Typically, I publish here on Sundays or close to it. This past weekend, I felt a bunch of discouragement and considered deleting the entire blog. I'd decided that the blog needs an index, so I started with my first posts in 2015 and worked my way through about four months' worth of posts. Gah! I felt so bored and frustrated with how I wrote during that time... my inner critic came out full-force. I started to relate to what others told me in the past -- that this writing is too personal, that it's too much like a textbook. In the past, I may have immediately obliterated my online presence. Related example: I threw out all of my yearbooks once, and I was on the teams that produced them. This time, I decided to talk it over with people I trust. They provided helpful advice. One mentioned that previous posts are an indication of how I once thought, that keeping around older posts shows me how I've changed. Another person suggested that I write a response to the critical voice that tells me to delete the blog. She offered questions to ask as a blog response to my inner critic. Here's a go of it.
Where does your critical voice originate?
My inner critic comes from my early family life. From my parents to my older siblings to extended family members... my family was a huge vat of critical. It was great, in some ways, because many of my family members were intelligent, observant, and loyal. With this came a balance. I didn't ever get the feeling that I quite belonged to one culture or another. My Chinese side would refer to me as American, and my American side would comment on my Chinese-ness. The non-Christian people would make fun of the Christians, and the Christians would appear to almost gloat in their decisions about right versus wrong. People were amazingly detailed with their critical tendencies, and from them I gained an ability to look at issues from many perspectives. The other side of this is that they did not keep their criticisms in check. I'm starting to see how this related to their emotion savvy and lack thereof.
Adult children of neglect and other forms of abuse present with different personalities depending on the degree to which certain skills develop. Friendships and close relationships of any kind can be a very big challenge for people who experienced inconsistent or manipulative nurture as a young person. Thankfully, we humans are a creative species with capabilities that exist even when we don't understand them. I'm a big believer in meditation and sitting with stillness. Along with many forms of therapy (talk, art, individual, group, couples); alternative forms of healthcare (yay, various massage modalities!); different emotion balance techniques (yay, EMDR, EFT, and DBT!); and numerous relationships of various depths, the sense of oneness teaches compassion. Compassion makes life rich.
I have this one friend around whom I feel agitated most of the time. He's an adult child of neglect who talks a lot and without much skill with emotion boundaries. I met him about a year ago, and I've gotten to know about his kids and wife and the sorts of things he says as both "jokes" and rationale for some of his family and work decisions. Mostly, I'm finding that I don't like his parental practices or emotion regulation skills. His kids are around six and eight years old. He tells me about punishments that I find more punitive than helpful and discussions that seem too intellectual to address an emotion. I protested at his disciplinary choices and he told me he thought I was projecting my own childhood with my words to him. Naturally, I felt offended that he dismissed my observations. I also felt weary as he continued to bring up essentially the same stories about his role as father -- his kids have an issue, he rushes in to save the day with long talks about feelings. What I heard him say is that his kids keep feeling the same emotion (hopelessness, insecurity). So I reminded him about methods that help people manage their own feelings (EFT, DBT). Then that's when this friend said he appreciated my input but that if my reactions became too much, he'd need to put a stop to hearing them. So I told him let's not talk about his parenting role or his kids anymore because I'm finding it's too much to hear about their troubles and not offer assistance. I said, if I hear of something that's off to me, I'm going to say something. So that's one answer to is it possible to be a friend who likes the person and also heavily disagrees with his/her parenting skills: Yes and no. In this case, I can be an occasional friend who won't discuss parenting practices. We're not going to hang out a lot, and we can chit chat in the hallways sometimes.
Some of us grow close with people whose decisions gut our stability, enthusiasm. We learn to doubt our instincts. Our guardians do what they can, and we recognize how we must take responsibility for our good. So, we set about the road to gain stability, to learn about and enforce our own guidelines. We don't know that as the route at the time, though. We barely recognize stress or anxiety. We live to the hilt and don't feel fear because that's for wussies. Come to discover, fear is a healthy emotion! The whole love and fear dichotomy is inaccurate and sells. Maybe that's because a lot of people want an easy answer. If you can separate ideas into good and bad, black and white, love and fear, you've got a ready answer. The truth is complex in its mix of morality.
Well hello there.