As adults, sometimes we know what was going on with our parents. We know they are/were addicted to a substance, or they have Manic Depression, or some other type of disorder. Or we know they suffered at the hands of their parents and are broken. Sometimes we don’t know exactly what’s wrong. We just see there is something in them that always kept their reaction to us unpredictable, no matter how hard we tried to keep out of sight, or do the right thing.
As kids, we became experts at interpreting the sound of their walk, the tone in their voice, or even the slam of the door to determine what their mood was. Some may even argue that we were programed to do that, so that we would adjust our actions accordingly to please them.
Maybe our parents didn’t know they were training us with that type of manipulation.
I think part of my healing as an adult was taking a moment to see if I was still reacting to them in the way I did as a child. When they called, was I reading their moods over the phone and adjusting accordingly? Was I afraid to make them mad and suffer the following temper-tantrum?
There is a great book by Dr. Henry Cloud & John Townsend called Boundaries. That book slowly helped me break the cycle, and do it in a way that made me feel as though I was respecting both them and myself.
Although my parents didn’t see it that way, when I started to change my reaction to them. It’s to be expected that when you put boundaries down there is going to be blowback, and it might look ugly for a little while. I want to remind anyone out there who needs to put down boundaries - keep strong! Their reaction is not your responsibility. Putting down boundaries is actually an act of love, both for yourself and for them.
The authors have written several books on the subject of boundaries; boundaries with kids, and in marriage. There is wisdom in those books that really helped my family when we found ourselves stuck in some bad habits.
((((((((Big hug to all who need one today)))))))))))) You are meant for good things. Getting healthier is just one more moment of culling beauty from the ashes.