Nowhere But Up From Here

Dear Parents,
I wrote some of this in response to another parent whom I love dearly but could not really help in the end.  This morning on my walk (yes, I do walk 5 miles a day these days) I was thinking about her and me and you.

Every Parent’s Struggle

I believe your struggle is my struggle, is every parent’s struggle.  Our children’s traumatized brains make the struggle visceral and often so concrete it is hard to breathe, as though concrete is sitting on our chests or we have swallowed a brick or two whole into our guts.  As ironic as this language is going to sound, my personal goal is to learn to let go of that heavy, toxic attachment to the outcomes that I feel heavy inside my heart and body.
I want to experience the lightness of love in every cell which, for me, entails knowing that I am not in charge of the universe or my children. When I get quiet enough, I can.  My young adult daughter accuses me of not accepting her as she is in the vitriol only a wounded, angry child can.  She is right about that. I am hooked, stuck even, on her living closer to my values.  That is something I don’t require from any other person in order for me to give acceptance and love.  But for her, I am constantly pushing her to make better choices and wiser decisions.  Of course, I think that will lead her to a more fulfilling life which is what I want for her.  She, on the other hand, feels only the pressure of expectation and the weight of her own shame in the face of my inevitable disappointment when she doesn’t live up. The feelings devastate her and she is wounded over and over and over.

Acceptance Is Love

I am learning to accept “what is” and to stay loving. I am also learning to accept and love without conflating those with an obligation to help; because helping my children without an attachment to the outcome is proving to be a problem for me.   I feel kind of “addicted” to trying to help them, too.  Loving and helping are not the same.  I am just now really teasing these two things apart, and I have to in order to get myself further down the parenting road.
Couples Blog

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

Like love, help is either conditional or unconditional.  I personally need only help in the way I would give a gift–unconditionally.   If I give a birthday gift to someone, I am never concerned over what they do with it–that is the nature of gifts, right?  What my children do with my gifts is really none of my business.

Today, I am working to give only those things that I can without an attachment to the outcome–that includes my time, energy, efforts, influence, money, cars, housing–even acceptance, and love.  That is my current daily life meditation.  It is getting easier with practice, but letting go turns out to be as painful as walking barefoot across a landscape of nails just the same.
Love matters,


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READ MY BOOK: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.


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