Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Post estrangement: Trying to Understand

I recently read a quote by Jeff Brown that I found illuminating!  

(You) “endure it (abuse) either because 
you don't have a choice or 
because you don't love yourself.”

As a parent you have no choice but to “endure” the hurtful actions against you by a child.  You have to show them compassion even when they say hurtful things.  It is part of your “job” as a parent to NOT retaliate. You try to teach by example and explanation, but the long and short of it is you “endure” those challenging years.  Sometimes however this is exacerbated by a deeper level of not enough self-love.  When this happens you endure because you don’t deeply and fundamentally believe that you deserve better.

In those cases the resentment against the abusive behaviour builds and builds gradually under ever greater pressure.  The “snapping point”, is when you say “I will endure this no more”.  Quite possibly you shout it or demonstrate that you have had enough in a quite dramatic out of character manner.
It is when you say NO, STOP IT, that you discover that your adult child has become an abuser of your good will and that they like the power and control they have had over you and are angry with you for taking away that power and control. 

This is often when they estrange and in typical abusive fashion they blame you and say “it is all your fault”.  And it is true, you DID; you changed the rules that you were willing to play under.

When you reached the breaking point and changed because of your own needs to be whole, when you woke up and realized you needed to be treated with respect and love also, you finally affirmed self love, maybe for the first time in a long time.

However for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When you stopped going "with the flow" and accepting the negative treatment, when you changed the rules of how you would allow yourself to be treated they had to react to the changes in you.

They basically had two choices: 

- they could acknowledge that their behaviour toward you was really not very nice, 

Two - they could resent you for asking them to be accountable for their behaviour. 

How much easier is must have been to take the resentment route!  In throwing the blame back at you for daring to change the rules they don't have to face their own contributions that pushed you to the limit.

Renate Dundys Marrello 

2016 - 01 - 12
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  1. Could not have said this better myself. Everything here is dead on! Thank you so much for the validation!

  2. Perfectly stated. That is exactly my sad story.
    I will add that I feel we still should be good examples for our adult children.
    What would we want them to do to protect themselves if someone they cared about was hurting them emotionally?
    We would want them to take the steps necessary, even if difficult, to protect themselves, in a reasonable way.
    Therefore, as loving parents, we must not only protect ourselves, we must also be examples to them of how to do this. Protect ourselves, while leaving the door open to reconciliation. Even though it hurts.

  3. Yes this is exactly what happened to me.