If You Break It

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If You Break It
By Bernadette A. Moyer

broken-china

How many times have we read a sign in a store that reads, “If you break it, you bought it” I think the same can be said for our relationships.

Each and every single day I hear from people who are suffering a broken relationship. Where my general rule of thumb is that it takes two, it takes two people to create a relationship and it takes two people for a relationship to succeed and/or fail.

But what about the person who single-handedly decides a relationship is over? In my view the person who ends it without input or agreement from the other side, now fully owns the outcome. If they can live with the outcome and their decision so be it, but if not, then they are the ones tasked with making the effort to re-build it. They broke it, they bought it, and they own it.

One of the things we learn in visiting a ”china shop” is to be careful, and why? Because broken china can seldom be repaired to its former condition before the breakage, broken china is often replaced with new china.

The relationships that are long term and that we care about will test us, we grow together or we grow apart. Often a long term relationship is based on love but also includes acceptance and tolerance. A relationship that breaks down many times comes down to what we are willing to accept and tolerate.

Not every single person is supposed to remain in our lives; some come and go and some stay with us. In family we want it to work out and many times we will tolerate and accept things from family that we would never tolerate and accept in others. Some families remain close some just don’t.

A few days ago our son came home from work and shared with me that he ran into his former fourth grade teacher. His teacher asked him about his twin sister since he had both of them in his class and knew them well. Our son told him that they aren’t close and really have no real relationship. He is a twin and as the mother that raised them both it makes me sad. We always thought it was so special that they were twins and had each other like a built in best friend. But what surprised me most was his teachers answer. He said, “My sister and I never got along either.”

I have a hard time believing that families that suffer with estrangement are ever truly happy and healthy even for those that made the decision to estrange. How could you NOT think about “mom” on Mother’s Day or “dad” on Father’s Day or on their birthdays or on holidays?

Same goes for the parents, I don’t know of any mothers or fathers who don’t think about their children on their birthdays and on holidays. I don’t think it could be humanly possible to NOT remember the day that you brought a life, another living person into the world. This fact alone makes it hard to accept estrangement as any “norm” or normal behavior.

This July I will have been estranged from my oldest daughter for nineteen years. In my view she was young and foolish. She made decisions that were life altering and affected many others in hurtful and negative ways. She was just a kid and just shy of the age of eighteen. What makes it baffling isn’t what she did at eighteen but all that she has continued to do to keep it going. She is committed to her anger and to her narrative a narrative that many immature teens go through but most grow up and grow away from.

Like my many followers, friends and sisters and brothers who struggle with and suffer in estrangement, it is like any loss and grief with the many stages from denial to acceptance. I don’t believe that there is any stage that you are over it or 100% healed from it nor do I believe that estrangement has any winners. To deny your parents is to deny facets of your own life and who you are and what made you and where you come from. This is to live a lie.

My husband was the first to bring that line to my attention “they are living a lie” think about that? If you deny your parents and your roots, what does that say about the life that you are leading? And what stories now go along with that lie to justify living in such an abnormal way?

Things change. I suffered through shock and my heart was shattered when my child left home. I was completely broken. I never saw it coming. I didn’t think I could go on. I honestly believed I gave her everything any child could want or need. I beat myself up. I would have done anything for a different outcome.

Then I started to heal. I saw how easily I was to manipulate after her dad died. I became stronger. I went to work for several nonprofits that supported kids, many that were truly disadvantaged kids. I began to see clearly just how much I had spoiled my child.

But I still and for more than a decade I held out hope, I thought for sure she would mature, grow up and life would show her just how much she had. When she had her first child I was devastated not to be included but I also thought great now she will see what it means to have a child, to raise a child to be a mother. Sadly that didn’t happen.

Life is long life is challenging and life is filled with many decisions. I have always tried to live my life with the thought that yes I will stumble, I may fail and I may fall but I do my best to try not to do things that I can’t come back from or recover from.

And I do believe that if you break it, you bought it and you now own it …

bracelet

Broken china may not ever be able to come back together in its original form but many beautiful mosaic pieces have been made from the broken pieces. Beautiful jewelry and all kinds of beautiful newly created artworks can come back together and create something truly beautiful, different and unique from what was once broken and shattered.

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facbook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

The Cupcake Kids

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The Cupcake Kids
By Bernadette A. Moyer

cupcake

How did we ever survive our youth and young adult years without “safe zones” and all the support of so many mental health care providers and college professors encouraging us to be weak and even weaker? Wow!

Youth and young adults that are rewarded by being upset and sad at the outcome of our Presidential election and to ease the blow how about a cup of cocoa or some playdough and a “cry in” and “hug out?”

What part about babying these young people prepares them for real life experiences? Real losses like when your dad dies or you lose your job or an innocent accident or any other outcome that you find to go against how you believe it should be?

The reason I take offense to “safe zones” is because it is artificial and not real life. Life can be a pretty unsafe place. Wouldn’t a better lesson be how to survive and even thrive in the world as the world is and work toward the changes that you want to see?

If the election results didn’t go the way that you think they should have gone, wouldn’t a better use of your time be to rally and to involve yourself more in the political process and work harder for the cause?

When I was young we were encouraged to write to our government officials and to communicate our case and our concerns in a succinct and polite manner. I remember writing to several political leaders throughout the years beginning when I was in middle school. And every single time I received a response.

Where I believe in everyone’s right to protest, what is the end game? What do they expect the outcome to be? How does blocking the streets from foot traffic and shoppers on Black Friday on the Magnificent Mile do anything to save lives on the south side of Chicago streets or any other inner city streets for that matter?

I think back where was my “safe space” when I was in the sixth grade and my parents divorced? Or when I was 23 and widowed with a 2-year old daughter?

There are no safe spaces for life altering events. How about teaching our young people that out of the struggle we so often find a deeper sense of enlightenment? My own personal loses taught me much, they taught me about life and about value and about being a strong woman and a survivor.

We are all trying to survive with what we have and what we know, creating artificial safe spaces inhibits growth and development. I think back about my grandparents who survived the great depressions and being immigrants from Italy, they were far too busy working and raising their seven children to fawn over “safe spaces” they had an old-fashioned work ethic that cured most things that ailed them. Keeping busy and being productive was their way of living life.

I can’t imagine either one of my grandparents ever supporting the new “cupcake kids” and encouraging weakness. They would have told them that life isn’t always going to go your way but accepting defeat with your heads held high builds character. And when you do get your way, you truly appreciate it all the more because you know first-hand what it feels like to be defeated.

Winning may feel good but in losing we are afforded an opportunity to go deeper to reflect and to think and to learn. We shouldn’t be getting in the way of the “cupcake kids” experiencing all that life offers with the good and the bad and the happy and the sad. In the end avoiding the lessons that real life affords us only does us a greater disservice.

Sure we all want the “happy ever after” and to feel “safe” but the reality is that we create our own happiness or lack of it and “safety” isn’t measured by any artificial means that someone else creates but rather how we handle and how we manage our life and living in it as it unfolds in front of us …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
Books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble