Thursday, January 26, 2012

In response to bitterness

All I can say is that this woman definitely makes me feel less alone.  The only thing I don’t agree is the idea of more or less loving.  I see it more as an issue of different styles and compatibility.

A great example is my own relationship with my mother.  We are very far from an ideal, and I had a very rough childhood, but one thing I know for sure, is that my mom loved me in the best way she knew how.  Was it the way I needed to be loved? Not really.

My mom and I are plain and simple not compatible.  To give a quick summary, my mom got pregnant at 19 with a man that didn’t love her because he was still getting over his ex-wife.  They both had drug and alcohol problems, and my mom’s own parents were alcoholics who were either abusive or absent.  Needless to say, she did not have any tools, support or positive parenting examples, what she did have was an intense love for her baby.

My mom did always believe in me, and was always proud of me, told me often that I was beautiful and smart.  Unfortunately, she had her own demons which I will not get into here. 

Take any young single mother with as many challenges and no support, who grew up in a physically abusive home with a kid like I was, and I dare them to do better.  I was (and still am) very headstrong and rebelled at any imposed authority, and I could be very mean and manipulative.  In many ways I understand that my mother lashed out.

Most of my examples of positive parenting came from outside sources, and I, as well as my mom, am forever grateful.  Does this mean that my mother loved me “less” than these other people, or that they loved me “more”?  Absolutely not!  It simply means that these people were more compatible to me and had a different skill set than my mom.  The fact is that everyone has a different way of doing things, especially parenting, and no one method of parenting works for all children.

My step-kids are a great example of this.  The oldest is very much a Mama’s boy.  He needs constant interaction, reassurance, and praise.  The slightest sign of displeasure from an adult will send him to tears.  His mother’s style of parenting is perfect for this; she is a hoverer, a mother hen type.  The second boy, he is quiet and independent, sometimes he wants interaction, others he wants to do his own thing.  His mother’s hovering drives him crazy, and he often lashes out at her.  Me, I have no problem with him, because I understand the need to be alone, and believe in letting kids do their own thing and being there as needed.   The mother sees the silence of the second as an insult, whereas I find the oldest very demanding.  The result is that the oldest often wants to stay with his mom, while the second can’t leave fast enough and gets very upset when it is time for him to go back home.

Neither child is more or less loved by their mom or me, we just have different styles.

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