-opener.
Again... stay tuned for more opening eyes.
little sense in attempting
to change external conditions,
you must first change inner beliefs,
then outer conditions
will change accordingly.
How To Succeed