YHVH Rapha

He said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.” ex 15.26

Archive for present

Use your words

It’s a simple little phrase we tell our two year olds with their emerging language skills. Recently I’ve started to wonder if this is the key to helping me, too.

Use your words.

While I’m not two years old (not even close), still i find myself in many frustrating situations. I’m not faced with having to tell a playmate or sibling “Please don’t take my toy away,” or “I want to read that book.” But I keep trying to remind myself that it’s way more appropriate to tell the kids, “Please help your sister pour the milk,” or “I need you to stay in your bed tonight,” than to be yelling when they don’t do what I want them to do.

With a houseful of kids, there are literally thousands of interactions daily between one kid and another, or one kid and a parent, that frustrate, irritate, and distress me. Simple frustrations pile up and become huge and yelling turns into screaming. (Though sometimes I start out extremely frustrated.)

Perhaps talking to my kids–using my words–would help alleviate some of my intense frustration, overwhelmingment (is that even a word? Guess it is now!), and anger with all this normal family friction.

Sigh.

This is rather embarrassing to admit. I’m an adult, I should know this stuff!

But I don’t. It sounds like a lame excuse, but I did not grow up in a house where this was discussed or practiced or taught. Heck, there wasn’t a lot of positive anything happening in my house growing up. I never had the opportunity to learn all these wonderful things that help kids grow up emotionally healthy and well-adjusted. (Just look at my siblings and me for proof of this.) I’ve begun to understand, how can I give my kids this thing that they need when I never learned it? Didn’t get it myself?

I want a mommy. Mine didn’t work out very well.

I guess I’ll settle for a counselor.

Which gets us to the positive side of things, I’m finally seeing my counselor again fairly regularly. (“Regularly” meaning once or twice a month.) My oldest and youngest are also in therapy. . . talk for the oldest, play for the youngest. I think it’s helping us all. (Though it does add to the busy-ness of life and time stress . . .) I’m amazed at the things I’m learning about parenting my children, positive ways to interact, helpful ways to talk with them when they are angry or distressed. I’m excited that now I can finally do something positive to deal with life and stress.

Wish I’d learned this, oh, say 13 years ago.

Wish I’d had this growing up.

It really, really hurts to think of all the heartache I could have saved my kids for all these years if I’d known and practiced these things.

I know I shouldn’t spend time grieving over what isn’t, wasn’t. I know I should just start here and now with what we have and be grateful that i can learn new, helpful parenting habits before my kids are grown and it’s too late.

Three years later. . .

I know it’s pretty lame to start a post with “where have i been for the past 3 years” . . . but still . . .

Life has happened. I have had a couple more babies. Lots of stress with them. I almost wonder now if the sheer number of kids ruined mom’s mind. 😉

Life is so busy and there is so little time for me, my interests. I know mothering is about sacrifice but wonder if i missed the memo about balance.

I hate the mother I’ve become. Yelling at the children replaced calm instructions. I keep telling myself that they are young, they don’t understand, they haven’t done this before. No matter. I don’t have time to be patient.

Seriously wonder if i’m ruining my children.

Terribly afraid that i’m turning into my mother.

Worth the read, twice over

Read this a few months ago.  Intended to blog about it, but time has gotten away from me.  (Story of my life.)

Nurse resentment and you are are never released and forgive your parents for the past or the past forever holds you, a permanent child.

I’ve got to figure out how to do this, how to honor the parent, because didn’t God promise that without that nothing else can go well?

Yes, yes indeed. But how?

among other things. . .

When you believe that everyone is always just doing their best, that we never war against flesh and blood but against the principalities, that in light of their own limitations, they truly are doing their best… this changes everything.

Interestingly enough, I’ve done this.  Helps to know I’m not perfect, can’t be perfect, am not supposed to be perfect. . . and neither is mom.  i have my limits and so did she then and now.

Diagnosed mental illlness helps too.

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And then there’s this one.  A little more recent.  Still much wisdom.

I keep my secrets tight and my secrets keep me tight.

We all  thought the secrets would save us…  but they slowly slay us.

I can show you my scars.

ouch.

And yet. . .

Because it’s keeping secrets that keep us from being real. From being fully alive.

Need to remember this.  This format, this blog, may be a great place to share my secrets without being condemned for them.

I will have to think about this more.

Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry

I picked this book up off the library shelf, thinking it would be a nice way to help me get my own anger under control.

Guess what? It’s not about controling one’s anger.  But it was helpful to me, nonetheless.

It’s about a little girl whose mother has bipolar disorder.  This used to be called “manic depression” because there are two different, severe moods: the depression, where a person can barely get out of bed, and the manic phase, where a person seems to have boundless energy. . . and is easily angered and even sometimes subject to psychotic delusions.

It wouldn’t be a fun thing, I’d imagine, to deal with your own bipolar disorder.  I can’t imagine it would be fun for a child to deal with his or her parent’s.

The main point of this book is that the children should not think that they cause their parents’ actions.  And that parents who deal with mental illnesses should have the support of their community–family, neighbors, etc.

The author notes that bipolar disorder can be treated and parents should have treatment, although they often may resist their treatment. (I imagine that during the “psychotic delusion” part of the bipolar disorder, one may think the medicine he or she has been given is harmful. Or that the neighbor or relative who is truly, truly trying to help is “spying” or “out to get them.”)

I can SO relate to the girl in this book.  Her mom is in a good mood when she leaves for school, but is angry when she gets home.  It leaves her to wonder “What did I do wrong?”  She calls her grandma, who tells her she’s done nothing wrong.  “You know that your mother has problems, and she hasn’t gotten the help she needs.  I hope that one day she will.  But your mother loves you even when she’s yelling.”

I can relate to this girl because it was like that with MY mom.  One minute, she was fine (at least she wasn’t screaming and yelling!) and the next I wondered what I did wrong.

I cried while reading this book because I did not have a grandmother to call, to comfort me and remind me that mommy still loves me and is not mad at me.  A few days ago, my younger sister and I talked about this.  She doesn’t believe that mom loves her.  It took me a long time (almost 30 years) to realize that yes, mom does, but because of something in her head mom can’t be the “mommy” that I wanted her to be.  Still happens today. I’m 36 years old.  I have to keep reminding myself that “this isn’t mom talking, it’s the mental illness.”  It is so hard to keep that straight!

I did not have a “secret snack” or people I could call.  I truly believed that I was the problem, and that mom was mad at me, and why would a neighbor help me, after all I was a problem child and caused my mom such grief.

I cried reading the book also because I wonder, had mom had the medications or therapy or social support that she needed. . . where would I be today?  Another sense of grief, loss.

And yet if she had, then I would not be the person I am today.  Hmm.

Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry, by Bebe Moore Campbell (illustrated by E. B. Lewis)

From broken to healed

Being a parent is a huge responsibility. You have this little child in your hands, their very heart and soul. It’s scary. If you make a misteak are you going to mess up this innocent child for the rest of his life?

And yet no parent is perfect. It’s just not possible to be. I guess that means that all children are messed up, some worse than others.

I hate to hear the news sometimes. A child molested. A child left in the trunk of a car. A child beaten. A child drowned. A child starved. Life is cruel and children get hurt. No matter what the parents do, it’s the kids who suffer for it.

So I think of my pain and past and there’s just no comparison. So what if my mom was nasty and mean. I should be able to shrug it off and go on. Who cares that she demanded perfection and wasn’t content with my best work at school or at home. At least I walked away from it. I survived, I lived through it, get on with life.

Then why do I treat my husband the way that she treated my father? And why do I find her words coming out of my mouth when I am angry with my children. And then I cringe for them, I remember how I hated her for how she treated me–and yet this is what I do to my very own, very precious children.

Sometimes I’ve wondered if I could have this surgically removed. I don’t know how to get rid of it. This whatever-you-want-to-call-it that I can’t get past in relating to my family.

Psalm 147.3: He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

Count me in that number, those broken in heart.  I need to be healed from something, I don’t even know what.