I think there is something to be said about people who can forgive & move forward versus holding on to the anger & resentment. Growth is key to getting to where you want to be as a person. Knowing the errors made through your life are key to growth & forgiveness.
Once I hit 13 (I became the most angry person alive) & did all those horrible things as I referenced in the Believe Series post called 'Forgive Me', & as I recall back to that time in my life I often think, it really couldn't have been as bad as I remember feeling.
There are many moments from the span of Grade 7 - Grade 10 that I can reflect on now & justify the turmoil between myself & my parents. This of course comes from a place of maturity. I did not have this during those formidable years, although I thought I did.
I got grounded often.
Did the punishment fit the crime?
I would say in most of those moments, it was far more extreme than the wrong doings I committed. However as a Mom myself now, I can look past these now as there are just sometimes that you have to be the bad guy.
You just don't have a choice.
I spent a lot of time angry at all of those around me.
Was this fair to the parents or siblings?
It wasn't really!
I should have sought out a person to talk with. One who could relate & understand where I was & what was going on with me. I didn't have that luxury back then, but I certainly do now.
The reality of the world I lived in was simple.
I was never what they wanted in a child & I was never going to be.
Rejection was fierce in my life & even though I can look past some of the slights I felt back then, I also have to admit the errors of our ways & how all of this helped shape me to be the person, parent, spouse & friend I am today.
Back then, any simple little slip that I may have done resulted in some serious punishment.
An example of this was playing in a volleyball game with a nasty cold during Grade 9. My father bought me some cold medicine & I went to school & then I went & played volleyball. This resulted in getting grounded for 2 weeks & missing the provincial championship tournament.
I do not want to sound petty about this, so let me explain.
It is not the fact that I got grounded.
I get that they had to make a decision about how to handle what they considered wrong. I too have had to make the same call about certain situations with my kids too.
This is about the fact that I thought I was allowed to go ahead & play & there was no recourse for their decision (the punishment). My father bought me cold medicine, which for me was a blessing to go & set my little heart out. My mother said I could not play if I was feeling sick, & when it came time to go play I no longer felt super ill. So in my mind that was their second blessing.
This is all in the mind of 14 year old me. You must remember that.
I will easily admit that on more than one occasion I took advantage of leniency in my parents directive, but this time was not one of them.
After the whole evening came to an end & I arrived at home. The punishment was already decided & they would NOT give me a chance to explain or for them to see my side of it.
Never a chance to discuss & resolve together.
THIS WAS THE LAW!
This was in fact the majority of my life.
I did something, they would not listen to my side or my version (generally my sister’s was always correct) & they would always take such extreme punishment as to teach me my lesson.
I had to learn!
They did not then nor now, even know me.
They did not then nor now, even give me the chance.
They did not then nor now, let me be me!
When our children hit the wonderful age of 3 we had to come up with unique ways for each to make sure they knew what they were doing was wrong.
Our daughter went to her room, where she would cry & verbally punish herself.
Our oldest son had to sit on the couch on his hands, where he would rock back & forth crying.
Our youngest son was sent to the corner & had to put his hands behind his back, where he would just wait to be released.
We made sure that they were given something sort of punishment that suited their age, & their personality.
Something they would learn from but allow them to be them.
I have over the last 21 years, tried to raise our children similarly in some regards, but have had to acknowledge their individual differences.
One of the worst feelings in the world is when your voice can not be heard.
Many of the situations that my parents & I went through were just that.
They told, I listened & there was no swaying them any differently.
The issue was that I had a really hard time accepting that.
I wanted to have them hear what I had to say about the volleyball situation or any other & realize that maybe I misunderstood what they had said.
But that was not the reality I lived in.
They doled it out & I had to live it.
They did not want to hear what I thought & almost every situation I was the bad kid regardless of the truth.
The living room at the family house was the 'Your in the SHIT' room.
When you got called up there it was generally a place where it all started with talking, then yelling, then me leaving, crying, then my father coming to get me from my room, then to the living room again so they could tell me my punishment & how much of a disappointment I was. There was never a time that they explained the situation, or justified their actions. It was just you did this & this is what you get!
You have no choice but to listen to me cause I am the controller. I am YOUR parent.
As parents you always want to right the wrongs of your parents.
I was & continue to be no different.
We talk to our children, there is very little yelling involved.
I won't say it hasn’t happened, it certainly has.
But I will say that for the most part, we talk & we listen.
Then my spouse & I discuss & decide the punishment if necessary.
We explain our stance as parents, & do not dismiss what our children have to say.
When our youngest son was 2, we were waiting for the oldest son to come out of his preschool class. Little guy & I were just sitting on a bench & one of the other Mom's came & sat next to him. She was wearing a winter jacket with those elastic type drawstrings on the hood of the coat. My little guy was tugging on the elastic & it slipped through his fingers & smoked the poor Mom in the face. I asked him to apologize & he replied 'Why would I? It was funny!' & he just started laughing as did both of us; me & her.
I cannot argue with that logic.
It was simply a funny little moment.
However, when I was telling the tale to my mother, her response was a defining moment for me.
She told me that I should have taken my son out of the building & spanked him until he said sorry. I at that moment realized (& I was 30+) that she only ever wanted us to be perceived a certain way. There was no chance to be our own people. I had to fit her requirements to be who she wanted me to be & there were no other options. Control him & do not allow any type of his own person to shine through. Just as they had done to me.
I am not saying that many of my punishments were not deserving.
I am not justifying my more than often horrible behavior.
What I am saying is that so much could have been easier on both of us if there was an ability to listen & to allow me to be who I was meant to be.
Not to be controlled.
There was a lot of control on their part & very little leeway for me.
Control in your environment is great if you need it to function, but controlling people is something different.
I know this is where all of the despise she had in me came from. She tried to control me for many years, & in my youth to some degree it worked. But as I grew older & needed to find my own way, my own person, my own life, her control that she desired over me started to vanish.
What happens when you lose your control over something or someone?
Extreme solutions! Hoping that will give the control back to you.
Pushing it too far to see that your child is only going to eventually push back.
I am no different than her in the sense that I too enjoy control.
Control is a learned behaviour; where would I have learned that from I wonder?
I however, am completely different when I say that I have no need to control anything but the environment I live in. I love having the house where everything is in its place & if I have to I will always take the moment & place it where it belongs, with little to no recourse to anyone of the guys who live here.
I do not have any desire at all to control the people around me.
I am literally here as a parent, friend, family member to guide those around me to be the best person that they are meant to be. Everyone in my life comes with their own set of personality quirks & their own talents, & I am here to support that.
This is not a tit for tat post.
I am sure that to this day my mother thought she was doing what was best & that she did not do anything wrong.
As I am sure that I too have thought I was doing what was best for our children at certain moments in time.
This however is a realization that although I know those moments hurt me, I am not sure that the pain I held on to for years was justified.
It is all about what I got from that time & the growth I have done since then.
Reflecting is just a sense of therapy for me.
One thing is for sure though; for someone I did not want to shape me as a person. She certainly did shape me into the person I am today. It may just not be how she or I wanted it to be.
There was once a moment when I was on the phone with my mother. She was upset with me & as a good kid always looking for my mother's approval I was the one who reached out & asked her what I did wrong. Although I do not remember what I did to make her angry with me, I do recall the one line, ‘ There is nothing from me as your mother that has shaped you into the person, parent that you are today’.
I think she is wrong.
I am the person I am because of her.
She shaped me by showing me how not to live my life. I do not want to be like her but I can learn regardless of the message or how I got the reply. .
I have been blessed to realize these moments of growth.
I am amazed that I came out of all of it as a kinda decent person.
Most of all is that I am lucky that I can continue to grow & not let those feelings of resentment or being muted stop me from going forward.
Do not hold onto those feelings that only harm you.
Realize that the moments that are so incredibly hard to let go of, are those that have made you who you are.
Believe that life always has a plan for you.
I believe in you!