Power and Control
In the series called The Truth Is Not Delicate I describe a list of unhealthy thoughts and/or behaviors about what I may have taught my daughters as they grew up in a home with a young mom (me) involved in an abusive marriage and who was just discovering that she was sexually abused as a child.
Last week number two in the series was yelling at anyone is not ok and this week number three is: giving up or giving in is not the same as compromise.
One of the things I learned when I was a child was that whenever my abuser came to me, I didn’t have a voice or vocabulary like “no” or “stop it.” I just felt like I had to give up and give in because I didn’t have any power. In my mind, my feelings didn’t matter. I was invisible.
I brought this thinking into my adult life. In my former marriage when my spouse tried to control me, I didn’t have the skills such as using my voice to speak up, negotiating, compromising, or saying no. I just gave up my own power and desires to meet his needs.
There were times in my marriage I thought I was compromising in certain areas of disagreement that I modeled for my children. Looking back, I believe I thought compromise meant giving up or giving in to the demands made at home.
To compromise is to settle a dispute by mutual concession.
As a parent, there were many times I didn’t give my children a chance to share their point of view. As I brought that thinking into my marriage and parenting, my children’s voice, desires, and needs were not being considered. So compromising wasn’t something I taught my girls, I taught them that they don’t get to decide.
My children may not always get what they want, but I need to create an atmosphere where they feel considered, heard and that they matter. I don’t want my children to feel invisible.
Points of View
Compromise is not the same as giving up or giving in. Compromise means I take into consideration my children’s point of view and they take into consideration my point of view so we can come up with a solution that is mutually acceptable.
I want to share with my daughters that whatever part I played in teaching or participating in modeling compromise as giving up or giving in, I am sorry. I ask for forgiveness. I want to share healthier communication styles that provide a different teaching model not only for my daughters but also for all my relationships.