The “I Need Your Love” Myth

The boys have the week off, so we decided to go to my parent’s cabin in Tahoe. After inviting 3 other families to join us and confirming the dates with my mom, I almost screamed when I found out a few days before departing that my mom had given the cabin away to some friends from Hawaii.

Reading the remorseless email from my mom, I felt the same dismay I experienced as a child when she stood with her arms crossed while my step-father beat me. Luckily, I had just returned from a weekend at Interchange Counseling Institute devoted to trauma. During the weekend, I had released any need for love from my parents.

My Dad before going MIA

My Dad before going MIA

Working through my childhood traumas, I realized that I did not need the love and approval of not only my mom and step-father, but also my deceased father. In one exercise in somatic healing, I role played with Meg, an intuitive and powerful woman counselor. She played my father who was leaving for his second tour of duty in Vietnam. I gripped her legs with all my strength begging my father not to abandon me.

“Don’t leave me, Dad. He’s going to beat me,” I pleaded desperately.

Meg wedged her free leg on my shoulder and tried to wiggle loose.

I tackled her and screamed with anger, “Daddy, why are you abandoning me?”

The three year old me could not have understood my father’s obsession to be the first Asian American General in the US Army. My child-like mind hadn’t experienced the kind of trauma that had blindsided my father when as an American citizen, he was imprisoned in the Internment Camps during World War II.

Looking back, I understand why my father felt the need to die for this country. In a way, he sacrificed himself for me and my brothers, so that we might some day be completely accepted as Americans.

“I love you, son,” Meg whispered as she stopped struggling to escape and chose to embrace me.

After the 30 minutes of struggling, tackling, crying, and loving with Meg, I felt lighter. A space opened up for me to love my father in a way I hadn’t since I was three. Experiencing these insights in both mind and body set me free from reacting to old distress patterns.

My mother’s decision to allow my step-father to physically abuse my older brother and I might have been born from similar trauma. Her decision to withdrawal emotionally from her sons might have been a self-preservation strategy born the day my father went missing in action in Vietnam.

I choose to love my mother, father, and step-father regardless of the decisions they have made in the past. I choose to love my country regardless of the decisions it made in the past. True freedom lies in loving the present moment without resentment from past events.

It occurred to me that being “born again” might refer to becoming one’s own father and mother–from releasing the people who happened to bore us from the socially constructed illusions of what makes a good parent. I love my parents, but I no longer need their love or approval. As cliche as it sounds, I am my own man.

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38 comments on “The “I Need Your Love” Myth

  1. Spooky that the same thing happened to me this month in regards the family beach house….very nice post Kozo, sounds like that Interchange work you’re doing is powerful and so supportive! x

  2. brucethomasw says:

    Sort of like breaking the ties that bind. Love re-definition of born again. Peace, bro.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Peace, Bruce. Yes, breaking the ties. I like to think of it as tension that does not allow me to get in tune with life, love, and myself. Thanks for reading and sharing. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  3. A powerful post that really hit home for me. I’m trying to approach a relationship with the woman who gave birth to me as I would any other human being — with a positive open mind that assumes good intentions — despite the baggage of my childhood trauma. In other words, just because she’s not “mom” doesn’t mean she can’t add value to my current life. Thanks for sharing. :>

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Love that attitude, WV. Yes, everyone can add value to our lives, just in different ways. I like to think of everyone as gurus to help us on our path. Some do it kindly, others do it in ways we don’t enjoy in the moment, but later look back on as beneficial. {{{Hugs}}}} kozo

  4. Indira says:

    This post made me cry. Touched me. Thanks for sharing.

  5. NotAPunkRocker says:

    You seem to always have the right words I need at the right time. Thank you.

    • I second that, Kozo. You seem to read our minds. Exactly what I needed to hear at exactly the right time.

      The line at the end about you no longer needing your parents approval is so deep & profound. I wish the same for all of us someday.

      & P.S. Your Dad was a handsome man. Although there may be some sad times in the past – I know you must be proud of him.

      • Kozo Hattori says:

        Yes, J. I wish the same for all of us as well. May we all heal and be re-born into the divine consciousness together. Thanks for noticing my dad. I am very proud of him. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Glad it helped, Sheena. I was just sharing some healing that went on in my life, but I didn’t expect it to bring any solace to anyone else. I’m pleasantly surprised that others could benefit from this experience. Thank you for reading and sharing. {{{Hugs}}} kozo

  6. You are a true man Kozo. {{{hugs}}}

  7. karen says:

    I also love your definition of born again. Sometimes we need to re-parent ourselves.

  8. Kelly Kuhn says:

    I love hearing about the work others do to heal, integrate, and rise. People need to know it takes effort and courage to go within – and rising won’t happen without that. There’s much more to it, of course, but the inner work cannot be skipped. Good for you!

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Yes, Kelly, inner work is the first step. I love the word integrate. It feels like all the pieces of my life are starting to come together. I can sit back and enjoy the beautiful picture they make. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  9. I so agree with Kelly – the inner work, feeling the feelings, cannot be skipped. I’m so impressed Kozo with your dedication and your willingness to go where you need to go to be liberated from the pain of the past. Your sentence ‘I had released any need for love from my parents’ gave me pause. I think I need to do that. I’m ‘this’ close to forgiveness and I think that will do it. Thank you for a wonderful post once again. ((((((Hugs)))))) Alison

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Yay, Alison. I too feel “this” close to something liberating. Like I’ve said before, I’ll meet you on the other side, my dear friend. Have been a bit busy with winter break and writing, but I will stop by soon for a visit. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  10. Very touching story! How very sad that your father had to make that choice at all!

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      True, SSF, but I see these choices and sacrifices as part of a larger plan. I have a strong faith in eternity, so I know that I will see my father again. Thanks for reading and sharing. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  11. ~meredith says:

    What an insight. I wish I knew more to say…

    Many thanks. Many.

    xx Meredith

  12. Meg says:

    Kozo, you have left me in tears. And this is the most profound birthday present I could ever receive. I am honored to know you, to watch our growth together. Your father is handsome and I see a determination and strength in him, the same that I witness in you. I do whole heartedly believe that when we die, we are greeted with such powerful love that we are healed into wholeness. We see things rightly, through the eyes of love. Just as you have been healed, so has your father. If we are healed through our limited human ability to love, I can’t even imagine our vision later. ( Of course this comes through my Christian perspective.)

    Though I command laguages both human and angelic- if I speak without love, I am no more
    Than a gong booming or a cymbal clashing.And though I have the faith necessary to move
    mountains- if I am without love, I am nothing. Though I should give away all to the poor that
    I possess, and even give up my body to be burned- if I am without love, it will do me no good
    whatever.
    Love is always patient and kind; love is not boastful or conceited, it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage, it does not take offence or store up grievances. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but finds its joy in the truth. It is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope
    and to endure whatever comes.
    Love never comes to an end. But if there are prophecies, they will be done away with; if tongues
    they will fall silent; and if knowledge, it will be done away with. For we know only imperfectly, but once perfection comes, all imperfect things will be done away with. When I was a child, I used to talk like a child, and see things as a child does, and think like a child; but now that I have become an adult, I have finished with childish ways.
    Now we see only reflections in a mirror, mere riddles.( or through a glass darkly). Now I can know only imperfectly; but then I shall know just as fully as I am myself known….

    We are reflections of love, created by love and for love. I know that as your father met his last moments, you , your brother and mother, and his love for you were the last thoughts he treasured.

    Kozo, I hear your words reflected in St. Paul. Almost word for word. And you are dedicated
    fiercely to healing and to love. You are the brave, wrestingly demons. You are the warrior dedicated to a lasting cause, and unending cause. You are your father’s son. I can’t imagine how
    fully his heart swells, watching you .

    And your words liberate me. Thank you. I thought it ironic, ( you are powerful as well) that both of our core wounds had their origin in WWII. Yours at the hands of the Americans, and mine at the hands of the Japanese. ( my father was a Japanese prisoner of war and suffered immensely) . When he came back he was broken, with no help for his unimaginable wounds. He was not able to
    love me wholly and was often verbally cruel. And yet there you were, healing me. Affirming me in
    my battle… And my core wound was, ” I don’t deserve to be here.” I don’t have a right to show up in the world… And your article lets me know that I made a difference… My presence matters…..
    No greater gift my dear friend, No greater gift. We are indeed on the path, and I am blessed to have crossed yours. Hears to wholeness, and the healing power of love.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Meg,
      I love you. You definitely made a difference in my life and the lives of my children. Hurt people hurt people, but healed people heal people. Your healing has enabled a path of healing for my children, my community, our world.

      I teared up a number of times while reading your comment, but the part about our core wounds being at the hands of our ancestors made me shiver. The Universe/God is so intelligent. The most clever of us could never come close to divine intelligence, but if we simply love the divine (each other), it is ours.

      Thank you so much for the words of St. Paul. The metaphor of growing out of childhood has been everywhere lately. I knew the quotation “When I was a child, I used to talk like a child, and see things as a child does, and think like a child; but now that I have become an adult, I have finished with childish ways,” but did not know exactly where it was from. I do feel that we are growing out of childish ways, even adult ways. We are maturing into Christ Consciousness, Buddha Nature, Divine Love. I am so honored to share this path with you, my dear friend.

      Thank you so much for all you have persevered, learned, loved, and suffered to become the healer that touched my heart and soul.

      Love,
      Kozo

      • 1EarthUnited says:

        Wow, what an amazing session, we really do heal one another. Thanks for sharing such profound & intimate experience with us, there’s so much to appreciate! Blessings Kozo ♥☼♥

  13. Cathy G says:

    Kozo, this is so powerful. There is much that I wish to say but for now it appears it’s important for me to simply be still while I absorb it all.
    Peace be with you. – Cathy

  14. It sounds like your retreat allowed you to make an important breakthrough. It has taken me 35 years to finally get beyonde my difficult upbringing. The relief of reaching this point is huge. It is, as you said, a freeing sensation, one well worth working toward, and important to hold onto. You have done some great work. Keep it up!

  15. Your words explaining your walking into understanding is profound. I shall go back up to read again. Thank you, once again, for sharing “you” with us.

  16. […] it was because I had done some deep re-parenting work at the last Interchange weekend, but my questions were more spiritual: “What does sex have to do with higher […]

  17. Geo Sans says:

    freedom
    ~
    never
    apologize
    or
    ask permission
    for being
    yourself

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Such wisdom, GS. Yes, we often feel guilty for being ourselves. I’ve been realizing that being selfish at times leads us to selflessness. When we truly become self-aware, we realize our connection to others. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  18. tw says:

    Our past does not dictate our future yet so often we let it control our thoughts and actions. We are all free to choose a different future, one where we are liberated, unburdened by pain and heartache. I’m glad you’re making that choice Kozo, with love and compassion you bring such goodness to the world xoxox

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thanks, Tracy. Yes, we find a freedom when we break free from old hurts and mistakes. Part of my problem was that I didn’t even know that I was burdened. {{Hugs}}} Kozo

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