“Home sweet home.” At least that is what the doormat label reads, where you wipe your feet before heading across the threshold.
But on the other side of the door is nothing sweet. Every creak in a step is a constant reminder of arguments of days gone by. Every pillow is a trap that captured your tears. Every door is a bomb that waited to explode.
Each crack in an old mirror is a reminder of broken trust, broken love, and a broken heart.
Every home is not like the families on Leave it to Beaver or the Huxtables from those old sitcoms. Often lying behind some doors is dysfunction. That dysfunction turns a once (or never) happy home into a war zone.
Fixing it is the optimal thing to do. But how do you fix something when you had no part in breaking it? Today several messages came to the email for this column from people who were dealing with family issues. All of the messages came from children, who are now adults, dealing with conflicts and pain created by their parents.
A passage states that the sins of the father will be visited upon the son. Nothing truer has been stated when it comes to children becoming casualties of decisions made by their parents. One matter involved a broken mother-son relationship when a once absent father returns and forges a relationship with the son. And the mother through her own issues inflicts pain on the son. Another is a half-sister attempting to force a different relationship with a half-brother whose feelings are not being considered. The two share a father who was there for her, but abandoned and is now reconciling with him.
Yet another deals with sisters and a mother who have a shattered relationship due to some failings of the mother during their upbringing. Then there is the daughter who has felt completely abandoned almost her entire life due to her parents’ conflicts and self-involvement, who everyone counts on to be there for them. Meanwhile, she feels as though none of her family ever cared to be there for her.
Parenting is a difficult job. Just because a person becomes a parent it does not turn him/her into a saint or a superhero. The person continues to deal with very human behaviors and emotions. The problem comes when the parent leaves it to the children to fix the damage.
Many people will tell the children to get over it. You’re grown now, they would say. But what if these children don’t want to continue to pass down their own pains to future generations? How do they heal it and move forward in a healing manner?
Communicating your true feelings in a peaceful manner to the culprits would be a start. But the person who did the damage must be open to hearing and receiving that damage occurred. Otherwise time away may be all that you can do to get past it. Forgiveness at the end is the ultimate way to heal. But it is difficult to accomplish when the pain is so current. So allow yourself to feel every emotion you must feel to get over the pain. Do not feel guilty about it. It is fine to feel sad, betrayed, hurt and even angry. You have to go through it to get over it.