June 2, 2012, by golly: twenty days from my son’s 33rd birthday; forty-five days from my daughter’s 36th birthday. Aw, it seems like just yesterday that they were scrubbing around annoying each other. We have been through a trial, me and my kids, but in the end everyone is doing good things. Miracles will happen if one lets them.
Divorce is a nasty deal to drag children through, but dishonesty is simply cruel. Children always detect parental dishonesty: because it gnaws at their self-esteem. A parent’s dishonesty, particularly against the “other” parent mostly handicaps the child:
“How can I love that parent when this parent says he/she is bad? Does this make me bad, too?”
They can absorb it, and if it is negative they can retain a sense of unease regarding the person judged as well as The Judge. Sometimes adulthood gives them perspective; other times the adult child never comes to terms with the misguidance.
Children haven’t the acumen to make sense of untruthfulness. I might add that untruthfulness eventually vet's itself to the detriment of the originater.
A good friend of mine, upon reaching the ripe old age of 70 was saddened when she realized that for the better part of a century she harbored ill feelings about both father and mother. Dad was demanding, critical and controlling; Mom was a spineless, yet opinionated, wuss. She and her sibllings never knew who was "right".
“Mom simply refused to stand up for herself, or for us!” was the way Ingrid put it. She decided a good way out would be to marry at fourteen and produce a number of her own children. Through her marriages, I think she did very well: all her offspring made it through the ups and downs of living in good spirits, and their extended family remains strongly intact. More importantly, her youngest generations are making solid choices, not reactive choices.
According to Ingrid, she spent decades in what I now call “judgmental bitterness”. Then one day the bitterness evaporated as a new thought occurred to Ingrid:
“Hey! I have allowed Three-Year-Old Me to make opinions that guided me through my entire life!”
With that thought she changed her attitude toward her deceased parents, herself, family and the world at large. Old dogs learning new tricks, indeed! And when she shared this insight with me, I began to examine my own life, which brought me to a very happy place: the balance of the difficulties and gratitude for same.
Is Your Three Year Old You still ruling your roost?