Yesterday, as I was getting ready I put my foot into my pants. As my foot traveled down the leg of the pant my toenail caught on a thread. When my foot came out the other end my toenail had pulled almost completely off. I know, I know, you can gag now!
When I looked down I almost fainted as I felt the excruciating pain flood through my body. It looked worse than it was but triggered all kinds of stories, rising up from the bottom of my memory bank. Some of the crazy thoughts that ran through my head were “I can’t trust life. Just when I’m feeling on top of the world something BAD happens,” “It’s all my fault, I should have clipped my toenails”, ” I have to keep it together because no one will be there to help.” Flashes, feelings, memories came rushing in.
My daughter just sat there doing nothing. She mentioned that I might want to get the first aid kit but she didn’t run down the stairs, administer to my wounds and hold me in my fear. Darnit! Hadn’t I taught her this was her job? (Now remember, in the paragraph above I mentioned that I had to keep it together and no one would be there to help?”) Here I was reliving my old, old, story and she was playing the PERFECT part.
Inside I was screaming and yet outside I looked like the cool, calm collective mom that she knows so well. As I sucked it up and went downstairs to get a band aid she walked right by me and got something to eat. Well, I lost it…I NEEDED her to have compassion, I NEEDED her to administer to my wound, I was outraged and said, “I guess I can just get my own band aid.”
This triggered her and she slammed the kitchen counter and started stomping up the stairs. CUT! OK, this scene was clearly not working. It was playing out just like it had when I was young but this wasn’t my mother ignoring me, this was my precious daughter who I had cast in the evil role.
As I gathered myself I said, “Stop, come here.” Hesitantly she came over…I took her in my arms and said, “Honey, I’m hurt and I’m scared but I know you love me and its really hard for me to let you in right now.” She looked at me with her big brown eyes and said, “yeh, mom I don’t know what to do when you are hurt because I get so scared.” Whoa…in that moment all my pain subsided because I had reached out and made a connection with my daughter.
As I opened to her love, she got the first aid kit and lovingly dressed my toe. I was able to let her shower me with kindness which is innate in her when she is not scared. Even in this painful moment, as I opened to connection, instead of acting out my old wounded past, I was soothed. I was touched and together we found our way through. What a gift!
PRACTICE: Remember when you are playing out an old story you might cast your child in a role, leaving the present moment and reliving the past. Slowing down expressing what you are feeling and saying “I know you love me” will return you to the present moment. This will allow you to move back into relationship, with your child, instead of your story!