What Is Guilt Doing To You?

A repost from Facebook:

Many parents of children with CP (and other disabilities) carry tremendous guilt. It’s not something that plagues the parents who are just beginning this journey, but I also hear about it from parents with tenure on their path as well. Guilt is a form of self-punishment we can knowingly and unconsciously inflict upon ourselves every day. What are your daily mantras? What do you repeat to yourself in an effort to harm yourself? This kind of self-abuse will slowly yet surely pull you down and create all kinds of chaos as it pours into your external life. It can also drive us to fight relentlessly to push our children and perhaps make them feel inadequate in our well meaning attempt to heal them and perhaps in some way relieve us of our own pain. We are human and these are very understandable and human coping strategies. We all participate in these strategies in different ways. This is why I repeatedly say that accepting your child’s diagnosis is so intimately involved with self-healing. One of the most challenging aspects of life is finding the strength and ability to accept ourselves in our own humanity, mistakes and all. In our society I see how often we reward and dole out punishment based on outcomes. But what I have learned is that so often we are along for the ride, and despite our intentions and efforts, outcomes may have little to do with what we contributed. We can be quick to stand up to take praise when things go “right”, and we also are quick to beat ourselves up (and others) when life takes unexpected and painful turns.

Please don’t make your journey any more difficult by blaming yourself. Perhaps begin by getting in touch with your heart and your mantras. Allow yourself to express what you feel and think unfiltered so you can at least connect with the root of your pain. This is a critical step in beginning to accept yourself and your feelings. A turning point in my healing was to share the fear behind some of my guilt with my husband Blake. I finally gathered the courage to face him and hear the truth of whether he blamed me for what happened to Maya when she was born. I also wondered if the family whispered behind my back and blamed me as well. For some of you the answers you hear and are met with may not be comforting. For others you may be surprised and tremendously relieved. Whatever the outcome, it can create a foundation for tremendous healing if all parties are willing to explore their feelings. This is frightening and painful. This is the challenge of deep self-acceptance. Can we get to a place where we can rise above the thoughts and ideas of those around us and move into a place where we begin to forgive ourselves? It’s a great gift when the people we feel most connected to can offer us acceptance. Sometimes getting to this place means we all must articulate (even if it sounds horrible) what we have been carrying in our hearts and minds and be willing to move beyond it. If you haven’t been able to forgive yourself or find acceptance from those around you, I am offering you that today. I am taking you by the shoulders and lifting your chin up and telling you, “You are loved and you need not punish yourself any longer.”

May love support you today and always.


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