Passing on dysfunction to the next generation, no thank you

Written by Amie on January 28, 2014 – 3:18 am -

It feels empowering to uncover the dysfunctional behaviors I had been living with my whole life that I was conditioned to believe were “normal”. It feels healing and powerful to notice them before they get passed onto my kids. I’m sure my kids will have their own set of “issues” to work on stemming from their childhoods, but I sure hope I’ve minimized these possible issues somewhat by waking up to question all aspects of my life. It isn’t easy being a parent when we have wounds from our own childhood to process, but it is all part of the journey. We can only hope that we catch them and heal them so that our children don’t inherit them. I truly have compassion for all parents trying to heal while also trying to give their children a healthy emotional start. We can’t give what we don’t have. It takes great awareness, courage, willingness, and vulnerability to change those aspects of our lives that have always been a part of who we believed we were. Most of the time I am able to remember this, and just accept what is. And then there are the times when an adult who isn’t able to look at their own issues or wounds comes into contact with my children. This is when I accept their limitations, but I also must take action.

a-line-in-the-sand

Because of the fact that I didn’t have healthy emotional role models in my life as a child, I am vigilant about making my children aware of unhealthy behavior. I want them to know what is acceptable behavior and what is unhealthy behavior. In fact, they are old enough now that they point it out to me, I don’t even have to say anything. I want them to know they absolutely have a right to put boundaries in place that will help to keep them emotionally healthy. It saddens me when an attempt to manipulate my children is made by someone who claims to love them. The same type of manipulation I had to deal with is now being tried on my children. This makes me angry. I have compassion for this person’s limitations, but I also will not allow this type of behavior to be a part of my children’s lives. At least not while my kids are still under my watch. I understand how and why this happens, but I will not tolerate it. It hurts that a person will lie straight to me and say they didn’t do it. It could be so simple! A simple, “yes, I was feeling so upset about our estrangement that I thought getting your kids involved was a good idea. I see now that it wasn’t a good idea, and I am sorry.” This would be a healthy response. But that is me wishing for something that isn’t there. And so I move on.

I move on and I remind myself how far I’ve come on this healing journey. I try to remember to commend myself for all of the hard work I have done in order to get to this place of loving myself, and of healing my depression. Years of hard painful work. I remind myself it is my right to honor my need for emotional safety and health for myself and my children. If there are people who choose to stay in their story and lash out at others, that is their journey. I have to work on keeping myself and my family healthy. If that means not allowing certain people to correspond with my children, that is what I will do. The dysfunction stops here. I feel sad that I am blamed for messing things up, speaking my truth, supporting others, and setting healthy boundaries. But this is my journey. I own my life. This is my life and I am healthier and more at peace than ever before.  I still feel sad and disappointed at times. There is still some letting go to be done. I intend to stay healthy. I intend to protect my children from dysfunctional patterns as much as I am able to. I intend to be present and alive as much as  possible. And I intend to accept what is.

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Posted in Awareness, Healing & personal growth, healing from depression, Help with depression, Mindful/respectful parenting | 4 Comments »

Breaking dysfunctional patterns

Written by Amie on February 13, 2013 – 2:39 am -

when you know better, you do better

It is quite amazing to me how patterns are ingrained in us, both healthy and not so healthy. I suppose the saying, “humans are creatures of habit” holds true in many situations. I have grown and changed and have become happier in my life than ever before. Yet, some people in my life who say they care about me, want me to go back to the way I was when I was depressed! They want me to join them and be that “creature of habit”.  I understand why. The way I used to be is the way they still are. It is familiar to them. The way I was back then was compliant. I went along with the dysfunction because I didn’t know any better. Now I know better. As Maya Angelou says, “when you know better, you do better.” I find this to be very true. I know a happier, healthier way of living, and so I choose to live that way. It doesn’t mean I think my way is better than someone else’s. It doesn’t mean I expect people to change. It doesn’t mean I think I am right and you are wrong. But what it does mean is that I no longer accept dysfunctional, toxic behavior. It has no place in my life, no matter how long it has “been in place.” I will not be around those who live this way. Period. It means I have found peace and healing in my life. And it feels really damn good.

 the process of self reflection and truth finding

I think the universe is testing me right now. Testing me to make sure I understand that I never want to go back to that unhealthy way of living. Ever. I am being confronted with people who make up lies to try to make me look bad to others, tell me I am mean, tell me that I think I am better, I lie, I don’t know unconditional love, I wish bad things for other people, I live in the past….I could go on and on with the list. All of these things being said because they say, “you have changed”. Yes, I have changed, and yes, I am healthy now. A few years back, I may have taken their words to heart and believed them. Then I would have turned these words against myself. But, no more. It feels so good to say that! I can let the words roll off of me and move on. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel deeply sad about losing people I care about. I do. I feel sad beyond words. But, at this point in time, I don’t see any other way. I can’t be around behavior that isn’t for my highest good. I feel sad that every single person isn’t healing and letting go of wounds that have been inflicted upon them that affect them every day. The capability is available to all of us, but it takes courage and determination to begin the process of self reflection and truth finding. But, again, I understand, and I have compassion. I have hope. I have to. To not have hope is to give up on people, and that I will not do. This doesn’t mean I have to interact with them, and it doesn’t mean I have to accept their unhealthy behavior. I can love them from a far and wish them good health and healing. So that is what I do. That is not what they think I am doing, but I am okay with that as well. I can only control myself and my own actions. I know my intention, and it is always for the good of all people. When I stand up for myself, it doesn’t mean I am being disrespectful, it means I am stating my truth. And this is healthy. And it breaks patterns while also making some people uncomfortable. Sometimes being uncomfortable is the beginning of a healthy journey.

I am free. I am free. I am free

This whole process of finding my truth and of letting go of patterns and people that no longer serve my highest good is one of the most difficult things I have ever done. But also at the same time, it is the most freeing. I finally feel the freedom to let go of the negative patterns that resulted in severe depression.  I am free to let go of the negative energy brought on by unhealthy behavior. I am free to say no to things that feel bad to me. I am free. I am free. I am free. I am free to acknowledge how incredibly connected I feel to every single person, even those who I am letting go. I am free to see myself in everyone. I am free to speak what is true for me and what I will not tolerate. And I have no feelings of guilt attached! I am free to be who I was truly born to be. I am free to let go of the baggage that was handed down to me through generations. Baggage that never belonged to me in the first place. I stand tall and I am free to be proud of who I discovered buried deep under the dysfunction. And most of all, I am free to say I love myself completely and unconditionally, and I am very proud of that. This freedom is available to everyone, right in this moment. Becoming aware of the behavior is the first step. It is not easy bucking the system that has been in place for years, but it is the best feeling in the world knowing you are shining exactly how you were born to shine. Every single time we stand up for what we believe, we are nurturing ourselves, and this is always a good thing.

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Posted in Awareness, Depression, healing from depression, Help with depression, Nurture yourself | 1 Comment »
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