i recently wrote about a Shadow that wants perfection of ourselves - because we grew up believing that our parents' love was conditional.
'i'll love you when or if you do....'
understanding how i might be triggering a Shadow for my child not only helps me be a better mother, it also helps me heal my own Shadows. but because we can't, and don't seek to, be perfect parents, we will pass some Shadow stuff to our children. it's about parenting consciously and making more choices from love than from our fears.
a parent with the Arrogance Shadow will seek perfection from their child. they'll ask too much from them - considering the child's age, capabilities, or inherent childness.
my mother had this Shadow and I developed it too. if i had my girl 10 years ago i would have likely passed it on to her. as it is, i have worked with this Shadow and have done much healing.
i was the perfectly behaved child. when we visited friends i sat quietly, spoke when i was spoken to, if i played it was politely. my mother was concerned with keeping up appearances. if i was upset or fearful, it came second to how other people perceived us. her children had to appear well behaved above all else. as well as one day achieve status. first by doing well in school, and later by aiming for top careers, my mother's choice for me was doctor.
as a typical Libran child, i wanted to be loved and get on with others. as a sensitive child i could pick up on unspoken disapproval.
i carried this need to be perfect throughout my life. and so i gave up on so many dreams and ideas because, why write the book if my writing didn't measure up to other writers? instead of following my dream of going to Africa and helping children, i chose a degree in psychology.
when we demand perfection from our children, or that they don't disappoint us, we shut down their voice. we stamp upon their personality. and we deny their childness. we ask that a 2 yr-old sit quietly, that a 4 yr-old not play rough, that a 6 yr-old be popular.
i will not stir any more
i have a child that is boisterous, loves to say 'no', is often loud, and isn't particularly co-operative.
i love that.
is it tiring, annoying, or hair-pulling exasperating sometimes? sure!
but the reason i love that she's this way, is that it's a sign that she isn't afraid of me. she isn't afraid that 'bad' behaviour will change how i feel about her.
she has a perfect trust in the power of her 'no' - something i'm more than willing to support, in a girl especially.
i do encourage certain behaviours.... and she understands concepts like being quiet, but this is approached as a game rather than something she's forced to do.
if she fidgets or protests to do something we need to do, i accept that she's 2.5 yrs-old and acknowledge how she feels. she might still have to do what she doesn't like, but i don't chastise her for having emotions and opinions.
and when she does something that i find helpful or pleasing, she's not acted from a place of fear. she knows that i approve, but she doesn't seek approval - because she trusts that i'll love her regardless.
some children are naturally quiet. but i do wonder. are they naturally quiet or are they afraid to make their parents angry? which translates as, afraid to lose their love, even for a moment. and i'm not suggesting a child that is constantly tantruming or being aggressive is happy and secure.
a child that has an innate need to be liked will likely be a well-behaved child. she'll likely develop into an adult that forever seeks approval and represses her voice. whose choices won't come from the heart, but from what will best gain acceptance. a child fortunate enough to have parents who encourage a dream, will still find disapproval or lack of praise from others as deeply discouraging.
a child that has a strong need for freedom or expression will behave for a time and then rebel. she will spend her life in a tug-of-war between gaining achievements and status or following her heart. she'll take more risks than the first child, but will often end up going in circles.
both will live with an unconscious anxiety that they won't be loved for being themselves. for being or doing less than perfect.
my girl is not compliant or 'well-behaved'.
i'm thankful for that.