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DON'T I LOOK PRETTY...

Updated: Mar 3



I had a therapy session last week, and for the first time ever I didn't hold back. Most sessions we do are done via video chat but this time we did a phone call instead. I think not being seen allowed me to not have to present myself in a certain way. I didn't have to be calm and collected, also, my facial expressions have no inside voice! Not having to babysit them made me able to just word vomit...and did i ever.


My twins are nearly 26 years old. I met them as 18 year old adults. The re-unification journey has not been without some static. At the moment my biggest struggle is how to get the twins to move the life needle forward. As I watch them tread water, my concern for them is inertia. One is still living at home and not working, the other is on mat leave for a couple more months, living with her fiancé in shared accommodations. I want, and think they deserve all good things in this world, even the ones they themselves think are impossible. I don't believe anything is unattainable for them, but they have to work for it! It seems everything I've attempted has been met with a Teflon attitude and I don't know how to help. It's a parents worst feeling. Helpless.


I'd be lying if I didn't question what's happening on the other side of the family tree that's contributing. To be fair their dad might have done it all correct...but I see some flaws in that theory. We won't get into them here, but it did kick up some old feelings of resentment. Feelings that I'm sure are completely amicable between him and I.


As my voice was getting louder on the phone to my therapist and the f - bombs were dropping, my therapist said something to me no one else has...."You've never given yourself permission to be angry about this" (referring to our very complicated custody case) And he was right. I have for the past 26 years felt like I had to take the high road when it's come to the twins father. In order for me to do that, I had to set aside my personal feelings, no matter what they were. Now, 26 years later, and trying to figure out what the kids road blocks are, I can't help but lay some of this frustration at his feet. Enter the simmering resentment...


So I went down the resentment rabbit hole with my therapist. I'm not going to lie, owning my anger about this sucks. It's uncomfortable. I've been stuffing it down for a quarter of a century. I feel guilty for being mad. I've been taught it's "impolite" to be mad. It's "inappropriate" to show anger as a woman. It's "not lady like". And as a woman if I show it "I'm out of control". So what's the opposite? Suppression. The problem, is I can't anymore. I need to heal. My kids deserve a mom who's not putting on a plastic smile and gritting her teeth when they mention their dad. It's unfair to them. My therapists advice as a first step is to feel it, not avoid it. When I asked him what the second one was, he said "forgive him". When I asked "what if I can't?" the answer was "then you'll stay stuck. You'll stay angry".


The whole session I kept going back to that one statement "you've never allowed yourself to be angry about this". The conditioning whirling in my head about "being pretty" instead of "being pissed". I thought of the amount of times I've said the right thing to my twins while trying to keep their dad out of it and my left eye twitched in anger. It was overwhelming. It had been a blind spot.


Maybe the best thing I can do for them right now is to do exactly what my therapist is telling me...feel it. Own it. And one day forgive it. I don't know how long it will take. I know it will have to be very intentional, perhaps arduous at times, but maybe some of the road block for my twins life map is the simmering resentment they feel from both sides. Maybe healing me, for them, will be enough.


-S.






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