Amazing Parents

Sometimes it\’s AMAZING. Sometimes it\’s just A MAZE.

A teeter totter and the strong part of me I never needed

One good thing is that my son needs me to be able to feel the depth of his pain. That deep, scary, make-you-throw-up-just-thinking-about-it-kind-of- sadness, terror, and shame. When someone you love is ripped away from you. And you’re left standing there with your jaw hanging open, forgetting to breathe. You wonder what you did wrong. What did I say or do or was it just a look on my face? Was it just a solitary moment or was it a chronic series of years of failures? Is there something fundamentally wrong with me as a person? Something that I’ve been idiotically oblivious to or, even worse, frozen in denial by something so scary I can hardly stand to think of it? Am I the grim reaper or the elementary teacher that made me eat all my lunch?

I don’t know. Maybe all of the above. Maybe none. Maybe everyone is right and this too shall pass. But I doubt it. This feels too deep to ever really go away. This ripping away I feel will haunt me for the rest of my life. A little voice that I will always hear deep inside my head that whispers, “there’s something wrong with you and you’ll never be good enough and anyone who says otherwise is lying. Trust no one. Not even yourself. Especially yourself. Because yourself sucks.”

This is the same message I believe my son hears from somewhere inside himself. It is this same voice that goes up against me in battle formation for my son’s life. Because I am the person who says otherwise. I cannot be trusted. My job is to prove over time through my actions that what I say is real. That there are parts of my son that really are good enough. Good enough to be loved unconditionally. I want him to learn that. To feel that. And I want him to feel that from me, his mama.

The problem is that there is a fine balance here to be found when dealing with inner demons and fears and voices. Shutting them out means disconnecting from the pain, ignoring it, shoving it even further down inside of yourself for later. On the flip side is helping him to feel the pain, but it’s so easy to get stuck there. Letting the sadness and sense of defeat overwhelm you and paralyze you until you are left alive, but dying.

Somehow I have to help him feel his feelings safely. And help him come back to a state of regulation and feel a sense of healing and progression. One way I can do this is by modeling this balance. To demonstrate my own pain and be honest with my feelings of sadness and loss. But then to get up and dust myself off and go on. To be loving and open to be loved again. This will take me a long time. But I think I can do it. There is a part of me that is sitting idle. A strong part. And until now I haven’t needed her. But maybe now I do. And maybe now my son does too.

And like every other human relationship, maybe together we can learn the balance of beginning to love ourselves despite our fears and self-doubts until we can finally overcome them, erase them, and rewrite some happy thoughts for who we believe we are. And they won’t just be suggestive or lies. They will be real. We will really believe them. And it will be then that someone will finally be able to truly love us, because we will finally truly be loving ourselves.

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May 26, 2008 - Posted by | A New Paradigm

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