Aaaah Sweet Enlightenment… after having grown up being told people cause other people’s bad behavior…but not their good behavior. My recovery teaches me otherwise and this quote perfectly reflects recent encounters and connections I have had with people whom I was unkind to…before I knew better. ((( Before learning healthy ways of working through difficult feelings and managing myself– rather than wasting my efforts and will to become worthy of
non-abuse connection with the people I was counting on.)))
They have been loving and compassionate, sharing they always knew something was amiss in my home. They knew I was scared and scary and didn’t need to punish or judge me, just to keep distance. It hurts and feels miraculous to hear the gift of these words.
If we are compassionate and gracious, to others, it means we have that inside us. If we are hostile, and judgmental, dismissive, or resentful, that is reflective of our own souls. While feelings are natural and subconscious reactions, as adults, we have choices we get to make, based on our values and our need to bring our own goodness to every situation. We can honor feelings without being a servant to them. We can acknowledge and be honest about them with trusted others and then–still act right– even when we feel all wrong about people, places, or things that displease us. I think that is called maturity.
What a person or event triggers for us is a reminder of who we are and the work we are called to do. It is not sane to take credit or responsibility for the kindness or unkindness of another. However, taking responsibility for the natural (not imposed) consequences of our choices is both sane and mature.
I remember when I was still deeply twisted in my perceptions, I would take it personally in Asian countries when people bowed and showed humility….like I was worthy of that? As if it were FOR ME. OY Veh!
While my feelings are not universal truths, they are real and have much to teach me. Being teachable is for wholesome badasses –and too much for others. I am grateful for feelings and the lessons they bring.
If you are or know somebody who appears to be tangled up in a gas lighting dynamic- in which they are regularly denied and provoked and then punished for their reaction, please at least, get informed on narcissistic behavior. It is abuse, beyond damaging. Children do not have choices, and if they never learn in young life how to have sane and loving relationships, then technically, they grow up to be adults with out choices, better choices or tools that they are aware of and have access to.
My children are so badass–resilient, aware, and unsupportive of behavior or words intended to exclude or diminish others. Best lil citizens. I cannot undo the past—or pay back for my harmful ignorance but I can pay it forward in my recovery and break the cycle by raising faithful, mindful little boys whose higher power is not fear, shame, guilt, or pride. Faith, hope, and self esteem are theirs for the having…if I ever behave in ways that diminish those things or model behaviors of that sort, I have people to turn to to help me with that. I do not share my truth to diminish others but to shine a light to connect, to offer light and hope to others trying to “manage” totally unmanageable situations. And to affirm myself….I do not make people be abusive. If I appear insane or unstable for reporting insane behavior…well, I will just assume that opinion is held by people who need to believe it to be so. We all have choices. I choose to preserve my children’s serenity and innocence the best I can. Sharing about the things that threaten that is the best I can do. I can’t stop it but I can be honest and open about it. Abusers abuse or recover. Survivors abuse or recover and survive. We are all doing the best we can. Recovery is the only solution. If not for having children looking to me to see how to live and be in healthy loyal relationships, I would still be the exact same spiritual skank, doing what I learned and retaliating against all that did not feel to be in overt support of my willful ways.
Reading and sharing on this reminds me of my early days as a teacher where I was new to teaching and curriculum and being a trusted authority over young hearts and minds. I recall hearing “Your discipline program cannot be more rigorous than your curriculum”. I can see how this is relevant to wholesome and mindful parenting as well. We need “stuff” to connect us in addition to sharing a roof, genetics, and our designated roles. Right?Much Love,
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