Tuesday, February 3

a contrary relationship

After my crying day (yes, cried throughout the day, it was good to release), I got to thinking about an email discussion I had with someone.

I had been saying that I believed children were our teachers. So I got to thinking about what the Wildflower had to teach me at this moment. I thought about presence and acceptance. And wondered if there was still room for more understanding there. I thought about accepting myself - how I didn't think of myself as a failure, but I had been second-guessing my parenting.

At first I thought, that's it, I'm all about accepting my baby's behaviour and personality, but was I truly accepting myself?

But then, I thought, no, that isn't it. It didn't feel right. So I stopped thinking and while she played quietly nestled in my legs, I let my mind and heart drift and reach out to the Knowledge that is Out There.

And then it came to me. My focus had been accepting her, accepting the situation, and even accepting myself. All good and necessary. But I had never considered another thing to accept.

The relationship between us.

The relationship is a dynamic on its own.

Yes, a relationship between you and me is the product of what you and I put into it. However, it has its own reality that is apart from us. It is influenced by time, culture, circumstance, chance, fate, environment, pasts, timing, other people, as well as the you and me that is subconscious.

I can want my daughter and me to be close, to have a loving relationship, and I can want my parenting to have an expected result (contented baby), but how can this be possible? It isn't. Not really.

I only have the power and responsibility for who I am as a person, which affects who I am as a parent. This affects who my daughter is and it affects our relationship, and it may do so with great impact, but it does not determine it.

It. Does. Not. Determine. It.

Oh maaaaaaaan!

Do you have any idea for how many relationships I have held myself accountable?!

How many times I questioned how good I was as a daughter, a girlfriend, a wife. Was I pretty or slim enough, loving enough, giving enough, perfect enough, good enough? Was I saying something wrong, doing something wrong, being something wrong? Or simply, what more can I do to fix this?

Despite feeling angry or even furious at others for not holding up to their end of the relationship bargain, ultimately, I allowed the burden of the relationship's success or failure to rest on my shoulders. As well as the inevitable sadness and longing that followed.

Although I healed the wounds from my broken relationship with my parents several years ago, I can see now how feeling responsible for making it right between us led me to accept the wrong men (and women friends) into my life. Broken men. Broken men that I thought I could 'fix' by being a wonderful partner. Of course everything would be alright, I was such a thoughtful and loving woman, how could it not be?

Incidentally, there was a time when I couldn't cope with someone not liking me. I just couldn't understand it. If I was a good, loyal, fun, kind person, how could someone dislike me? I got over that many years ago, but I can see the connection.

For a long time now I have understood other people's responsibility in my relationships with them. But I had never thought of the relationship as a separate force that is subject to its own influences and behaviours. Which is funny considering I live by the belief that somes things just aren't meant to be. The spaces between the spiral are just as real.

Whether my daughter is a contented baby, secure toddler, happy child, peaceful teenager, or whether we have a wonderful mother-daughter relationship throughout, is something I want. But now, I accept, that the relationship has the right to be what it will be. For all I know, a challenging relationship is what I and my daughter need to grow in mind and spirit.

* pic by meganneforbes


  1. Beautiful post.

    Oh yes. I certainly recognise a great deal here in regards to my own past behaviour - trying to be everything for people (that they wanted), and needing to be responsible for the relationships I was in. Being a bit of a fixer-upper. And yes - the sadness too. I see it as my desire to have control over things in my life that I just couldn't control. Which was also my fear. Identifying this helped me step back from that kind of pressure on myself, and the chronic insecurity that accompanies it.

    And I strongly believe that relationship dynamics have their own unique imprint and nature - a separate 'entity' from the individuals it contains. That it's not merely the sum of parts, so to speak. It's from this that some of the most surprising (to me) things and situations have arisen.

  2. I enjoyed your exploration -- and find so much truth in relationships. I see it often with my children -- we each have a different connection.

  3. It sounds like you have had a breakthrough, Mon. I love these moments. This is what it is all about and what I was hinting at a little in my post. Sometimes the lessons are hard, and I believe that everyone we encounter on this earthwalk are our teachers. But children are the best because they are right there, in your face, and a lot harder to run away from. We curse it sometimes, thinking we need to get away, but when we look deeper and really ask ourselves what is going on, the potential for growth is incredible. We realize in these moments, how a simple shift in perspective can change everything, and how much power we have when we take responsibility for changing our perspective. This is the most sacred work!

  4. Hi eveyone, and thanks to all that responded to my initial post.

    Nettlejuice - should note that Iw as never the crabby one or wanted to walk away! lol That was the baby being crabby. I was very accepting of the situation, or her irritability, of my lack of sleep even, and didn't want more 'me' time, I just wasn't accepting the relationship, the cause and effect.

  5. What a wonderful insight you were given! I will be thinking of that many times, I have a feeling.

    My daughter and I have always had a bit of a challenging relationship, but I've felt strongly that she's just the daughter I need (as is everyone in the family) and that I'm a better mother and person because of her.

  6. My relationships with my boys are the most interesting, complex of my life so far. It is a learning experience for me, as we go from them 'needing' me and following me on my day as babes and toddlers, to me seeing them grow to opinionated thoughtful individuals with their own unique needs and wants and desires...it can be a challenge, but it is good.

  7. Wonderful post! I am glad you are aware enough to see beyond what is happening and learn from it. I think I will refer back to this post often, to remind me of this. My relationship with my son is not what I had planned, but it gives me more than I could ever ask for. I am constantly learning from him and our relationship.

  8. Oh, it's so hard to let go of the hubris that we can control things or are responsible for them. I keep having to learn that, over and over.

    I was just mulling that today. I have a close family member who was recently arrested and lost her 5 children to either their father or foster homes. I thought about how many years ago I had offered for her and her first baby to come live with me -- I would be the stabilizing influence on her! I would guide her and be her rock! If only she had listened!

    Then I mentally kicked myself in the arse. She's an adult. I might have been a good influence, or she might have made the same mistakes, just in close proximity to me and my family. But her life choices have nothing to do with me.

    Rudolf Steiner talked about the spiritual beings that are formed whenever a human relationship exists. So you and Wildflower have a spiritual being hovering over your relationship. It's been an interesting thing for me to keep in mind with my kids, perhaps in some way similar to your realization.

  9. Well, don't I always find a little bit of wisdom when I drop by here! So much in your post resonated with me. I have a challenging relationship with my daughter - or should that be, she has a challenging relationship with me - and I do often want to run away. Yet you have made me think that perhaps its simply about accepting the relationship I do have with her - whether or not it is exactly what I wanted (which its not!). I know that there is much work to do on myself. As you said, we have only responsibility for ourselves and our actions but what work we do ripples outwards into all our deep relationships. So thank you for this. It is food for thought.

  10. Yes... thank you for sharing your process. I am grateful.


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