My photo
Appointments in Danielson and N Stonington CT, and via Skype, FaceTime and telephone - 1/2 hour session $30.00 US.

Learning to Love our Children’s Differences

I have three children. And I apologize often to my oldest daughter for my lack of parenting skills. Like most parents, my oldest was my guinea pig. I did not mean to screw her up; it happened accidentally.

Shannon was cute and sweet and oh, so smart. So smart, in fact, that we had fluent conversations at 18 months old. She fascinated me. And unconsciously, the more she could do, the more I expected of her. Shan was often way ahead of other children her age, and she worked hard competing with her cousins and peers so she could please me more and more.

What was the outcome of all this competition? She started to recognize that the more she performed, the more proud I became and the more I expected of her. The problem was, Shan could never do enough. No matter how wonderful she was, she wanted to be more wonderful. It was a sick game we were playing.

As she got older, the expectations increased. There were always criticisms and judgments that I forced upon her in what I thought was an effort to help her become who I thought she could be. Our relationship became immersed in criticisms and judgments surrounded by bouts of anger and torment.

No wonder we clashed through life. She was the exact opposite of me and I wanted her to change to meet my expectations. No wonder she lived in disappointments and the feelings of failure. My needs could never be met by her. Because they are my needs, not hers!

Through years of healing together, I one day had this huge realization. Shan is not me. She can never be me; she can only be Shan. What a concept! What took me so long?

And in that moment of realization, I understood that the major difference between me and Shan is that I am a Beech and she is an Agrimony. What does that mean? A Beech is able to see the consequences to their decisions before they make them. An Agrimony, on the other hand, jumps first and then tries to deal with the consequences attached to their decision.

Another major difference is that Beech’s judge and Agrimony’s abuse. At the time I did not recognize my judgments as negative. It was who I had become. I was taught that love was attached to judgment, which of course it’s not. I thought that in order to love Shan I had to judge her. I knew I had to change that belief, but how?

As I recognized our differences more and more, I came to the realization that if I wanted to share in the joys of her life, I had to come to accept and love exactly who she is without any expectation attached to her beautiful Agrimony personality. I also realized that even if her way could never work for me, it somehow always works for her. So why would I want her to change?

As I healed, I could no longer deny that judgment is anger and anger is not love. It was my judgment that always brought out Shannon’s self-abuse, which ultimately turned to abusing me. It was not a pretty picture, but one we had grown accustomed to.

I began to look inwardly and I started to ask myself, “What am I trying to accomplish with my judgments“? My answer came quickly, “I was trying to teach Shan a different way so she could be successful in life.” So why was I not teaching instead of judging?

I immediately apologized to Shannon for all the expectations and judgments I had attached to our relationship. And as we began our new journey, I learned that I was even better at teaching than I was at judging. Wow.. that’s what I came to do.. teach her, not judge her! Our new game was a lot more fun. Shan was learning without judgment and I was no longer being abused.

Through healing together, we have come to understand its okay to love our differences. And that’s the end of this story. Or is it the beginning?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wow! awesome insight indeed and terrific acknowledgement of it too! beautiful acceptance. thank you for the post.