Accepting ourselves, the way we are trying to accept our kids.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by MidwestMom, Nov 19, 2014.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I just wanted to bring this up because some of us are working very hard on just accepting and loving our grown kids for who they are, even if they are not following the path we wanted them to follow.

    Anyone not able to accept and love herself as she is?

    I just ask because I spent soooooooooooo many years hating myself, hating the way I handled things, hating my weaknesses, as I say them, just hating on myself. Therapy, years and years of it, has made me accept who I am and go easy on me when I make a mistake and to change when it is necessary. I can accept that I have flaws and what they are without hating myself.

    I just wanted to remind my board friends to try accepting who we are as much as we try to accept our adult kids the way THEY are. The other path leads to chronic guilt and unhappiness. Been there/done that/have the tee-shirt ;)
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  2. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    I think that is almost the hardest part. Once I realized that I did not want to be treated that way anymore I then realized that I didn't like my reaction to the treatment either. So I am slowly changing it. I'm not perfect but I have started to master the "walk away." I don't care how it looks or how anyone feels about it. If they aren't treating me right I give them one reminder and then I walk away if they don't get it.

    I use this mostly with difficult child because easy child is still young and learning. She gets a little more reminding and a lot more "oh heck no" when she throws an attitude my way. I had to deliver a little verbal smack down to her yesterday and the whole office thought it was hilarious. They know I don't naturally have a mean or angry bone in my body so when I get mad and bring out the smack down I mean business. Thankfully easy child is learning this and knows to zip the lip when I get mad.

    The problem is that we all spend so much time trying to wrap ourselves around the difficult child problems we are dealing with that we forget who we are in the process. It's ok for us to learn better ways to deal with our kids but not to the detriment of our own mental health.
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  3. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Great thread.

    I have been thinking about this, too. About honoring ourselves for hanging in there, for surviving the betrayals and for setting an intention to forgive.

    And that is turning out to be about forgiving myself.

    It has turned out to be about honoring myself, and husband. It has been such a rough ride, for us.

    I have never been able to see what happened to all of us from that perspective, before. I could only focus on how it went wrong, on how to make it right, on what I had done.

    This is the one year anniversary time of difficult child daughter's beating.

    The male was sentenced on Monday.

    This is the two year anniversary time of when she quit her job, went homeless and addicted and worse.

    I think it's two years....

  4. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    In therapy right now for this very reason. I am weak and I don't want to be any longer. by the way I told him I am in this group and he says
    I need to stay because for me, it is like AA, keep going and one day at a time! (even though I am currently in NC)
  5. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Great thread, MWM. This is something I am really struggling to work on.

    This is one of my favorites, by Leonard Cohen:

    "So ring the bells that you can ring.
    Forget your perfect offering.
    There is a crack in everything.
    That's how the light gets in."
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  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, wow, Albatross.

    That's AWESOME! Love it!
  7. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    I love this! Who knew Leonard Cohen would turn out to be such a SAGE...Cedar quotes a song from him as well! (Hallelujah)
  8. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Reading this thread again.

    To care for ourselves with the same warmth, with the same unwavering certainty....

    We would become so very strong then, I think. If we could do that, I mean.

    If we could mother ourselves in those ways.

  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    MWM, we can always count on you to provide some thought provoking, insightful and meaningful observations..........

    I've been told and I've read that we learn how to "self soothe," how to nurture and love ourselves, from our caregivers, our parents, our mothers. If we didn't have mothers/fathers who taught us that, then it seems it becomes a lifelong task to learn how to do that. Not to blame them, you can't expect it from someone who doesn't know how to do it themselves. But it does perpetuate the lack of ability.

    In my own case I can look back and see that there was just no example of that, no one to teach me, no one to emulate, no one to observe to see how one actually goes about loving and accepting oneself. I wanted to change that lineage, to learn how to accept myself and love myself so that I could pass that on to my daughter and then on to her children. I had no idea it was going to take me 6 decades to do it.......

    Aside from our own bio families and the lack of self love knowledge, as women, we live in a culture that still in many ways denigrates the would make sense then, that we would emerge feeling 'less then,' unworthy, undeserving......having to live up to a societal, cultural and personal expectation for perfection, a blueprint of what the perfect wife, mother, friend, lover is........and spend a lifetime trying to live up to it ............and failing miserably.............and...... repeatedly. It takes a lot of strength, courage, commitment and stamina to fight that image and to get off that runaway train of expectation.

    What's interesting to me is that this remarkable path of detachment that we have been thrust upon......and the ensuing and necessary learning of acceptance of what is, is what was the catalyst and biggest push for me to learn self acceptance. In accepting what is, in all aspects of life, to simply allow what is happening in each moment, to be present in the now, is what catapulted me into self acceptance in a way I had not known before. To accept the good, the bad and the ugly of myself, not just the 'good' and then punish myself for everything else, but to include all of the parts of me, what I can do and what I can't, what I am good at and what I am not so good at, when I make mistakes to forgive myself, to allow myself to just be have compassion for myself and to be kind to myself...........I think the compassion is a very big thing. To respect my frailties, my vulnerabilities and my soft spots as who I am and to not shut those parts out, to include all the parts of me in my own good will.......

    Acceptance is a huge component of life...........there is so much that is out of our control.........and we humans are so hard on ourselves, almost to a point of cruelty........I was just reading a quote by Buddha this morning........"Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts." How true. We have thousands and thousands of thoughts per day and how many of them are harsh, mean and downright cruel about ourselves? Changing the way we perceive ourselves changes everything. Changing our thoughts about ourselves and our expectations of ourselves changes everything. And, it takes time to do it, to shift the tide of self cruelty and turn it into self love and self acceptance is a massive undertaking.

    I think it is the greatest gift we can give our show them by example, someone who loves and accepts the end, I think that is what has changed my connection with my daughter the most. I can be present for myself in a way I wasn't able before .........and now I can be present for her.............and that presence made all the difference.
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  10. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    This is so true!!

    The key for all of us who have had to deal with our difficult child's is that we cannot lose ourselves in the process. I suppose age has something to do with it, I'm 51, life is too short to spend all the time worrying. One of my favorite movies is the Shawshank Redemption, there is a line in the movie "Get busy living or get busy dying"

    I will always love my difficult child but I cannot live his life for him nor will I allow him to hold me hostage to mine. It is so freeing to let go and to be able to live my life for myself and love it. I'm at the half way point (assuming I live to be 100) and I don't want to waste it.
  11. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Tanya, The Shawshank Redemption is one of my favorite movies too! I forgot that line, it is such a good one.

    That's the bottom line for us 'older' characters isn't it Tanya? Life is not only too short, but much too precious to allow all those wasted moments worrying about anything we can't control or make any difference with.