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We must Love and Forgive Ourselves in order to make Amends to our Children

Uncategorized Sep 18, 2020

So many of us believe we’re not worthy of forgiveness.

We struggle to forgive ourselves for the mistakes we’ve made with our children;

The moments we lost control,

The awful things we blurted out.

My eldest was born when I was 18.

I was an 18 year old troubled, homeless teen with a history of trauma and no idea I was autistic.

She came in at the back end of my drug and alcohol addiction

Her arrival was in the last years of my self harming

For just over a decade, it was just her and I.

She did not get the best of me.

Between each of these lines, I sit and pause,

Staring off into space, remembering.

Remembering painful, difficult things.

I was not present.

I tried to be.

I lived inside of my own head, always worrying, always anxious,

In and out of burnout.

I would yell at her in the car,

I didn’t lose my patience because I didn’t have it to begin with.

I never imagined I could love someone or something so very much

But I didn’t know how to parent.

I couldn’t regulate myself emotionally

I self loathed and self hated

And internalised turmoil

And it spewed out into my relationship with my child.

I grieve.

I grieve over the pain I caused her.

I will forever be working on self forgiveness.

It took me sixteen years to understand her

To know she is autistic.

It took me another two years to understand myself

To unravel the depths of my dire need for control.

To not want her to suffer

To not want her to be hurt

To not want her to live with the trauma

That I did.

I was so desperate

I couldn’t cope with her changing from being my little girl

To being a teen,

To becoming an adult.

The loss terrified me.

I often tell her that I am so sorry.

I’m so sorry I didn’t know then what I know now.

There are moments I agonise over it.

The moments where she has told me how it causes her sadness

To see how loved and unconditionally accepted her siblings are

When she did not have the same me; the same Mother that I am now.

It is so incredibly painful for us both.

And I know that we are not the first in our family to experience this.

But we are the first to end it.

Intergenerational trauma

Not knowing who we are

Our divergence, our needs

Telling our children we are sorry feels risky to many parents

There is a deeply instilled belief that we give up our power

That they’ll take advantage.

That bullshit destroys us.

Those are the same ideas,

Social and cultural constructs and conditioning

That cause this trauma.

She says she forgives me because I’ve learnt about myself

I work on forgiving myself.

Because the energy we produce in self loathing

Is what we take into our relationship with our babies.

It’s what harms and continues to purge trauma into our connections.

When we know better, we work on doing better.

When we know who we are, we work on loving ourselves.

We practice extending to ourselves the same compassion, understanding,

And unconditional acceptance and love

That we extend to our children.

I will say sorry to her for the rest of my life.

And I’m okay with that.

I will support her in all the ways I can

And I make amends in other ways too

By carrying this message into my work with families

By letting go of abusive systemic parenting approaches

By holding space for adults, for parents

Who need to be loved

Who need to be forgiven

Who need to understand themselves.

Our children need this.

Our children need the best of us and we rob them of this

When we sit around self loathing.

We must love and forgive ourselves

In order to make amends to our children.
Image:  Fi Mims Photography



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