Deny, defend, deflect, dilute. I think it is natural to do these things when we are young and full of not knowing how to act right, particularly when we are feeling bad about something, maybe afraid, angry, sad or ashamed. We might do something unwholesome and then naturally prefer to evade shame and punishment. Some people, from early on, choose to say or do literally anything to avoid unpleasant consequences—unwilling to acknowledge, admit, accept, and amend.
These seem to be the same people who apologize profusely for circumstantial things but not for their choices. They are eager for praise and swat down and return rather than accept compliments and tend to fawn and ooze flattery- desperate to be recognized for being polite and friendly. How is it possible to trust or relax with a person always demanding forgiveness for nothing at all and snatching at praise for nearly anything? These types resent me for not caring more about the opinions and pleasure of others. I do care but am not directed by them. Allowing myself to be guided by static principles, allows me instead to act and speak with integrity. The other way did not. These are the folks who fight to uphold comfortable lies and go to war over unpleasant truths.
Nothing to me, feels as hopeful as witnessing my children claim responsibility for their words and actions when they have done harm or broken trust. I love when either they know or they ask how to make reparation- to restore connection which has been compromised. To be or appear perfect or pleasing is not something I desire or expect from my sons, only to be honest and kind. If nothing else, I need for them to discern the differences between trusted others and non-trusted others. Trusted others will not punish you for displeasing them and will be honest and direct when they feel upset about a thing, allowing for reparations. Non trusted others will always say nothing is wrong and continually seek to get even, usually in underhanded ways. This is the birth place of eggshells- the lack of ease and trust.
Because I grew up void of trust in others or myself, I did not learn how to be trusted or to trust. I was too reactive and defensive to be counted on. The rules were not clear and strictly enforced and I was pretty much always shitting my pants. At some level, I understood this lacking within myself and assumed it to be true of others, as well. Living that way was scary. I had not experienced love and trust. So, I did not know. When we know better we do better.
A common argument in our home arises from bullshit apologies intended to serve as magic wand erasers. To anything resembling this, I vehemently object: “Fine– I am sorry, can we just move on, it is over”. But is it really possible to genuinely apologize for a thing said or done and the pain caused, while simultaneously believing we have done no harm? I think not.
Sometimes when we are feeling sheepish and ready to apologize, we laugh out these words: I am sorry you made me scream at you or I am sorry that you feel I screamed at you. We all get it and like to respond with similar sentiments of forgiveness. I forgive you for making me lose my shit….. We are breaking cycles and learning together, to choose accountability and compassion for even those with whom we may still feel angry.Much Love,
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