Food for Thought

Here you will find snippets that I have found inspirational and thought-provoking. Where they come from others, I cite the source, and often you will find the original source in the Recommended Reading section. I have begun to add them to the beginning of the page, along with the date they are added.

28th May 2011:
“When we set healthy boundaries, those still living on the victim triangle tend to see us as persecutors. (“How dare you stop rescuing! Who is going to take care of me now?”) Taking care of ourselves may cause those who are used to being taken care of at our expense to cry “no fair!” Even though we know we are doing what’s best for us both by not rescuing, we must be prepared for them to see us as a persecutor. They will loudly protest, but we must remember that their protests, no matter how loud, do not make us persecutors. As we begin to set boundaries, they may complain that we are rejecting or abandoning them. It helps to speak honestly with them in a way that neither justifies, nor devalues, their personal reality.
Sometimes our loved ones are deeply invested in verifying their own perception of Reality and so opt to stay on the victim triangle. We cannot force them to give up their primary way of relating just because we want them to do so, no matter how dysfunctional we may consider their actions. We can share our desire for, and belief in, a differnt sort of relationship, a relationship free from the victim triangle. But beyond that, we must relax into knowing that because we have moved out of victim consciousness, our relationship with them is bound to change. Change is inevitable because when one person experiences a shift, the dynamic of the whole relationship changes. When we take responsibility for ourselves and allow others to take responsibility for themselves, our relationship with them will either improve
, or it may dissolve. Sometimes dissolution is necessary, but when it is, we find we are ready for it. We find we have the resources available to make the transition from dysfunction to a life of greater health and well-being.”

Guiding Principles for Life Beyond Victim Consciousness by Lynne Forrest

“Shaming is one of the most frequently used weapons in the parental armoury where a child has unfavoured status. Shame is an acute sense of being exposed, scrutinized and judged negatively. It often entails painful self-consciousness and feelings of awkwardness, inhibition and reticence… But it is also accompanied by anger directed at the parent who does the shaming… Shame is most often induced by humiliating put-downs, belittling comments that leave the child feeling he has been too big for his boots… The shamed child is left with no dignity, no sense that he is in control of himself or of others’ perceptions of him.”

They F*** You Up by Oliver James

“Maybe we should celebrate the recent state of affairs where children are more likely to suffer from excessive attention than neglect. Still, it is worth pondering the potential consequences of our own approach to ensure it constitutes a Middle Way. In Buddhist terms, some mothers of our generation risk an unhealthy attachment to their children informed by anxiety and insecurity about their parenting skills. Their relationship with their children has the potential to revolve more around the needs of their self-esteem – their need to see themselves as ‘good’ mothers – than a clear perception of what their children need. I often see such tendencies in myself: I catch myself rescuing, mollycoddling, fussing and waitressing for Zac, who is almost eleven, when it is high time he develops more independence. Yet motherhood can only be less enjoyable when it becomes another tool in our lives for self-evaluation.”

Buddhism for Mothers of Schoolchildren by Sarah Napthali

“Spend the day with a mystic, lunatic, or writer. Or, for that matter, a child (who, if schooling and society don’t manage to weld shut his door to amazement, will no doubt one day become a mystic, lunatic, or writer). These people have their heads screwed on sideways and hobble around gob smacked by the beauty and despair of the world. If you opt to spend the day with a child, try to find a small one, preferably raised by hippies on a commune on the coast, but really any child will work, if you actually pay attention to what they have to show you.”

– Munju Ravindra: From the essay, Wonder: A Practice for Everyday Life

“Humans through the ages have been a little too comfortable with silencing their consciences, misgivings and intuition in the face of an authority figure – or the group who thinks with one mind. We have a long history of using quotations from the scriptures to justify all kinds of harmful actions. Even the less impressionable  believe anything deemed ‘logical’ or the product of rigorous thought processes…”

Buddhism for Mothers of Schoolchildren by Sarah Napthali

” Being a nurturer, we know that the most loving thing we can do for loved ones is to respect their ability to pursue their own goals whether or not we approve of their choices. Rather than seeing them as weaklings that need to be fixed, we adjust our thoughts / beliefs /actions so that we allow ourselves to allow others to experience and learn from the consequences of their own choices and mistakes. We are no longer tempted then to take responsibility for their problems or the outcomes in their lives. In other words, we understand more clearly what is our business and what is not.

Guiding Principles for Life Beyond Victim Consciousness

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