Ever since I was a child, I could remember arguments my parents had at night. I would be terrified while simultaneously feeling the need to protect my mother at all costs. I would feel my stomach drop when my older brothers where not home, because I would think, who would protect my mom from my dad? My father never hit my mom but it was a fear I thought could happen at anytime. Although I had a happy childhood filled with cheerleading, toys and Lizzie McGuire shows, I still battled the waves of anxiety that came with parents with a troubled marriage . Although my father never physically abused my mother, he had a drug addiction and my mother did not like him to come home after a binge as he would disturb the peace in our home.
My parents have been married for over 34 years as of today. In 2014, my father decided to clean his life up and live clean and sober dedicating his life to Christian Ministry and helping others . I admire my father and his dedication to serve the homeless and give those battling addiction hope . He has truly helped so many people . I also admire my mother for her strength in showing my dad unconditional love. My father was sober from 2014 until spring of 2020. There has been a lot that has transpired in my father’s life since the passing of his mother in 2018, and going back to his drug addiction has been a coping mechanism for him. He also suffers from diabetes and has failing health . My mother also has had a stroke before and goes to many doctor appointments. I’m 26 years old now, although I’m not the little girl who was riddled with fear and anxiety from their arguments , I am now a confident woman who has to look out for the well being of her parents while not letting their problems become my own. I personally am advising my mother to separate from my father , which is hard because I want their marriage to last, but her peace and happiness is being lost in the marriage currently and you cannot change a man but you can only focus on yourself. I tell my mother to know her self worth, know that’s she’s worthy and that she has helped my father with his addiction for more than 3 decades and it’s time to release him so he can go on his own journey of healing and self-discovery . I encourage my father to go to rehab, to stop blaming others for the pain in his life , and to truly allow himself to heal and get the help he needs. My parents are both almost 60 years old, and I don’t want them to live another day in pain that doesn’t have to be. But at the same time, if my mother doesn’t leave my father or if my father goes back to drugs, I can’t let that be my burden . Even though I love my parents deeply, I cannot make their life choices my pain. I can only give them the tools they need . It hurts me deeply to see my father addicted , even though I know he wants freedom. It hurts me to see my mother go though the pain of a broken marriage, but I know real change can happen and sometimes you have to be broken in order for healing to began .
Here are some tips I have come to understand over my journey :
1.) Do not blame yourself for your parents situation. No matter what, they are adults who choices and consequences are their own.
2.) Always respect them. You don’t have to agree with what they do, but honor their position as your parents .
3.) Do something fun for yourself. Self care is important and much needed when dealing with high stress situations.
4.) Talk to someone. Share your emotions with a trusted confidant. You don’t have to carry the burden by yourself.
5.) Know when to let go. You have your own life to live, don’t be stressed out from someone else’s problems- no matter how much you love them .
As I writing this , my father cried to me and told me how much he loves me and wants to change . He is own his way to a faith based rehabilitation program now. Although I don’t know the fate of my parent’s marriage, I am at peace that both of them are getting the healing they need, and that regardless of the outcome, it was never my weight to carry .
In times of darkness, I find hope in my faith in Jesus, my family and my hope that things will get better if we only believe and put in the action needed today for a better tomorrow. I love my parents deeply and I know the only way I can truly be a great daughter to them is to put my mental health care first, and so should you.
Thanks for reading,
*P.S keep up with me at http://www.staciecherill.com/?m=1