My parenting game is NOT on point these days. Quick to jump in the ring with my son…I am not so unlike that defeated, blood and sweat covered boxer just swingin’ and hopin’ to connect. Neither dignity nor peace have been won in this way. Shit shit shit—healthy engagement has not been modeled for me and it is unnatural and hard AF. Clinging to the Good Orderly Direction of my program I seek guidance. If I allow myself to be guided by past experience and/or emotions—destruction is inevitable — too familiar and awful to contemplate carrying over my FOO experience into the family I am creating. I require better, for my son and for us. If I can show up and give more and better than I ever got, one day at a time, that is a win. ***One next right thing at a time. I can do this. I must do this. I will fucken do this. Anything for my children. Always. #allofthedays #allmylove #bettermistakestoday #changethethingsican
Four signs that I am losing spiritually and failing my family, when I catch myself:
- handsomely rewarding the most basic decent behavior
Ouch and Yay—Praise GAWD for my awareness of how my younger son has been vested with a familiar passive aggressive, smug, righteous and emotionally detached knack for pushing people’s buttons. His recent prolonged proximity to school bully called on this skill, for his own daily survival, and also, has left him in a sustained state of resistance to doing anything not of his liking. He continually exercises dominant and disrespectful behaviors at home with his brother and with me. I recognize that he has healing work to do and this is the fall out from trauma, which begs mindful engagement from me. To date, I have mostly failed. I’ve consistently entered into futile and humiliating power struggles with my 9 year old. Surrendering parental authority, self control, dignity. Hate that. I am grateful for all the work I get to do in this area: to learn when to shut my mouth and detach; to allow my actions speak for me, as I have done with my foo and ex… Power struggle with a person attempting to dominate me, for someone like me, is a hopeless kamikaze mission. I must learn to focus on control over myself not my son. Confession: I want for him to do a better job so I don’t have to learn to control my emotions and reactions to upsetting behaviors. AND that thinking—that is the legacy insanity learned in homes where there is untreated addiction and mental illness. Unlearning a lot of shit, not nearly fast enough.
My boy has adopted this funny way of impersonating an old school southern black gentleman, perfectly, not degrading to anyone, just brilliant to hear a little white kid pull it off. Anyway, in his black man speak, he actually said to me: “I be livin witchu muh whole life and I be knowin’ all yo weaknesses.” Funny AF, but not a joke–at all.
For obvious reasons, detachment is less challenging with adults, who are not my responsibility, and from whom disengagement makes good sense. One might think I’d be a ninja by now, after decades of rigorous practice with my mother, sister, and ex…but they trained me only for people who biologically, are adults and with whom healthy emotional connection is clearly not possible.
In certain relationships- it is clear that the only prudent option is to manage, heal, and grow myself and to let go of anything that blocks that. Seeking serenity and dignity through informed detachment, from certain others and their choices. Practicing this sort of disengagement is confusing when it is a child, your own child, whom you intend to and are expected to and cannot help but to influence in one way or the OTHER. With my children, I am at a place in my recovery where I can, with them, accept that “What is not love, is a call for love.”(Marianne Williamson) I intend to answer that call. Love is always the answer. Love wins. Wholesome love! Badass Love.
ME: Changing the things I can. One next right thing at a time. What is more wholesome and than evolving and expanding beyond everything you thought you already knew and believed about love, family, parenting, relationships, and God? I can think of nothing. At the end of the day, what matters, is that my sons believe deeply that they are loved and safe, that they each possess a strong sense of security, self love, and belonging. That is the shit, right there.
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