I remember being sent to my room as a child when I was “naughty”.
I remember crying alone, sometimes yelling out things through the closed door that would be hurtful.
Even at the time I knew I didn’t mean them, I loved my parents more than anything. But as a child you can’t explain that you want someone to hurt like you are, that maybe, in that heightened state, it’s the only way you know how to connect, you don’t even know that connection is what you’re needing.
And maybe they didn’t either.
So you’re ignored, told to stay in your room longer, you can come out when you’ve stopped crying,
when you’re good again.
Things are different now.
But the way a lot of us were brought up is still engrained.
The early days with my son were full of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
Outings were hard, I was constantly trouble shooting, he cried a lot, he noticed everything, felt everything, felt music in ways that most babies wouldn’t, I walked on eggshells, travelled down roads of my past whilst carving out new ones.
He amazed me, challenged me, and often we were both in tears.
Learning he was highly sensitive later made so much sense, I felt a mixture of relief and guilt thinking back to how I handled some situations.
I knew then, him and I had a lot in common, that perhaps I was highly sensitive too.
I just didn’t know I could be.
Some say gentle parenting is too ‘soft’
I’ve personally never found anything harder, or felt more broken when my reserve tank is empty to hold out my arms to him. That when I have felt anger myself I’ve had to take a deep breath instead of yelling back.
I haven’t (and won’t) always get this right, but it’s the small wins that propel us forward.
I want him to know that while the world moves him greatly, he can move it too. That even though his emotions feel bigger than he is, I can handle it, so he can too.
You can’t change the past, but you can be the person you needed all those years ago, and there’s nothing easy about that.
I told him once as he tried to stop crying, “feelings make you human, it means that you are real”, and somewhere, the little girl crying alone in her room believed that too.