Beth said something to me yesterday that cut me to the quick, and has left me with an aching heart. Henry was laying on the couch (not doing what I wanted him to) and I snapped something in his direction, he bit back and I had to have the last word, or so I thought. Beth looked right at me and said: “Mommy don’t yell at Daddy! Stop, no yelling!” My heart broke and I wanted to crawl in a hole and die. I told her I wasn’t yelling at daddy, which I wasn’t, but I also wasn’t talking very nicely to him either. I assured her it was okay, and I made sure to watch my tone the rest of the day, but the damage was already done. This image came to mind continuously throughout the day:
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, I am giving my children a horrible inner voice. When I really listen to how Beth talks to Anne, or how Anne talks to the cats, it is not nice. I reprimand them and tell them to use nice words, and not to be mean; however I realize they are simply copying me. More often than not, I have always been surrounded by people who lack respect for others, treat them poorly and say nasty things without a second thought. I have had many people in my life that prided themselves on “Telling it Like It Is” and demeaning people to make them do whatever they desired. I also grew up with a fear of adults raising their voice, because that was always the precursor to something horrible happening to someone I loved. I became a master diffuser, and tried to bring harmony to every tense situation I encountered in life. The problem is that no matter how much peace and positivity I bring to others, I am cruel to myself. The voice in my head is extremely hard and unforgiving when it comes to my actions. In Al-Anon, I am working on overcoming this negativity and learning how to be kind to myself, but it is a slow journey.
I swore I would pass on the unconditional love, which several others in my life taught me, to my children. I vowed to give them a good example of how to have a beautiful inner voice. Although I have pro-actively eliminated the majority of the situations that helped me form my ugly inner voice, I have yet to eradicate those emotions from myself, and they come out much too often for my liking. Unfortunately, because they are like second-nature to me, sometimes I don’t even realize the unpleasant tone I am using until someone points it out to me. Sometimes that person is Henry, sometimes it is Marie, but most times it is my girls showing me the true affect of my words and tone. It is in these moments, that I hate myself and am filled with shame; however, those negative thoughts and emotions will help no one, so I must be vigilant to not wallow in them.
I must learn to love and respect myself. I must learn to talk nicely to myself. I must learn to be kind to myself. I must forgive myself when I make a mistake. Once I can learn to do these things for myself, then I can treat others in a manner which I am proud of. This is where my program and Al-Anon family are essential to a new way of living life. They love me when I cannot love myself, and my sponsor continually reminds me that the groundwork of life is based in “Progress NOT Perfection.” I want to provide a solid foundation of Faith, Love and Respect for my girls. I want them to naturally follow the positive path and see all its beauty. The only way I can provide them the best chance at this dream, is to start living it for myself.
Keeping in mind a much read passage from Hope for Today:
“Practicing the Al-Anon program is akin to putting on an oxygen mask. I’m encouraged to do the things needed for my health, stability, and growth. These include eating well, getting enough rest, examining my behavior and correcting it when necessary, sharing my thoughts and feelings with others, asking for help, praying and meditating, and getting involved with my Al-Anon community. Only then, when I have care of these responsibilities to myself, am I strong enough to help others.”
I think I will print this image out and put it on the fridge, as a visual reminder to Talk Nice for myself, my relationships, and most importantly, my children:
Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.