- Family and Parenting
If You Love Me? Let me go!
Growing Up Can Be A Lonely Road
You Are Not Alone
"If you would have your son to walk honorably through the world, you must not attempt to clear the stones from his path, but teach him to walk firmly over them - not insist upon leading him by the hand, but let him learn to go alone." - ANNE BRONTE, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
If you are a parent this story will not shock or surprise you. In fact, you may have been there at some point in your parenting life, able to relate, if not with the outcome, with the gut wrenching turmoil of love...spurned and unrecognized by one you love most. If you haven't been there perhaps there will come a time when you will be faced with a decision, standing and staring at the crossroads, desperately hoping for clarity to emerge. Wisdom, as it relates to being a parent, comes often at a substantial cost to the human psyche. In the end, there is always hope, there is always faith, there is always love. As we have all been told, the greatest of these is love. Sometimes that is difficult to see when you are in the midst of growing up, no matter what age you are.
When I first met my step-son he had just been expelled from a prominent military school. I didn't know what the circumstances were at the time and to this day we have never discussed the details. At that time it wasn't my place to investigate. I felt my only task was to be supportive of his mother who ultimately became my wife. Both of them had a rough go of living in the few years preceding our meeting and it wasn't for me to make it worse. Besides, I never had any children, so what did I know about parenting?
The sadness in this story is that it isn't all that uncommon. All you need do is pick up a newspaper, or turn on the TV, or open up the laptop, turn it on and watch the streaming of this scenario over and over and over again. Maybe, it's what is occurring in your neighbors home right now or perhaps right there in your own back yard. I hope not, but if it is, maybe you can glean something from this hub that will comfort you or guide you or reveal a new alternative that you hadn't thought of or experienced before that just might help change the outcome.
I have changed the names to protect the identity of those involved because it actually is of no value to know who...just what... transpired. As I mentioned the first time I met Stuart he was 20 and about to be expelled from a prominent military school. He was an extremely bright guy with decent grades and tremendous leadership capabilities. I don't know why, but something inside of him snapped and he lost all interest in his own well being, at least that's what it appeared like to me. At that time Stuart was composed but never present. He became, in my humble opinion, distant, introverted, belligerent and down right verbally abusive to his mother. At this point my protective instincts took over and I began to assert myself as I had not done before.This action took care of the situation temporarily, but there would be more to come.
When drugs and alcohol were introduced into the mix, along with an attitude of indifference towards his own life, not to mention all those around him, growing up was becoming a hardship, if not a near impossibility. To say that it was difficult would be an understatement and picking him up out the gutters while in drunken stupors was getting old. When the heroin was introduced we had had enough. It may have already been too late, but we had to do something. If we didn't take action soon we were going to lose him and that would have been more than we could stand. Part of the reluctance to take more drastic measures earlier was because of the fear that Sally had of losing her son the same way she lost her father...by suicide. Sally was doing all a mother would do to hold on to her son's life and she was going to do it no matter what it took. Looking on as a family outsider was not something I cherished and silently standing by was not my way of being. For now though, this type of support was necessary.
The Pain Body Exists
In his book entitled "A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose" Eckhart Tolle describes this notion of a voice inside our heads that "has a life of its own." Tolle says, "Most people are at the mercy of that voice; they are possessed by thought, by the mind. And since the mind is conditioned by the past you are then forced to re-enact the past again and again. The Eastern term for this is Karma."
The pain I experienced in watching this scenario between my wife and her son unfold was a replay of the scenes I had lived as a young man. It reminded me that my selfish, immature and rebellious actions back then put such a stress on my mothers life. Experiencing my attempts at killing myself intentionally or unintentionally through my destructive thinking and lifestyle hurt her terribly, I now know. Seeing my step son do the same things to himself and his mother was an incredible hardship to view and a perfect example of the pain body. Even if the scenarios were different here, I was reliving the pain of years ago. And frankly, is sucked!
What I wanted back then was for my mother to let me go, to let me experience the right of passage that seemingly no longer exists today for a young man. Surely, my mother wanted to protect me from harm as my wife wanted to protect her son. But that protection sometimes comes with a very, very heavy price.
In the days of old when the male right of passage existed, there was an element of life threatening danger. I'm not suggesting that we repeat these life threatening events to grow up in today's world but there is an elemental premise that we must, at some point, allow our sons to make their own judgments. If not, they may be doomed to repeat the scenarios that teach them that judgment over and over again until they do learn. That way of learning too, comes with its price and often it is more life threatening than letting them go.
Letting You Go
Know When to Release Them
As I stated before, I was never a parent before, I have no children of my own and I am not an empath, like Sally, so I cannot feel what she feels. But I am a man and I was a son and I did have issues growing up, (still do according to Sally) so I believe I can see this situation through a similar set of eyes.
So, here we are 10 years later, having contributed to keeping Stuart alive this far. Did we really help him though? That depends on your perspective. He is still alive. He still has a chance to grow. He till has learning to do. He still has issues. He is also still very, very loved! Very loved.At this point I would contend that we are experiencing what every parent experiences when its time to let go.
We think we are losing something, our son. We aren't losing a son. He never really belonged to us anyway. We may have been the stewards of a young man, but if we never let him go through his battles, internal and external, his time of right of passage will never come. We don't know what the outcome will be. That isn't up to us. What is up to us, what our choice is and always will be, is to love him and provide a safe place to heal. In order to do that we must let him go so he can see and know himself, not just his shadow...he must know himself! it is the safest place he will ever know, whether his mother or father or family is here or not.
Go Stuart, be free...with our blessings, be free! And there is healing in that for you and for us!