some of us were born to amazing, fair and unconditional adults who moulded and shaped our lives modelling functionality, contribution and security.
some of us were born to people who smothered, suffocated, stifled and controlled us.
still others were born to broken humans who taught us panic, fear, torture, anguish and torment.
and some of us were born in the middle somewhere
in the layers of family dynamics that fall in between the extremes.
how is it some of us are born to superstar parents while others are born into pain? is it the luck of the draw? is there a Master Plan drawn by an unseen hand? some new age thinkers believe that all souls enter an agreement before they arrive to the human experience and that we each CHOSE our parents in order to learn karmic lessons. i don’t have the answers and i don’t believe any one person knows the ‘truth’ – whether it is all by chance, or choice.
but here’s what i do know: the only thing you control in your life is you. YOUR words. YOUR thoughts. YOUR actions. that’s it. you have no control over anyONE or anyTHING else.
attempts to change others will always be futile. this goes for partners, co-workers, lovers, best friends, siblings and children. your parents may not ever be able to give you what you believe you need from them. parents are actually just children in bigger bodies. no lie.
but you CAN change YOU.
you CAN parent YOURSELF.
you CAN give yourself what YOU need.
it’s frightening [and a fraction empowering] to go against your parents – whether you are 14 or 44. we’re taught to obey them, or risk being unloved. and they may not react kindly or ‘like’ what you’re doing with the life they gave , especially if you distance yourself, lash out or ‘break the rules’. but, i believe there is a way to honour them, while walking your own path. it doesn’t have to be their happiness or yours.
you might be young, and feel trapped at home.
[start dreaming about your own grown up life and the wonderful ways you'll live it. you won't be under their roof forever.]
you might be newly on your own and feeling lonely.
[what if you learned to parent yourself? by this i mean, look after your inner child the way a mother does, or the way your WANTED your mother to look after you.]
you might be angry and resentful and in pain over the relationships you’ve had (or haven’t had) with your parents.
[reach out. get help sorting through the crap. this healed me in ways nothing else has.]
you don’t have to repeat old patterns of behaviour. you don’t have to play the same tired, old game anymore. you certainly don’t have to endure emotional, psychological, physical or sexual abuse. you can choose a new way to be. it’s a choice. [almost like choosing bacon or sausage with your eggs, maybe a wee bit harder]
but it takes big, fucking guts.
being the grown up and looking after yourself ain’t for the faint of heart.
it takes practice.
there will be ups and downs.
but it’s doable.
take note: taking care of or parenting yourself doesn’t have to be a big announcement you make at your next family gathering over turkey dinner.
“A-hem, by the way, since ya’ll fucked up, I’m taking over from here,
thank you very much – please pass the carrots.”
there is no need to be dramatic, attack, open that can of worms or point fingers. dealing with family issues can come with explosive emotions.
your parents may not appreciate your critique of their life’s work, imagine that. it may be best as a personal observation, followed by a subtle and delicate shift – private. internal. like you’re saying a prayer, snuggling a baby, or petting a sleeping cat. you’re just going to choose to take care of you whether anyone else notices or not.
and know this: your experience is your experience. your brothers and sisters might not share your thoughts or opinions. have you ever wondered how 1 family with 5 kids raised by 2 parents can have 3 that feel blessed and grateful for their upbringing, 1 that holds rage and lashes out and 1 that is a hermit living in a van down by the river?
it’s called perspective and it’s very individual.
and it doesn’t mean they’re right and you’re wrong.
i feel the need to mention here: [for what it's worth]
we are all just doing the best we can. some of us are trying to figure out our paths and move through our life experiencing some kind of positive emotions. parents included. after all, they are only human. some of us are asleep, don’t think there is a problem or choose to stay angry. parents included.
i definitely did not ever set out to hurt, anger, disappoint or let down my kids, but there are times I have. and although it is not my intention, i may do it again. I also know that my kids are just out there trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in this world. they aren’t out there scheming up a big plan to figure out how to break dear ol’ mother’s heart. they’re just … well, living.
when we know better, we can do better.
there are moments when you don’t know what’s the matter and will do whatever it takes to stop the pain. and there may be moments when you have an inkling that something big is happening inside, and you just want solutions [this would be a good time to work with someone] and if you work at it, there might come a time you know exactly what you feel, what you need and how best to care for yourself, regardless of what anyone else is doing around you.
this is what we’re aiming for.
extreme self care.
once you know what pains you and what must change so that the pain will stop, you can take those steps. once you’ve experienced some healing and positive change, it’s very tough to go back to old patterns of crappy behaviour and self-harm. taking care of yourself becomes the kindest thing to do for everyone involved. the more you love and look after your own needs from a point of clarity and knowing and worth, the more gentle and free you become.
set yourself free.