There is nothing more heartbreaking than watching your child suffer.
I’m a basketball mom and watching my son writhing on the floor in pain breaks my heart and takes all my will power not to run on to the court and scoop him up in my arms. (He is 14 and 6 foot tall so not really a possibility, but that is what I really really want to do — that and give the naughty boy who knocked him to the ground a good smack).
When my daughter is sitting dejectedly in her bedroom because she has had a fight with her friends, logically I know it will pass and in three minutes they will be snapping selfies together and hatching plots for sleepovers, but in that moment, when I see her hunched in her bed feeling alone and left out, my heart breaks.
I don’t suppose I’m much different to many other mothers.
Well, mine is maybe an exception as she is the one who caused the most pain in my life, her stringent rules of 100 percent thought obedience, her ability to seemingly, mistakenly tell me how useless, selfish, and unworthy of her attention I was and then deny absolutely that this was the case whilst gathering her gang of supporters to remind me how much she did for me and how selfish I am for not recognizing it.
(This is, however a story for another day and very much part of why I work to empower women to trust themselves, know themselves and create an internal bond that empowers them to live well no matter what is happening on the outside).
There is a saying that we are only as happy as our saddest child and it is certainly true in my case. I have to work very hard to let them learn their own lessons and not step in and in fact look inward and learn my own lesson.
Why am I so reactive to my daughter’s arguments? Simply because my view of the world as a child was based on how my mother and father treated me, so I attracted a series of nasty little friends who would insult me to my face, lie to me, and ignore me for days at a time. No coincidences in God’s universe, right?
I went through friends like most teenagers go through boyfriends and was always in a fight-or-flight mode, though I only ever had long-term loving boyfriends — go figure!
Recently, I had a woman approach me. She wanted to work on her relationship. I am a relationship coach so that was a good start, but what was different with this woman was that she had been divorced for many years.
She had been the subject of a very emotionally abusive relationship and after trying for many years to understand what she was doing wrong, she finally understood the answer was nothing.
The problem wasn’t hers; she was simply a player in her husband’s drama. When she understood that no matter what she did, his behavior wouldn’t change unless he wanted it to, she felt free to leave.
She left and muddled on creating a life for herself and her kids. Her children had random contact over the years with her husband and she was so busy bringing up the kids as a single mum she didn’t have time to think about finding a new partner.
She never really thought beyond leaving her husband, but she knew why she left. She knew it was for the best for her and the kids but that was about as much “self-reflection” she had undertaken until she discovered that her daughter was in exactly the same type of relationship and was going through the same process she had done many years before, trying to make her partner happy.
This lady was devastated. How could this have happened?! She couldn’t’t bear to see her daughter hurting and the mirror of her own situation was too almost too much to take in.
She understood, having been there before, that her daughter needed to find her own answer to this and her only role was to hold space, to not judge and not react and let her daughter know she was there and available when the time was right.
So what did she want with me?
Speaking to her friends, she understood for the first time that she had never looked beyond what went wrong. She had done all the right things to get out of the marriage, keep her kids safe, and create a new life — but she had never looked at why she was in the situation in the first place.
She had long ago stopped blaming her ex for what went wrong but not once had she questioned how she ended up there.
What had led her to the arms of a man who seemed too good to be true? Why, when the alarm bells were beginning to ring, did she silence them when he began controlling her movements and who she saw and she gave in because it was easier than causing an argument?
So much of her own behavior which came from beliefs that she wasn’t even aware of; she had allowed for his behavior which she wasn’t happy or comfortable with, but for the longest time, she put up with and for even longer put it down to just a bad choice.
Now, she realized that in order to be of help to her daughter, she really needed to understand herself and how she made that choice. Not to beat herself up, but to heal herself, forgive herself, and begin a new and loving relationship with herself that is based on more than just survival.
One of the very first tasks I gave her was to listen in to her own thoughts. She needed to ask herself this ONE QUESTION: What is she saying to herself on a regular basis?
She is shocked at how unkind she can be and is working on calling herself out every time she catches one of these thoughts.
She said: “I would never speak to anyone the way I speak to myself in my head. I am so harsh, there is no kindness for me at all. I don’t know when this started but I know it is time for it to stop.”
When I asked her what she said to herself about the marriage, she admitted that she still questioned whether she had done enough.
“I need to learn to love myself and be kind and loving just as I was to my children when they were little,” she said.
Of course, her heart is breaking for her daughter and her instinct was to scoop her up and rescue her, but she believes this program of action she is taking will be so much more helpful in both their lives.
Culled from http://www.yourtango.com/