Randomly my oldest called me mid-morning. I have been meaning to call him too, so I was happy to see his name on my phone. Plus, it’s easier when he calls during the day instead of dinner time, which seems like his standard time to call. Sometimes night time phone calls end up cutting into my down time and I get annoyed. But, today he called at the perfect time.
We got talking about how he’s working out so much of what is between him and the ex. He said he’s been able to have conversations that he thought they would never have. He’s been able to share things that hurt him deeply and they have worked out so much of what has been hurting him all these years. This sounds so similar to the conversation I had two weeks ago with my dad. I could say the exact same things about my dad. Sadly, my 19 year old is better about handling himself than I was at that age. But also, I know that I have used my terrible experiences with my parents to be a much better parent to all of them, but the oldest the most. He’s so…different than they are. He has to make his own mistakes, he has to see for himself what the truth is. Once he’s set something as HIS truth, he cannot be swayed into anything else. When HIS truth is faulty, you cannot get him to change his thinking. The only way he will change his mind is to experience discomfort and/or make a mistake based on that thinking. Learning to let him go on that path was hard for me to learn. I tried his whole life to help him see how that doesn’t serve him well. He can’t see it. In the same way that I need to do things the hardest way possible, he needs to go confidently down his own path with his own logic until he sees for himself that it isn’t working. (I am learning why I must do things the hardest way possible as I unlock more about myself, but that’s its own blog post! Too much to add to this post.)
I have been raw here before, but I’m going to also step way out of my comfort zone and share more than I usually do. My ex was physically abusive to Boy #1 for years. Not so much the younger three, except maybe Boy #3 at time. But they were often so enraged with Boy #1, that they were verbally and emotionally abusive more than not. I intervened at various times, with varying levels of success. Eventually I got them to stop being so terrible to Boy #1, but there was damage. I felt so bad and for the last few years as I have healed from the emotional and verbal abuse I endured, I had so much guilt, regret and sadness about how I didn’t get out sooner and get him out too.
Today I brought that up to Boy #1 as we were talking about these conversations he’s been initiating to get these things out. He was quiet for a second and said “I want to be more honest with you, I am GLAD you didn’t get me out sooner. If you had, I would have surely never spoken to them again. We were on such bad terms a few years ago that I wouldn’t have wanted anything to do with them after I was out. But because I chose to stay here, we have had an opportunity to work things out and I am SO GRATEFUL for that. I finally feel like he hears me and respects me and that never would’ve happened if I was gone forever.”
Much like that conversation with my dad, I felt instantly lighter after he said that. He has no idea how much better I felt after he said that. So I don’t need to carry around this guilt and shame anymore. I can move on finally, because he has. I didn’t want to carry it all around, but it just happens. It has been released now though! Life is getting better quickly.
And the second order effects of this means that he’s giving the ex an opportunity to be a better parent to the other three. They’re getting real time feedback about what went wrong. I have noticed that they suddenly seem to be communicating more with these three here, so maybe that’s got something to do with what Boy #1 is saying.
I am just so grateful for being the kind of parent who raised Boy #1 with totally open lines of communication. For giving Boy #1 a voice that he uses regularly to address what he needs to around him. I did well with this, despite making mistakes with other things that I regularly punish myself with. But maybe I can work my way through those too.
I’m just feeling good lately. Things are falling into place, I’m practicing good patience and not forcing anything, and I am focusing on creating balance inside of me, not outside of me. That seems to be the key right now; focus on inner peace and balance, nothing else. And from there, I can handle most things that come at me from the outside.
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