We are starting a series of blog post on “Relationships”. This is a topic that is at the top of discussion in my live Lines In The Sand classes. This will be the first blog in a series …
I consistently hear from participants in my live classes stories of childhood dysfunctional relationships with one or both parents. Who didn’t grow up in a dysfunctional home! For those who feel they escaped unhealthy interaction within their childhood families, good for you, count your blessings. Seriously. But those who do stake a claim to dysfunction have toted that baggage around with them their entire lives as if they will win an Oscar for best actor in a film called Drowning in Drama. Guess what, no honor will be bestowed upon you for your continual desire to marinate in the cesspool of your past. So you might just want to get over it.
I would like to think that most parents are well intended and that they want to raise their children in a safe environment, take good care of them and love them the best they can. The challenge is that everybody’s “best” is different. You don’t have to pass a test to become a parent and babies don’t come with instruction manuals so people are making this raising a kid thing up as they go. And for the most part they are employing many of the same parenting tactics that their folks used on them. Good or bad, that’s how it goes. As young children we are not equipped to know if we won the parent lottery or not. Therefore we go along with the family dynamic not knowing normal from dysfunctional or ordinary from extraordinary. And then the day comes when we are given the opportunity to compare our parents to others. We go to sleepovers, we go to friends houses to play, we listen to other kids talk, we learn about love and abuse, we observe our mom and dad with a more keen eye and listen to their words with sharper hearing. As we evolve into adulthood we take with us all that we perceived and then believed and then gave meaning to regarding our upbringing.
For example, a participant in one of my classes, who I will call Jane tells the story about how her mom always told her that she was an “accident”, an unplanned pregnancy. So Jane spent most of her early years wanting to please her mom in order to feel loved by her. Jane describes her mom as a gentle woman and a good parent who was tired of raising kids by the time Jane was born. Therefore, Jane’s perception of the situation was that she was an unwanted child born late into a family that was already complete. The meaning Jane gave to this was to identify as unworthy and unlovable. As Jane matriculated through adulthood she became a people pleaser showing up to every relationship as not good enough. The results confirmed her belief. She married a man who cheated on her and that relationship ended in divorce. From there she entered into a handful of other relationships with “married” men. It was perfect for her, she didn’t feel worthy of being loved by an available man with a stable sense of self. And, because she was so hurt by the so called abandonment of her first husband, it was safe to be in relationship with married men, because they would never “leave” her. Jane blames, yes, blames all of this on her mom telling her she was an accident.
How do you get out of the cesspool? First, know you have a choice. Making the choice is easy because there are only two. You can plug into one of two things: Love or Fear. I suggest Love. Love is energy and a choice that brings joy to any situation. Fear is ego based and the ego is a fault finder. You can always choose to perceive things differently. We will find whatever we are looking for and limited thoughts bring limited beliefs. Our ability to experience peace and happiness is equal to our ability to forget the past and stay present. All we have is right here, right now. In the present you get to choose in each moment Love or Fear. As you move through your days choosing love, you will experience love in return. This allows you to bring forth the best that is within you. Part of choosing love is choosing forgiveness. How your parents treated you had nothing to do with you. It had everything to do with them. People who abuse are afraid, people who are angry are afraid, people who say mean things are afraid and it is out of their fear that they project fear based action onto others. Forgive them. Forgiveness means being able to thank someone for what they taught you. Even if what they taught you was how “not” to treat others. This isn’t complicated, not at all. It is as simple as choosing Love or Fear.