EVERYONE HURTS, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.
The degrees vary and we are sometimes not aware of what hurts us or why. We don’t understand how all our experiences have shaped us or why we react to certain things in certain ways. Sometimes, the breakthroughs we think we have made in our lives are not as complete as we think or point to something else entirely or part of a complex web………..and it gives us such a headache just trying to unravel it all. Some people at this point will say “poppy cock, I’m fine and soooo emotionally balanced”. If you truly are, good for you, but I dare say a lot of people who think they’re ‘whole’ are in fact not.
Most people who hurt others (verbally, emotionally or physically) have been hurt or have issues they haven’t dealt with – inferiority complexes, superiority complexes, growing up feeling entitled, anger at the world, anger at God, wanting to not feel like a victim by victimising others, the list is endless Unfortunately, the people they often hurt or abuse are those closest to them: friends, partners, spouses and yes, children. It’s animal / human instinct to bully or victimise those weaker than you; they often won’t fight back. Because they love you they’ll make excuses for you or not walk away, hoping you’ll stop.
Now how does this relate to child rearing? Well think about it for a minute:
– You may or may not be aware of your emotional baggage. If you’re unaware, you’re not even trying to deal with it, so it owns you. If you are aware, you may or may not be dealing with it the right way and use your issues as a crutch for your bad behaviour. Either way, it factors in everything you do, how you act, react and how you live your life; it affects how you treat children, yours or other people’s.
– You indirectly harm your children when you hurt your spouse because children feel the tension, if it’s traumatic they blame themselves in some way and you send the message that it’s okay to behave that way (abuser) or be treated that way (victim). Children end up being their parents in some way and very often repeat their mistakes and behaviour.
– We can directly hurt our children because of our issues. How many times do we snap at our children after a bad day at the office? We couldn’t snap at our boss since he writes the cheques, so we come home and pour venom on those we can. Have many times have we asked a child “why can’t you be more like……”, letting them know they aren’t good enough? How many times have we been unimpressed with their achievements, especially in their formative years? How many times do we choose ‘more important’ things over spending time with them and get irritated when they complain? How many times do we discipline them, probably even beat them, more out irritation than because they did something wrong? Note that childish behaviour like shouting and running around or ripping up paper isn’t bad behaviour at some ages, it’s called being a child.
– We read of so many women who neglect, shun resent and down right abandon their children when they’ve been hurt by their spouse, spurned by a boyfriend for having too much ‘baggage’ by way of kids. or feel that life hasn’t been fair to them and they deserve ‘me time’ for once.
– We see fathers whose various pursuits lead to the neglect of the very people that they claim to love and the very children they would ‘die for’ before they’d see them hurt.
– How many parents choose careers over parenting for fear of being dependant on their spouse, of not living at the level of some social standard they have set for themselves or just to avoid the difficulty of a strained marriage? The actual parenting is passed on to some hired nannies, relatives and sometimes even friends or neighbours.
In all this, the children who have no one to speak for them are the ones who suffer, get damaged and become very easy prey for abuse. How can your children trust you and come to you with concerns or perceived threats, when they are not secure in your love for them? How do they face telling you about your sister, brother, in-law or neighbour that’s becoming too ‘touchy’ when you scowl at the smallest infraction and have repeatedly shown them that they are not your top priority? Their lives are filled with so much drama already, so much hurt, that they don’t want to add to it. They don’t want to be dismissed or see the irritated expressions on parents faces when they are hesitant to explain what’s bothering them?
We need to deal with our past: upbringing, hurt, pain, issues. It’s time to break the cycle………face the inner demons. Let’s work at getting healed and create a healthier environment for our children to grow feeling as loved, safe and secure as possible.