In her latest Share Your Stories post, Holly Elissa Bruno reflects on giving yourself second chances by easing conflicts with people you care about. Read on and examine the ways you can step back from the heat of the moment, work it out, and gain a second chance from the experience. Join in conversation with Holly Elissa and share your thoughts on the second chances you’ve gained by working through conflicts.
Standing Up to Unworthiness: When a Child Calls a Mother Out
I love my son, Nick, forever and always. Nick knows he is loved. Feeling loveable is necessary, especially during upheavals.
Moving into a new place is disruptive for anyone. Boxes have to be packed and unpacked. Utilities disconnected and installed. Mail, rerouted. Habits that make life easier, like knowing the pathway to the bathroom in the dark, have to be newly created. New neighbors present universes to be learned. Grocery store aisles are unfamiliar. You know the drill.
For Nick, moving is doubly challenging. Nick is disabled. His disabilities are not visible to the eye. Nick struggles openly with anger management.
When Nick in uneasy, he easily transfers his discomfort to another person. Mom is a likely suspect. After all, no matter how raggedy or all-elbows a child gets, he knows Mom will love him through it.
One week after his move, Nick and I had lunch at a Thai restaurant. Nothing on the menu pleased him. That same night, with family friends, Nick loudly raged: “Mom! You didn’t do this. Mom, remember you didn’t do that! Mom! Mom!” I called on my usual tools for Oppositional Defiant Disorder: breathe, listen, don’t get hooked, state and maintain my boundaries. By the end of the evening, however, my buttons had been pushed.
I don’t like the raw feelings (resentment, hurt, rage) that can geyser out during conflicts. But I knew Nick and I needed to talk. Avoiding that conversation the next morning would have been easy. The storm would pass; but, the monsoon would continue to threaten.
So I said to my son of thirty years: I love you. I get that you are angry with me. I apologize for the things I didn’t get right as your Mom. Let’s get help from a counselor if you feel that would help. To which Nick said: “Mom, I’m sorry I said mean things to you.”
That’s what it took. We began to talk again and haven’t stopped since. Pretending the day of rage hadn’t happened was an option. Denial, however, wipes out second chances. As in most conflicts of the heart, humility is the balm in Gilead. Mother and child reunions require humility. Nick and I have a lifetime of second chances ahead of us. My hunch? We will need them and we will take them.
When you give yourself a second chance to ease a conflict in your family and/or your work family:
- How easy or difficult is stepping back from the heat of the conflict?
- When someone has hurt your feelings, are you likely to offer a second chance?
- What do you do if a person refuses to take or give a second chance, or dies before a second chance is possible?
May your day POP! with second chances!
BY LEAVING A COMMENT, I hereby give my permission to Redleaf Press to use my story and quote me (all names will be changed) in Holly Elissa Bruno’s upcoming book on second chances, including in all revised editions of the book, in all formats (including print and electronic) now known or developed in the future, in all languages and territories, and in any other subsidiary editions of the book, and in promotional materials published by Redleaf Press, as it sees fit.
If you’re new to Holly Elissa Bruno’s Share Your Stories series, you can learn more about the project here and read previous posts here. We invite you to share as often and openly as you want—on this post, previous posts, and future posts. Your comments will provide Holly Elissa with unique insight as she writes her next book, and she looks forward to continuing the conversation after the book is published.