January 11, 2008

Listening

I don’t know if it was the really long and stressful day at work, or my exhaustion due to going to bed late and getting up early every day for over a week (among other emotionally exhausting events), but last night I was low enough to actually hear my son when he told me that I am often impossible to talk to, and I make people feel bad when I think I know everything and I lecture and go off and never hear what the other person is saying. He said that often when he’s most unhappy it has stemmed from interaction with me. I’ve heard similar words before, but have always been able to deny such truths to myself and brush it off as normal teen angst.

But last night, as I sat there and looked in his eyes, and truly listened to what he was and was not saying, I didn’t let myself not hear him. And it hurt. Hurt so damn bad.

I was immediately transported to my own teen years and recalled how impossible my dad was to talk to. He was so cutting with his words, and never wrong, and the lectures...holy hell, the LECTURES he would give! He could be so condescending to me. And I forced myself to actually look at myself openly and I realized that my son is right. It brought me to my knees, and I was devastated.

I am determined to change that part of me and become someone who can truly listen to understand, and not be so condescending to those people I love.

It’s damn good I finally found a good therapist. This won't be easy.

19 comments:

Eric said...

I do this too little sis. Generally it's with my employee's. I'm going to work harder on it too...

Cele said...

SML we all find ourselves doing the things we swore we'd never do. The difference is you heard, you listened, you realized, and you want to make a difference. You go girl.

Jazzy said...

Lisa,

I know that the therapist will help provide you tools to make the changes that you want to make. You need to be open to it and willing to work harder than you ever have before in order to be successful. It is hard to really look at ourselves and see our own faults, but you are doing just that and will be able to change. I know that you can do it.

KingM said...

Recognizing our weaknesses is the first and toughest part of making a change.

As for the specific issue at hand, I can sympathize. I have a 12 year-old son and I'm afraid of the teen years, more in the sense of being worried about repeating the errors of my own parents than in how my son will turn out, since he's a pretty good kid.

Becca said...

((hug))

Sideon said...

Ditto on the big hugs!

LG said...

Kingm is right - recognizing is the first and sometimes the hardest step, but I love you most for wanting to change. That makes the difference between you and your father; it's not a permanent condition with you.

Have you read Eat Pray Love? I saw the author on tv not long ago, and she said sometimes we need to be broken down a bit before we're ready and open to listen (a reference to what happened to her in the book). Sounds like that may be what happened with you. It's a gift.

lostinutah said...

Cele is right - we all turn into our parents in ways we don't want. Good news - you love your family and want to do things differently. Give yourself credit, good luck with therapy and hugs to you.

taikotari said...

Lisa, you know what the breakthrough is? You listened. That's the biggest starting point that many parents often don't go to. Applause, my friend, applause. You're wonderful, don't forget that.

hm-uk said...

Take it easy on yourself, SML - everyone has, at some time or another, heard without listening...

We're all working on getting by in this life, no? Lots of love,
Aitch

Beat Dad said...

I have moments like that with my wife and my oldest son.

I walk away, and realize that all I did is tell them how I think they should deal with something, instead of just listening to them.

Thank you for the chance to listen and offer silent support.

Wayne

Phoenix Touch said...

I am appreciating your willingness to step into vulenrablility and LISTEN! Brava, Sister! Thank you for sharing. I imagine that, in that moment, your son felt SO heard! And, even more importantly (I think), you showed him that you are human.

CV Rick said...

you and I had the same dad, or so it seems.

and you and I possess the same habits, frustrating as that may be.

Jennifer said...

God, how much of that is in me? How often do I jump in with the answers even when they don't need my help?

God......

Thanks, Lisa. Now I'm depressed with ya.

Sister Seers said...

I realized just this last week that I treat my kids the way my mom treated me...and I hate it. I hated it then and I hate it more in me. I'm glad I'm not the only one who does that! Anyway - hugs and good luck to you.

Love Medicine said...

I appreciate your raw honesty. I have really loved reading your blog and wonder if I can add you to my blog roll.

Figaro said...

((hugs))

mark said...

No one is perfect SML. You are not and neither am I. No one is ever too old to learn either. Just do the best that you can. Best to you.

JulieAnn Henneman said...

Our kids are such great teachers. aren't they? The little shits. ;) Hugs sweets