12/06/2013

A Bleak Future for Intimacy*

Posted in Family, General, Musings, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:37 am by The Water Bearer

Keyboard

It is common to hear diatribes of drama and dysfunction from people sharing about their relationships and social interactions. Yes, relationships are tricky, however as experience is gained, overtime, social guidelines help us avoid so much of the non-sense drama of our youth.  In this past week alone, I have listened to too many examples of social immaturity and hypocrisy. We are not in high school anymore, so why does it often sound like we are?

Judgment without Grace,

Offense without Accountability,

Deception without Discernment,

Walls without Boundaries,

Conflict without Resolution,

Anger without Acceptance,

Passion without Humility,

Condemnation without Self-Reflection,

Battle without Courage.

Our ability to relate and connect is a fundamental element of being human, and yet our ability to achieve maturity in this area seems to becoming less and less apparent.

I am extremely concerned for the social development of our generation and the next, now that relationships and connections are being severely affected by the new ways to connect with family, friends, acquaintances and even strangers. Social Networking claims to make connecting better, easier, and more convenient. But is this “easier” way helping us to develop strategies to interact genuinely, intimately and develop social maturity? I’m not so sure.

For those who fail to stretch and grow through the discomfort of tricky relational issues, it is too easy to sit behind a computer screen and imitate genuine human connection. Are they thinking to themselves… “The real world is too painful, people are difficult, online I can block them, ignore them, hide from them or berate them. I can find someone to agree with and fuel my opinion, by giving only my side of any situation.” ??

Is this the type of social development we want for our children?

With all the technological ways we have these days, to gain our craved ‘hit’ of connection, why would anyone choose the harder path of learning to understand and accept human nature. Let’s give our children the opportunity to develop social skills first. Then, once they leave High School or even University, and have some sturdy social guidelines in place, social networking can become a fantastic tool. Saying “No” when your teenager asks you if they can create a Facebook account may seem unfair, especially when “All my friends are on there”. Yet, when your ‘No’ is deeply grounded in your concern for their social safety and development, it becomes reasonable and responsible.

I pray our children gain the skills to handle conflict resolution face-to-face, that they learn to pick their battles, and to create a filter so they know who to trust with their personal story, and whose story to believe. To experience the complexities of true relationships that grow and twist with time, changing them into deeper more compassionate and well-rounded human beings.

HUgs

28/10/2012

Less Tantrums, More Love*

Posted in Encouragement, Family, Finding Faith, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , at 8:04 pm by The Water Bearer

The next and final chapter of Discipline + Trust = Love series. A glimpse into finding appreciation in relationships.

Inner Angels & Enemies

In my post Discipline + Trust = Love I promised I would follow on with the story of my adult tantrums and how a changed perspective helped me enjoy many benefits in my relationships.

In my early relationships I was a manipulative, critical, conceited, control freak; unable to identify love at all. I allowed my emotions to control my actions, and used them as excuses to blackmail the people I thought I loved.

I had grown up believing with all my heart that I knew love because I felt it so intensely.

After I learned a bit of Godly self-awareness, I came to realise that what I felt so intensely wasn’t love at all; it was desire, obsession, jealousy, fear, and a lack of self-worth. I had held onto the belief that I deserved ‘the best and should never settle for anything less, which gave me the sky…

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24/10/2012

Discipline + Trust = Love*

Posted in Family, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , at 7:04 am by The Water Bearer

While I’m taking some time to work on my novel I thought I would share some of my early posts with my new readers. Hope you enjoy them.

Inner Angels & Enemies

“Come Back!” I yelled through the tears streaming down my face as I ran up the street after him. My heart was twisted in turmoil, my head full of confusion and raging emotion. I was a child in an adult’s body and he was my boyfriend. We hadn’t been going out very long, a few months maybe, but once I had allowed him into my life physically and emotionally I began clinging on for dear life, pinning all my feelings on him. If he told me he ‘loved me and couldn’t live without me’, I was over the moon, if he told me to ‘get lost and leave him alone’, I was on the floor in a heap, devastated by his rejection.

This time he was going out with his friends for the night, but I had spent the day looking forward to spending the night with him. I had…

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18/10/2012

What Do Wives Expect?

Posted in Family, General, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 5:18 pm by The Water Bearer

As I drove to work yesterday I was listening to breakfast radio, and the female announcer brought up a complaint made by a wife who she had been in discussion with.

The wife was a stay at home mum and her husband worked 10 hours a day to provide for them. Her complaint was that he should help out more at home and not gripe when she gives him jobs. She was adamant that her husband should do more, such as cleaning the shower and toilet, help with cooking and take some responsibility for bathing, dressing and attending to the children etc when he was home.

The male announcer explained the husbands response, which was basically “I have just worked 10 hours and walk in the front door to hear these words or similar come from her mouth. “”Good you’re home, now you can help me with these kids. Can you run them a bath and take the baby for a while?”” I just walked in the door from a long hard day, I want to sit down for 5 minutes and relax with a beer. I don’t think that is too much to ask!”

The female announcer replied “She is obviously unhappy, if he can do more to help her be happier in their relationship, shouldn’t he just do it!”

I saw red! This is one of the most infuriating stances that many women let their inner enemies convince them to take. They may as well be saying “I am going to keep complaining about how unhappy I am until I make the whole house unhappy, so you will have no choice but to bow to my every request’.

Now let me clarify, this wife didn’t work, and her children were in childcare 3 days per week, and she claimed that she never stops, that she never gets a break. Even if they were at home all day every day, pouncing on her husband the second he walks in the door is selfish, ungrateful and unloving. I know because I used to be like this. I was all these things and worse.

One thing I learned some years ago is that miserable complaining only breeds more misery. I know plenty of husbands who have done their best to meet every ridiculous, demanding request of their wives, only to discover they could never reach the light at the end of the list, nor help her find peace and happiness.

“It is better to live in a corner of a roof, than in a house shared with a contentious woman.” Prov 21:9 (ASV)

These relationships fell apart leaving a trail of bitter destruction, and setting the worst kind of example for their children’s future relationships.

I grew up in a home with a single Mum who had to work 45-50 hour weeks to provide for us. She had the responsibility of raising three children, with no family close enough to help her. My younger sibling was only 18months old when Mum became single. Through sheer will and determination she did it all. I watched her struggle to cope, I heard constantly how stressful her life was. As a child I can remember the countless times she would pour tears over her finances, often sharing that burden with us children. She missed out on doing the school run and hearing about our day or our thoughts as we drove to and fro. She was unable to keep watch over us after school to make sure we stayed on track. She had no time to learn new recipes or practice creativity in the kitchen, she just fed us. She had no opportunity to load some of the weight onto someone else just because she was tired. She had no one to share some of the burden at the end of a long day. She just did it, all, on her own.

As a wife and mother I am so very, extremely grateful that I have a man who is willing to work long days to provide for us. I do my utmost to put aside my days complaints and greet him after work with a cold beer, a warm smile and a kiss. As a result he is more likely to: a) Come home! b) Help me, and c) Rush to my aid like the knight in shining armour I always dreamed of.

If we give compliments and praise in recognition of all the things, small or large, that they do for us, they will be more willing to help out when we are unwell or warn thin from a tough day, or if we come across a challenge we need their help with. We need to build them up, not tear them down! We need to recognise that our contentious attitude is causing more problems, and make attempts to change it. We need to call on our inner angels to help us see all the things we are grateful for, and refuse to let disappointment from unmet expectations breed bitterness and misery.

On a final note, (this is an area that I am currently trying to make more changes to myself), we take so much responsibility away from our men due to our controlling, often insecure natures. Even if they do try to help, often we are there pointing out how they ‘should’ be doing it, or criticising them afterward because it wasn’t done the way we do it. When we ask their opinion regarding a decision, we reply with our reasons to disagree. We say we want them to take some of our load, but when they try we yank it back out of their hands.

I wonder how many women would tolerate being told that everything we try to do is not done properly, or if every decision we made was overturned and debated?

Trusting our husbands to be capable, and giving their decisions a chance to succeed before we catastrophise them into oblivion, will help boost their self worth, and their sense of masculinity. That way they will have the opportunity to dazzle us with their skills and leadership, and we in turn can relax in grateful appreciation of how lucky we are to have them.

24/09/2012

My Demon

Posted in Encouragement, Family, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 5:12 pm by The Water Bearer

I wish every woman would read this post. The voice of our Inner Enemies has this scheme so worked out that it has no need to be creative or change a thing. It repeats the same lies to everyone of us! Blessings to you all!

28/08/2012

Lessons in Friendship

Posted in Encouragement, Family, General, Musings, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:08 am by The Water Bearer

Something I find particularly heartbreaking is when either one of my daughters comes home from school distressed after an incident involving someone they thought was a friend.

It is just awful to view the sorrow in their gorgeous big brown eyes, and the damp eyelashes as evidence of tears shed. I want so desperately to protect my girls from repeating my mistakes, and having to learn the ‘hard way’ about the truths of friendship, yet I realise they still need to learn for themselves in order for these lessons to stick with them throughout life.

I may be slightly biased here but I have tried to teach my girls to treat others with respect and how they would like to be treated in return. Their faithful spirit is evident in they way they treat most people, they want to be forgiving and to believe a ‘problem friend’ is capable of changing into a ‘decent friend’. So they keep putting themselves back in the firing line, realising a little more each time that some friends just continue to mistreat them.

I wonder how long it will take them to firmly value healthy friendships and avoid toxic ones? I was bitten over a thousand times before I realised I had to stop putting myself in the path of destructive, unhealthy relationships.

We parents can aim to keep balanced influence over who our children befriend to some extent, by deciding who we encourage them to spend time with for play dates and sleep overs etc.

Mostly I feel it is so important to be invested in discussions about the experiences they have had with others, and share your own experiences with them.

I try not to be too judgmental, but this can be hard when your perspective has been somewhat tainted by painful memories, and there are many variables to consider when teaching my girls the reasoning I try to apply to my own friendships. I find my self saying things like…

  • Give everyone a chance; Remember that everyone has inner angels and inner enemies.
  • Be yourself and respectfully resist things you would prefer avoiding. (i.e. Don’t be a doormat)
  • Be truthful and loyal and keep Godly principles in mind.
  • Learn to enjoy your own company so you don’t rely too heavily on friendships.
  • Avoid those who throw emotional tantrums when you set up your own boundaries, this is manipulation, stand firm if someone tries it on you.
  • A true friend will respect your boundaries and you need to respect theirs.
  • Try to be aware and keep control of your own possible emotionally manipulative behaviour.
  • Observe how others handle tough situations and whether you admire them or not and why. Consider this when listening to their advice.
  • Ask yourself if they are honest with you and not just tell you what you want to hear.
  • Consider if they encourage you to reach your full potential, that they don’t hold you back with avoidance, distractions and unmotivated tendencies.
  • If they load you up with their problems but refuse to handle them well, take a big step back and don’t get emotionally involved in their issues.
  • If you view them mistreating anyone, you can be sure they will mistreat you as well at some point in time, whether you find out about it or not.
  • If they purposely hurt you, tell them respectfully that you are hurt by their actions.
  • If they can admit how hurtful they were and sincerely apologise, then give them another chance.
  • If they don’t sincerely apologise, then be polite and continue to treat them with respect but keep your distance and your heart protected.
  • If someone is out-rightly cruel and betrays your heart in a serious way, even after an apology, offer forgiveness yet keep your heart guarded, and choose carefully your future encounters with them.

I make a point of mentioning sincere apologies, as I find it impossible to accept a false apology these days; ‘Sorry’ is a word meant to express the ‘sorrow’ of regrettable events, yet it is not a sincere apology unless it is accompanied by, a few other elements, such as:

1. Acceptance of their accountability and the role they played, without placing blame elsewhere.

2. Acknowledgment of your suffering.

3. Agreeing to stop the action or behaviour they are apologising for.

4. Understanding of your guarded heart toward them afterwards.

I have encouraged my girls to share their stories of friendship and betrayal in their prayer journals, so they may look back and reflect to gain a better perspective. I also encourage them to ask God to bring them a trustworthy friend, who will value the time they share as much as each other.

A friend can be such a strong influence as to who we grow up to be, which road we take to get there, and how successful a journey it is. Some will encourage a hard and faulty road, while others will encourage goodness of character, loyalty and healthy companionship. These are the qualities I suggest my girls consider when deciding who to share this journey of life with. I pray fervently for God to keep His hand on them and I trust Him to guide and protect them. I understand the pains of life are the building blocks of a solid foundation of learning and self-awareness and I ask Him to help me be the best example of a Godly parent as I can be when sharing friendship advice with them.

23/06/2012

Do you really like getting presents?*

Posted in Family, General, Musings, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:21 pm by The Water Bearer

My Big Girl and I were having one of our ‘Deep & Meaningful” talks one night recently, as we often do. These are times I am so grateful for, as it seems so difficult to get teenagers to talk at the best of times, let alone with their parents. So here we were talking about life, faith, boys, future plans, past victories and sharing our thoughts about all kinds of important stuff. One thing she wanted to share, was how much she appreciates that she doesn’t equate ‘gifts’ with how much she is loved. She is happy with a balance of going without things, and appreciating what she has. However, people in her life are beginning to give her gifts as a gesture of affection. Many would perhaps enjoy being spoilt like this, but it actually causes her to feel uncomfortable and I can understand why.

I used to date a guy who bought me ‘gifts’ all the time, he would buy me gifts for no particular reason, and when a special occasion came along he would go overboard. I was a single Mum and counting every penny I had, obviously there was no way I could keep up with his level of gift giving. I gave him affection and attention, but not much in the way of material things. Unfortunately he didn’t know any better, it was how his parents showed him affection, they bought him stuff. They were quite wealthy and he wanted for nothing, yet he was not even close to feeling fulfilled or happy.

It is so common to try to buy things for our loved ones to make up for our shortcomings in regard to giving them attention or love. The act itself of buying a gift for someone could be interpreted as loving thing to do, to spend time thinking about the person you love and thinking of what will make them smile. However the person receiving these gifts only gets a short dose of warmth that easily fades over time. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never thought to myself , ‘Yep, they must really love me, because I remember that present they bought me last month.’

Another element to consider when buying gifts is that the intention can often create feelings of anticipation. If the intention is simply to make someone smile then fine, you will probably get a smile in return for a gift. But what if the intention is to get love in return? What would they have to do to love you back? Do they owe you something now?

A gift is a gift, end of story. It is a gesture purely to acknowledge that thought was given to a person or situation. Thought alone, not love.

If we really want to show our love for others it needs to come in the form of something that cannot be forgotten or broken or lost. If we give our loved ones things like loyalty, compromise, acceptance, forgiveness, freedom, trust, support, encouragement, honesty, affection and attention, then they will know they are loved. We won’t need gifts to prove it.

These expectations of love and the now seemingly common practice of giving ‘gifts’ in exchange for love, has led to the excessive commercialisation we get shoved down our throats at every ‘special day’ imaginable. We just recover from Christmas and then it’s Valentine’s day, we take a breath after getting that out of the way and all of a sudden it’s Easter, with chocolate eggs through to lavish gift baskets displayed on (a ridiculous amount of) stands in every shop. Add to that all the birthdays of those we care for, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Baby showers, Christenings, Birth of New babies, Anniversaries, and before you know it, it is stinking Christmas again! I don’t know about you, but the thought of loving someone with gifts is both expensive and exhausting.

It seems obvious to me that our inner enemies are trying to convince us that giving gifts is necessary when it comes to showing love, by creating hoopla around every occasion we can come up with.

We need to ask our inner angels to take over and encourage us to begin truly loving people in ways that puts gift giving to shame. In fact I think this post should conclude with those true loving gestures lingering in our minds.

Lord, help this world to overlook gift giving as a gesture of love and help us show our loved ones  genuine love through AFFECTION – PATIENCE – LOYALTY – KINDNESS – COMPROMISE – SUPPORT – ATTENTION – FORGIVENESS – ACCEPTANCE – FREEDOM – ENCOURAGEMENT – HONESTY & TRUST! Amen!

09/06/2012

Broken Hearted Children*

Posted in Family, General, Musings, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 4:53 pm by The Water Bearer

So often I hear stories and see with my own eyes the damage brought about when parents separate. Children from split families often struggle with insecurity, and a string of psychological conditions. This is a subject extremely close to my heart, as I was estranged from my father from the age of 10 until I was an adult, and I still battle with the internal scars it caused me.

After doing some research I found some shocking statistics effecting children whose parents are no longer together. Not only are the children from split families prone to psychological distress, which lasts well into adulthood. These statistics also showed frightening increased levels in the following areas when compared to children from homes with both parents, these include;  lower grades, poverty, poor health, suicidal tendencies, incarceration, teen drug and alcohol abuse, early sexual encounters, and the likelihood of being victims of child abuse and assault. 40% of children growing up in America today are being raised without their fathers; commonly the case in Australia also. Half of the children in America and Australia will witness the separation or divorce of their parents. A study of children six years after a parental marriage breakup revealed that even after all that time, these children tended to be “lonely, unhappy, anxious and insecure”.

It seems that many marriage vows are no longer taken as an actual ‘vow’, it is a promise too easily broken, same goes for people who chose to have children together without considering how the child may be effected if there is no family unit. For example when I learned of my teen pregnancy I knew I would manage on my own just as my Mum had, but I never considered how my child might be affected by who her father was. It seemed irrelevant to me, because I was a child who grew up without a father, and at that time I thought I had turned out ok. (Ha! I can tick off well over half of the points above!)

Due to the rampant popularity of sex before marriage, it has become more common to agree to have a child with someone before we have even decided if we would marry them. Having a child together should be acknowledged as an even stronger commitment than marriage, yet this often fails to be the case. Children from separated families raising their own children are sometimes unable to see the consequences from that separation, as they have not developed the self-awareness to see their true internal stability or instability yet. Therefore the cycle continues and increases throughout society.

So often in our relationships we allow too easily the bumps of life to divide us, we live in a throw away, walk away society which has destructive, devastating consequences to the development of our characters and the spiritual “footprints” we leave behind. Western culture allows us to choose our own life partners, we choose out of emotion, need and desire, and then quickly, easily, we doubt our choice. Perhaps we assume it was the wrong choice because our previous lessons came from one of our bad decisions. Perhaps its because we didn’t apply Godly principles of LOVE to our relationships. Perhaps it is just too hard and we give up in search of something easier, of course we forget that it was not meant to be easy. For children this destroys their ingrained belief in the capability of their parents. The very foundation of a child’s perspective of stability and security comes from the belief that their parents are the most capable people on earth, they look to them for reassurance. When parents fail to work on their relationship and it breaks down, so does the trust of their children in them.

The emotions behind the reasons we chose our life partners are fickle! Once powerful and thought-consuming, eventually will change, develop, or even disappear completely over time. We are humans with much baggage and sin, and we expect our life partners to miraculously fill our empty places and help us carry the baggage weighing us down, and that means they are hoping the same from us also. Love and sexual connections actually allow our baggage and sinful nature to rise to the surface, so that we can face it and deal with it together as a couple. However, the ‘Better or Worse’ promise only seems to apply when we see their ‘better’ side, and we stop loving them when faced with their ‘worst’, too often facing each others sinful baggage causes much heartache and leads to bitterness and separation.

Speaking from personal experience, this is something I spend most of my time in therapy dealing with. The essence of both parents is within a child; therefore any bitterness viewed by a child from one parent toward the other is identified in some way as bitterness towards a part of them. It sends confusing messages into the inner foundation of their self-love and security.

Due to this inner battle, where I turned this bitterness upon myself, I have suffered from an incredible amount of insecurity, unsure of how anyone can truly love me because it took years for me to learn to accept myself, like myself, let alone LOVE myself.

The enemy within knows our inner wounds and is out to destroy the foundation of all of God’s designs, especially the functional family unit.The inner enemy can exaggerate our emotions, pointing to the hurt or painful memories over and over, knowing the action that follows will be a destructive one. We owe it to our children to use our inner angels to war against these emotions, striving to make sure our actions are the result of a selfless, logical decision and not a selfish, emotional one. We need to call on our Heavenly Father, knowing that our obedience to Him allows His promise to protect our children to be fulfilled.

Didn’t we make a secret promise to our children when we became parents? We would do anything to keep them safe. Their inner security is vital when determining the ‘safer’ path they will walk in their lives and it is our duty to steady their feet for their journey ahead.

References

  1. http://www.families.org.au/default.aspx?go=article&aid=925&tid=1
  2. http://www.marriage-success-secrets.com/statistics-about-children-and-divorce.html

05/06/2012

Less Tantrums, More Love!*

Posted in Encouragement, Family, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:55 am by The Water Bearer

In my post Discipline + Trust = Love I promised I would follow on with the story of my adult tantrums and how a changed perspective helped me enjoy many benefits in my relationships.

In my early relationships I was a manipulative, critical, conceited, control freak; unable to identify love at all. I allowed my emotions to control my actions, and used them as excuses to blackmail the people I thought I loved.

I had grown up believing with all my heart that I knew love because I felt it so intensely.

After I learned a bit of Godly self-awareness, I came to realise that what I felt so intensely wasn’t love at all; it was desire, obsession, jealousy, fear, and a lack of self-worth. I had held onto the belief that I deserved ‘the best and should never settle for anything less, which gave me the sky as the limit for my expectations. Let’s just say that was a recipe for disaster!

How many of us grew up believing in movie love? As a child my favourite game was ‘grown-ups’. I would create the perfect imaginary life, perfect job, perfect husband, and perfect baby. I could have it all my own way and be completely happy. Of course reality hit like a brick!

Have you ever made a meal for someone special, rushed to make it extraordinary and watched the clock in anticipation of the perfect evening of dining and romance, only to watch it tick past the arranged time by over an hour? The first ten minutes were about as much as I could take before I began wavering back and too between anger and panic. By the time that special someone got a foot in the door I would be so worked up, I would be in his face demanding an explanation for his complete ignorance to my feelings!.…Am I alone in this?

It would usually go something like this….

“What time do you call this? Where were you? Can’t you read the time? Have your fingers fallen off so you can’t dial a @$#%ing number? Don’t worry about me! NO! I wasn’t just slaving away to make you a nice meal only to have it ruined, was I? I have been sitting here for over an hour, waiting for you, worried something may have happened to you! Obviously you weren’t even thinking of me! Am I wasting my time here? What else can I think except that you simply don’t give a @#$%! I deserve better than THIS! ARGH!”

I can’t believe I thought this reaction would bring about the response I desired from him …“Baby, I am so sorry that you felt that way, I love you so much, I will never do that to you again I promise!” Rush to me, hold me, kiss me and thank me for being so loving…End scene!

I am so grateful that I no longer believe that is love! Why would anyone rush home to that?!

The Bible describes love this way ‘Love is never tired of waiting; love is kind; love has no envy; love has no high opinion of itself, love has no pride; Love’s ways are ever fair, it takes no thought for itself; it is not quickly made angry, it takes no account of evil; It takes no pleasure in wrongdoing, but has joy in what is true; Love has the power of undergoing all things, having faith in all things, hoping all things. (1 Cor 13:4-7 (BBE))

When my Dad first showed me that scripture in context, it was difficult for me to read and almost impossible to believe, but once I began to accept God’s design over my life and submitted to His ways, I saw how far from a loving person I was. The reality of my actions crushed me, it was as if all that I thought I knew was wrong! I cried out to God for the ability to understand love and to change.

Then came my first new perspective, I thought perhaps I should treat the man in my life as I do my friends, friends who I want to show love to, friends who I respect and treat well. A friends love is believed, because they are free to love me or not, rather than expected to. If a friend was late for dinner I would give them grace, so why not him?

I took some time to try and learn to depend on God for His love and fulfillment, and when I began dating my husband, I would do my best to greet him with a smile even when he was late and I prayed away the anger that rose in me, to stop my inner enemies exploding in his face when he didn’t meet my expectations.

A number of years ago someone asked me why I was ok with my husband going out whenever he wants, without getting upset and making him stay home more? His job was in a social environment and there was always something to do with people after work.

My reply to her was an epiphany that I have used as an anchor, to remind me of my true beliefs whenever I become too controlling in my relationship. I replied “I would rather he be home one night a year because he really wants to, than be home every night because I forced him to.” I gave myself low expectations and this helped me cope with any emotionally controlling behaviour. I would rather know that he wants to be with me more than he HAS to! I also began to trust that if God wanted him to be the man for me, then he would be! And if he wasn’t meant to be then I was never going to be able to change God’s reasons for that! I had to let go and let God have his way.

Having less or no expectations changes our perspective. Perspective is everything!

Here’s another little example of how a changed perspective brought me much joy. This recent Valentine’s Day, which we hardly ever celebrate, I wasn’t expecting anything, no gifts, no romantic date, nothing. I woke up to a tickle under my foot from the man I love, I opened my eyes to look into his and heard him say “Happy Valentine’s Day Sweetheart” After so many years together, to still be rubbing our feet together under the sheets was the most wonderful feeling in the world! To hear him call me ‘Sweetheart’, and let me know I was his Valentine was almost too much joy! (I have happy tears in my eyes as I recall it!)

I still have to work hard at being the best version of myself as possible, to try to show love through acceptance and grace, instead of demanding it with blackmail and complaining. I go through good runs and bad, (once a month is especially hard, around pregnancy was particularly hard, after my car accident was downright ridiculous!). However I continue to try, to be self-aware and try to look at things with a Godly perspective. I have noticed that it is much easier to be loving to those around me when I am in close unity with God, and much harder when I drift away from Him.

I praise and thank God every day that He gave me the opportunity to become aware of myself and my unloving actions, and that in His mercy He saw fit to help me make changes to be more genuinely loving. Amen!

If your inner enemies are preventing you from feeling, giving or understanding love, I recommend you too call out to God for a new, loving, perspective. It will bring about a change you never thought possible!

26/05/2012

Discipline + Trust = Love!*

Posted in Family, Musings, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:10 am by The Water Bearer

“Come Back!” I yelled through the tears streaming down my face as I ran up the street after him. My heart was twisted in turmoil, my head full of confusion and raging emotion. I was a child in an adult’s body and he was my boyfriend. We hadn’t been going out very long, a few months maybe, but once I had allowed him into my life physically and emotionally I began clinging on for dear life, pinning all my feelings on him. If he told me he ‘loved me and couldn’t live without me’, I was over the moon, if he told me to ‘get lost and leave him alone’, I was on the floor in a heap, devastated by his rejection.

This time he was going out with his friends for the night, but I had spent the day looking forward to spending the night with him. I had conjured up in my head a scene straight from a movie, that he would see me, run to me, hold me, tell me how long his day had been without me, yadda yadda yadda. I would have sent these expectations with my will-power out into the universe and I wasn’t going to settle for anything less!

However I would have no choice but to settle for something much less. He had walked through the door earlier that evening, thrown his work bag on the ground, grunted a ‘G’day’ at me and headed for the shower. I slinked up to him, trying to use my features and curves to get his attention, but he had had a long, hard day and wasn’t biting at any of the bait I was casting his way. All I got in return was that he had to get ready because his mates would be here to pick him up soon. Well, I had just practically thrown myself at this guy and had simply and coldly, been brushed off. Feelings began to build up in my chest and spilled over into my heart, they made their way up into my mind trying to grab onto some logic, something I could say to convince him to stay and make me believe his love for me. I gave him everything that came to mind, but what it boiled down to was ‘If you love me, why are you making me feel bad?’ He didn’t buy into any of my arguments, said of course he loved me but was still going out tonight. A car had pulled up out the front, he turned his back and walked away toward his waiting friends. I was pleading with him to stay, demanding he not leave me. Yearning for him to change his mind and do something to take away the pain, the rejection, the loneliness and fear I was drowning in. I banged on the window of the car and told him to “Get out and talk to me!”, yet instead he gave me an angry, confused look and told his friend to drive. So here I was, running after the car, screaming like a toddler throwing a tantrum in the supermarket over a lollipop they had been refused.

I kept on like that with different boyfriends for many years, every now and then my expectations would not be met, I couldn’t understand why and would become irrational. I couldn’t get my head around this one main question, the question that lit my heart on fire with anger, and devastation.

How can you say you love me, seeing me in tears, being the only one able to take away my pain and still not do what I want you to?’ … I always concluded ‘Then you can’t possibly love me!’

It wasn’t until much later that it all started to make sense to me, I realised that while I thought I had been a good child, I was also very good at turning on the waterworks at the onset of any event I might like to avoid. Being left with teachers, or babysitters, or eating my dinner, or sleeping in my own bed were certain to evoke tears. Like most parents, my Mum found it was simply too hard to stand up to me and my dramatic, emotional manipulation. She couldn’t bear to see me cry.

Who else remembers a typical kindergarten day? Mum or Dad showing you the toys pretending they were staying to play with you, and once you were distracted they would sneak out to avoid seeing your tears and hearing your screams. You would turn around to find they had simply disappeared, and they stayed gone for a many hours. (That’s a long time for a little child). Perhaps you too became scared that if you let go of someone you love they might not be there when you next looked around. Then Mum began making food that I didn’t fuss about so she wouldn’t have to fight to get me to eat, and eventually let me sleep in her bed every night without dispute. I came to believe that the people who love me don’t let me cry…for long.

As I got older, and through some therapy much later on, I came to understand that I suffered from abandonment fear and a misconception of love. My tantrum throwing was as distressing for me as it was for my loved ones. It wasn’t until many conversations with my Dad, where he helped me see that I was also a victim of my own emotional blackmail. In other words, I was allowing my inner enemy to create unreasonable emotions that overpowered me, and then expecting my loved ones to adjust themselves accordingly. Once I realised I simply couldn’t trust my emotions, and accepted that I was misunderstanding what love is and how loving people treat each other, I began the journey to keep my emotions in check and try acting in a loving way rather than an irrational way. It takes a lot of persistence to change a behaviour and a belief you have had all your life, and I am certain I would have had no success without my faith.

There are many others out there who have some experience with these types of overpowering emotions, and they may not have any similarities in their childhood to mine. I believe it is possible for any form of trauma that rocked the foundation of a child’s perception of trust, and love would still carry some weight to create this inner enemy.

In my next blog Discipline + Trust = Love! Part 2 I will continue with this story, and will detail the efforts I have made to prevent my children from following in my footsteps. I also feel compelled to write about how my attitude towards men changed and how wonderful the results were. You can read that here..

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