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

 

 

Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: Patience

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Patience, beloved. Every piece of the puzzle will be put into its place. This is the message that came to me as I dreamed about 1000 and 3000 piece puzzles I saw laying on the table. Before this, I’d visited with our second family in Iowa. We went there to pick up my nephew from college. In the home was a big puzzle laying on a table. I sat down and tried to match pieces and quickly was reminded how tedious this could be.

Well, all week long I’d been anxious, irritable, not feeling my best, and just ready for things to smooth out in my life. It was a Thursday night and I dreamed about puzzles on a table. I heard a voice in the dream saying, “Patience, patience.” As I saw a second puzzles in progress, the words were repeated again. This was a simple message. I want to rush a particular process I am going through. I am ready for it to be over so I can move on with my life. I am ready for it to be over so I can build and have more independence. This part of my life is the biggest stressor!

So, there it was. God, the Divine, sending out a message to my psyche. “Patience, beloved. Every piece of the puzzle will be put in its place.”

~Nikki

Knowing Right, Doing Wrong

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Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and not do it. -James 4:17

Even if you are not a Christian, and I say this because some can’t respond to truth unless it’s under their faith, you could read this scripture and understand it. Recently, when correcting someone about doing something wrong, I was told by them that they were grown and could do what they wanted to do. I immediately noted the immaturity in this statement because grown as in size and age, is no indication to grown as in maturity. We use all kinds of excuses to continue to do the things we want to do whether it is breaking our own spiritual laws or the laws of the land in which we live. I guess for some it is the only way they can feel powerful, but in reality the need to violate spiritual laws or laws of the land to feel powerful is a sure sign you are not. At the end of the day, per my religion, when we have full knowledge of right and wrong, and do not do what is right…it is a sin.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Human Mother to Robin Mother: Nature vs Nature

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This week I battled a robin that wanted to build her nest on the rafters of my carport. When I first saw the formation of the nest, I knew it had to come down before it was complete. So, the maintenance guy got it down. The reason that it could not be built there is because if the bird lays eggs it’s illegal to remove the nest and if it builds it where I park my car my daughter and I would be in danger of an attack from a bird protecting her young. And I guess you can say, I was protecting my young as well. It was sort of a woman to bird, mother to mother, type of situation.

Within an hour she was back building again. I was back to stop her. This went on for hours. The night came and when I woke up the next morning…she had started again. We went at it for about an hour and a half. I realized as my arms begin to hurt and my shoulder swelled, I couldn’t keep doing this but, I couldn’t let her build there. Also, the stress elevated my blood pressure. At physical therapy, the PT said “Hey I had that happen to me. I read up on it just like you and I put a plastic owl where the bird wanted to build and it never came back.” So, I thought about the creepy owl I bought for winter decor and when I got home I put it in the rafters. Since Friday, I have not seen the bird. I pray she has found somewhere to build and lay her eggs. I am assured by the wisdom of Matthew in the Bible: Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them…”

When it comes to problems in our lives, whether it be an illness that turns your life upside down or financial choices, a work situation or a life situation, somewhere in the daunting task of persistence there is a solution. There is a happy medium. There is a method to the madness. And as I trudge through one of the most difficult times of my life, if God takes care of the birds of the air, feeds them and clothes the flowers of the field…how much more will he take care of us? Our angels sends advice, we look up a solution, we try different things, we realize what is not working and soon the solution surfaces. The outcome may not always be what we want at the time, a temporary solution until the a permanent one arises.

~Nikki

 

 

 

 

Peace and Plenty Notes 1

 

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As you may or may not know, the journey I am taking this year is a journey of liberation. The actions I am taken at the age of 42 are legendary. I have linked this with an angel number and the legendary Jackie Robinson. Well, on this journey I have books to help me and one of those books is Peace and Plenty: Finding Your Path to Financial Serenity by Sarah Ban Breathnach. I want to share some of the journey with you in hopes it will help you along the way, too.

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~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: Building Inner Strength

What good is learning a lesson from life and you decide not to apply it to your life? Well, that’s like knowing touching a hot stove will burn your hand and the opportunity presents itself the next morning when you turn on the stove to place your hand on it. It’s not wisdom. What you have is knowledge and how you convert knowledge to wisdom is by applying it to your life. On the outside many are strong by appearance, but when the shades go down in their home, they are weak on the inside. A person with great physical strength, muscles, and who is lean, looks like they take care of there body, but if they are hitting the gym and then hitting the bottle or fast food joints well the inside is still weak. It’s funny how the mind can be strong enough to subject itself to physical strength and not enough for the person to eat well. Actually, it’s just an area they are weak in and it needs to be strengthen by right action, choices,  and discipline. The mind will do what your spirit tells it to do, if YOU decide to do it. It’s true the spirit is willing, but the flesh, not so much. -The Bible.

If you are going to build your inner strength it is going to take discipline. It’s going to take depositing spiritual things into your spirit and applying them to life. It takes thinking back onto what happened the last time you did that, said that, and how it affected you and others. It takes caring about the outcome of your actions. You’re going to have to go through training. Don’t you worry, life has been training you all along by presenting the same obstacle courses over and over. You don’t necessary receive a grade if you fail, you receive the consequences and the opportunity to try it again or improve. Even if you pass, you may encounter the same situations again. This perfects and matures you spiritually.

So, if you want to build inner strength take heed to the lessons life has/is teaching you. Let wisdom manifest in your life by applying what you know. If you don’t know, there are so many avenues available to learning. Do you want to learn? Someone has written a book about it. Someone is teaching and preaching about it. Someone is having a seminar or lecturing about it. Eat up, digest, manifest. Practice the art of no and yes. No to what you don’t want and yes to what is right for you.

~Nikki

“You convert knowledge to wisdom by applying what you know to your life and life situations.” -Nicole Jackson