*I have wanted to share on this topic for a looooong time and realized in finally starting this piece that it has grown substantially from when I initially began making notes a couple of years ago, so l feel it will probably come across better in a couple sections rather than one giant post. 😉
“Here’s the best news for you all here today: This cycle of unhealthy behavior ends now. The cycle is over with you. By being here you are choosing to learn, grow, change, and do better for yourself, your children, and future generations of your family.”
I heard that statement almost five years ago at a family weekend in Florida (get the deets on that fun time here) and it was a truly pivotal moment in my life. I sat there, dumbfounded at first, then feeling like I had a major job to do and that I had complete it all immediately so as not to screw up my not-even-a-thought-at-that-time, un-conceived, unborn child. The hurricane in my head was approaching a Category 5; it was up to CHAD and ME to stop all this madness?! Sweet Jesus, we could barely function as independent adults at this point in time let alone save all future generations from mental chaos, addiction, and crazy train behaviors. Yet I couldn’t erase those words from my brain, they were etched, and I knew I was forever not the same person I had grown into over the past 29 years. I understood there was a daunting, massive task at hand, one I had no clue how to start tackling., yet more importantly, I finally felt shitty enough and was definitely ready for a self-overhaul, so I was prepared to dive right in. I also vowed to myself then and there that I wouldn’t pass by shit baggage onto my child or continue spewing it out into the world in general.
Fast-forward a few months to when I started really looking at my behaviors, desires, motivations, intentions, and so forth; what is referred to by many program peeps as, “Taking My 4th Step Inventory” (searchingly and fearlessly done of course). This was weird, uncomfortable, embarrassing, and eye-opening all at the same time. In a nutshell, I looked at myself from a variety of angles to see what events made me the way I was, additionally to start figuring out reasons behind those areas I felt stuck or gross about. It gave me fairly clear insight, and I quickly realized most of “me” beyond my curls and booty came from my parents’ own personalities and behaviors. Definitely not a bad thing, just never really occurred to me prior to this self inquisition.
*Now, let me state before I continue that my parents are awesome. I am incredibly lucky to have them in my life and to have had them raise me, I absolutely never did or will ever take them for granted. There were simply aspects of myself I didn’t honestly like, therefore chose to change well into adulthood. This is NOT some whiny a-hole, ungrateful child rant about how my parents messed me all up and now poor me has to un-f*ck herself (the empath I am needed my parents to know that).
This was not an overnight process. It took months of intense questioning, honest answering, and getting real about my not great behaviors such as, “Why do I always make fun of others for a laugh?” or “Where does this fiery rage come from out of nowhere?!” I mainly used Blueprint for Progress: 4th Step Inventory (with my sponsor) along with Love is a Choice + the workbook to help guide me and make sure ALL the wonderfully intimate and painful questions were asked and addressed. There was a plethora of reading, writing, and discussion (with actual people and myself) involved and I honestly am still working on it til this day, especially since becoming a mom and being hyper-aware of my interactions with and my direct influence on Andy (that’s part two). Now, I don’t want to paint this black picture of self-loathing doom, it’s not about, “Damn, I really hate myself, I need to change,” more of, “This behavior just doesn’t feel cool with me anymore, let me see ‘the why’ and how to not do it anymore”. If you haven’t done a 4th step and are curious, just Google “4th Step Inventory” and try some of the worksheets that pop up, then you’ll get a better feel for what I am trying to put into words.
Although it would be juicy and entertainingly humiliating, I am not going to publish my 4th Step journals for all to see. I am all about being open and sharing for the greater good, however some things simply need to be kept sacred in my world. What I will share is that I was angry for a minute at my parents because they “made me” anxious, scared, cynical, an insecure-egoist, angry, and jealous-to name a few. I could see clear as day ongoing events or repeated behaviors that passed those negative traits onto me as a child, and recall thinking, “Wow, I will never, ever do/be like that!” then Bam!, there I was repeating the cycle of behavior as a young adult. I then heard something that shifted my perspective, “My parents did the best they knew how to do, they didn’t know any better.” Well damn. Guilt washed away the anger, which eventually gave way to understanding and a type of forgiveness, then finally circled back to gratitude which is where I am today. My parents did what they knew and thought was best for Chad and I, that is something I now respect rather than resent. I can still see those traits I changed in myself in my parents, but today I can appreciate even the negative ones (albeit at times I get annoyed and frustrated) along with the amazing ones such as kindness, empathy, selflessness, strong work ethic, and humor.
My mum has come a long way on her own journey of understanding and self change over the past few years, which has been great to witness from a grown child’s point of view, and that I get to see her put into practice with not only Chad and I, but Andy as well. It is cool discussing books and sharing articles of common interest along with some meditation techniques or whatever it may be; we have that common ground of being our best us and sharing that with others. Which is where I will end off on for today. All my “self discovery” and transformations appear really fab on paper and I know long-time, close friends see a difference, but now to implement this “Cycle Ending” in real life aka entering motherhood and taking plan into practice aka not messing up my son…
Be Good, Do Good.