Monday, July 18, 2005

Session - Parenting -caring - honesty, Part 1

“If I care about people, I can love them.
If I care about what people think of me,
I am afraid to love them.
I cannot care about people and care about
what they think of me at the same time."

~Lee Gibson~

*This session was with a single parent of adolescent children. The introduction is too personal to include, but I think you'll have no problem just jumping in here:

The Guys:
If you go into this process as an exercise in your own power, not because you need anything from them, then you have an opportunity to show this Kid within you that things are not the way they were, even recently, never mind a long time ago. And it gives you a chance to become more authoritative and more consequential in your own dynamic. You see that Kid-part of you that automatically comes in and tells you what you can and can't say, is who you want to use the "so what" dynamic on.

Client: Oh! O.K. !

The Guys:
O.K. so they're upset, "so what"! So they're pissed at me, "so what". So they says this is all because of me, "so what"! It doesn't mean it's true. And it doesn't mean I care.

Client: Laughter

The Guys:
Now notice how that makes you laugh? That laugh is the laugh of freedom. It's the release from the constraints that the Kid thought were the norm and that you would have to get used to and live with. But the fact of the matter is there is nothing you have to get used to and live with if you don't want to.

You can have all kinds of cranky feelings... all kinds of unacceptable feelings someone else's standards, and no one can do anything to you any more. You have power and authority. That makes you a consequential person ...and that doesn't mean that no-one can try and do anything to you ...but you're not the patsy you used to be. So some-one can try to intimidate you or guilt trip you or over power you emotionally, but you don't have to deal with that. You don't have to lie down and just let it happen. The more detachment you get from these people you are used to prioritizing over yourself, the easier it will be for you to see that everything that is going on is really about them and not about you.

That creates the space where you can take everything under advisement, based on your standards, your priorities, your desires, ...and that includes your children. So granted that you really wish that your children had gotten more of a break. And granted that you wish you had been capable of providing more for them and had been the avenue for them to get a break. The fact is that you could not do that. It's not that you would not, you were not capable of it.

So they're living with a system that was put into place that they had no control over and you, too, had no control over in a sense, so no one is at fault here, they're not at fault, but it's important for you to know that you're not at fault. And, the situation being what it is, there are certain things that only they can do. No matter how much you wish that you could do it for them, obviously it's on their plate to do it. You didn't mean to put it there but there it is and they're the only ones who can deal with it.

That being the case you have to determine, from the most clear adult and conscious place in you, what you want to help them with and what you don't want to help them with. So apart from this "so what" energy, that it's important for you to get comfortable with... run the idea and the thoughts that you have of helping them through these questions:
"Am I contributing to the weakening of these people by behaving this way?"
"Am I protecting them from me?"

Client: Could we clarify that, "am I protecting them from me?" You talked about this before. What am I afraid of... what is it about me that I am protecting them from?

The Guys:
The truth of who you are! So that part of you which is the Kid, that thinks it's bad to not care about everything and everyone, is protecting people from knowing that you don't care about everyone and everything,... you're protecting people from the part of you thinks that they are being irresponsible or lazy or manipulating you, and that you don't like it.

You know ...that part of you that can get cranky, overworked and irritable?...Well the Kid within you thinks that you shouldn't get cranky overworked and irritable. And if you do that's your problem and you shouldn't make it other peoples problem. Your Kid is protecting them from the truth that you are human you are limited, you get cranky, overworked and irritable.

And that confuses your children because they feel the discrepancy in your energy and interpret it to mean that these things are things that you should be handling, ...not things they should learn to handle and deal with.

Client: So I'm protecting them from the truth that I really have my limits.

The Guys:
You're human, you're limited, you have neurosis and personality flaws, just like anyone else.

Client: God forbid!

The Guys:
And, without meaning to, you give people the impression that you are happy to take responsibility for the things that they should be responsible for. You are telling them, without meaning to, that they shouldn't be responsible for these things ...that you're the one that should be responsible. Now if there is something in fact that is your responsibility, well of course that's true. But you take on other people's responsibility for them, and give them the impression that that's reasonable and normal and that's to be expected of you. You weaken them, you contribute to their willingness to be weaker, because it's easier. You see, it's easier for your children to let you worry about certain things and figure out certain things. It's easier! It's easier for them if you care about things. That make sense to you?

Client: Yes, I have been working on not being so responsible, not taking on... giving stuff back to them, like saying "well what are you going to do about it?" instead of me feeling like I always have to handle everything. We have been hassling with each other more because it's new and it's different, and I struggle with, feeling guilty, or am I doing this right, blah,blah,blah,

The Guys:
Yes, it's reasonable. What makes it harder rather than easier is when this Kid is nagging at you about what you should care about and shouldn't care about, what should be important to you rather than what is important to you. Do you understand? So the clearer you get about that, the easier it's going to be for you to not have any kind of discrepancy in your energy, because it's the discrepancy in your energy that confuses your children. You see that when there is a part of you that says "gee, I wonder if I should be caring about this?"

Client: Yes and they pick up on it.

The Guys:
Exactly! And they get confused, because they are used to you caring about it and they can get on that bandwagon easily. If you go into the "so what" place first, and really look at them as the adults they are, and then really look at them from the position that you want these people to be (powerful in the world and assertive in their own behalf) then you can understand that, for them, those things don't come naturally. Those are muscles that have to be built.

Client: They actually are extremely powerful.

The Guys:
Of course they are.

Client: I mean they are way more powerful than I was at their age, then I ever was. But I understand what you are saying about weakening them through my ambiguity.


At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just last night, I got angry with my daughter who is 22, because I have been telling her for years that her obligation to her home is first priority, especially since I'm covering her rent. By obligation I mean, her chores and being a part of this family not just a crasher She denies whatever I say and it gets pretty heated. I cried for an hour after our confrontation. My "kid" is not allowed to get angry. Now this morning she is "sick" and mooping and saying things like , "now I know how you really feel about me". Because I told her she takes advantage of me and and she's lazy. My kid's pattern has been to be hard ass and then feel guilty. The guys have told me this before, but it is so awesome to have this in written form so that when I am in the midst of these dramas I can stop and read and get centered. Thank you soooooo much


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