If I were to name this post before I write it I would say “FEELING TROUBLED WITH MYSELF.” Yet because I am writing this post with the hope that doing so will help me order my thoughts and feelings so that I can find the positive in what has been troubling me about myself today I am hoping by the time this is completed I will have a DIFFERENT title!!
As I write, what comes to me first is that my ‘troubledness’ probably stems in part from ‘boundary issues’ that are directly tied to difficulties I have with empathy – both of which are consequences of being raised for 18 years in a severely abusive home that gave me no safe and secure attachment to anyone, not even to myself.
I can’t really write about the situation my feelings and thoughts are tied to because they involve someone else I know – someone local – whose business is NOT really my business. I would not care at all what happened to this person except that she is a mother – and I care about what happens to her children.
First of all – that statement strikes me as being ‘mean’. How could I not care about this grownup?
I am reminded of the years I worked as an art therapist with a caseload of children ages 3 – 10 who were all in foster care because of the terrible abuses they had suffered. I was told at one point by my boss that I was “too much of an advocate for children.”
Although I have to work very hard at turning my thinking around into a direction where I can understand what my boss said to me – even though the therapy work I did was the children was amazing and VERY helpful TO THE CHILDREN – I did not in my heart give any break to the grownups who had – in my world – been responsible for what happened to these children. Even when the parents had not been directly responsible for abuse, I ALWAYS hold adults accountable for being responsible for meeting the needs of children and for keeping them safe.
In my world, adults DO FAIL CHILDREN!
There is no place I can find inside of myself where I can excuse adult lack of appropriate and adequate protection and care of children.
This brings me around, also, to thinking about my own life – how hard I found it to parent my children RIGHT especially in my younger years right after I left home and did not have a clue (1) about the terrible things that happened to me growing up and how those things affected me, and (2) the slightest idea, really, what being a good parent even was!
But I had instinct – and my instinct did not fail me.
This fact includes another critically important fact: As I grew into the light and into increased healing for myself I ACCEPTED HELP! I sought out help. I asked for help. I listened to everything people told me in their wisdom. I WANTED to get ‘better’. And I most certainly wanted to learn how to be the best possible parent I could be.
Evidently this might not be true for everyone who is trying to change their life. Evidently many people just want to do it THEIR WAY – while ignoring the truth and while only listening to those who pat them on the back, make them feel OK even about those things that are actually hurting these people’s children.
I don’t buy this. I don’t. I don’t. I don’t.
My only option is to refrain from contact with such people because there is nothing I can do to change a person who wants to take the ‘easier, softer’ way into their own future.
Children are NOT put into this world to meet the needs, wants and desires of their parents.
In my universe this means that children are not in a parent’s life to take away their loneliness, to be their best friend, to parent their siblings or to parent their parents.
Selfish, self-centered parenting HURTS CHILDREN. Very often their might not be any sign whatsoever that there is outright abuse present – but I cannot look the other way when in the face of situations where the needs of children for the CHILD’S healing is being ignored because it might make the parent uncomfortable to take their own steps into the light of truth about how their own past actions have harmed their children.
Putting the cork in the bottle, throwing out the hardcore drugs, stopping anti-social and illegal activities is – certainly!! Taking steps in the right direction — but they are not enough.
Nobody who received ugly parenting can parent their own children without essentially going to the school of “I want to learn what my children need and learn how to provide that for them more than anything else in the entire world!!!”
I can see I am not really making progress here in my thinking. I ask God to forgive me for where ugliness lies inside of me – leftover from the truly horrible childhood I had – that skews and biases me when it comes to passing judgments on other people that I have no right to make.
Because I know I do that!!
I am trying to become more positive today – but there feels to be something gnarling away in my gut. It’s as if I can see down the road of the children of this person I had some contact with again yesterday. I can see 10 years from now that the steps that I THINK this parent needs to take NOW and are not being taken — will create yet another whole river of intergenerational trauma that will be passed along along along.
It is already happening. This mother ‘caught’ most of her troubles from her parents (especially her mother). I hate to see this. I hate to know what is missing and be so powerless to make things better.
There is nothing I can say. This person wishes to hear nothing. Very good, she wants to pray and go to church. But that is NOT ENOUGH! There are very real problems that can have very real solutions. But a lazy approach to changing one’s life and the lives of one’s children will not work – because healing and growing – especially in the beginning stages – is HARD WORK!
To not do this work when it needs to be done is a tragedy that leads to tragedy – on down the generations. Extremely important first steps have been made in this family — but I can ‘hear the crash’ in the future if the rotten foundation of trauma carried within this family is not entirely rooted out and replaced with a truthful acknowledgement of what has been wrong, what is still wrong, and what is being actively worked on toward making a lasting firm and good foundation that will stand true far into the future of everyone concerned — even for those who have not yet been born.
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