Sunday, December 30, 2007

Past Lives

A day that started out beautifully, Miss Daughter and I had talked out all we needed to talk out. We accomplished some things around the house, and decided to take care of some Christmas returns for her and Mr. Son. Our shopping trip was successful, entertaining, full of laughs and good feelings. Our return home was filled with more good times. The three of us playing a game, eating our dinner together, joking and laughing the entire time.

Funny how things can take a downhill turn so quickly.

Mr. Son and Miss Daughter decided to visit the nearest Red Box to rent a couple of DVDs, they were still in good spirits when they returned home.

Seemingly out of nowhere, a moment of teasing, became an all out battle of wills. Then it turned into full fledged war. Pride, manipulation, and anger came to the fore.

As I sat on the sidelines, I witnessed something that filled me with shock and sadness.

I felt as if I were in some kind of time warp. The battle I was observing was one so very much like those I had been an unwilling participant in more times than I count. The battle I witnessed this evening could have been one between my soon-to-be-ex and myself.

Only the gender roles were reversed. Miss Daughter was the one full of stubborn pride, manipulation and drama. Mr. Son was full of anger and pride also, but still wanting the evening to return to what it had been. Both stubborn, both wanting their own way, both unwilling to bend to the other, until eventually Mr. Son gave in, he let her have her way. But it was too late. She had not gotten her wishes immediately fulfilled, thus they both ended up going their separate ways, neither happy.

When the battle was in the skirmish stage, Miss Daughter was in her bedroom, talking to herself, but really talking so that I and Mr. Son would hear her. "I always win, I am more stubborn, this time is going to be no different."

Hearing her spoken thought processes, I that what used to go through soon-to-ex's mind? He always won? I always caved in?

You see she did win. Even when Mr. Son finally got what he wanted, she still won. Her behavior had cost us all the good feelings we had been holding within us only moments before. A very familiar scenario.

My mind then went to the future, their futures. Their future relationships. Is this how it will be? These behaviors, their way of dealing with differences between loved ones, is this what they learned from their father and I?

I could imagine it in my mind's eye, each of them ending up with their opposites. Mr. Son with someone full of manipulative control needs. Miss Daughter with someone who buries their own needs to keep her happy, to avoid conflict with her.

It makes me so very sad to contemplate this. To think they may find themselves in relationships that mirror the only "loving" relationship they have witnessed.

I made the attempt to speak with each of them. To open their eyes to how they had each behaved. I failed, miserably.


plan0 said...

I see so much of myself in this post, remind me to follow up on this later.

Anonymous said...

I see my daughter doing all the things that I do, that I hate that I do. It's awful to watch, embarrassing as well because I know where she learned how to do those things. She's a drama queen, a screamer, yeller, stubborn as hell, she's me, but worse. But she's also brave and confident and thoughtful.

Your children will figure it out. They can't help but have some of you and your husband in them and in how they behave. But they're young and they don't have to continue to behave the same way, they can choose to live differently.

I don't know how you can approach them without getting their backs up. Perhaps tell them what you need. No criticisms, just tell them what you need.

I'm trying that with my kids, it helps a little. It helps me as well because instead of being critical all the time, I'm just telling people what I need. I need more information, I need a hug, I need to know you're safe, I need a clean kitchen, I need to be spoken to with respect. And I guess we just have to trust them.

My parent's never trusted me and I have a hard time doing this with my own children but I am trying, very hard, to trust them to make the right choices, learn from their mistakes, follow their own journey. It's just hard work, this parenting.

You can't change the past and what your kids saw as they were growing up, all you can do change what they see now. Take care.

X. Dell said...

I wonder if Miss Daughter and/or Mr. Son read your blog. You've explained the situation beautifully here, and you've made it clear that your concern is for both of them, that they're equal in your eyes, and your worry about their futures isn't about taklng sides.

Then too, I can see your concern in that their behavior seems to reflect something that continually went on between you and the ex. You seemed to have learned alot from the experience, through reflection. I wonder if your ex might have learned something too.

I'd have to think that your talk might do some good in the long run. You probably didn't fail at all. But I can imagine you saying the same things again and again.