I’ve had some ups and downs with my parents. Sometimes I don’t understand them and sometimes they don’t understand me. However, today it finally clicked with me that they show their love to me in the way they know how.
The way they learned. The way they were loved. The way they wanted to be loved. And even though it’s different from how I wish they would show their love, the fact is that they love me very very much.
This was a huge revelation for me (shouldn’t be shocking, but it was).
I decided I wanted to do something to show my love and appreciation for them. I thought about getting them an expensive gift (often touted as a great way to show love), but then I remembered that it’s their 40th anniversary this year and each year when their anniversary rolls around they’ve hinted that they’d love for their kids to throw them a big party.
Perfect! They have a great desire for a celebration, and I have a great desire to give them something they want. The next step was to call my brother and get his agreement on doing this. With his busy work and family life I knew this might be a challenge, but figured we’d work it out together.
1.5hrs later I can confirm the discussion was a challenge. I can confirm that I came out of that challenge feeling small, hurt, belittled, devalued and stupid. The gist was that he didn’t feel like we had enough time to pull things together and while I wanted to at least get some names of their preferred restaurants and check availability, he responded that we were setting ourselves up for failure and to be a disappointment to our parents. Actually, it was phrased more like “Why do you want to fail so much? …Why do you want to be a disappointment? …They don’t care about your heart.”
While I’m disappointed in my brother’s reaction I’m more disappointed in how upset it made me feel. How could I let someone else’s words make me feel so small? How could I shatter my own self-worth with someone else’s careless words and harsh tone?
Over the last few months of counseling I’ve learned a few things:
- It’s okay to be angry.
- You are allowed to have feelings in response to a situation.
- You need to recognize your feelings, address your feelings, determine how to resolve the situation in a way that respects your feelings and is respectful of the other person, and resolve the matter in a direct and assertive manner.
I’m happy that I was able to recognize my parents’ genuine love for me. I’m thankful for the support and listening ear from my husband. I’m hopeful that I regain my self-worth and courage to pursue the endeavor of planning this party and that I don’t give up for fear of failure and hurt.