As a parent I am guilty of blaming myself for every bad decision my children make and every negative emotion they feel. I carry the weight on my shoulders and in my heart. I think most of us are guilty of this.
I just want my kids to be happy, well liked, have good manners, be successful …
One of my kids went through something very traumatizing last summer. The trauma impacted all of us deeply and I blame myself. What could I have done to prevent this from happening? What did I do or fail to do that created this reality? The questions are constant and run through my mind on auto-play 24/7.
The event was a big enough deal I asked Marco how he felt about counseling. I wanted someone who could help us handle our emotions properly, help me develop enough peace so I could sleep at night again, and guide us on new parenting strategies since my old ones obviously weren’t good enough.
When you are dealing with the aftermath of a crisis forgiving yourself, moving forward, realizing there was nothing you could do to change what happened, accepting the choice was someone else’s and you do not control their choices, or whatever else is holding you back is a long process. There is no quick fix. There will be good days and bad days. It is hard work.
There are sessions I felt were pointless because of my own mental blocks. And then it happened; a break through. In session I was able to realize pain tolerance goes beyond physical pain. It was all part of a longer conversation, and it was a light-bulb moment for me that helped at least a little. Everyone has an emotional pain tolerance and how they deal with it is based on how they are wired.
We do not think someone is less capable when they need pain medication for something we personally do not need medicine for. We realize not everyone can handle the same amount of pain. We accept that. So why is it hard to accept people also have different pain thresholds for their emotions?
We need to realize and accept not everyone can handle the same amount of emotional pain. Maybe you think their story is “nothing compared to…” but everyone’s story matters. We can’t know their pain tolerance so comparing it to anyone else’s is most unhelpful to them and you.
Why do I keep blaming myself for my child’s crisis? Each of my children were born wired to handle a certain amount of pain (physical, mental, and emotional). My one child hit a limit. There is nothing I can do about that now. Now that know the limit I can try to teach them better ways to prevent hitting that limit and ways to handle it when they do.
Now to work on that forgiving myself thing ….
*originally written 1-10-18*