Another week brings another awareness regarding my son’s feelings. Last week, I wrote about some insights I had gained by paying attention to the feelings behind my son’s behaviors. Here, I reveal the next layer.
Mad at me for picking him up from his grandparent’s house, or when I remove his favorite toy after a tirade, my son yells words that can cut through any heart, “I HATE YOU! YOU ARE NOT MY MAMA! YOU’RE A BAD MAMA!”
The first time it happens, I’m already holding him in my arms. I calmly ask him if he wants to get down. He stares back a me, his eyes squinting and with his pursed lips one could easily focus on his anger. Yet, behind his big brown eyes I can see his sadness. He moves closer into me, showing me that he needs to feel close, though his words are divisive.
“Why do you hate me?,” I ask him softly. With the exchange unfolding in front of my parents, I can feel their reactions, though I keep my eyes on my son’s. He continues his furrowed-brow, almost glaring, gaze back at me and ignores my query.
Once back at my home (to him, his father’s house remains his place-to-call-home and for this I cannot fault him, that’s the only home he was known.), I make sure to spend more one-on-one time with him. Ignoring the half-packed holiday decorations, leaving the clean clothes unfolded in their baskets and dirty dishes in the sink, I begin to play and listen more while talking less.
The second time this outburst occurs this weekend, (or truly maybe it was the third), I am less shocked and able to be more present. This time when the pain comes I am able to remain grounded and in my skin. Soon thereafter, awareness floods in from my still inner voice, who quietly whispers to me from inside of some deep chamber in my heart, “He’s afraid you will leave him, as he feels you left his father.”
Instantly, I have the key to unlock this mystery. Seeing now the source of his anger, I pull him close to me. I whisper to him that he is my son and that I am his mother. I follow my heart with the words that follow and can only recreate their essence now. I tell him how even though we are apart now sometimes, we are still mother and son, and that no one else can be his mother.
It can be a challenge to be present when a child lashes out. Truth flows more easily from the mouth of babes, slicing to the core more deeply and easily. In his fear of rejection and abandonment, he was trying to push me away. If I had allowed my own pain and my own wounds to persist, I would have pushed back and missed the message that he was triggering deep from within my heart.
Sometimes when the pain comes we try to run and escape it. In so doing, we can miss the inner lesson. However, each time we can be fully present and in our own bodies, we gain insights. Each time we hear the message behind another’s words, our understanding grows deeper than before. This insight allows us to connect more deeply with others; to become more aware of their needs as we travel this path together. With each lesson learned, we each grow stronger in our spirits by removing the errors in our truths that are in our path.
In my experience, we heal in layers. While the words and angst were similar to before, this time he was more trusting – falling into me more easily, instead of away from me. This time, I too, was more trusting of myself. The more we can trust one another, the more deeply we are both able to heal.
May we all have the ability to be more be more present when others share their pain, even when it causes ours to rise to the surface. May we all see how deeply connected we truly are, under the surface of our so-called-suffering.
Photo by David Castillo Dominici at freedigitalphotos.net