“Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”
- Robert Fulghum -
Children are never a mistake but raising them in a toxic environment is. That is what my first daughter lived in from the moment she was born. Her sister wouldn't come along for another five years, so she faced the constant tumultuous cycles alone in her formative years; the most critical period for the healthy development of a child. To say that it didn't have in impact on her would be a lie. And even though she only has a handful of very vague memories, this remains a thorn in my side.
Terrible examples were being set and neither one of us was teaching this innocent little girl what a healthy relationship looks like. I was a terrible female role model by tolerating, forgiving and turning a blind eye to things that were unacceptable. I had a responsibility as a mother and as a woman to my daughter...and I failed her. She was learning the wrong things from me.
The logical side of my brain knew all this but the emotional side was unbalanced. I was in denial, confused and second-guessing myself. I didn't hold my ex accountable or set personal boundaries. I forgave everything because I didn't think I deserved better. After all, it was all my fault. Always. I apologized. Repeatedly. I gave in to what he wanted after being mentally and emotionally worn down. My instincts told me otherwise but I believed the lies he told me. Deception, manipulation, emotional blackmail, shady characters, mental exhaustion, unlawfulness and betrayal defined my life. And through it all, a little girl was watching. And learning.
Once in a while the mental fogginess would lift and clarity would kick in. During one of those times, which occurred immediately after a major battle with my ex, I packed a suitcase for myself and my daughter (who was three at the time) and left with her. But it was a short-lived getaway. We returned home shortly and the dysfunction continued.
Two years later, another little girl was born. And with her arrived the beginning of the end.
To be continued... (click here)
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.