Having my first child taught me to love myself. I wanted to love myself, you see, I really did. I loved my horse, my dog, my cat. I loved parts of myself. The act of breaking away, or even cutting ties with “family” is scary. It is biologically bold as well, because we are programmed to follow our parents even into hell. We all feel immense levels of loyalty to our parents. This makes it difficult for us to see what is abuse. We want to protect them and protect our image of them. But, this is very detrimental to us, and therefore our new family, if we have one. I think it is imperative to tell the truth to ourselves about what it was like being their child. This can be awful to face.
For future generations, and for the child you were, go ahead and take stock of what was what. Try to resist the inclination to excuse their behavior. Don’t skip the anger. It just has to be felt. Anger is an energy. It scares us. Most people are uncomfortable or just plain terrified of anger, most of us are taught as such. If you are abused, forget it. Anger can mean more abuse. But if not felt, fully, it can’t be fully released, if not released, it lives in the body creating dis-ease.
In my life, I literally had to rip the old, sick, dysfunctional family tree out by the roots, and plant a new healthy family tree in its place.
Actually, I moved my tree well away from the old one!! My kids benefit everyday too. And so will you. The little child within you will thank you.
You know, with my kids, my husband and I feel we need to earn being parents. It’s a real gift and such a responsibility. I do not expect blind devotion from them. I de-brainwashed that same idea from my head and heart. I lost blood family, but gained a healthier new family and some AMAZING family of choice, friends who are family. Blood does not excuse violence, abuse, neglect. Blood does not mean you are property. You belong to yourself and that’s that. In all of us lives the little child who wishes for good parents, who feels responsible when they fight, scream, get divorced, we want to fix it all. We can’t now. We could not then. When parents act totally immature and do not keep the boundaries in tact, they put us as children, and sometimes as adults if we are still being put in the middle of crap, in the parental role. We are the sanest person in the room and we are five, six, seven, whatever! Crazy. Not okay. I am not talking about normal bickering, I’m talking about yelling, name calling, etc.
It is not our job, and they should NEVER have put us in that position. Think of a child in your life that you love if you do not have any, and insert them into the childhood you had. I do this with my kids when I find myself minimizing the damage that was done. The result is a profound change in perspective.
I can remember hiding in the closet with screaming and fighting parents in the next room punching walls and acting crazy. I put my child in that scenario and I want to die. My babies have never known terror, much less the helpless sense of horror and death even that can happen when a child experiences such complete chaos and selfish parental barbarism. This follows us into adulthood, always feeling responsible for everyone else’s happiness or lack thereof, except ours!
Permission. Give yourself permission to put YOU first. Give yourself permission to break free from family that is not healthy for you. You don’t have to cut off necessarily, but boundaries, put em up. Tell yourself the truth, grieve, and feel the anger and betrayal. Then you can begin to heal. Healing is not all about good feelings. Sorry! Healing involves re-experiencing traumatic feelings that were not able to be fully felt in a safe way. You can feel them now, keep yourself safe in the process, and begin to feel good again.
Some of my goals when I got pregnant with my first child were: Healthy marriage for life, running, take kids to lots of fun places so they can have warm memories, have “goddess” time (aka self care), cultivate sexual healing, allow trust, vulnerability, and openness.
Meditation: “How do the geese know when to fly to the sun? Who tells them the seasons? How do we, humans, know when it is time to move on? As with the migrant birds, so surely with us, there is a voice within, if only we would listen to it, that tells us so certainly when to go forth into the unknown.”—Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Trust the voice within, it is there for a reason.