Monday, August 26, 2013
What Our Parents Taught Us
My mom died when I was fifteen. At that time, she'd try to talk to me and impart some wisdom and life lessons. I would often roll my eyes or think to myself, "What could you possibly know about anything?!?" It took a few years but I realized as I got older that she did know what she was talking about most of the time. Since then, barely a day has passed when I haven't heard her words in my head. I've even found myself sharing some of her advice with friends and co-workers.
I think it is a sign of maturity when we begin to see our parents as real humans and not superheroes. It's also a sign when we can learn from them, both what they got right and what they got wrong.
Learning from your parents involves working what they did right into your own life; taking their advice and their lessons as your own. However, it also involves looking at what they did wrong and making the decision to do things differently. You do not have to make the mistakes of your parents your mistakes and, ultimately, your children's mistakes.
The cycle of abuse is a cycle because we feel powerless to do anything different. Our parents dysfunction becomes our dysfunction because it is what we know. We know what we know and the unknown always looks scary and difficult - even if what we know isn't very good. Yet, it doesn't have to be. We can choose to do something different, to have something different and to be something different. This doesn't mean it will be an easy path to take or a quick solution to your problems.
Breaking the cycle could involve confronting your accusers, seeking professional help or just being aware of your actions and the decisions you are making. If you need to so something, whatever it is, do it. Just remember that you have to do through the rain to get to the rainbow. Your hard work will pay off for you, your children and your children's children. It is worth the effort.