I am reading “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. It’s a gift to myself, to re-ground in my creativity, to explore what’s next for me. I am on chapter three, called “Recovering a Sense of Power.” It focuses on anger, synchronicity, and shame. I just finished reading how the universe will gives you gifts and then I reached this line, my gift this morning –
“Shame is a controlling device. Shaming someone is an attempt to prevent the person from behaving in a way that embarrasses us.”
This morning my daughter and I were in a little spat. I woke in agitation, not even realizing it until I was acting on it. She feeds off my imbalance, that or we both feed off imbalance in the energy of the earth. It’s easier to believe the former, but it’s much more likely the latter. This chapter also shared how it’s much easier to believe that there is no higher power than it is to accept that there is one which has any control over the energy of this earth.
But today she was grabby, even the baby was protesting. I asked for space, she followed me into my room. So I got angry, and she got sad. This is our routine with disagreements. And when I talk to her, I talk about how important it is to not hurt other people, they’ll feel upset or angry. Why do I do it this way? Because my belief is that it’s ineffective when I say I am hurt or angry based on how she’s responded in the past. So I instead use this version. I use shame. “If you keep doing it, others won’t like you.”
And, I use this tactic often. It stops the behavior. But, by full admittance, only for a short moment. As parents, sometimes we just need that moment. We live moment to moment. And then, I in turn, shame myself for how I parent in this moments. I carry the weight of all of these mistakes and use them against myself all too often.
She also loves to yell, holler, talk like no one is able to hear her. My partner and I are pretty quiet individuals. We don’t know where the need for such high octaves, such volume comes from. Our house is otherwise quiet. I tell her to be quiet or the neighbors will hear her, they might think something is wrong. I told her that her teacher told me she doesn’t use her inside voice at school.
Shame, shame, shame…
“Shame is a controlling device.” This is my gift from the universe this morning. I don’t know how I’ll help her to be less loud or to be less grabby in this very moment. But, I do know I commit to releasing shame as a tactic. It’s sneaky, mean, and quite frankly useless in parenting a 5 year old.
Chapter 3 is on how shame holds me back as an artist…be ashamed, shame, she’s shamed… wash, rinse, repeat.
I am accepting this gift from the universe today. From this moment, I release the shame I feel from using shame. And, I commit to releasing it from my parenting toolbox. You should too. I already feel lighter.
Update: I finished the chapter and received gift number two. “The antidote for shame is self-love and self-praise.” Today, I choose love and praise, both for me as a parent and for her.