Over the past several years, my daughter has become a “guru”. She apparently “knows it all”. She’s a grown-assed woman now, not a kid so, you’d think that she’d know better but, apparently…her and her boyfriend, have spent enough time “doing the research” on Youtube and various sources on the net, that they both figure that they know everything there is to know about everything. The problem is, they don’t mince words in telling me how they think we should be or should have been living our lives because…yes, they “know it all”.
My husband and I raised our daughter with tons of praise, encouragement and giving her whatever help she wanted or asked for, wherever and however that was possible. We both went without and sacrificed things in our own lives in order to give her what she needed so that she had the tools she might require to succeed in Life. For the most part, that seemed to have been appreciated by her for the time she was living with us.
Then, along came a series of lazy, un-driven boyfriends who had seemingly, senses of entitlement by virtue of their own set of thoughts about their parents/childhoods. It was obvious that they had all become used to manipulating their own parents and suddenly, nothing that my husband or myself did or are doing was of is, “right”. Out of the blue, we were increasingly being told that we were both “ignorant”, “weak” and “ego-driven”, “requiring professional help”. Of course, that came at the point where we finally put our foot down on weed being done in our home and let her know that we didn’t exactly appreciate the jerk she was with and his rudeness, arrogance, total lack of respect for not only us, but her. More key was the idea that we could see how he had totally manipulated and was controlling her and, she was letting him do so.
I’ve questioned a lot of things within myself, as has my husband. I have been hardest on myself, taking blame for everything and anything that went wrong in her life because since she has been with this messed up, warped, sick, individual and using “psychedelic drugs”, there was apparently, nothing that we, as parents, have done right as parents.
It was only with a tremendous amount of hindsight, soul searching and yes, even professional help sessions that I recognized that I was not to blame nor, was I “weak” or “ego driven” or a “coward” as I had been labelled by both of them. I wondered what I was doing in a therapist’s office all of this time when it became abundantly clear to me that my daughter never truly has walked in my shoes nor, done what I have done in my life thus far.
My husband’s family had escaped from a communist country when my husband was a child and lived in extreme poverty, working hard, physical, manual work to feed and clothe their children. They often lived with other people until they could finally save up enough of their hard earned money to purchase a house of their own. For the rest of their lives, they scrimped and saved to pay off the debt owing and make that house theirs. They lived modestly and had very few frills.
Myself, I grew up with a dysfunctional and abusive, alcohol riddled home life where we also, had little money most of the time. Many nights were spent, up all night, listening to fighting and arguing where my brothers and myself, worried our father would die of a second heart attack, having suffered one at the age of 40 through stress and lack of self-care. We were mentally, emotionally and sometimes, physically abused. Yet, we still respected our parents because they, themselves, had been through a lot in their own lives.
Both my husband and myself, began working when we were 13 years of age in part time jobs to help out our families and not become burdens. We worked and paid both of our own ways through university then, continued working both full time and part time jobs after university to buy our own house.
As the years went on, we had our daughter and nursed both of our families as one by one, they began dying of cancers, or wandered with dementia and even took care of my parent’s parents as well as raising our daughter. Still we had made our daughter Number One in our lives. For several years of her life, my husband worked full days as a teacher while I quit my work in the dental field as a dental assistant and lab technician and took on evening and weekend work so that I could be home to look after our daughter days while my husband looked after her while I worked nights and weekends. At least one of us was always here for her. It wasn’t easy but, we did it…for her sake.
We were never able to have more children but, we tried to make up for our daughter being an only child and the “Only Child Syndrome” that could set in, by permitting every other child in the neighbourhood she had befriended to practically live in our home, feeding them and not worrying about how much of a mess they made like most parents in the neighbourhood concerned themselves with.
Most of all, both my husband and myself, never wanted our daughter to have to go through what we had not only gone through in our own lives but, were going through as she grew up. We lauded her with praise when deserved, re-directed her gently when we could see she was heading down a wrong path and generally, tried to spare her worry, fear or abuse of any kind from us. It has now come to mind that perhaps, that was our greatest mistake in raising her. She rarely had to deal with much more than her schooling and own wants/needs, friends or what she wanted to do next. She never did so much as washing dishes, let alone any housework.
While our daughter has abandoned both of us and is no longer speaking to us, having hurled hurtful, totally unwarranted insults at both her father and I, I came to recognize that she had never walked in either of our shoes. As a matter of fact, she had lived a life that was quite the opposite to what we had lived through. Neither my husband nor myself were “weak” or “ego driven” as she’s often told us we were. We were actually both, extremely strong people who had lived through a lot in our lives thus far and I finally came to realize that both our daughter and her boyfriend were spoiled as he is doing the same things with his parents. It wasn’t us. It’s them.
It’s clear to me now that none of us know what someone else has been through. Many of us will judge others according to our own experiences in Life. We shouldn’t. None of us know what someone else has been through. They may simply be hiding it from us or, not able to talk about it or express it to us. Were we to see that portion of their lives, we may have a totally different view of them. I believe that we all have stories to tell and until we know what those stories are or, have walked in the other person’s shoes in some way or another, we should never judge someone as “weak”.
From my little corner of life and its many experiences, don’t judge others unless you know their story. You might be surprised at what a difference that can make.
Have a wonderful day.