A couple years ago, I shared with my husband that I have dedicated myself to a single mission before I die… I want my husband to be able to look his ex-wife right in her eyes, tell her he loves her, and mean it wholeheartedly. To many, this may seem strange, but hear me out.
This is not to say I want him to be in love with her, of course… that would be a whole other soul crushing scenario…I am saying “love her”…truly want the best for her, assume the best of her, and work as a partner with her for the good of the family.
I have come to find, we, as generations, pass on our trauma and bullshit on to the next…then we wonder what is wrong with the younger generation….It’s time we take responsibility and realize that each of us is made of layers upon layers of generational trauma.
My husband and his ex-wife, at one point in time, loved each other…like madly, head over heels, crazy, in love. They dedicated their lives to one another…they procreated 3 wonderful children. Somewhere along the line, something happened. Unresolved resentment crept in, layered on top of unresolved childhood trauma, layered on top of life’s betrayals, disappointments, heartaches, aggravations, illnesses, losses, misunderstandings, pressures of job performance, deadlines, finances, personal goals, and on and on and on and on….
From what I can tell, each of them have spent a lot of time trying to figure out who was the first to strike….who can we trace the first wrongdoing to so we can place the blame on them? As a person who has spent a great deal of time trying to heal my inner demons, I have found this tactic pretty unhealthy and futile. I completely understand how and why this happens…I just have found there is another way…(not to say I have perfected it mind you)
I am blessed to have formed a relationship with my husband’s ex-wife…ironic, really. I have seen first hand how she and my husband have done a great deal of healing, however, they have not done it in plain sight of the other so each person assumes the other is who they always were.
So, how do we move forward? How do we forgive those that have wronged us? Simple…we heal ourselves, that’s it. Please realize I said “simple” NOT “easy”…HUGE DIFFERENCE. Every emotion we feel has nothing to do with anyone outside of us…it’s all within our hearts and souls and triggered by words or actions of others. It’s a hell of a lot easier to point the finger at the person who did/said something to trigger that emotion than it is to sift through the emotional baggage we carry everywhere we go. It’s exhausting and vulnerable to figure out exactly what childhood trauma the other person’s word/actions triggered. Much like it’s easier to go rob a man of all his gold rather than forging for your own…easier yes…right?…no, and we all know it.
We have an opportunity to do things differently. Instead of projecting our anger and frustration onto others…we can pause, pray/meditate/walk away silently….and really think about what is happening within us.
My daughter told me recently that my grandson has been bullying others. I was surprised by this…until I really thought about it. My daughter avoids conflict like the plague…she is all about peace and harmony, at all times… until the unresolved conflict becomes so big that she is backed into a corner, at which time she explodes….hmmmm….isn’t that exactly what bullying is??…unresolved conflict being hurled at an unsuspecting bystander who doesn’t appear to be able to retaliate?
This attribute of my daughter’s came from me micromanaging her so much that she was never able to learn how to problem solve, therefore, she breaks under any and all pressure….this attribute of mine comes from me trying so hard to gain my father’s approval…I would try so hard to show off for him in hopes he would tell me how proud he was of me, instead he pointed out what I could do better… this attribute of his came from wanting me to be fiercely independent because he was raised by a alcoholic and abusive mother who had a revolving door of abusive men in and out of her life whom she relied on for financial support and validation….we could go on and on with this to the beginning of time….generational trauma.
Let’s start doing it differently…the hard way…the really fucking hard way…it’s gonna hurt, it’s gonna sting, we are gonna cry…but it is going to be worth it. Read the books, get the therapist, create the time and space, place the boundaries…do the work!! Like my guru Glennon Doyle says…”we can do hard things”