Protecting my children has been one of my most important goals over the past 11 years. I have made it clear to my family and all other abusers that my children are not available to them.
I have eliminated all contact with abusers in our lives. This required me to give up the only family I had ever known, a financial safety net, and all assistance with raising my children. But I gave it up to protect my children and it was the best decision I ever made.
There are a few reasons for my dedication to their protection. First, I am their mother. Of course I will protect them. I know what you’re thinking though. Not all parents protect their children. And I get that. My blog would not exist if parents did the right thing all the time. But there is an instinct underneath that trauma-based drive for personal safety. It is buried, but it is there. It whispers to protect them.
Second, my higher self has been talking to me. She can be hard to hear over the loud trumpeters that are my traumatized inner parts. But she is there. And she says I have a purpose. I have a purpose to break the cycle, to start a new generation within my family with new perspectives and beliefs. I sense it in my bones. I always have (even though I may not have always known what I was sensing).
Third, I have some really pissed off parts who are protecting some very traumatized inner children. They project that protection to my outer children. They wrap all their warped methods of protection around my children by default. But some of these methods have needed adjusting to truly break the cycle. The hovering has mellowed substantially. I don’t do everything for my kids anymore. It has certainly been a journey to find balance. Despite those struggles, my parts mean well. And they aren’t backing down no matter what.
But this passion for my children’s well-being can lead to monstrous futility. Why? We live in a seriously messed-up world. We also live in a world full of random occurrences we cannot plan for or address ahead of time. And I hate that. My controller hates that. I would give anything to protect them from the unknown. But things happen. They aren’t good things. People they love move away. People they love die. They get injured. They meet people who don’t treat them well.
I want so desperately to make it all better for them. I want to keep them safe from this world which can seem so cruel to trauma survivors. The harder I try to protect them from the inevitable cruelty of this world, the more I am hit with the futility of my desires. There will be no perfect life for any of us. Humans are not meant to live a life of pleasure with no pain. They are not meant to enjoy every moment. They are here to experience traumas. They are here to lose themselves just a little bit (or a lot). They are here to trudge through the muck of childhood confusion and find their way to the adult life they want. But it is meant to be messy and complicated and the furthest thing from easy. Even if I could find a way to create a perfect lab-created environment for my children to grow up, there would be problems. I wish it weren’t true, but I have come to know that it must be this way.
So does this recovery work matter? Hell yes! It matters. It is our love that creates the resilience that will get them through life when it attacks them from 20 angles at one time. When our children know we will be there, that knowledge anchors them a little as they try to find their way. Hopefully, it gives them the understanding of what the world could look like if they have the courage to take it there. Our kids need us to break the cycles.
There have been moments I have sat with the futility of parenting and felt utterly hopeless in my efforts to give my kids a good life, a life that builds resilience. Life is coming at them and I can feel myself move in the direction of “Why Bother?” It seems an impossible task. And maybe it is an impossible task in some ways. But I’ll keep pushing. I’ll keep trying. I refuse to raise the next generation without the tools to make life their own. I refuse to leave them in this messy world without a way to navigate it.
Written By Elisabeth Corey, MSW