Do we get any release from understanding the things happened to us as we grow from one season to the next. I myself am on the fence having been through both the tough love of confrontation meetings with all the affected people and the ignoring aspect with those who sweep everything under the rug as though it never happened. I am going to post a few of my thoughts on this subject, would love your feedback…gently please.
Being born in the 50s from a very comfortable family as far as money goes, society at that time was much into social drinking as a means of networking friends, family and business. It was very acceptable for there to be a liquor cabinet in the house for access by… anyone if they chose. It was an era where the lasting results of alcoholism was not understood or several years and no one really understood how these accepted practices would affect the next generation. Do I have the truths or cures about any of this…No. But I do have a one sided opinion of a child, me, that grew up in that era and watched countless other young people come to grips with this disease because that was the end result of that social acceptance, alcoholism and the damage it caused.
My parents were never physically abusive but in today’s understanding that is only one small part of the many forms of abuse. Did I ever feel abused, never – fearful a times – yes. There were four of us children, I was the baby. When our house was built in the late 40s it had more doors and windows than any house should have. My room which originally had been the master suite had 3 entrance doors 2 closet doors and 3 windows. I promise, that room was not that big. One door was an entrance from foyer(offset from the living room) at the front door, one entrance was from the hallway that led to the other bedroom and again another way to the living room and one entrance went into a dressing room which led into the bathroom which also led into the second bedroom. The point I am trying to make is that section of the house was all in a circle. And if you know anything about quail you will understand my next statement. When the yelling and dish breaking would start in the kitchen, the four kids would scatter like quail to any available door depending on where they were and you would hear the doors close click, click, click, click. Batten down the hatches boys. Bumpy seas ahead.
Consequently we all learned to recognize the signs and get out of its way. With me being the youngest, I was protected by my older siblings a lot but none of us escaped this disease unscathed, we all have our issues that we deal with, some to this very day. But my purpose in this post is not to tell of my pitiful self( as I am not at all) but to shed light on the two different ways this situation was handled and why neither of them worked and in my opinion why they were wrong.
For years the problems were swept under the rug, ignored, like they don’t exist. All this does is make them grow. If you don’t address a problem, with LOVE, understanding and kindness, it never goes away or gets fixed. We all have problems and they all need fixing but you have to communicate to do that. And communication MUST accompany love.
The other path of recognition of a problem is the tough love confrontation by all parties included, a gauntlet of criticism as it were. After my father died from cancer, my mother’s drinking got worse and it was the well meaning oldest child that felt this method needed to be done to save mother but in my opinion it crushed her. A couple years later I apologized to her. It was the trend of the time to help. Each child had a different experience due to the time in their lives depending on where the drinking level was in mother’s life. It seemed cruel to me then and it seems cruel now. Not that the method is a useful tool, it just was not handled properly.
Now I was then the only Christian in my family. Now they all went to church during Christmas and at Easter but none believed as I do that there is a relationship built between a person and Christ that helps one navigate hard times and smile in the good times. So the tough love confrontation did nothing but hurt my mother as it was done accusingly not lovingly as Christ would have done.
Chapter 5 of Galatians list the fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. It is the spirit of God that gives the abilities to use these gifts and He give them to us to use them freely.
So when you face a confrontation, remember Jesus. Remember His teaching but most of all remember HIS LOVE. He has so much love to give us and we are to spread it wherever we go. Do any of us have all the answers? I don’t think so but if any situation is approached in the right frame of mind, good will come from it.
Over the next few posts, I will explore more of why I believe things happened in my family, my reaction to them, my reaction because of them and the consequences of it all. Maybe someone will agree, disagree but can offer a different preservative of this thing we call life.
And remember always, Kindness is precious.