1000 Conversations

Mother and daughter had a conflict and now mother consoling her angry daughter.

Somedays I think the conversations will never end. Who would have thought I would ever be tired of talking?

Guess what? I am.

Apparently, I am feeling tired of listening, too.

I am having yet another conversation with my 14-year old.

 Lord, she was one year old when I got sober. Is this still part of the conversation?

Obviously, it is. Even though I want to be beyond this point in our relationship—I am not.

Truth be told—we are not.

It gets me thinking about living amends, saying I’m sorry, not repeating old behaviors, working on being a better me each day.

Then it hits me. Her words cut so deeply because I still believe them. A Course in Miracles teaches me that a thought cannot exist outside of me. It’s my mind that is attached to her words, not her words attacking me. The 12+12 teaches me that “it is a spiritual axiom that anytime I am disturbed … there is something wrong me.” I wrestle with this too as I try and understand her pain.

Despite my efforts, I am still recovering from my alcoholic past. Maybe not the way I did in the early years, but clearly, I am still recovering. And—to the degree that I am recovering from being human, I must welcome this thought as well. After all, alcoholics aren’t the only ones that fumble with the parenting every now and again.

She’s truly and deeply hurt. No words can make her unhurt. There is no erasing a memory set in stone. Her dad and I got into a fight that landed me a trip to jail. Yes, it is etched in her memory. She finds it painful because she witnessed the fight and the cops and the handcuffs, and, and …

I find it painful because I made this little field trip to Orange County jail when I was almost four years clean and sober.

Ugghhh.

It’s one thing to be arrested for drunkenness, but quite another to end up in jail whilst being stone cold sober.

How many times do we need talk about it? How many times can I say I am sorry? How do I try and offer a new and improved way to make amends? I recognize that I have traumatized my family. I didn’t want to. I didn’t try to. This was a moment when my worst thinking got the best of me and I was swept away with rage.

Her wound is a wound that I cannot heal. This is one of those mom moments where I can sit quietly and refrain from showing outward discomfort. My mind is screaming shut up, just shut up, you’ve told me one thousand times I’ve hurt you, I get it. I get it!

Then she utters those words I loathe hearing, “You don’t get it.”

I think silently, Yes, I do.

Then I think a little while longer, No, I don’t!

 

This is what she wants me to comprehend: I was not inside her and have not been inside her to feel her pain. She doesn’t want to know that I get it. She wants me to know that I don’t get it.

I don’t get it!

It was a moment of amazement that I could utter those words and believe them. “I don’t get it.”  I start to breathe again.

I’m starting to understand. She’s allowed to feel her pain. She’s allowed to feel it until it doesn’t hurt anymore.

She’s allowed to talk about it until she doesn’t want to talk anymore. Recovery means I’m here for the next conversation and every conversation that follows because that’s how much I love her.

This is what it means to say I’m sorry and really and truly mean it. If I could do that dreadful day again I would choose differently. If this is true, I must start by behaving differently now—right now. Then when the one-thousand and first conversation arrives. I will be better at holding the space for her.

And conversation 1001 will arrive!

6 Responses to “1000 Conversations

  • Wow, Lisa. Those conversations, while tough, just keep rolling forward. I get tired of them too, and often. I find I do them anyway, and always see where they lead.

    It’s hard because you do get it. As in, you went through the same thing, she’s just going through that same thing in a different age. I can understand how difficult it is to confront that. Man, I’ll be there before you know it.

    My conversations usually include words like “potty”, for now…

    • Lisa Neumann
      6 months ago

      Mark, Some days I long for the simplicity of the early years. Which begs the question … Why is the grass always greener? I think I need to focus on the beauty that she is and stop mentally wandering. My lesson in A Course In Miracles today was focused on releasing my uncertainty of who I am? I forget, too often, that my 14-year-old struggles with these same questions and I needn’t wish the teen years away over a question we both possess. You make me smile when I think of the “potty” conversation so long ago.

      I see that you have a new post, so I shall jump over and receive some wisdom. Blessings.

  • Could it be that she may be manipulating you a little bit, trying to make you feel guilty? Teenagers have a tendency to do that. I wouldn’t play into it too much. If it truly is a bad memory for her, all you can do is say sorry. You can’t go back and undo it, so she’s going to have to forgive you or not. That’s on her.

    • Lisa Neumann
      6 months ago

      Thank you for your comment. And yes, I do think there is manipulation within her words. What I do know is that the pain within me is for me to heal. There are days that it seems unclear on how to do that beyond “I’m sorry.” If anything I want to be a good role model and hear her words without feeling the need to defend myself. All-in-all she has been one of my greatest teachers. Kids have a way of doing that for us. ♥

  • Oh Lisa this one stung me. I haven’t gone through what you and your family did, but it stung nonetheless.

    I get the idea of “okay okay I get it! Can we now stop talking about this!” thing because I went through it with my wife, and like with your daughter, we still talk about it. Well, she tells me what is bothering her and I do my best to listen. I have learned that I can’t soothe or take those feelings / memories away from her ever, so I just have to listen. It was hard at first, but I now know it’s about being present and available…and hey, that’s more than I ever was…so living amends continues.

    I love this piece, Lisa, and it’s a great reminder that we really do affect people – negatively and positively. So I will do my best to make it positive.

    Love
    Paul

    • Lisa Neumann
      6 months ago

      Paul, Interesting how same feeling, different situation, strikes us with every post we read and write. One of the best gifts I received from the recovery community was the ability to see how the feeling applied, not how the situation didn’t apply. This week I have been working on this “giving” to her … giving time, giving a good ear, giving a back rub or a story. I seemed to have forgotten that the little things are the things that matter most.

      For what it’s worth you have been a bright spot in my recovery for many years now. Thank you for the positive energy you give to all of us in this community.

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