Today I want to talk about something that is so deeply real and personal that it is having me channel my most vulnerable self to tell it. Several years ago I became a single mom and what I expected to be a liberating experience of strong, female independence actually became a dark, harsh reality. For the first year following my divorce I struggled to spend alone time with my kids; I would do whatever I could to get a sitter or send them back with their dad. I worked 70 hour weeks and wouldn’t say no to a work opportunity. I love my kids, they are my lifeline, but during that first year I battled so much guilt and shame that I was barely surviving as a parent, let alone as a person.
Finally, I reached a point in which I could not bear to live in survival mode and I sought help. I realized that my own divorce carried the weight of so much more than the ending of my marriage-I still had not worked through many of the nitty gritty issues from my childhood and here I was repeating some of the same traumas that I had experienced.
I was emotionally bleeding. Everywhere.
Why am I telling you this? Because I know for a fact that I am not the only one who has struggled to move forward, to grow up and have the expectation that the pain of childhood was left there only to have it slap you in the face as an adult with a career, kids, respect… ya know, all the things we wanted as teenagers. Now we are grown-ups carrying around bags full of pain and unprocessed issues that in all honesty could not be dealt with as a child. But we are struggling and we are hurting and we don’t have time for this.
How do we get out of survival mode as parents and move towards thriving? How do we empower our children so that they aren’t having to heal from the same things that we are fighting?
First we have to acknowledge that there are parts of us that are still hurting from childhood. I understand how silly it sounds, but I have an office full of clients who inevitably bring up something from their youth that continues to impact their life as an adult. And that’s okay.
Secondly, talk about it. Thoughts untangle themselves when they pass through the lips or through the fingertips. When we are honest about what we are dealing with we start to shine a light on shame and the darkness that it lurks in.
Lastly, be intentional about parenting. What example do you want to set for your children? We repeat what we don’t repair. After all, I was a hurt child of divorce who then hurt my children with my own divorce, but that doesn’t mean it is a lost cause-it is never too late to heal. The neat thing about healing is we get to demonstrate this to our kids; we get to show them how to handle the messiness in our hearts and what strength looks like.
At Mind Works Counseling services in Lubbock, TX we specialize in helping you navigate through the trauma of your past so that you can move forward to a healthy life. Here’s to the parents who are fighting invisible battles and who refuse to give up.
Learn more about the Trauma Counseling services we offer.
Contact us to schedule and appointment or to let us answer any questions you may have.