Shadows of a Parent

Did she use to look hotter?

          It’s Tuesday and we are talking shadows this week. Tuesdays are dedicated to our relationships with our children, parenting and just being a child. When we decided to discuss shadows this week, Tuesday became a very important day. Why you ask? Simply put, most of our shadows are created in childhood. Some of you are reacting to this negatively and are thinking, ‘Oh jeez, here comes the inner child crap’ or ‘why the hell would you look for a shadow?’ To these questions we say, are you comfortable living an unexamined life?

          Lee says: Parenting, in general, is a veritable cornucopia of opportunities to get to know yourself better. However, if you choose to eschew personal growth, therapy or just asking yourself ‘why the hell do I do this’ then you will always be at the mercy of the world. It’s the difference between a passive victim of fate and taking on the role of protagonist in your life. Are you the hero or are you leaving that up to someone else who will, I’m sorry to say, invariably disappoint you.

          On September 30, Patricia Heaton is starring in a new show on ABC called ‘The Middle’. The Warner Brothers promo department says it’s a show about an overwhelmed mother of three trying to get by. The opening scene of the premiere is the main character, Heaton, dressed as a superhero in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone reception. Since we’re talking shadows and archetypes, this scene just made me go all atwitter. Think of it, Mommies. A superhero? Lost. All alone. Nobody can hear you. Is anything resonating with Moms yet?

          Now in most of the family sitcoms or dramas, I tend to react to the Mothers who are over-involved, hovering and meddling. You know the type of Mom. Does Endora ring a bell? So what am I reacting to? I don’t like the fact that she violates boundaries and blames the others for her daughter’s situation. So, how is Endora my shadow? Easy, I am Momma Bear. Nothing makes me forget boundaries easier than having my kids or someone I love being hurt or have the potential of emotional discomfort. I become the chief conductor on the blame train and everyone is fair game. When I behave like this, I am totally entitled to my behavior, which I would normally find to be out of integrity, because I am protecting my babies or my family. This means if I need to call a teacher a bitch and be held down during a school meeting then that’s just fine (no, this hasn’t happened…yet).

          Normally I would never behave like Endora but my kids bring this out of me. Some parts of Endora are wonderful such as her fierce love of her children, her problem solving, feeling invincible and the outfits are fabulous. On the negative side, the lack of boundaries just goes against who I am and what I want my children to learn. In every shadow there is the dark and the golden. I believe the golden parts of Endora are so important in my role of Mom. The negative is more hindering than helping (that isn’t necessarily true in the case that someone really needs to get their ass kicked).

          I thank my self reflection or the consideration of my internal workings for these insights. Without that, I would stand there wondering what the hell was happening to me and blaming the world for my need to react so irrationally. That doesn’t sound so bad on paper unless it’s your arrest warrant or another law suit.

          Paul says: Non-participatory Dad’s bother the shit out of me. Nothing annoys me more than a father that sits, not lifting a finger, and complains to his wife about the children’s behavior. With shadows there is a rule of thumb that if something erks you on an emotional level then it is your shadow. So apparently I have a ‘lazy daddy’ shadow. Shit, I just figured that out while writing this. Maybe if I integrate this new shadow, I can start to ignore my apes. What do you think?


  • aida reyes

    great piece! paul I love the insight afforded to you by your prose! isnlt writing awesome? its the right brain that sneaks in and goes whamo! lee good work! great ‘splainin’ of the shadows. I’m lovin this week!

  • Bob

    The greatest part of the healing journey is when we become aware of our behavior that we have denied all our life. Shadow work seems scary but it can be real fun and at times filled with laughter. OK a lot more tears then laughter! Paul, I felt the oh shit factor in your discovery.

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