“Sometimes the most dangerous things for kids is the silence that allows them to construct their own stories. Stories that almost always cast them as alone and unworthy of love and belonging.” – Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness
I love this quote! It is so good! Sometimes as parents when we go through tough times and we feel like we need to hide things from our kids and coax them into an oath of secrecy too. This is wrong. We shouldn’t do this to our kids and we need to be open and honest about our struggles. Without doing that we can’t get the help we need to change and to do something different.
I learned the hard way. You don’t want the “teaching” of this experience. Live open and honest with close friends you can trust before it is too late.
Now, going forward, I try to be transparent with my kids so that they know what I am going through. I talk to them about my struggles and assure them that what I am going through is not because of them. It’s not their fault. If I didn’t do this with them in a way they could understand, I can see the wheels turning in their heads of blame and self-doubt. I see (and sometimes even hear) them telling themselves, “If I had just kept our secret then my life would be different, it would be better, my parents could be together.”
I recently vocalized to some people the following: “This is hard. It wasn’t what I wanted. But this is what’s best. It’s best for me. It’s best for my wife. It’s best for my kids. We all needed this.”
It is definitely the hardest thing I have ever endured in my entire life. It has ripped out parts of me and scarred me to the core. I have lost a lot of weight (I guess that is something often associated with grief). I am changed. I am not there yet. I am still struggling and in pain. In the end, it will all be worth it. I will be stronger in every way. I will understand myself and my needs in new, more complete ways. I will understand more fully what is healthy and what is not healthy for me and for relationships. It is a long, on-going journey, but I am not going to go back home, hide in bed, or veg out on the couch. I am going to engage. I am going to work. I am going to be transformed by my experiences and come out better because of it all.