One of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, recently posted a story of grace on her Facebook wall. In it she came up with some of my new favorite phrases which bring humor and perspective to the 'tiny psychotic control issues' we carry. One of them I went and found a new mantra for, to release me from "a disease of good ideas for other people." So far, it's super helpful. My other favorite that I like to think of when someone I am close to is working hard on recovery is, "This is THEIR hero journey: you don’t get to run beside them with juice boxes, Chapstick, and your control freak ways." This applies to so many facets of life, parenting, caregiving, marriage, rehabilitation, etc etc. Seriously, funny. Now, I breathe...
I saw a trend in my upbringing with an emotionally manipulative mom and my willingness to tolerate outlandish emotional moments in my marriage, and it became blatantly obvious after a run in with her a couple weeks ago followed up immediately by another with my spouse, eerily similar. Maybe I had allowed to much mistreatment because I didn’t know different. Maybe we deserved better. But, the question I couldn’t answer: what was considered normal and tolerable in a family and what is crossing the line? There have been so many variables, positive changes, setbacks, efforts, strides, and regressions I couldn’t tell what progress was anymore. Surely, everyone in any family has bad moments, frustrations, yelling, and saying things they regret. Perhaps, also, the important piece and the difference is repair.
Her way of addressing my concerns was seeing the family together, checking in, and observing how we all interact. And it went great. My husband and I left there both feeling like we had done a good job parenting, and the kids were so connected and healthy. Everyone left feeling like we are a team, we all realized we had some good qualities with a lot to offer each other, and that our life wasn’t all hard or bad. This was refreshing.
So now it has me thinking, what am I reacting to? Why am I on a negative loop? It seems a little late to be calling out abuse, shit has hit the fan in a much worse way years ago and I didn’t have the courage to go to a women’s shelter. So why now? Am I wanting some sort of validation for the past? Have I lost all of my tolerance because I haven’t dealt with those issues? I do know leading up to this event I asked myself, am I just stretched so thin over the years I’ve become extremely intolerant of anything? Even as incidents get smaller, fewer between, and easier to resolve I can’t take them anymore.
So, how do I see things as they truly are now, rather than through the lens of previous happenings or even childhood echos? I think I finally found a place in life to realize it’s ok to stop reacting. It’s time to search through what went on and find healing. Things are actually safe, and it is time to correct the response and learn to live again, and to trust.