Tag Archives: relationships

My beautiful daughter

My oldest daughter entered this world screaming. It was such a relief hearing her cry for the very first time. It was a scary, emergency c-section after a tumultuous labor and I couldn’t see what was happening but I heard her cry. I knew she was ok.

Her first 12 weeks of life were spent doing a lot of screaming as well. If she wasn’t eating or sleeping (which she fought and fought), she was screaming. I felt like such a failure. All these other moms would post pictures of babies that were not screaming all the time. I took her to the doctor so many times looking for answers. I cut nearly everything joyful out of my diet but nothing ever seemed to help. So I’d wear her in a carrier and I’d walk around the house all the day long. I’d put on music or tv for a break up of the monotony, and often I’d cry right along with her.

As time went on, she grew out of the colic, but she always has been a strong willed child. Very sensitive.

Unfortunately, because she’s my oldest, I didn’t have the patience or skills that have developed over time and I fear I’ve made some of my worst parenting mistakes on her. But I’ve always loved her deeply and fiercely.

I remember her first cold and how I wouldn’t leave her side for 3 full days. I knew in my heart what it really meant to love someone. She taught me that. For the first time in my life, I felt closer to understanding the depth of God’s love for us.

As she grew, it became very apparent that she’s fierce. She’s fierce in passion, and in love and in her sense of justice and fairness, and in her emotions. When she feels something, she feels it deeply. There’s no hiding it. When she’s joyful, it’s a sight to behold and when she’s angry, she likewise has a hard time containing it.

It’s my job as her mom to help her to navigate these strong feelings in the real world and I’ve been working with her on it since she was a toddler.

I love that she has such a strong personality and that she isn’t afraid to speak out when something isn’t right. Yet she needs to learn how to handle things in the right way. We all can’t just act on our feelings all the time without some negative and very heartbreaking consequences.

I know first hand just how difficult she can be, so when a conflict arises with others, I talk it through with her. I listen to her side but then I try to get her to put herself into the other person’s shoes and see it from their perspective. Then I try asking her questions about what she thinks they were feeling or thinking. Oftentimes she is able to see some of her errors and we talk about how she can take responsibility for what she’s done, and apologize when necessary without being taken advantage of.

It’s a skill set that many adults haven’t even developed, so I don’t ever expect her to get things right even most of the time.

What I’m doing is helping her learn to empathize with people and then having her think through better ways to handle situations next time so that she’s not just allowing her emotions to rule over her. But she’s only 9, and these things take time.

She loves people fiercely and has a strong sense of loyalty and tends to expect the same from other friends, which sets herself up for hurt when people don’t act in the ways she expects them to. When a friend rejects her or starts spending time with another friend, it hurts her deeply. Sometimes she creates unwritten rules for her friends that they don’t know about or understand and it can push people away. This is something too I am working with her on. But I wish people saw how much she cares about them.

She knows all her friends likes and dislikes and she writes them little notes and cards that I find around the house that are so thoughtful and kind. “Just wanted you to know that I saw you being kind to —- the other day and I love that about you. I think you’re a very kind friend.” She absolutely looks for the good in everyone and let’s them know how much she cares about them.

When people hurt her, she’s quick to forgive and then she doesn’t bring it up again.

She can tell when someone is sad and is the kid that will go to them.

She’s also not afraid to stand up for others when she feels they are being treated unfairly. If you’re her friend, she’ll go to bat for you, no matter the social cost. That’s her kind of loyalty, and again, it’s what she expects from others, but she is often disappointed as many, many other children will not risk the social cost to stand up for her. But it won’t change her doing it for them.

I can give example after example of her going against the grain to stand up for what she believes in. I’ve been so proud, not only of her bravery, but also the way she goes about it. Not all the time. Sometimes she’s mean and goes too far. That’s what I have to help her with.

And sometimes she’s just wrong about things but has a hard time giving in. Again, I work with her in that.

I just wish everyone could see her heart. It’s not perfect and she’s made plenty of mistakes and will continue to do so but she has such a huge heart.

And she’ll learn not to let others opinions of her matter as much as they do now. Right now, my mama heart hurts for her and I just needed to write about the person that she is. The whole person. Her faults, her greatness, all of it. I need her to know she’s loved and accepted beyond anything she can imagine.

I’m always going to hold her accountable, but I’m always going to love her too. And I’m going to make sure she’s around people willing to see her faults and her greatness.


cyclone fence in shallow photography

Photo by Travis Saylor on Pexels.com

This is part 3!  Part 1 can be found here and part 2 can be found here.

To recap, once you know you’re in a relationship with an abuser and you’ve realized you need to hold them accountable, the next step is developing some healthy boundaries.

Boundaries are healthy and keep us physically and emotionally safe.

It’s so important to teach children about boundaries from a very young age. They don’t have a ton of property they own but they absolutely own their own bodies and have a right to decide how to use them. Don’t force a child to be affectionate with someone if they don’t want to be. Once your children are old enough to be independent in the bathroom they absolutely have a right to privacy! I’ve heard stories about dads who remove locks from bathroom doors because he doesn’t want to allow his children any privacy! Remember, abuse is all about power and control.

Abusers hate boundaries!

To protect yourself from an abuser you MUST enforce boundaries. They will do everything they can to convince you that you shouldn’t have boundaries or that your boundaries are unfair. This is further proof that you are dealing with an abuser.

I was watching re-runs of the Office last night and in the episode Jim was in Florida for work with some co-workers and his wife Pam was back at home. He befriended a woman but one night she came to his hotel room in a t-shirt and shorts with a story that they were fixing the heat in her room.  She wanted to hang out in his room while she waited. Jim said yes, but his guard went up immediately when she hopped right onto his bed. She continued to test his boundaries by taking a shower in his room, coming out in a robe and then snuggling up close to him under the sheets. That was the last straw and he finally jumped up and told her he was married and that her behavior was unacceptable. Before he finally confronted her we could see him growing increasingly uncomfortable and this is how we know someone is violating our boundaries.  We can feel it!

Other examples of boundary violations include financial “gifts” that people give expecting control in return. It is not a boundary violation for a parent to threaten not to pay college tuition if a kid can’t get his grades up, but it IS a boundary violation to only pay a kids college tuition if they go into the program of the parent’s choosing.

If a kid wants to be a teacher and the parents only will pay for med school, the kid has to decline the money and pay his own way or take out loans to get out from under the abuse.

As an adult, we leave our father and mother and become one with our spouse, therefore starting our own family unit. Your parents do not have a right to make demands of you and your new family that do not align with your values on your time, money or children. You have to say no to financial gifts that come with strings attached.

Back to my story with my abuser; one day he lost his job and arrived home drunk and he and his wife got into an argument and he took off on foot. Once again, many people were very worried about him and tried calling to check on him and he waited until the wee hours of the night before letting anyone know he was ok. I was finally at the point that I could no longer just accept his apology and pretend everything was fine.

I made it clear that I believed he needed to go through an intense, in-house rehab. Of course he had all these excuses for why he couldn’t go.  The truth of it was that he didn’t want to go. He wanted to apologize for getting caught again and then go back to hiding and lying.

When abusers are caught or know they went too far they often go through “compliance” for a bit to try to win you back. In their heart, they KNOW they have no real intention of changing but they know they need to be on their best behavior just long enough to get you to let down your guard again.

My abuser said he was sorry and started going to AA meetings and to a religious counselor with his wife. This is the same old song and dance he had been doing for years and I didn’t believe him. I had no reason to!  If someone is a repeat offender, they absolutely should understand that they have to EARN your trust back.  If they demand you to move on right away, that is PROOF that they are not changing at all.

So I stuck to my boundary. I told him he was not welcome at my house anymore unless he went to rehab or I saw some real changes in his behavior.

So a couple months passed and not spending time with him proved to be very good for me! I was less anxious, sleeping better and felt I was a better mom and wife without him in my space. He texted me one day and immediately my mood darkened. He said he had been sober for 8 weeks now and he was going to counseling and AA meetings, so couldn’t he come visit? That wasn’t my deal. He was trying to get me to break my boundary. I held firm.

So how do you know when someone is really changing? How does the church sometimes hurt instead of help when dealing with abusers?  I’ll cover that next.