Gary John Bishop throws a wrench into my self-helped journey by turning the tables back toward myself. In his 2022 book, “Love Unfu*ked. Getting your relationship sh!t together,” Bishop discusses the first priority in a relationship, you. The need to fix ourselves within the relationships we want to keep; not just the ones we have with other people but also the inanimate objects too. Bishop goes into detail about the misconceptions we make seeking relationships we have witnessed and never lived ourselves. This statement opened my eyes,
“Here’s what you have to realize: every element of your life is so filled with relationships that the quality of those relationships dictates the quality of your life. How well they’re going is how well you’re going, and your ability to empower yourself to be free or in charge of your own hooks and triggers in all of these situations will be key to your success.”Bishop, 2022. Page 4. Love Unfucked. HarperOne.
Motherhood is the best at showing you both your best STRENGTH & worst WEAKNESS; love. The desperate feeling of belonging to a social media group without motherhood in its motto — or a weekly night out with your single friends worrying about car payments & who’s the hot new attendant at the gym. Motherhood becomes a tall order to fill when a sense of independence & rediscovering who, what & where you are at this moment on your path of self-healing. A space that seems much bigger than the last time your youngest doesn’t need 24/7 supervision. This relationship is my most prized position. This relationship is worth digging into; why I choose to be this for my other relationships as well.
Moving fluidly through wife, sister and mom seem to be socially acceptable positions for me because of the size of our blended families and my abilities to multitask. This takes away from the person I am and individual relationships within these constructs; I am an artist and avid Pokemon Go player too. By allowing an old passion to spark a new flame of creativity & that longing to be (ENTER YOUR NAME HERE) again. “It took me years to let the guilt wash over me that I wasn’t everything my kids needed according to blah, blah or yadda, yadda. My kids need a happy balanced mom. That’s it. That foundation is key.
Let’s dig deep into the best/worst strengths & weaknesses we’ve uncovered within ourselves & how they changed our point of view on life.
What Emotions Come to Mind?
Parental Separation Anxiety
To paraphrase (poorly) the talented Carl Jung, a child doesn’t understand the “I” until they see themselves through the lens of the world around them. By this notion my children are cursed with a very small lens. One only small town folk understand how to navigate. Safety of a home hasn’t always been a luxury & given them the best of the world around them seems to be found in family & nature these days. Carl Jung gave me years of understanding with his way with words.
Allowing my mind to find different ways to describe the world around my children. You hear the same reactions from parents that I did as a child — I wanted to give them more. I took these quotes to heart; trying to find the most informed way to parent my children. I hope they help them when they are my age. Jung goes on to describe the relationship that develops between the ego as a child & letting go of that ego as an adult.
Here’s my thoughts:
Benjamin: He loved peas. He would climb on me like a jungle gym & I can remember the last day we spent together when he was just over two & a half. Drugs took over my life for eighteen months before that day. I gave up on trying to be more than I was because it was never enough for those around me. It was easier to be hit by a bat than have the same thing repeated to you everyday; “you will be just like her.” So I did everything I could remember about her and considered it giving up. They used at first, so I did; but they will never admit it. I promised I would never give up on myself like that again. My future kids didn’t deserve it anymore than he did. Angry at what time I have wasted trying to please others instead of being the me I know I was and being happy.
Michael: He loves to make others smile & laugh. Always helpful. Too much like who I was as a kid. I tried hard to teach him all my tricks to stay out of the wrath of others — always seemed to be in the wrong place at the right time. I lost sight of my purpose as a mother & started to break generational curses. I stopped letting those who “love me,” continue to hurt me. I have learned there is no right way to teach someone to love themselves more than they want others to be happy. That giving away my prized possessions sucked when I just wanted a friend. Frustrated that I try too hard, just to regret it later.
Ollie: As a baby they were always cautious. “Don’t fall brother.” “Don’t hurt the (enter wild animal in the middle of the road), dad.” Always humming to their own tune. He was, is & will always be the most imaginative soul. The one who would take my passionate spirit & give me a run for my money. No matter the path it has & will always be done with their own flame; by their own hand. They have taught me that patience is my friend. Discouraged that time is my worst enemy.
EliAna: As a baby she was hell bent on doing things for herself. She loves to sing; though you’d never know it. She was forced to get her cuddles from others because of how pregnant I was before she was one. She is fire & ice. She wants what she wants but can be convinced sometimes that something else is worth trying but only once. She has taught me it is okay not to be okay & feel it when it’s happening. That holding things in will make you sick to your stomach & that love is worth waiting for. She has also taught me that a genuine smile is hard to find in this world. Happy that being in this world with your person by your side is more important than air sometimes.
Ayla: From day one she believes she is 6 feet tall. She has no fear when cornered. Mean right hook. Her spirit towards helping others is out of this world. She loves animals with a passion & again no fear. I am envious of her bond with all of them & how much she gives back when the clap backs start. She’s funny & sees things others don’t. She is quick on her feet & a bit of a charmer. She teaches me everyday that having fun & creating new ways to do things is better than praying for sunshine on a cloudy day. That being the baby is hard but having that many siblings sticking up for you is pretty great. I Hope that balance proves that this is the better path later in life.
How to Admit and Evolve
As a child I played with GI Joe’s. As a preteen I raised other people’s kids. As a teenager, I was the emoed out kid with a crazy fashion sense still raising other people’s kids. As an adult living a lie, I did the socially accepted mom code of dressing in my 20’s. Now I match my attitude to the activity. My favorite shirts these days say, “I like big butts and taco trucks” and “Me, Weird? Always.” These are my “people gonna stare at my chest they might as well do something educational!”
Everything I have done in the last 15 years has been to create a better environment for my family. The need to provide fresh food, water, shelter, clothing, etc. They need to be present in their lives as they navigate bullies, hormonal changes, asshole authority figures, etc. Children now have more at their fingertips and therefore expected to be mini asshole adults. My kids are no different in that smartphone scenario except that they are in my house.
We do the normal back and forth of parent and child, with a twist. We do not argue, we discuss. We do not bully, we educate. We do not undermine each other, we work together for a common goal. The need to show my children that our relationship is more than symbotic is important.
To show them that “family” is one that builds you up and helps you see what our faults are in a safe space. Where we can evolve and push societal boundaries before trying them out in the world. That is what family is, calling us out when we forget our place in this world. Our destiny, Our purpose. When we human beings start to swerve into a lane we are not educated in, we make assholes of ourselves.
The difference is the reactions they get from us, the adulting assholes holding an age appropriate consequence to their involvement within the societal environment we live in and where we choose to live in the future. What I have learned throughout my years of community college was that the socially acceptable ways of acknowledging children around you makes the biggest difference. Kids want to be included in your daily life conversations so they know what to do in theirs, not just the times when you are fully present and making eye contact either. Teaching my kids that I do not know everything about their lives, I just lived one of my own. That I am a growing adult just as they are a growing youth and my life lessons will save them heartache, just like Bishop describes in the book.
Parental Separation Anxiety
My level of anxiety, non medicated of course, is flying off the handle while using the education I worked so hard for. Building up my child to never be taken advantage of like I was. As an adult It proves more difficult. To truly understand the saying, “you’ll understand when you are older,” is a cop-out. Being an adult is compounding on the life lessons we learned as children.
- Not everyone wants to share,
- Not everyone is going to like you,
- People come and go,
- You can not control anything but your reaction in a relationship, and
- You will never stop learning.
Being separated from my children or close support system is hard for me. My anxiety grows as the world around me closes in, just like any anxiety disorder. The feelings of dread my children are faced with in the hands of their other “parents” and neglect bore at my core. When you see the struggle firsthand and the innate journey taken to dissociate from that neglect and abandonment, the story can come in many different colored glasses. When your opponent is uneducated you get even more anxiety as defined here,
“Separation anxiety is a problem for many kids, but with an Aspergers (high functioning autistic) youngster, the situation is even more serious due to sensory issues, poor social skills, and the need for structure and routine.”(unknown)
We are all processing a different developmental stage on the path called life. The best way to look at the situation is, legos. You will need to build bigger to fit the adult you; constantly growing into the person we are truly meant to be. By allowing my children to see the faults in themselves surrounded by like minded & just as debilitating disorders as the rest of us. This sense of companionship helps to build a sense of humor that correlates with the fact that none of us are really different but unique in our own way; for each other as ourselves.
What I would give to see my other siblings proud of what I have accomplished even if not to their standards; work is never done.
On to the next one…
(Unknown. (n.d.). Aspergers and separation anxiety. Aspergers and Separation Anxiety. Retrieved March 16, 2022, from https://www.myaspergerschild.com/2010/12/aspergers-and-separation-anxiety.html)
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