Families come in all shapes and sizes. I adopted my daughter from China as a single mom which was a “lot” radical for my Southern family. Did I say I was 45 years old at the time? HA!
Growing up in a Southern home I had a parenting template that conditioned me to believe that you did life in certain ways. And you didn’t adopt a child as a single mom when you were 45 years old.
It also didn’t include setting healthy personal boundaries, working through conflict, expressing your needs and getting them met or many of the adult skill sets I needed to be the parent I wanted to be.
I learned the early strategies of pleasing and placating, taking care of others needs and avoiding conflict at all cost.
Instead of learning the adult skill sets I needed to be the parent I wanted to be it was easier to parent from the “other” side pretending I was completely different than my parents. I was focused on doing everything my parents didn’t do and I was determined my daughter was going to live in a healthy home. The problem with this was: “I didn’t know what a healthy home actually looked like” I was trying to create a fantasy one-sided home that wasn’t realistic at all.
As things began to break down, in my home, I experienced more outbursts of anger just like my mom. This was terrifying and I had to face the truth that my internal fantasy was not matching my external reality. They were clearly divided and no matter how much I tried to control the outside to match the inside I experienced disappointment and felt like a failure as a mother. No matter how much I beat myself up to try and turn the tides I kept sinking deeper and deeper into despair.
Being determined to find another way I turned inward to examine the internal fantasy that I had created in hopes that I wouldn’t have to face the reality of my past.
As I examined my internal world, with an incredible dose of kindness, I recognized how wise it was, as a child, to live in a fantasy when I couldn’t control my environment. I couldn’t go get new parents so creating strategies that supported me in surviving my childhood was incredibly wise. I created an early strategy to live in the conditions I found myself in and it worked. How beautiful is that?
Instead of shaming and guilting myself for always failing I offered kindness to this early strategy. From this new found ground of kindness I started the process of learning new adult skills to meet the reality I found myself in as a mother.
You can too. Download the free SafeSeat process and take a step towards loving yourself as you update your early skills sets into healthy adult ones.
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