When my kids were younger, I spent years caring for and trying to help others in need. People who never appreciated it, never apologized for the things they did, never tried to do better. I grew up in need and felt I was giving back, doing good, making the world a better place. I thought I was teaching my children to be kind, generous, loving. I gave and gave while they took all these beautiful moments and opportunities I had been given and sucked them into the endless void of narcissism.
I missed holidays and school events sitting in psyc ERs or meetings. My kids learned safety plans instead of how to ride their bike. Therapist and case managers became family and friends because I did not have time or energy for establishing and maintaining real relationships.
It took me far too long to realize that I mattered too, that my kids mattered, that safety and peace mattered.
I meant to teach love and what I taught them was that other people’s needs mattered more.
I’m truly grateful that as adults my kids are slowly unlearning and growing beyond the damage I allowed. I’m grateful they are learning boundaries and self care. I’m grateful for their forgiveness and patience as I am learning too.