Sunday, October 4, 2009

On the Subject of Parents

"We honor our parents by taking what was good and leaving the rest." -Bruce Springsteen

This quote is from an article by Mark Epstein in the Summer 2009 edition of tricycle, The Buddhist Review that really helped me change the way in which I view my parents and my relationship to them. Once I had read this article, I hungrily searched for more Buddhist writings that would enlighten my perspective towards my parents and my pretty dysfunctional childhood. This helped immensely with my anxiety issues because so much of my anxiety was tied up in my relationship with my parents--in what had happened in the past and also in how they still acted.

I cannot remember where I read it, but on my search I came across something that said helped me to understand that my parents' behavior was not such because I had done something wrong. Maybe they had difficult childhoods...actually, I know for a fact my mom did and I can pretty much say for certain that my dad did, too. And then I realized that the same probably went for their parents. They weren't mean to their kids because their kids did something wrong, something must have happened to them, too! Or maybe it wasn't their parents at all, maybe their parents were perfectly wonderful and caring, but some other thing affected how them and this in turn affected their children.

It was a big moment for me. Everything just seemed to click. So much of my anxiety and anger towards my parents instantly disappeared in this moment. I understood that what they said or how they acted towards me was not about me. It was about them, about something that was going on with them. I stopped taking their uncaring comments personally. I started appreciating the positive. I stopped overreacting when they were rude, and instead found that I was able to calmly but forcefully explain how their statement/action hurt me.

So tonight, as I have been working on weaning off Zoloft for 6 days now, I re-read this original article and re-affirmed for myself that I will focus on taking the good and realizing that the rest is not about me.

No comments:

Post a Comment