Note: The following entry is actually a excerpt from a book by Bari Lyman’s book “Meet to Marry”- which was released in 2011. In this exerpt, she shares about the reconciliation she created with her family after her participation in the Landmark Forum:
What Is a Blind Spot?
Like the part of the road you can’t see in your rearview mirror
when driving, a blind spot is something about yourself of which you are not
consciously aware. It’s there, but you can’t see it. People in your life may
know what your blind spots are, but you don’t. Typically, you’re the last one
to know. By uncovering a blind spot and bringing it to your awareness, you can
finally arrive at a place of inspiration that leads to action. Becoming unstuck
is a direct result of uncovering this new information.
Jumping into action allows for miraculous changes in your life.
Warning Signs of a Blind Spot
Blind spots can manifest when you complain and make excuses about
people or situations. The irony about blind spots is that other people can
recognize them right away. As for us, though, they are hidden from our view.
When you are unaware of the behavior and believe the external event is causing
the problem, this is a blind spot. Until you uncover these blind spots, they
will continue to keep you from your happiness. Some warning signs that a blind
spot is in action include statements like:
All women are . . .
All men are . . .
There is no one left to date.
Everyone out there is lousy.
Men are afraid of commitment.
Women don’t get me.
There are no good guys to connect with.
The scene is awful.
I really do my best to be out there, but . . .
It’s a meat market.
It’s a bloodbath.
When we cannot (or will not) find the true causes to events that take place in our lives, we pin the blame on anything outside of ourselves. The hard truth is that the real causes never come from outside of us. They come from within. That means that the real solutions
never come from outside of us either. The key to having the life of your dreams is inside
of you. Just like you can see solutions to so many of your friends’ “obvious”
problems while they walk around clueless, the outside observer can easily see
what we are oblivious to: we are blocked, under the control of our blind spots,
which lead us to make wrong decisions over and over again.
It’s an inside job, really.
I learned about blind spots and breakthroughs in the Landmark
Forum, a course focusing on personal transformation and living life fully. I had
many personal breakthroughs from participating in the course. One of the main
truths that surfaced was a blind spot related to my father, crucial information
that, in turn, subconsciously affected all of my relationship choices.
After my parents divorced when I was twelve, I told a judge that I didn’t want to see my father anymore. He granted me the right to make that decision. As a result of that decision, I didn’t see my father for more than fifteen years. In fact, I later found out that for many years, my father didn’t stop trying to see me.
When he would come for visitation, I hid; I didn’t want to be found. Because of the dysfunction and the fighting and always being asked to take sides, I wanted to be far away from both of my parents. When I was still a child, I made the decision that I didn’t need my father, and I acted as if and lived as though I didn’t have one.
Fifteen years later, at the Landmark Forum, I had a breakthrough. I realized and immediately felt the impact of that decision I’d made, essentially “divorcing” my father. Not having him in my life was one of the reasons I’d been attracting inappropriate men all
those years. I realized that the men I attracted were people I wanted to subconsciously “fix,” so as to re-create my familiar, dysfunctional childhood. I realized the actions I took as a hurt child would become some of the saddest of my life. I had a father, and I rejected him. In turn, I dragged that “story” around for years. Unbeknownst to me, it was my biggest blind spot.
Another important breakthrough had to do with my relationship to my family. As I mentioned, I had a rather lonely childhood. When I was born, my mother and her family stopped speaking over a disagreement that no one could remember. When I was nine, my mother and I ran into an old couple on the steps of the synagogue, and suddenly they all burst out crying.
My mother then announced, “Bari, these are your grandparents.” Ouch. I had grandparents and an aunt, uncle, and cousins I never knew about. Because I didn’t even know that I had any family until I was nine, all of my perceptions about my relatives came from my mother. Because of her childhood experiences, and never feeling like she fit in, her subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle messages conveyed that her family was all out for themselves. She thought her family didn’t approve of my father as well as other misconceptions. My mother didn’t get the love she needed, and she channeled all of that negative sentiment to me. And so it goes with the origins of our blind spots and the
incidents in our lives to which we add meaning and take with us into adulthood.
After I completed the Landmark Forum, I realized immediately that I kept my cousins at a distance, even years later. On the one hand, I longed for closeness and love from them, especially having been an only child. On the other hand, despite this strong craving, I spent my life feeling that my cousins didn’t really care about me. After the course, I called one cousin and made arrangements to see her. I told her about my breakthrough and how much I had always wanted to be closer to her. She replied that she always loved me,
and that she too wanted to have a closer relationship. She told me that she would always be there for me. We both cried. At that moment, I really understood that it had been me that created and kept the distance between us. It was an amazing blind spot to have discovered!
After understanding the misguided relationship I had with my father, I immediately took action and contacted him. A few days later, I was on a flight from Florida to New York to see him. From the window of my cab, parked across the street from the Maimonides hospital in which I was born, I saw an adorable old man with red hair waiting to greet me. My stomach sank. I’d missed so many years of his presence. At our reunion that day, he cried and shared his pain and sadness over those years of trying to find me. He felt such terrible rejection. After the divorce, he recounted how he went into a terrible depression, and for many years, he didn’t want to live.
He asked so many questions about how it could have happened. How could such a decent guy deserve to be kicked out on the street with his possessions in garbage bags? I couldn’t tell him why because I didn’t understand it myself. After all, I was a child at the time, an innocent victim in this family. I sat and listened to his story, and told him how I regretted
my own judgment, which led to the end of our relationship. I spent two days in his world getting to know him again. He took me by the hand and we walked around his Boro Park neighborhood together. He showed me off to his friends. I realized from spending time with him that I got my creativity, sense of humor, and drive to search and seek from him.
This experience created a window for me to understand my parents. I was able to forgive them and to forgive myself. It was an incredible opportunity to help me move on. In the forum that I participated in through Landmark Education, I learned to be grateful to my parents simply for having given me life. Everything else beyond that was a bonus. I was able to relate to them in a new context, as people who did the best they could do for me at the time.
Breakthroughs allow for immediate action. By discovering what lurks in the depths of yourself, you don’t need to live another day stuck behind a blind spot.
Bari Lyman, South Beach, Florida
Her book “Meet to Marry” is available at Amazon.com