Adults Who’ve Survived the Critic Parent

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Some of us grew up in loving and caring environments and some of us did not. Some of us grew up in loving and caring environments that were flawed on some level. Sometimes deeply flawed or sometimes tumultuous depending on the problems the parent or parents had. It could have been an ill parent, an unfaithful parent, it could have been arguing all the time, or the parent could be one that came and went. Today I want to speak to those that grew up with the Critic Parent. The one that ALWAYS had something negative to say or critiqued everything you did or every choice you made.

I grew up with one. Every choice you made, there was a better one. When you did your chores, there was always something you could have did better or forgot. When you did things to try to impress that parent, they were not all that impressed. Each time you did your hair or got dressed, they would frown up at your attire or choice and I am not talking about the typical parent-child disagreement about clothes and hair. This is beyond that. This is a tear down of the child. A ripping of their power to make choices and to feel good about their choices and themselves. All of this is about that and the child needing to be supported, guided, and free to be an individual. I felt singled out from all of my siblings. The boys in the family didn’t have this problem, but the only sister I had said she would experience it from time to time, but as soon as she was able to she left the house.

The constant stares, criticism, correction, and questioning of everything I did, said, or chose literally destroyed my self esteem. I was already an outsider with my red hair as an African American child, my brainy self, my extreme shyness, and artys personality. I wasn’t accepted in many circles and to be home and not accepted was traumatic to my sensitive soul. Did you know, that those who are artists and creative types have a spectrum on the emotional scale as more sensitive than normal and that can swing to more depressed than normal? I had no idea until I started seeing a psychologist. My mother always said “If you just look at me, I would start crying.” I wonder if she created that insecurity within me or fostered it. I don’t know.

I second guess everything I did, said, and every choice I made as a young adult. It caused me to be paralyzed with fear. I had no confidence. If this is normal mines was twice as bad. Even after choices were made I worried that I was wrong, I didn’t know what I was doing, there you go again…not getting it right. I was surprised when things worked out. An even then, I was not sure that things would be okay.

Many things contributed to my bouts of depression and need to want to escape this world by suicide. I know this was one of them. I equated a wrong choice in anything I did as a reflection of how I could never and would never get it right. Even the simplest things. I was beyond self conscious and not just in the way I look, but in the work I did. Even now I have to say “Hey, it’s good enough. You did your best.” I also had to learn to not do what was did to me to others and when I had my daughter, I vowed to not utilize that aspect of my parent. I did take all of the good from that parent, which was a lot, and use it.

I believe there are many reasons a parent does this. I think we expect parents to be perfect or to know better, but the truth is they are not perfect and they do not know “how to” always do better. Hurting people hurt other people. When we are children we don’t know or think about the fact our parents have lived some type of life before us and has experienced some type of childhood…both of these things either good, bad, or traumatic. These things have an effect on the parent as a child, as an adult, and as your parent. Many hurt parents have know idea of the psychological effects of their behavior on their children and we grow up to think many of the things we experienced were normal and acceptable until we meet other children and other adults. If you can’t recognize the signs of your behavior as detrimental to the shaping of the child, then you as the parent continue to do what you do. The generation before me were not privy to psychology or child psychology. They were too busy trying to make a living. The way they dealt with things were to not talk about them. But, guess what? Buried feelings and events of our lives are still alive if they are not dead. However, we as the children who grew up in some sort of tainted or warped environment, now have the privilege of that knowledge that we may be better parents and better human beings. We also have the work of healing ourselves from these scars.

I am now realizing that I survived by learning through trial and error, my commitment to not repeat those mistakes by taking different actions, some education about parenting, my relationship with God, the wisdom of the Spirit, other wise souls, and yes, therapy. I survived by accepting the relationship I have with that parent, sometimes calling them on their behavior and holding them accountable, and other times letting it go. I survived by releasing my anger and hurt. I survived with knowledge of the effects of trauma on people who never admit or talk about what’s really going on, but instead choose to respond with some outward action or to remain silent and bottled up.

However, for this leg of my journey at 42, I am here to be liberated this year and to be legendary in my doings. I need to THRIVE and not just survive. I thrive by forgiving and by forgiving I am free (liberated). I thrive by realizing that parent may never seek counseling, deliverance, or healing, but my choice to not feed into it or to have some compassion for the hurt child inside that parent, is liberating my emotions to choose happiness even if they are miserable. And all of that is a legendary step for my soul’s journey.

~Nikki

 

 

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Hope

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Hope anchors the soul of the anxious and the depressed. -Nicole Jackson

CONNECTING TO THE UNIVERSE

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Mood: Nam myoho renge kyo: To connect to the Universe, to bring empowerment. Yesterday the universe orchestrated my vibrations and brought forth a very negative situation. I am glad that it happened so that I can learn a very prominent lesson for this year as it is my goal, my soul’s goal to be liberated and I guess that means liberated from everything that holds me back, from everything that causes me not to be in alignment with my destiny and from everything that hinders me and my soul’s evolution. This is my year of liberation and a year of legendary moves and growth. So many lessons from yesterday for this journey. Sometimes peeling back that final layer hurts, but helps us to leap into another level.

~Nikki

RA BLOG: Limiting Pity Parties

Pity has a pit that is hard to get out of once you fall into it. If you’re going to dance around it, do so from a distance and make it less than often.-Nicole Jackson

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I can tell you to stop feeling sorry for yourself, never feel sorry for yourself, or that it’s okay to feel sorry for yourself. Either you do or you don’t or you use to. Perhaps you have a different personality and you never felt sorry for yourself. If this is you, then I might suggest you have some compassion, some empathy, or try to understand those that do.

Feeling sorry for yourself can lead you into a pit. There is a difference when it comes to having a pity party…parties must come to an end and the sooner the pity party ends the better. You see, if a person falls into a pit of pity then that is a very dark place. Some never make it out and it turns into a debilitating way of living and approaching life. It’s all about what you use to could do and all about what you can’t do now. It focuses on what RA or an illness or disease has taken away from you and not what you still have left. Or what you can obtain now! It’s all about your problems, never about solutions. It’s about “I can’t before you try” or a “I tried once and I’ll never try again.”

I’ll be honest with you. I’ve had some pity parties way before Rheumatoid Arthritis exploded into my bones. I am sure it was the talking of wise people, encouraging people, that said a combination of “You’ve got to get over this, get over it, feel what you feel, don’t feel, etc.”that lead me to a method that has lessened my pity parties and the time spent in them. The method for me is, depending on what has happened and the depth of it, is: PUT A TIME LIMIT ON IT and start shutting the party down. I can’t tell you not to throw one in the first place, I don’t control how you feel no more than you can control how I feel. But, if you are going to go there, know that you can’t stay at this party too long and no one else wants to stay too long either!  Your party can turn into a PIT! I limit myself to 5 minutes to a few days and then I have to, I must start working my way out, regardless of how I feel. REGARDLESS OF HOW I FEEL.

You work your way out by moving, physically. You work your way out with prayer. You work your way out with telling yourself the TRUTH about yourself (who God says you are) and not who others say you are. You build yourself up and instead of tearing yourself down. This is how you get out of the pit or shut the pit party down. You see a therapist, you see a pastor, you use the skills, you get a self help book, or you surround yourself with a support group. Whatever you have to do, you do it!  (But, it’s hard Nikki…well, don’t let that stop you)

~Nikki

 

 

 

Reaching Beyond What’s Broken

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What is it that is broken in your life? I have heard that when you are at the end of your rope you should tie a knot and keep hanging on. But don’t your arms (strength) weaken? Does not your hands (heart) have blisters? I’ve asked God what if I let go? And God responded that he (she) would catch me. Yet, God has informed me this is not the time to let go. No, not in this situation. So, how do I reach beyond what is broken?

Imagine that you drop a very fragile dish right before you. Did you curse? (lol) Did you get angry? Are you irritated and agitated? You felt something. When something breaks in our lives, we feel something. The first thing you do is STEP OVER the broken porcelain or glass. And guess what? That’s it! Mind you, we are only talking about how to reach beyond what is broken. As long as you are standing there in the midst of brokenness you can’t begin the clean up. And let’s say that sometimes what is broken is so bad, the Creator has to reach over your brokenness to get you the other side of safety. You know, like what may have been done by a parent to you as a child. “DON’T MOVE!” they say. Then they reach over the broken glass to get you away from the danger of sharp edges. Because that is what a caring parent does. They realize you can’t get yourself out without the risk of being hurt even more. And then they clean up.

You see, sometimes you will be the one that has to step over what is broken so that it can be fixed or left behind. And sometimes, God will reach in and carry you over the brokenness. Either way you move beyond what’s broken and only then can you determine what is next.

I say to myself this morning: What’s next?

~Nikki

 

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings:The Power of Introspection

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It was when my daughter was born I began the journey to look deeper within myself to find out why I was the way I was at that time. The journey has progressed over the years to why I am the way I am now, how I want to be in the future, to forgiveness of self and others, to ever evolving. And so much more.

I can tell you the first step to introspection is brutal honesty, but gentle forgiveness and a course of actions to remedy the issue if there need be one. I’ve gotten my instructions from logic, books, observations of others and ultimately God who sent all the aforementioned things via the vehicle of wisdom. Brutal honesty with yourself is a practice that is  necessary if you want to get to the heart of the matter and I am not just talking about honesty about yourself, but honesty about others and the situations that have occurred in your life.

I started by addressing the things people said about me often that I refuted vehemently.

“You are wishy washy, very indecisive”

“You never smile. You’re always frowning. I thought you were mean.”

“You’re too clingy.”

“You are so sensitive.”

These are just a few. It took years to get through the layers of those those four things alone. It was the saying; “If it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, looks like a duck it must be a duck” and “If everyone is saying the same thing to you over and over it must be true.” All four of those things I shared were true and are still true at times. I worked on being more decisive. I had to get to the underlying cause of that. It was work and it was years and I realized it was rooted in childhood and my nature. I smile so much now and I love it. I also know why all of those years I didn’t smile much. I didn’t know I had a reason to smile. I was bullied as a child and my frown was my defense! It kept many people out as I grew older. What was a fence for protection became a wall for isolation in many ways.

Being too clingy..ahhh yes, that really hurt. That was really hard work. Too many bad relationship made me want to hold on to anyone that crossed my path. It hurt to lose. It hurt to let go. I didn’t like pain. Who does? I had to learn several lessons from that:

If you hold on too tight you squeeze the life out of relationship. If you hold on to who’s hurting you, you hurt you! Trust is necessary and if it’s broken, then you have the option to leave or mend. It’s true, a person will do what they want to do because you can’t be around them 24/7 to ensure they won’t and why would you want to be? Who wants a relationship like that? Trust is essential to a successful relationship. (So much work in that area including becoming self confident and building self esteem).

You are too/so sensitive. I am. I tried for years to change that, but I realized being sensitive is how God created me. I govern my sensitivity by asking myself can I let that go? Am I taking that too personal? But I don’t question every single thing I feel. I feel deeply. I am who I am. Some people are just too rude and too mean and they want you not to be offended by it. Life.

Introspection is a lifelong  journey. The one thing I love about this journey is rarely do I have time to judge others, but I do have time to decide if I want them in my company. I find you are more understanding of others actions/ways. You recognize yourself in others or things you know they need to work out. You can deal with them or not. You can only heal yourself and aide in the healing of others. I am more whole and a healed person than I was at 25. I thank my God for that.

~Nikki