Parenting With the Alchemical Difference
by Dulcie Wright
Until recently I was a struggling parent. I awoke every morning with the sinking feeling that somehow if I could only survive until nap time I'd have a moment of sanity. It wasn't one day at a time, it was one hour at a time; I was barely coping and I felt hopeless and depressed. With two small children and a schedule that included working nights I was a wreck. I didn't aspire to be a good mother, I prayed for survival. The Parental Stress Hotline number was tattooed on my wrist.
Were my kids hyperactive? no, my kids were kids, going through typical kid stuff. no amount of education, therapy, understanding or support seemed to make a difference. my ability to cope with even the day-to-day tasks of child rearing was limited.
I remember as a child hearing my mother say to me,"I don't know what to do with you." It seemed to be her mantra. It baffled and upset me. "I'm just a kid, how can my own mother not know what to do with me?" I felt sad, abandoned and unwanted. When I heard myself scream the same time-worn phrase at my own children, I was chilled to the core by the realization and I felt frightened and utterly hopeless.
As an ACA (Adult Child of an Alcoholic), I realized that my parental models were skewed and I felt doomed to repeat the patterns of the past. I'd been working on my ACA and Co-Dependent issues in therapy for several years. Through therapy, I've come to realize that my mother was truly ill-equipped and unable to cope with raising me. her own mother had abandoned her to the care of a long string of nannies and housekeepers. my mother loved me, but was unable to show that love in practical demonstrable ways. Since I began doing Alchemical work I have been able to release much of the anger, pain, and resentment that I had harbored towards her for what I had determined were her failures as a parent. I communicated my rage and frustration to her in my mind's eye and have experienced forgiveness and compassion towards her.
Now my relationship with my mother has improved. She loves her grandchildren, and feels very comfortable as a grandmother. We now have a relationship that is based on genuine caring and appreciation for each other rather than on unfulfilled expectations and anger.
Discovering my Inner Child was the catalyst that allowed me to break free from my old parental patterns and ideas. Every day I spend time with my Inner Child, holding her and loving her. often she's present when I am with my kids. My relationship with my Inner Child adds a new dimension to my ability to be with my children. We have more fun; I can let go and enjoy our time together.
In one of my sessions, my Inner Child chose to bring in a parenting figure whom I call Aunt Georgina to give her all the love, guidance and care that she['s always needed. When I am busy my inner resource, Aunt Georgina, holds and cares for my Inner Child so that she is never alone. I use Aunt Georgina as a parenting resource when dealing with my own kids. As sometimes happens when the phone rings in the late afternoon (the time known as the Arsenic Hour), my children seize the opportunity to express themselves. The baby cries at the top of her lungs, the 5-year-old swings from the freezer door imitating Tarzan and the 3-year-old feeds the 2 pounds of hamburger I'd defrosted to the dog. Rather than exploding, I take a deep breath, close my eyes for a moment and wait for Aunt Georgina's voice to gently come into my consciousness. Creative action follows" the baby is picked up, soothed and calmed; the 5-year-old is given a task to perform with praise and the 3-year-old is directed to an appropriate form of play. Frantic activity shifts into calm and pleasant busyness.
The Alchemical work has given me tremendous resources. I am now able to nurture my own Inner Child and also care for my children and their needs from a place of wholeness. I'm no longer a wounded child pretending to be an adult, play-acting at being a mother. There's more fun at our house, less chaos, more love and security. The war is over. There are still skirmishes but thanks to the Alchemical Difference, my kids and I are now on the same side.