Monday, April 11, 2011

Day 98: Always, Forever, Never, Ever

This post is a long time coming. You could say I've been sitting on this issue forever and I never thought I'd ever get to it because I'm always putting things off.

I was first struck by how often I was using these words when Jackson started repeating them in moments of frustration: "I can never ever do this!" Then Authentic Parenting posted this gem for me, and finally, to really drive the point home, The Daily Groove posted this.

I wish I could just call it a habit or say it's something that just slips out, but the truth is that it's a power move. And I know it's a power move. A really desperate one that makes me feel dirty every time.

The inclusion of one of these words can quickly turn a statement into a threat. And if we're going to keep being honest, I use them because they work. Jackson feels the power they carry and he's much more compliant when I whip one out. Of course this undermines the mutually respectful relationship I'm trying to engage in with him, so these short-term results come at a great cost in the end.

To be fair to myself (although not to let myself off the hook), I also use these words because, in my black and white world, everything truly does seem written in stone. But this kind of finality is troubling for Jackson. I can see the stress he feels when he sees the world through my eyes in this way, like all possibility has vanished and freedom is gone. Come to think of it, this has a lot to do with why I feel so much stress!

I know better, so I now I have to do better.

I hereby banish these words from my vocabulary forever! Aw, crap. There I go again. Maybe I can find a more achievable and sustainable goal, like using them as a trigger. I'll consider it a reminder to show up when they come out. Because I only use them when I'm not engaged, not focused on honoring him and giving him the respect he deserves. And I'll do my best to let them move me toward gray, toward the world of possibility, which includes being open to the idea that everything isn't as big a deal as it feels to me in that moment.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting about this! It's a good wake-up call for me as well. I find myself saying things like "you always do this or that" or "you never do this or that" to my little one. I always realize later it probably isn't the most productive way to respond, just my own stress about the situation coming out. Thanks again for showing me these little slip ups are not okay for me and I can be even more aware of it!