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Don’t Blame – Change!

133. Don’t Blame – Change

Here’s something I figured out with therapy about my own mother and then about my own children. It’s about mistakes you make when your own children are growing.

You make mistakes—because you are human, because it’s the first time you ever had children, because you just do make mistakes. And at the very same time, you don’t intend to make those mistakes. Most of us are busy trying to correct the mistakes we feel our parents made with us, and in the process we make other mistakes.

But never did I get up in the morning and say to myself, “I think today I will do damage to Donna.” The reality is that I did the very best job I could do at the time.

Often I think we have insights about those mistakes, and often the children (sometimes after they are grown) also have insights—you know Mom really shouldn’t have done that in that particular way.

And I believe that when the insight comes the parent can forgive themselves, just as God forgives. Sometimes it’s appropriate to say to the child, “You know I finally figured out something and I just want to say that what I did was a mistake.” Sometimes it doesn’t work that way and it never gets said out loud.

I also think that when the child has the insight, particularly if it’s in an arena where the child thinks it has had some negative effect on him or her, then they have to claim it—the child who is now grown. That person has to know “I can change.” It’s hard work but it can be done and it is wrong for that person to go through life saying, “My mother did harm to me, it had this effect on me, poor me.” That person needs to say, “My mother did harm to me, it had this effect on me, and I can change the effect. It is no longer her fault. It is now my responsibility.”

I reached a place in therapy where I not only looked at the mistakes my mother made, or my father made, but I also looked at their strengths and how they had passed them on to me. So it’s multiple dimensions—I say thank you for the gifts; and I say it’s o.k. about the mistakes because I can do the work I need to do to change.

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