Letting Go ~ Guilt Trips
Holidays are great occasions for getting together with family and more firmly cementing the bonds of our relationship. When these occasions are accompanied by the joy of being in one another�s company, they create long lasting memories that carry us through darker times. We know we are not alone�we have family. Unfortunately, many are gathered out of a sense of responsibility, guilt or requirement and are not family in spirit.
During holiday seasons we see the compulsory gathering of people connected only by blood. We frequently hear phrases such as �guilt trip� and �family obligation�. Have we created a false belief that says if we all get together on special occasions we must be a Leave It To Beaver family? Are we pretending a relationship when none exists? Are we lying to ourselves? Are we taking what is there and doing the best we can with what we have to work with.
A loving person will participate in holiday gatherings because they care about family members who would be hurt by their nonparticipation. This is not the same as pretending: pretending we want to be there, pretending we are happy. Neither is this the same as laying it all out in the open: �don�t want to be here but I knew I had to come� is very hurtful when expressed vocally or by attitude. This attitude is an end expression of guilt buttons installed in the child.
A peace-loving spirit seeks a way to reconcile all these differences, all these myriad scenarios, without causing anyone, themselves or others, to be disappointed or hurt. Now we are getting to the point where �letting go� becomes somewhat complicated. It calls for the participation of more than one.
First we have to determine and release the negative impacts of the guilt trips used to control us as children. In all fairness, let us pause to realize mom and dad did not install those guilt buttons to traumatize their children. In all fairness, they didn�t want to install them in the first place. They were created in moments when concern for a child�s safety and survival overwhelmed careful analysis of their words. The guilt�s ability to suppress the child�s spirit grew in scope as the child matured. Guilt traveled in directions never foreseen.
Communication between adult children and parents, loving communication accepting each other as unique individuals�not finger pointing--is the choice way of resolving this issue.
Parents who are on a spiritual journey will want to understand how their children have reacted to the guilt buttons so they can uninstall them. So many times they are not aware of the extent of the guilt, where it has been formed or how it is impeding growth.
It is also true that parents will let go of the buttons and the child will still hold on to them, continuing, like Don Quixote, to strike at windmills. Communication, once again, is the way to resolve this situation. If either side is too combative to allow free flow of communication, the written word is an alternative.
Children who have embarked on a spiritual journey while parents are still pushing the buttons often feel discouraged and frustrated. It is understandable that they may reach a boiling point and explode; but this leaves them with a whole new self-imposed guilt package. Exploding works no better than pretending the problem does not exist. Understanding the parent�s personal dynamics allows acceptance. Acceptance is the basis for patiently forgiving hurts or injuries.
Only when relationships are made whole can real spirit-to-spirit celebration commence. Letting go is the first step toward this celebration; it is the invitation.
Develop amnesia. The past is over. What past? E.K.