I don’t think this will come as a shock, but I could not trust my parents. My mother used to act friendly until she got whatever she wanted from me. My father only wanted one thing. Unfortunately, I could not trust most of my relatives either, although there were a couple of exceptions. As I grew up and began to embody the energy of my family, I would attract people in to my life who were dishonest. This is what I expected, so this is what life delivered.
I remember the first time I discussed this with my therapist. My therapist has a brilliant poker face. It is the first thing they teach you in social work school. You aren’t supposed to look shocked. But when I told her that EVERYTHING has a double meaning, she wasn’t sure what to say. She tried to clarify. “Do you think every statement from every person in your life has a double meaning?” I said yes. She kindly suggested that this might be a belief system from my childhood. She kindly suggested that some people in the world may really say what they mean and say it for the right reasons. I logically knew she was right, but my inner child part was not having any of it. My experiences had proven that people were only interested in their own personal benefit.
Sometimes, my therapist would ask me what I thought when she responded to me in a supportive way. To her dismay, I would tell her that I was paying her to do that.
Fast forward through six years of hard work in therapy, and I do recognize the support of those around me. I do know that some people support me because they care, and not because they want something from me. It gets better every day as I meet more and more amazing people. But there’s a problem. During those six years, I have been raising children. As I have discussed before, children are mirrors.
So, yesterday it happened. My daughter said something and I woke up with a jolt.
My son was doing something “annoying”. This is not shocking. My son lives to do “annoying” stuff. By annoying, I mean making exceptionally loud noises while moving at an extremely fast pace in any direction. This is called “being a boy”. It is so common that I cannot recall what he was doing. It really doesn’t even matter. My daughter blurted out, “You are only doing that to annoy me.”
As soon as she said it, I knew who it came from, and I was looking at her in the mirror. I had to face the fact that my own distrust of people is leaving its mark on my children. I had to face the fact that I must get us back on the right path as a family.
It didn’t take long for an opportunity to present itself. We were getting in the car yesterday afternoon, and my son let my daughter go first. To be fair, this is a rare event. I was even a little bit shocked. My daughter gave him a suspicious look, and asked why. She didn’t say it, but I could tell she was trying to figure out what was in it for him. So, we had a talk. I explained that sometimes people do things to be nice. They seemed to take it in, but still weren’t entirely sure what I was saying. I said that we needed to work as a family to look for the good reasons why people might be helpful. I told them that they would need to help me find all the ways people are nice just to be nice. They seemed up for the challenge.
And so, the “un-training” begins. Of course, I know the process will be much easier for them. People are born to trust. Children can find those innate qualities easier than adults. It won’t be long before they are reminding me that I need to trust others. This is good and bad, but when something needs to be brought from the unconscious to the conscious, it must be discussed openly. The light drives out the darkness. And everyone knows, children bring the light.