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Tea for Two, Trauma for Three

 

I took my little girl out for a date today, and another little girl came along. I tried to ignore her, and to hold her back; but the shadowy figure of my childhood self crept up on us. Ever closer, I wondered in desperation how many more minutes of these pleasantries I could endure. And not cry, not crack from my my proud mom smile. For, while I am giving my own daughter the love and attention I never had, I am exposing a place of barrenness and terrible wounding in me. 

God have mercy, can I not just sit and have a cup of tea without the pain of the past gripping at me, squeezing my chest until I have to consciously remind myself to breathe, over and over?! 

What does it feel like to not have to try so hard to love, miming out expressions of affection so that my dear ones know that they are loved, rather than saddling young hearts with the pain I’m feeling from the past that is exactly the kind of life experience I am hoping to protect them from? 

I don’t know where to begin with caring for my own self in this. I don’t know where to take my painful heart. It begins to feel futile, all the work I’ve done to carry on, build a life, and fill it with real love. 

Such a simple thing, a cup of tea out together. Why can I not achieve equilibrium in this? 

When my trauma comes rushing in like I flood, I look to get away to some place quiet. It may be hours later, but it does still make a difference to the repair work of my soul. 

I coach myself through the quietness, finding ways to soothe all the frayed edges. It doesn’t stop the hurt, but it does help me find a place of calm. And once calm, I know I can begin to build again. Even if I need to find the space, in this moment, just to take a few ragged breaths.

I take a walk, and I grieve for the younger me who did not have the environment of security and love that I crafted for my own child today. That I could create that for another seems ridiculous when I am still longing to be healed and known in that way myself. 

Perhaps, that is the true miracle of resilience. The option to start fresh, even while I am still in pain. To build my life upwards, though triggers keep me scurrying back to shore up and re-lay crumbling foundations. 

Deep breaths, and letting go of the guilt that I did not enjoy this date. In fact, I hated it. But, I do plan to do it again. Maybe not soon, but I will continue to do the things that my child loves and so appreciates. I will take on the storm of my past in order to make steadfast the hope of her future. 

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Your consciousness of your own pain is the key to not passing it on.  So bravo to you.  When the pain comes in , can you say to yourself "I am a mother bear -- I will take this pain in order not to pass it on to my child. " It's healthy to feel even when feelings are very unpleasant.  

The more you tolerate the feelings as you give what you did not get, the less powerful the feelings become. 

It can be a very good technique  to just notice the sensations in the body and try not to put them into words.  Just 'surf the feeling.'   When you do this they move through very rapidly.

A really good book about the self parenting opportunities of painful triggers is "When Your Child Drives You Crazy" by Eda Le Shan.

Sirena:

Such beautiful honesty! It brought me back to parenting (my actual kid & my kid self)! It’s such important and grueling work and will hopefully feel far more intuitive to our daughters than to us. Thank you for sharing. The amount of peace and joy so many are routinely robbed of is tragic. But the work you are doing is also generational and it matters! Thank you!!! Cissy 

Cissy,

Thank you, and you are right- this work IS generational. And, I think, if I can remember that in the moment, it lends strength and a purpose beyond the situation. 
Thanks for the encouragement and perspective. Sirena

Last edited by Sirena Wheeler

Sirena:

Such beautiful honesty! It brought me back to parenting (my actual kid & my kid self)! It’s such important and grueling work and will hopefully feel far more intuitive to our daughters than to us. Thank you for sharing. The amount of peace and joy so many are routinely robbed of is tragic. But the work you are doing is also generational and it matters! Thank you!!! Cissy 

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