Is it really possible to parent apart from your past? How can we let go of the generational patterns that infiltrate our parenting? Is it even possible to go back in time and crack the code, to examine the subconscious tracks that created the current version of ourselves? Is it possible to recognize the patterns, let go of the blame, and create different stories for our children? Can we cut those cords?
It's 1AM and I just finished a cord cutting meditation. If you have never done one, it's a symbolic way of releasing the energy between you and another person or past events. I was aware that there are people in my life and past events that were haunting me and preventing me from moving forward and from feeling joy in my life. I knew that I needed to release and break those attachments, just like everything else that I had purged this year.
The last time I released this person, I had an immense feeling of release, grief, and closure, but this time I was disappointed. I didn't feel anything while I was doing the cord cutting or after it ended. I didn't feel anything. In fact, I was still thinking about them. Turns out that there were other things from my past that needed my attention first.
I tried to fall asleep, but I was wide awake. Then the past started flooding in. The downloads began. The memories.
I was 17, sitting on the stairs leading up to my apartment on Westland Street. I had just found out that my dad had died and I was screaming. My mom was trying to console me and silence me, she was afraid that I would wake up the neighbors. I was inconsolable, so she brought me to the ER to get me medication so that I could sleep. For hours I sat in the ER, suppressing my tears and sadness, because I was too embarrassed to cry in front of strangers. I never realized how angry I was over it. I just wanted to scream and instead I had to sit silently in this ER while my heart was cracking open.
In the next vision, I was laying on a hospital bed, sobbing next to my grandfather who had just died. I was 10, I think...I can't even remember anymore. My grandmother kept shushing me, she told me to be quiet or I'd wake him back up.
And then there was my sitter. I was always too loud. I was always being told to be quiet or to "shush".
Then there was my dad. Up all night with his chronic illness and asleep all day. We were always "shush'd" to keep from waking up him up. We always had to monitor our noise level. His illness was always there. My fear of his death was always present, sometimes I wonder if my years of worry over it somehow manifested it into existence.
And now there is my son.
I had a vision of him screaming in our old house. He was threatening to throw his wooden blocks at me, he was trying to claw me, and bite me. His little body was unable to process the chaos that was going on in our lives. I was patient and understanding and then I would find myself triggered by the physical attack, by the chaos, by the noise. Feeling my own irritation and rage bubbling up, I would find myself gritting my teeth and shushing him. I remember begging him to be quiet and calm down, before the neighbors heard him and called an ambulance, thinking someone was being hurt. In that moment, I cared more about what other people thought, than the needs of my child.
I love my little boy, beyond belief. He is such a joy in my life and I honestly love spending time with him. But I can't handle the loudness. Sometimes his energy makes me feel chaotic. I silence his screams with harsh words. I shush his joy and happiness. I can't tolerate the noise or the chaos of it. I can't handle the cries, the grief, or the rage. I have always believed that boys needed to be allowed to cry and I want him to be able to express an entire array of emotions, but the actual loudness is so overstimulating to me. And this is why. How could I accept his emotions, when no one accepted little Elizabeth's?
The past has carried over into my parenting. I don't know why I never connected these things to why I am the way I am with my own child.
So I sobbed. In this room, I held my child and sobbed.
I let out the grief I had suppressed and all the times I had to hold in my sadness, my rage, my anger. I sobbed for the times I "shush'd" my little boy. I I told him I loved him so much and whispered apologies. And in that moment he woke up and asked "Mom, why are you crying? Don't cry or I'll cry and then I'll want cookies and we don't have cookies and why am I talking about cookies, I'll just want more cookies and we don't have any?! Hashtag cookies!" So I cried louder, and laughed, and hugged him tighter and apologized "Calvin, I am so sorry for all the times I could't handle your crying, your rage, your loudness, your anger, your screaming in joy, your laughter. No one could handle mine, either. Sometimes we make mistakes, but it ends with me. You can scream, and cry, and scream in happiness, and feel all of the feelings you need to feel and express. You can be energetic and super silly. You can be you. All of you and I am no longer going to silence or suppress you" *Obviously with consent and boundaries that respect others' needs...but it was 1am, we can go over that in the morning!*
For the last year, I have been asking God for understanding on why I am the way I am. Why do certain things trigger my irritation? Why can't I be playful or silly? Why am I so serious? Why am I so highly sensitive to stimulation? Why do certain things cause me to worry? I have felt like there was this code that I needed to crack, but I needed to uncover the clues from my childhood. The little things that affected me subconsciously. I think I'm finally getting my answers. I'm uncovering the clues and fitting the pieces together, so that I can let these subconscious, generational beliefs and triggers end with me.
I'm not angry with my mom or grandmother for these memories. For all I know, these might not even have been the actual memories, but just the way my grieving mind interpreted them and they filtered into my subconscious. I know my mom wanted to take the pain away for me, and my grandma was grieving her husband's death. I love them both dearly and if they knew that those things affected me, I know that they would ask for forgiveness. They were doing the best that they could in difficult situations and they weren't doing anything wrong, maybe misguided, but nothing that they weren't passing down from generation to generation. We can blame our parents and everyone else for our issues or we can learn from the past and choose to parent differently. I pray that my own son can forgive me for any of the mistakes that I've made throughout his childhood.
How many times do we suppress our need to scream, to cry, to grieve, to express joy, all of it? For these societal expectations that are so ingrained in all of us. "Use your inside voice. Put a bubble in your mouth. Stop crying. Enough! Shhhh! Stop being so loud!"
For myself, I needed to understand the past, in order to move forward. Not to blame, not to stay there, or to give myself permission for my faults, but to change the tracks. Replace those old tracks with new ones...cut these cords, so that I can teach my son what to teach his own children. If I become a grandmother someday, I never want to see my son speak to his children or his partner unkindly. I want him to love and accept his children for everything they are. Not to just say he loves them unconditionally, but for his actions to line up wtih his words. I want him to be playful, present, and silly with them. I want to teach him how to love fully, without reserve, and to apologize for his mistakes. And I can't do that, if I am still carrying my old stories into his future.
Are you wondering what tracks you've carried into your parenting? Just ask. Ask God, the Universe, you higher self, whatever you believe in. Ask to be shown the things that you need to see, so that you can heal and move forward.
What have you carried into your parenting, from your own childhood? How do you consciously choose to end those patterns? How are you forging a new path for your own children? Comment below and please share, if this spoke to you.