Friday, August 04, 2006

The Mom I Want To Be--Suzie Eller--Guest Blogger

Growing up in my small brick home was a contradiction. There were sweet memories mixed with others that were not so peaceful. Life in the four walls of my house wasn’t always abusive, but perhaps that is what made it so difficult. The physical punishments and emotional chaos were inconstant companions.
As I wrote my new book, The Mom I Want to Be, I dove into my family history. Dysfunction is often generational and that is true in my family history. As I researched (with my courageous mom’s help), I easily drew a connection from my grandmother to my mother to me.

Exploring generational patterns provided insight and compassion for the child that was once my mother. It helped me to understand the “why” behind some of the events that transpired. It allowed me to ask an important question: Was I handing the same set of problems to the next generation?

I discovered three truths that I share in the book. May I share one with you?

1. When dysfunctional patterns are revealed, it is an opportunity for change

One emotional pattern in my family history is abandonment. If it’s fight or flight, they run, baby run. My grandmother physically abandoned her children for days at a time. My own mother threatened suicide (the ultimate act of checking out) when life became too big to handle.

When I first married Richard, we had a fight over something trivial. I opened the door to take a drive (abandon the scene). My husband gently stopped me.

“Where are you going?”

“I don’t want to fight.” I went into the bedroom and locked the door.

Soon I heard the scratching of a key. My husband stood there, confused. “Let’s talk.”

I slipped by him. For the next 20 minutes we played a game of human chess. I moved from room to room. My husband followed.

Finally my husband wrapped his arms around me gently. For the next half hour we talked about our disagreement and resolved our conflict. I was 21 years-old and it was vital that I learn how to work through conflict rather than follow family history.

David Seamands, author of HEALING FOR DAMAGED EMOTIONS, says:
In most of the parks the naturalists can show you a cross section of a great tree they have cut, and they will point out that the rings of the tree reveal the developmental history, year by year. Here’s a ring that represents a year when there was a terrible drought. Here are a couple of rings from years when there was too much rain. . . That’s the way it is with us. Just a few thin layers beneath the protective bark—the concealing, protective mask—are the recorded rings of our lives. There are scars of ancient, painful hurts .

By studying my family tree I learned what NOT to do and that I could change the future for my children by using alternative methods that would make me and my family feel safe and loved.

For more information about Suzie go to: http://daretobelieve.org

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