I took all my stuff to the downstairs bedroom, shut the door, and crawled into bed, pulling the covers over my head.
It felt safer there.
Perhaps, there, I could escape the message that pounded in my head relentlessly:
“You are a bother.”
It was the time of my second clinical depression and I felt like I was being a burden to my husband, who would have done anything for me.
I slept downstairs by myself, believing I was doing my husband a favor by removing myself from his presence.
I really believed it to be true.
After all, how many men have to put up with wives that are clinically depresssed? Wives that are psychiatric patients? Wives that stare all day out the bedroom window, accomplishing little to nothing.
I must be a burden to him and to my adult children.
It is a deep-seated false belief within my brain. It is like the 465 Highway that runs through Indianapolis. Always active.
It is at times like this that I hate being adopted.
This tendency has shown up in my relationships with our adult children–4 of them. Two married daughters.
Whenever we are invited to their home for dinner or whatever. I always prompt Bob that it is time to go. Before anyone else. Really early.
I am a burden, a bother.
When our youngest daughter picked up on this behavior years ago, she called me on it. Now, that is love.
“Mom, you always want to rush away.”
Deep within my psyche, the message is carved….”You are a burden.”
When did this start?
Was it when I was a newly adopted baby and my parents didn’t have any parenting skills whatsoever? Was it when I stole neighbor’s clothes and my mother felt compelled to apologize for me? Or, could it have been when I fell at her feet, unmarried and pregnant, at age 20?
All those things are burdens.
But, am I a burden?
Is the baby who didn’t have a real name except Baby X a burden? Is the fact that she was whisked away from her drugged mother a burden? Is that why she had to be drugged?
I still, at age 72, carry this burden.
I’m getting better at not shaming myself, but it is a daily, monthly, yearly battle.
I have to look up.
To God almighty, I am not burden. He chose to give me life abundantly. He was the first one to ever think about me…and He loves me incredibly.
Looking up, for me, is always the answer.
The messages carved deeply in my brain begin to fade as I remember who I am to my Creator, Redeemer, and Savior.
What Parents, Husbands, and Adult Children Can Do
- Tell the Truth….”You leave really early all the time.”
- Affirm Your Disappointment: “I love to be with you and I feel like I got cut short.”
- Challenge Us: “Please stay….we miss you when you leave so early.”
- Husbands: “I love you so much, even when you are hurting. Let me hold you in bed until you go to sleep. Please don’t sleep downstairs.”
- Parents of kids and teens: “I love every part of you….even when some of those parts are hurting. Will you let me in and let me hug you?”