Do you shield your loved one from their own pain? How do you feel about this? How does your body feel about this?
As a people pleaser, this definitely rings true, for one person in particular, my mother. I grew up not knowing who my father was but there were moments as I grew up that I learned a few tidbits.
I knew the only person who could tell me what I needed to know was my mom but I didn’t want to cause trouble. When I moved away from home in my 20’s, similar to when I went away to college, I fell into depression.
Being on my own allowed me to feel my pain and I had a lot of it and part of it was not knowing my father. One Christmas I tried bringing up the topic with my mother but I sensed a hesitation and a discomfort so I didn’t press the issue.
A couple of years later, while living in Boston, I shared my story with a friend and she urged me to talk with my mom. The words promising that I would were just to close the subject since I didn’t feel I had built up enough courage to broach the topic.
My own hesitation stemmed from not wanting to force my mother to relive her painful past, some of which I knew about. I simply wanted to spare her any pain.
I finally learned who my dad was and met him for the first time 7 years ago but it wasn’t through a conversation with my mother but that’s a story for another time.
This experience of shielding someone else from feeling their hurt did both them and I a disservice; for me, losing years of a possible relationship with my father and for my mother, the chance to face her demons.
Now having found the courage to take responsibility for my feelings while allowing others that freedom as well, I am no longer burdened in my heart, soul, and body with regret and sorrow.