What are you trying to win?
I don’t know about you, but I get tired of feeling angry, frustrated, and helpless, but it always seems to happen when I’m confused… and then get defensive with my son. And let’s be real ~ parenting “difficult” sons and daughters gives us many opportunities to be confused. Sometimes it feels like there’s absolutely no way to win with them. Either we care too much or not enough; it’s OK to acknowledge his presence, or it’s not; she just finished Facetiming her friend, where you heard laughing, but when you smile at her, she jumps down your throat. Talk about confusing!
And trying to figure this all out can be like trying to find this “dark matter” that can’t ever be found. Seriously, how are you supposed to know how to navigate, “Nobody cares about me; I don’t have any friends” and “I just want to be alone” ~ especially when none of it seems dependent on what you are actually doing? There really is no way to win!
But, wait ~ what are you hoping to win? Her approval? His love? Her validation?
I went through my own journey of trying to figure out what I was trying to “win” and I was surprised by what I found.
What I really wanted was to know that he (my son) knows that I love and care about him… regardless of what is going on. I also wanted him to know that I’m here for him. If I could know these things for sure, then I “win.” But these desires of mine aren’t really measurable and so I realized that these victories would always be one of those things that are constantly just beyond my reach because I can’t jump into his brain and know that he knows.
And yet, “I just want him to know that I love him and care about him, and that I’m here for him” sounds pretty nice. But, since it’s impossible to truly know, even though it sounds lovely, it feels yucky… and a little bit manipulative. It turns out this sneaky thought ~ that sounds so kind and loving ~ actually wreaks a lot of havoc in my heart.
After some pondering about this new awareness I began wondering how my life would be different if I just believed that each member of my family knew that I love them and care about them… even my “difficult” son. Since I cannot control whether they know it or not, I can actually choose to believe they do know just as easily as I can choose to believe they don’t know. The “old me” (who often felt like I was “never enough”) would automatically assume they don’t know. But the “I’m more than enough” me has been working on assuming they do know. Because of this I have felt more confident in all my relationships, and especially more peace and love in my interactions with my son.
Believing, rather than doubting, has made all the difference.