Guilty. The heavy word pierces my complacency, as I bestow the gavel-laden sentence upon myself.
There appears no chance for a defense. The evidence is overwhelming. In my well-intentioned parenting, I failed on so many levels according to the current standards.
I used the words to encourage my children, “you are strong!”‘ And “everything happens for a reason.” Did you know those words are equal to emotional abuse according to a recent blog written by a psychotherapist?
When does the intention behind the words get factored into this harsh condemnation?
This particular therapist says, “well-meaning loved ones are guilty of emotional abuse without realizing it.” Self-righteous indignation begins to cloud my open mind at this point, slowly morphing into a jumbled defense, I attempt to present to you now.
Words are alive, pulsating with messages delivered from our hearts.
Experts study body language when someone is speaking because intentions and the truth behind the words can be read from cues outside of the actual verbal communication. So, when someone says “I’m sorry you feel that way”, which under normal circumstances is an appropriate emotional response, but presents it in a sarcastic and dismissive manner, the invalidation is felt as a stab in the chest. The point is, what is said is not always as important as how it’s said, how it’s received and whether the heart is delivering it with good intentions and/or compassion.
The struggle to say all the right things at the right time to your children or loved ones can be overwhelming, and self-accusations that follow disheartening. For me, hope can always be found in the heart of the matter. I have to believe your intentions will be heard, if you speak from your heart, no matter what words you choose.
For all those parents out there that have felt beaten up by the ever-changing standards of “good parenting”, I pass along the words a wise friend once shared with me, “if you love your child, they will know they are loved.”
Then the only thing you will be guilty of is not always knowing the right words to use.
-Erika K Rothwell