Dealing With Other’s Emotions
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 four in the series was always doing what your spouse wants when it isn’t what you want without speaking up is not ok. This week number five is: teaching my daughters that it’s not ok to cry, is not ok.
It was difficult for me to deal with other people’s emotions because I didn’t know how to deal with my own in a healthy way. I think it bothered me when my children cried when they were sad, hurt, or afraid because it felt like I was like looking into a mirror and seeing something I wasn’t willing to do myself.
I would imagine that words would have come out of my mouth such as “stop crying,” or “you don’t need to cry about that,” or other phrases that may have caused my daughters to believe that it wasn’t ok to cry.
Quick And Quiet
As a Mom, when I became fearful or sad, I would isolate myself in my bedroom to cry. I was thinking that my crying needed to be quick and quiet. I would tell myself that it’s not ok to cry… that I just needed to be strong. That was an unhealthy message I believe I learned as a child and modeled for my daughters.
We all have times when we need to cry and when we should all be able to cry without being put down or belittled by self-talk or by others. Being told that something is wrong with you simply because you cry is a lie.
Parameters Around Crying
As a Mom, why wouldn’t I want to understand why my child is crying? Why wouldn’t I want to comfort her or give her a hug and show her some compassion? I’m really sad that my girls may not have felt comfortable expressing themselves. I wonder if they learned that crying is a weakness as a result of my own behaviors. I’ve been learning over the past several months that crying and grieving are ok. I used to restrain my crying, but I am now able to cry in a way that my body needs instead of my mind putting parameters around it.
I now have more freedom to express emotions that are present inside my body and soul without feeling the shame that expressing emotions is wrong, as I used to. I am now more aware of the shame I had that would cause me to isolate myself when I cried.
I want to share with my daughters that for whatever part I played in teaching or modeling that it is not ok to cry, I am truly 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.
I know God loves me even when I need to make some changes. I am a Treasure and a Pearl.