Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Why are we the hardest on those we love the most?

After a particularly trying day dealing with a cranky two year old, I sat down-nearly in tears, and tried to evaluate what had gone wrong. There is no feeling worse for me than the realization that I have somehow raised a child who refuses to listen to me, does not react to any form of discipline, and is COMPLETELY out of  control. To make matters worse, if my husband so much as looks at her sternly she becomes a withering mess of apologies and tears. Why then, is she SO resistant to me?

It seemed so unfair. I dedicate my life to her. I spend every moment making her smiley face pancakes and cutting crusts off her sandwiches, yet she behaves worse for me than anyone else. She screams "No Mommy", hand outstretched to keep me away so often that it is a reflex. She rolls her eyes at me when I say I love her. It seems she spends her whole life trying to escape my embrace.

Then it occurred to me just how similar we really are.  You see I too have a history of treating the people, who love me the most, the worst.

As a teenager, I was horrific to my mother. I remember screaming at the top of my lungs that I hated her, because I was not allowed to dress like a whore for the school dance. I cry thinking about it now-as a mother I know how horribly those words must have hurt. I remember being embarrassed of my parents because they were older than my friends' parents were and asking them to stay in the car...how cruel. I didn't realize how lucky I was to HAVE parents, especially the rare gift of parents that were still together. Did I hate her? No. Was I really that embarrassed. No. I was simply trying to win. It was a game and I aimed to hurt them until I won. Thank God they never let me.

In my marriage I have similar issues. I have a loving and committed husband. I know he will never leave. His love his steadfast, constant, and all-inclusive. But I can never resist hurting him. At times I have told him he is not enough, that I deserve more, that I am unhappy. These things are not true. These are my tests, my love meters, my insecure child begging for attention and reassurance. I need to see that no matter how I act, how I treat him, what I say. He will stay. He will love me, and he will stay.

Which brings us to Maya. I am at a loss at how to deal with her tiny little rebellions. She can be such a sweet girl, but then out comes the anger, the pushing, the testing.  Yes I guess testing is the right way to look at it-though not in the traditional way of thinking. Maybe she isn't testing the rules or testing the boundaries, maybe she is, in fact, testing me. Am I passing? Maybe, much like her Mama she needs to see that no matter how she acts, how she treats me, what she says. I will stay. I will love her, and I will stay. Luckily, that is a test I can pass with flying colors.

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