I've not had a childhood void of violence. Heck, I didn't have an adult life void of violence. My father hit me, even when I was married and out of the house.
Years of living in a violent home has grown a little demon in me, living with a tyrant for all these years has nurtured my inner tyrant... lurking... waiting for a moment to unleash.
I've been known to turn to violence when an argument turned wrong in my university years, especially when I felt I was being trampled on by a man.
I am physically strong for a woman.
Yet, when my sweet and innocent child was born, I have sworn I would protect her from harm. That I would do anything in my power to not parent her with the violence I was raised with. And that I would sweat and swear to exorcise my inner tyrant, so she would not have to face the fears I dealt with growing up.
Now my daughter has grown a little, and like any healthy 2 1/2-year old, she can be a little bit of a tyrant too.
|Image: Sawnchin on Flickr|
And it hurts us both. And I feel dirty and a failure and sick.
I never hit my child.
But I have grabbed her a little too firmly sometimes too. I've sent her dirty looks. I have screamed, when the lack of control got too much and it felt like it was the only way to take back my power. I have grueled about my abuse of power. And it keeps happening.
I don't know how to stop it... sometimes there are no tools left. Sometimes I'm done too.
Parenting is reliving your own childhood and it can be very confrontational. Either you accept that and learn to work on it, or you run and avoid confrontation, despite your child.
If - like me - you have decided to confront your inner tyrant, congratulations, you are taking on what might be the hardest struggle of your life. But you are trying, and that means you have already halfway won.
You can't change the way you were parented, but you can sure as hell change the way you parent.
I wrote this as a reflection on Arwyn's post A Really Bad Day