As I follow my trauma recovery journey I’ve come to see that I had control issues with certain people, and I think it showed up a lot in raising my sons.
I was scared nearly all the time. Not long after I was pregnant with my second son, my husband became unemployed. We had to relocate to a more affordable city and relinquish our mini van to the bank. We couldn’t afford the payments. Life became very ….. unsure….And the ability to trust became even weaker.
I always wanted to be a good, attentive and hands-on mom. I had envisioned how I’d be, how I’d show up, how much I’d engage and be attentive, be positive and encouraging and help them grow, blossom and reach their full potential.
Little did I know….. Little did I know…..little did I know how much my childhood experiences did and would impact me in how I’d mother my sons.
I didn’t trust myself so how could I trust others. I was the helicopter parent at times and other times I didn’t have the language to speak about things without becoming hard-lined, stubborn and even bullying. As they got older and especially after we took in a niece and nephew that went into foster care….that I could see that I no longer could balance it all. I felt I was doing it on my own…. Because I hadn’t learned how to ask for help without it coming back to bite me. It seemed the harder I tried, the more things- the important things- slipped through my fingers. I didn’t feel safe enough to ask for help or accept some help graciously. And I didn’t really know that I needed help with my childhood trauma symptoms that were causing me to unravel.
Child abuse and neglect taught me to just buckle up, work hard, do whatever you can to make others happy and make sacrifices. I was pretty good at Fawning.
There were several inner critics that scolded me and criticized me for not being and doing better.
And this harshness transferred onto my sons at times, when I was totally overwhelmed and didn’t know it. I know I did the best I knew how. I was a good cook and learned how to work hard and manage a house fairly successfully.
Thankfully, as I’ve healed, I’ve gotten much more gentle, compassionate, and understanding with myself and this shows up now in social interactions and my interpersonal skills.
It’s OK if people look at things, life, etc., differently than me. It’s OK to “hand the reigns over” and let others choose and take the lead. Now I can trust myself and others a lot more than I ever have.
It feels so freeing! I didn’t realize that by not trusting I was carrying so much unnecessary worry and self judgement!
It’s OK to make mistakes. It’s OK to fail. It’s OK because everyone does, so I’m not unusually damaged, defective or bad– all lies the abuse and neglect told me. Actually I’m pretty normal.
I’ve learned that it’s “healthy’ to not control so much. Hand things over to others, when possible, and things WILL work out as they should.
And I have two amazing sons (men) who’ve married well. They are thoughtful, kind and care about others.
I guess I did a pretty good job overall.