I’d like to share with you a very personal article from about 6+ years ago. I wrote it to share, and never did. And today, randomly found it, in all lower-case letters, on the parenting blog I used to run called The Gift of Parenting. So, enjoy and please comment, for I believe this article touches upon our beautiful neurotic, illogical selves in the rawest form. Enjoy!
so we’re watching the tale of despereaux. this adorable movie about a mouse who was courageous, sought justice, and always told the truth. adorable. he was born with an attentive yearning for knowledge and adventure. you’ve got here every ingredient a good plot requires: good food, death, friendship, cultural assimilation, being yourself and believing in your path, a damsel in distress, knights, doing what is right against all odds…the whole schabang in one well-made tale.
we are thoroughly enjoying this movie, until….
my mind wanders to what else i have to do tonight.
how much yelling and crying there was in the house last night when no one wanted to sleep at 11pm.
how miserable i was last night with all three of them freaking out.
what kind of a trap i repeatedly put myself in- i want them to have fun on vacations and sleeping well after bed time is a fun part of that, but then they get overtired and i get overtired exponentially and lose all patience.
and then they are upset, and i’m highly annoyed with them and furious at myself
and usually my husband gets dragged into the whole soap opera and it’s not pretty at all…
as my thoughts snowball, my heart starts pounding, and i’m all worked up and stressed out and and and… suddenly these kids, these children sitting here on the mattress peacefully watching their movie are the enemy. and oh my god i’m gonna kill them if we have a repeat performance of last night’s drama. and do you know why we had this drama cuz your mother gabi, the mother, the one in charge of these kids, one who is ‘an expert in parenting and should know better’….
and it could go on and on and on and that is how our mind goes. we give him control and he takes the reigns straight to all the emotional ditches that have no end. we’ve got all the classics in this mind movie too: fear of the unknown, past resentment of bad choices, conflict, self-judgment, self- doubt, fear of what others will think, not standing up to standards i set for myself…..
and all of this are what i call emotional spiderwebs. you take a thought or a situation and tag onto it all sorts of emotions (it could be that you’re feeling fat, had a fight with your spouse or your boss, don’t have enough money in the bank, or painfully recall some incident from 25 years ago as if it happened an hour ago). and you’re off. you’re feeling sorry for yourself, or stressed out, or mad, or hurt and then some innocent victim (most often our children or spouse) comes walking into the room and BAMB!!! we give it to them. all the stress and pain in our souls goes shooting out on the people we love the most who have nothing to do with it. and then, we really feel proud of ourselves, right?
these are emotional spiderwebs. we take one issue that we are going through and stick in our children or spouse into it, and then it all gets tangled up in one big spider’s web mess.
so, like a devoted spider-webber, i randomly and abruptly click off the movie. ‘Go to bed! now! that’s it! movie is over!” and of course bless their dear souls they have no idea what planet i just fell from.
note: this is what we call a harsh transition. we do them often when we get stuck in our emotional spiderwebs. everyone is humming along doing their own thing. my kids were watching a movie, yours may be at the playground, having a pillow fight, coloring quietly, playing with a friend, and you go “shower time! bed time! time to leave!” and your kid freaks out.
harsh transitions don’t work well in parenting. they are unfair to the child for they are based on someone else’s time schedule and needs. do not take into account at all the needs and natural flow of things that the child is involved in. maybe she is in the middle of puzzle, maybe the barbie doll is putting her baby to sleep, maybe he is trying to slide down the slide with both feet off the slide and almost got it…. and because you suddenly realize that time is up, you stop it all cold turkey.
why? because your needs are so much more important then his or because you happen to be taller and can threaten and punish and have authority so you get your way? hmmmm.
smooth transitions are fair. smooth transitions recognize the needs of all involved and give everyone a chance to wind down, to finish up their business in un-abruptedness. smooth transitions also leave the room for a wonderful communication tool called negotiation.
so, they look at me with wild eyes and as if i had pushed the emergency button (which i had) . they promptly start every variety of whining, crying, screaming, complaining. derivative you can imagine there are three of them and they have quite an impressive repertoire combined.
i immediately recognize the harshness of my choice and apologize.
‘sorry. it’s just that i realized that is it getting really late and last night that did not go so well for us. we will finish watching the movie tomorrow. would you like 5 more minutes?”
“how about we watch until the scene where the mouse gets taken away by the rat?”
and we talk a bit more.
they calm down and settle in for the agreed upon duration of their movie time. i go enjoy the great night breezes outside on my mountain and hang a load of white laundry.
and, i reflect on how instead of stepping into the spiderweb and getting everyone caught up in the emotional stuckness of it all; we can gently scoop up our spiderwebs. we can recognize them, gently scoop them into the palm of our hands and smile at their glistening beauty with that gleam of knowingness in our eyes. we each have our own spiderwebs. and we can hug them and gently move them aside. and with our added awareness, can create the space for communication, negotiation, and smooth transitions for our families.
watch the movie with your kids. it’s wonderful.
Gabi is a certified trauma therapist, family communications expert, energy healer, and life coach with a Masters in Psychology. She shares her personal life stories and insights to inspire others to share their honest, neurotic selves and do all that is necessary to Clean Your Soul. She believes that all of us are on our journey from pain to the light, and by staying inspired and aware, we can all reach our fullest, cleanest, most beautiful free selves. Gabi takes a very limited number of one-on-one clients for transformational parenting, family, life, and trauma therapy. You may reach Gabi directly at email@example.com.
It is Gabi’s sincerest hope to bring light, inspiration, laughter, and insight into all friends on their journey to loving themselves and their lives. Can you help us help others to find their path to self-awareness, spiritual growth, and improved positive family relationships? We invite you to forward this article to others or use it in your newsletter, blog, or site. Simply copy and paste with the following credit line: This article was written to further guide and inspire conscientious souls on their path by life coach, energy healer, and family therapist Gabi Klaf at http://www.gabiklaf.com
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