I yell at my kids because I was a liar

Embarrassing truth(s) 💁‍♀️

I have spent my entire life TERRIFIED of authority figures.

For example – I have been pulled over a total of 4 times my entire life. Each time, I have bawled my eyes out, shaking, snot running, kinda fear. One time, the Trooper had to stand with me and tell me it was okay before she would let me drive off (sans ticket). Why was I so upset? Because I was ‘in trouble’. I had ‘done something wrong’. ‘Someone would be disappointed in me.’ Guys… the level of fear that I have operated from is absurd. I am not even sure how I’ve made it to 32 without therapy or medication. Oh wait..yes I do… I numbed it all out with smoking, drinking, eating, and spending money.

To add into the equation that is me, I have also spent most of my life seeking out approval or validation from people of authority to move forward with anything I thought I wanted to try. I so badly want people to tell me I am doing it right, I am doing a good job, tell me I am pretty, tell me I am worth of listening to… you get the idea. Emotionally. Needy. As. Fuck.

Not a great combo for creating a confident, authentic personality. Only recently did I come to understand how I got to a place in life where I don’t even know who I am. Maybe you can relate & may find it helpful to know that it’s not a life sentence. I have begun the arduous process of peeling back the layers of the false identity I’ve worn my entire life and started to actually decide who I want to be; and while some days it feels so incredibly impossible to carry on – I know at the end of process, I will be so fucking grateful that I didn’t give up on myself. And you will too, my sweet friend.

Here we go… at the risk of pissing off some people – I am about to be REAL honest. About shit I’ve only ever opened up to a handful of people about. {Hello, entire world – we are now besties.} But what I have come to realize is when you keep things in the dark – they have soul sucking control over you. Hence being where I am today. So – here’s to shining some light and truth on my life for the purpose of healing.

My mom is a yeller.

Anyone who knows her, knows this. She knows this. Any time I got in trouble for something, she yelled. Even as an adult, if she disagrees with me – she tells me… very loudly.

She also has the patience of 2 year old who was just told no. If I was walking slow, not answering a question fast enough, didn’t understand something, had an opinion that she didn’t agree with or understand, she quickly lost her temper. Not only did she yell her disapproval / disagreement, she would also tell me I was wrong. Not that my choice or action was wrong, but ME. Like, as a person. I was stupid for not getting something right or for believing something that made no sense to her. There was no healthy, civil discussion. I was to be seen and not heard…unless I was agreeing or complying… if I wanted to avoid a heated loud argument. The only time we really have much to talk about is when we are sharing the same negative opinion about someone or something.

My dad is a shamer.

Any time I did something to ‘disappoint’ him, he would use shame to get an apology or changed behavior. Even when I got divorced at the age of 26, and his religion told him to disapprove, he used shame as a tactic to encourage me to stay in a terrible marriage. He has strong opinions about what he believes to be right and he is also very loud and sure of himself. I was once told to leave his home during dinner when I told him that I didn’t believe in God the way he did. A loud-demoralizing-stand up from the table-point finger toward the door-“get out”. So, out I went. Tail between my legs. Tears streaming down my face. Hands shaking.

I used to tell everyone that the worst thing I could ever do was disappoint my parents. I was constantly on edge and fearful that I was doing something wrong.  When I look back now I realize that growing up all I ever felt like was a giant ass disappointment to them. I sought out their praise like it was gold. I felt like it was necessary for me to get their approval before I could approve of myself. I actually never did learn how to genuinely approve of myself until recently.

I so badly wanted the kind of relationship with my mom that was close and comforting and warm and loving. A woman to connect with. Someone to talk me through periods, boys, sex, and makeup. But it wasn’t. She wasn’t and isn’t that kind of mom. She yelled through the door to ‘just read the pamphlet in the tampon box for God’s sake’, told me to keep my legs closed, and when I broke up with my first love, she told me to get over it – he was a dime-a-dozen. She reminded me often that I was gaining weight and that I was wearing bigger jeans than she was. She was the ‘rub some dirt on it’ kinda momma. The ‘because I said so’ kinda momma. The ‘talking about your feelings is for snowflakes’ kinda momma.

Even though my dad was good at shaming me when he disapproved of my behavior – he was also really good at singing my praises when he wanted to. Lots of hugs and kisses and high fives when he was proud. I remember the big ass smile and pure joy on his face when he taught me how to ride a bike. And again when he taught me how to drive a car. I remember him being so proud of my good grades and time playing varsity basketball as a freshman (granted, I only played a few times). He would hoot and holler from the stands when I would block a shot and be so dang proud that the 6’0 seventeen-year-old was ‘his daughter’. Man, how I craved that praise. That changed when I got divorced. I think my Soul finally said ‘fuck this’ and I had to remove myself from that relationship for a while. Even after patching up our relationship 3 years ago, it’s never ever gone back to what it once was. Maybe that is a blessing, I am still not sure.

 Both of these people – whose blood I have pulsing through me – the people who made it possible for me to be here – are the MOST stubborn people I know. They are confident in their opinions, and very quick to share their ideas and disagreements with anyone who will listen…and sometimes those who don’t want to listen, too. I think that they both believe that they passed down their ‘hear me roar’ quality on to their daughter, but I also think they fail to realize that if you don’t let a cub roar when they are growing up – they will be fearful of their own voice even as an adult. It will be foreign and scary. And it was. If I am being honest, it’s not their fault that they don’t realize the impact their behavior has had on my life as an adult because for much of my young adult life, I pretended to be someone I wasn’t. I was a big ol’ faker. Liar liar pants on fire. I pretended to be a loud and opinionated person who gave no fucks about someone disagreeing with me. I was judgmental like them. I was passionate about things I was angry about. I wore this really uncomfortable mask. I pushed down any piece of honest opinion I had about things. For a long time I didn’t even realize that it was a mask. My inner child had dug herself into a nice deep hole where she didn’t have to be yelled at any more and my ego stepped up and learned how being super defensive could get me out of or through any argument.  Heck – isn’t that how it works? The loudest person wins? That’s what I had experienced my whole life. My parents were the ‘big people’ who knew better than I did and I was the ‘little girl’ who just needed to shut up and listen. So when I got to be the big person – I had NO idea how to be one. So, I mocked their behavior even though it felt so terribly unaligned with how I wanted to be.

About 3 years ago – when I started this journey of taking that fucking mask off, I was REALLY pissed. When I started questioning EVERYTHING I believed, when I started listening to the voice in my head and heard the incredibly self deprecating things I believed about myself that I learned from my mom… I was SO fucking angry with them. Mostly my mom. I hated them for their inability to have been the people I so wished they would have been. God, I was so mad that they were the source of literally EVERYTHING I hated about myself. Smoking addiction. Spending addiction. Drinking addiction. Avoiding hard conversations. Completely incapable of speaking my truth confidently without having so much anxiety about someone yelling at me to the point my body actually shakes. Inability to openly express feelings. Inability to follow through on a goal. TERRIBLE eating habits. All of it. Literally everything I hated about myself, I learned how to start and continue from watching my parents.

So, why am I outting my folks? Why am I talking about shit NO ONE else talks about because it’s really fucking uncomfortable?

Because, now I yell at my kids.

This week I had the most out of body experiences that I’ve ever had. It was like my soul flew out of my body and was looking down at me. I was teaching my son his school work and I swear to God I was looking at my mom & I at that age and it GUTTED me. I was so terribly rude to him. I raised my voice and proceeded to tell him all the things he was doing wrong.

I have known that I yell at my kids for a very long time. I have hated that I yell at them for a very long time, but this was the first time that I really understood what I am doing to my kids on an EMOTIONAL level. I saw MY child self in his eyes. Defeated. Scared. Mad. Belittled. And my soul just fell.

I was so upset about my 17 month old not napping when it’s ‘nap time’ (ha like we have any control over these tiny people) or waking up at 3:30 AM and not going back to sleep. That soul sucking level of exhaustion that accompanies the first 3 years of motherhood just washed over me and I was mad and I raised my voice and said ‘PLEASE JUST GO TO SLEEP’. At my tiny baby. I wanted so badly for her to comply with my orders and how dare she disobey me because I am the grown up and she is the child so what the hell?!

And again, there I was looking at myself as a child just wishing my mom would stop yelling at me and just pick me up and hug me. Damnit. “What is WRONG with me” was ALL I could think at that moment while I picked her up and kissed her little face and apologized.

And then it came to me. When it comes to things I can’t control, I just spin. I get angry and the only thing I’ve ever connected to anger is yelling. The only skill I was ever taught was yelling. And because there are so many things in my life right now that feel so utterly out of my control & because the 2 people who have to just deal with my inability to manage my anger is my kids, I yell at them when I get mad. They are the only people in my life that I don’t see as ‘authority’. I am not afraid of them. So I yell at them. I tell my 8 year old to stop asking questions and just do what I say ‘because I said so’. I put my baby in the pack-n-play and sit in the chair and just cry.

A few years ago I would have NEVER told anyone about this. I would have let the shame and guilt keep eating away at my soul. I know that I can’t live like that any more and I just have to face my shadow and keep trying. Each day is a new opportunity to catch myself earlier on. What I didn’t know until now is that just because I was raised one way – does not mean that I have to follow suite. I get to CHOOSE who and how I am each and every single day. I have lived in fear and on default my entire fucking life. At some point I had to stop blaming my parents. I am a grown ass woman now. The longer I abdicate responsibility for my current life – the longer I keep recreating the same bullshit I’ve create up to this point.

I went through a long period of blaming them. I made it mean that this is ‘just how I am now’. Like I was some broken merchandise that got banged up on the journey to my destination of adulthood by her handlers and there was no ‘fixing me’. Now I understand that I don’t need to be fixed. I need to love myself as I am & as I grow and change. I can’t keep holding off loving myself until I am ‘better’. I need to hug that little girl that didn’t get the hug when she desperately needed it. Forgiveness had not been a word in my vocabulary because I thought my anger would be a life long sentence for THEM. I felt all justified being bitter and mad. Like they deserved to walk around with the guilt of not doing better. Until I realized it was a death sentence for me. A slow, dark, and painful death sentence. So, I decided to just surrender to the forgiveness and love them.

I am not mad at them anymore. I don’t blame them. I don’t even think it should have gone ANY differently. I now believe, to the depths of my being, that I picked these people and they were the PERFECT people to parent me. I chose them. I signed up for them on purpose. They were simply playing out the exact hand we agreed upon so I could experience what I needed to in order to evolve. Some deep woo woo shit, I know I know. But you get the idea. I don’t fault them. One day, I will even thank them for all of the hard things. I am not there yet, but one day.

And… they were/are good parents. I never went hungry. I always had a home… and my momma’s door was a revolving one there for a handful of years when I was deep in not having my shit together. I was always warm. I was always in school. I got to go to the beach. We watched movies and laughed. We had New Years parties and birthday parties and they ALWAYS made a big deal about my successes. They LOVE my babies, y’all. They always offer help. They’ve given me money, food, and shelter – even as an adult and even when it meant they went without. They showed me their love in the only way they knew how. I truly believe they did/do the absolute best they were capable of doing, and I am so incredibly grateful for all of that. And as a mom myself – I know how hard this job is.

But for a long time, I dismissed all the shit I hated because I felt obligated to ‘just be grateful’. It felt wrong to acknowledge all the hard shit. I shoved all of that stuff so far down that I am just now starting to acknowledge the impact on my life. I won’t apologize for my honesty or keep dancing around it. But now I can see it, feel it, and then let it all go.This is the only way that I can begin to truly heal and change my life. I don’t have to be the scared little girl anymore.

 & today… I didn’t yell at my kids. 

It’s a start.