This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Jesus Gifts- focusing on relationships

I never do New Year's Resolutions, but for many years on Christmas Eve we have celebrated Jesus' birthday and given him presents we call Jesus' Gifts - These are spiritual gifts (kind of like New Year's Resolutions) that we know He would want for us (like spending more time with our family, going to church more, having a better attitude...).

2008 - Our first year of Jesus' gifts.
To Jesus,
Mary: I will respect myself -- by taking care of my body, my time, by getting sleep, being active and eating well.

2009 - Dear Jesus,
This year:
Mary: I will try to be better about spending time with the things that really matter. Hubby and my family are my first priority.

2010 - Dear Jesus,
Happy Birthday!
Mary: I will try to be present and meet my family's needs while taking care of myself.

2011 - Dear Jesus,
Happy birthday from the "TheMom" family!  Our gifts to you:
Mary: Be present and consistent for my family.

2012 - Happy birthday, dear Jesus,
Here are our gifts to you!
Mary: I'm resolving to go to bed earlier and support my family cheerfully and tolerantly.
Word for the Year: PRESENT

2013 - Happy Birthday!
Dear Jesus,
Mary:  I will try to take better care of myself and those around me.
Word for the Year: POSITIVE

2014 - Happy Birthday Jesus!
Mary: To be more present in daily life. Avoid procrastination.
Word for the Year: PRESENT

{2017 --I was going through my drafts folder for this blog, and discovered that I'd never published this post! Since my Jesus gift for 2014 (when this post was written!)

I'm seeing a trend here!

This year I want to focus more on my marriage. I'm currently reading a book called Getting the Love you Want. The first part of the book is about how our childhood effects our choices in significant others. The premise is that we subconsciously choose significant others that are like our parents - with the unconscious idea that we can work through our issues with our parents. During the "romantic love" phase we don't see and/ or we ignore all problems.  Once the couple feels committed and therefore safe, they usually are no longer on their "best behavior" and start seeing and showing their flaws.

Most people think if they can just find their "soul mate" then they've got it made. When the "honeymoon" is over and they suddenly realize that their significant other is like their parent in some way (distant, controlling, aggressive,  critical, easily excited...), plus he/she doesn't cater to their needs and has tons of baggage.. that's when they shut down, start picking fights, and/ or escape. Then they start all over with the next person.

In the second part, he describes what a more fulfilling relationship might look like, the "Conscious Marriage". He describes how to begin with commitment, stop destructive exit patterns, creating a zone of safety, understanding yourself and your partner, how to begin real self growth and containing rage. He closes by providing two examples of marriages that have been transformed by applying these techniques. The exercises and approaches described by Dr. Hendrix are hard. His most meaningful techniques are not quick tricks but require a lot of introspection and self awareness. As he mentions in his book, many couples may require external assistance (we did). However, his techniques provides lasting changes in the way that you interact with your partner.

The final part of the book is a series of exercises that help drive how the major points in each chapter of the preceding two sections. Relevant and helpful, their main point appears to be to draw the reader into applying the theories presented in the book to their own situation. In this respect, they are helpful.

Which is really interesting and I plan to post about it in a future post.

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