Parenting With Trauma

-Mommy, I want you to forgive me!

-Forgive you? I am confused. But I am not upset at you…

-Then I don’t need to have consequences?

-I love you and I am not upset at you but consequences stand.

He runs away happy. The consequences are so insignificant that they do not faze him.

I stand still looking at myself in the bathroom mirror. My mother’s voice is ringing in my head: “He is misbehaving on purpose. He does not respect you. You need to punish him severely to avoid him hurting you again and again in the future”. I shake my head and the ugliness disappears. This is how trauma is passed on from one generation to another, but not on my watch. In my family, it stops with me.

I breathe deeply and suddenly realize my little one has no idea what asking for forgiveness really means. In his little life asking for forgiveness is apparently a simple tactic used to avoid consequences. I flash back to my childhood. From very early age, younger than my son is now, I spend hours, days, sometimes, weeks on my knees, following my mother around the apartment, convulsing in tears, begging her to forgive me. For what? I never know. She is suffering from her own severe trauma, debilitating anxiety and depression. The rules change so fast that a 5 year old little me cannot keep up. I always seem to be doing something wrong. One thing seems to stay constant though – she is apparently punishing me for not loving her enough in the way that she needs to be loved – “What you just did… you killed my love”, she says. “I am done with you. Forever. Go hang your excuses on the chandelier. They are useless to me”. She persists, sometimes for weeks…

Much later in life I finally get it. What she did was wrong. I feel like a soul full of bullet holes. I am broken beyond repair, I feel. If I can get her to admit that she was not well, that she was not herself, that this was wrong, that I am worthy of Love, than I can heal and be whole again. She listens to me quietly, my dad is on the phone too. He is appalled. He is unaware of what went on and he does not believe it. He says I am making stuff up again. He will not stand for it. Then she picks up the phone. “Never call here again”, she hisses at me. I did not know human being could pack so much venom and hatred into just four words. Is this my mother speaking? I throw the phone down in horror…

I shake my head again. I am a mother now. I struggle every day, every moment to stay present and to stop my own trauma from making the decisions about how I parent my child. My son is growing up happy, very happy. I am not a perfect mother, but he always knows he is my number 1 priority. He is absolutely secure in my love. No one ever told him he can hang his excuses on the chandelier. He will not understand what it means, just as he still does not understand what it means when you ask someone for their forgiveness. I am good with that…

I suddenly know, without the shadow of doubt, that all this time I have been agonizing over “how to parent right”, because I have no frame of reference and I don’t follow a book or philosophy, I was dead wrong! Parenting from the Great Unknown, following only your heart and your child’s heart, not knowing what will happen next or what needs to be done from one moment to the next is the only way to go! What I have mistaken for struggle was instead a triumph. The only sane way to proceed. It is this uncertainty, this staring into the abyss of the Unknown that has scared off my mother and sent her spinning into madness. Not knowing how to parent and living it moment by moment is not for the faint of heart. I am not struggling, I am winning, and I will forever, as long as I allow my Heart be my guide.

Tonight I pray for the souls of all abused children, including my mother. We are not alone, not ever if we stumble and fall and raise and keep fallowing Love’s Guiding Light.

Hovering At The Edge

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Last week it finally dawned – in meditation, we are able to relax and “let go” of everything that is presently troubling us not because we learn to ignore it but because none of it is real. Really, none of it. The only real part of experience is that which is found inside in Stillness and Silence. It was only mind that was telling me all these years that setting aside all this noise was “irresponsible spiritual bypassing”. “What is the point of experiencing being here and now”, it said, “if in a few minutes you will still have to come back to all your troubles?”

Now, free at last, all the years of learning about and trying to practice meditation make sense. But the mind does not give up. “If you go there”, it screams, “you will never be able to come back! You will end falling into an abyss of Unknown!” I have no idea who is the “you” it is referring to, but the screaming is loud and scary enough to stop me in my tracks. Who, in their right mind would want to step into the complete Unknown? But I don’t have a choice. Hovering on the edge of the abyss is as painful as jumping is terrifying, and going back is not an option.

From Adya’s recent posts:

Q: When I meditate I often get to the place of staring at the Void, Nothingness, and I know I am part of it. Light and Love flow through me and my heart wants to fall in and be, but my ego is terrified. It screams what will become of me? I know about changing perception, loving it, etc., but it holds me back from that final jump to who I am. Suggestions?

Adya: To step into the void is to leap into the Unknown. To completely stop and surrender is what it means to leap. The ego is simply a dream that you wake up from. How to do this? Answering that is as impossible as telling someone how to die. But ponder this: the void that you are looking into is also the same void that is now looking through your very eyes.

~ Adyashanti

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