- parenting as a survivor
- parent triggers
- break-the-cycle parenting
- support for parents who had abusive childhoods
“I trust you to curl my hair,” I said to my twelve-year old as she came at my sizable forehead with a hot electrical appliance.
“And that’s saying something,” I added, “Because those things can hurt and I can count the people I trust on one hand.”
Dang it, I overshared. It wasn’t the first time – but it’s something I rarely do with my daughter.
Tween parenting is so different. By the time I figure it out my daughter will be in another stage. She’s nowhere close to being an adult. But she’s not the same bundle of need she was as a baby, toddler or kid either. For years, she needed me to be secure base, taxi driver, entertainment and all all-around anchor and attachment figure. Sometimes it felt we were sharing the same bone marrow. She still needs me but not with the same ferocious intensity.
Sometimes it’s me asking if she wants to play a game or go shopping.
“You trust Heidi to curl your hair,” she said.
“I do,” I said, “Heidi is so fashionable. There are different types of trust for different people. Some you trust to ask money advice, some you can share your feelings with and some even get a key to your house or car.”
She looked puzzled.
“Do you know what I mean?” I asked. “Do you
1. We are knee deep in one of the worst winters in history. When the winds pummel my house and the ocean flows through my basement, what am I thinking is: “I’m so glad I have flood insurance.” What I am feeling is help. I scared. I want my mommy. I need a daddy.
It’s hard to admit as a middle-aged woman (and feminist) how much the idea of rescue appeals. I have decades of experiential knowing that wishing is futile.
I know my craving for the present, stable and loving parents I never had is like wanting to snort, stab a needle, drink too much or inhale food. I know not to dive into the craving but I can’t pretend desire is gone.
It comes and comes back. Always. Even when it goes away it returns. Usually when I’m tired, sick or afraid.