I'd like to add an amendment to this one- you also aren't defined by the worst thing that's ever happened to you.
One of the biggest parts of my job is sitting with people while they tell their stories. One thing I've learned is there are times, many in fact, that people aren't looking for solutions, tip, or fixes. So often people are looking for acknowledgment; someone to say "I see you, and I see that this is hard". Sometimes you just need a buddy to sit in it with you for a moment. Have no fear- you won't get stuck forever- especially because you were brave and shared with someone else. They'll help you up out of the mud when the time is right. But sometimes, we all just need a good sit in the mud for a minute.
A really easy to understand chart for Love Languages. If you don't know what a Love Language is take the quiz here.
It's important to ask to see your child's phone for a phone check every now and then. It's not unreasonable for you to know what apps they have on their phone, their passwords to those accounts, and who they interact with on these platforms. They will kick and scream and make it seem completely unreasonable, but I assure you it's not. Everything that I have learned over the past few years about online bullying, and child sex trafficking enforces the idea that not only is monitoring their phone very reasonable, it's also very necessary.
People hear the scary stories on the news and it always seems like a far off problem that happens in other towns around the country. You think "That won't happen here" or "But she's a good kid, she's smart and would never get caught up in that stuff". That is a false sense of comfort and it's dangerous to believe in. By allowing yourself to believe this won't happen it robs you of the ability to safety plan and protect yourself and your kids against it.
I'm not sure how many times I need to learn this lesson; apparently it hasn't sunk in completely. I was talking to someone the other day, someone who years ago I recognized was not an emotionally safe person- not for me anyway. It took a while but I learned that this person was incapable of engaging in a vulnerable relationship with me without putting up serious defenses that always ended up hurting me in in the end.
I decided I could keep this person in my life but I put serious boundaries in place. I kept it light and relatively neutral in their presence, and to my great surprise over time the relationship was able to grow and become fun again. I accepted it for what it was, instead of brooding over what it could never be. I had recently given myself some pats on the back for navigating the relationship so well, for not creating a cut off and abandoning it completely.
This should have been a sign- but I was too busy congratulating myself and I got comfortable. I allowed myself to get sucked into a conversation with this person that felt warm, engaging, and honest. And as quick as it came on a shift occurred and all the defenses came back up with renewed vigor and might. Dammit. I know better. What was I thinking? I had to remind myself "This person is not safe for you Molly". I was upset about the situation, but mostly upset with myself for forgetting what I know to be true about this relationship.
I thought back to this very Maya Angelou quote. This is a person and a relationship that has to have boundaries in my life in order to stay in it, I learned that a long time ago. Learned it the hard way. Banged my head against a brick wall for years learning it- you get the idea. That warmth and glow I was experiencing lately was the results of a relationship with boundaries doing well. Because after all, this is a good person, someone I choose to still keep in my life- it should be good. But it can only be good with those boundaries. Even when things look like they've made a turn and you might be out of the woods; it's really important to remember what you know to be true. Unless there is a big honest discussion and you've seen consistent and measurable change, by and large people still are who they are. Enjoy them as much as you can but never abandon the lesson's you've learned.
This blog is less about my writing, and more about sharing inspiration. I'll post pictures, articles, and videos that I find interesting, moving, or just funny (funny being a loose term here as my humor is generally of the nerdy psychoanalytic variety).