How do we act with compassion even when we are feeling hurt, pain, anger, betrayal?
First things first: if you feel like shooting the laptop, don’t. It is time for you to self-soothe. Get away, take a break. If target practice helps, then go get a case of orange soda and drink half of it because you loved it as a kid. Then explode the other half with your target practice. Do this on your own–don’t record this on video. Then go back home and try to hug your family member. Tell them you love them. If you can talk to them about your feelings without blaming them or using shame, you are amazing and your family member will love you for that.
If you continually feel at battle in your home with your family member, then consider getting guidance and support from family counseling. This will help you develop your relational skills when you need them most. General Patton said if you sweat in practice, you bleed less in battle. Family conflict may feel like battle, and you may feel wounded. But family conflict is not battle and this is the most critical time for compassionate parenting.
Family counseling is a tool for the modern family. It focuses on supporting the relationships between family members. It teaches the relational skills that enable families to deal with conflict with compassion. These skills help reduce criticism. These skills help rebuild and maintain trust. It helps members of the family to reset expectations as the family grows throughout its life. Compassion skills help to repair the family bonds when we hurt one another as we struggle.
These skills are most important when we struggle. When we fail. When we totally wipe out in life. When that happens to a member of the family, the family is designed to support that member through that time. Compassionate relating increases family resiliency like a strong shelter during the storms. And while parenting naturally comes with some collateral damage, using positive relational skills facilitates healing. And that allows us to feel and express the truest meaning of family–transcendent joy.
May the long-time sun shine upon you.