When you catch yourself being a witch to your kids or your spouse the way your mom or dad used to be a witch to you or your other parent when you were a child, it doesn’t mean that you have become them. It just means that there is still some room for growth. And the fact that you caught yourself is a very good indicator that you are not mindlessly repeating the cycle. The fact that you care and that you want to be better and that you are trying to be better are all things that point to the fact that you are not your mom or your dad. You are you. And you can be however you want to be. You don’t have to fall into old habits and bad traps and holes of awfulness just because your parents did. You can be different—better—than that. Because you are you.
Now what if you have a really good reason for being a witch? Sometimes all the witchy-ness is completely called for. It’s a case-by-case basis thing. But remember that your mom and/or dad had good reasons, too (or thought they had good reasons) for being the way they were being with each other and with you and your siblings. So what’s important now is for us to determine what situations actually call for witchy-ness and which situations don’t. (Hint: Most situations don’t.) If we can get into better habits and learn better ways of approaching and responding to stressful situations that we might find ourselves in day after day, then we will slowly but surely master better ways of being. Nobody wants to live with a witch—no matter how in-the-right we may be for being that way. After all, witchy-ness is an ineffective means to bring about change. We want to be effective in life and in our families. Reject everything that distracts from this focus because ineffective methods waste time and energy that we could be spending on enjoying our lives and families.
Here are some quick points of what we can do when we catch ourselves falling into ineffective role modeling patterns.
- Let it go. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, give yourself a pat on that back that you caught yourself being witchy and that you want to do something about it. Move on! Focus on how you can improve things for yourself and for your situation and for your family members (instead of needlessly dwelling on it all)—because everyone (including yourself) needs encouragement to flourish instead of witchy-ness.
- Forgive yourself. We are all human, and we will all make mistakes—even mistakes that we think we shouldn’t be making. We are older now, we are tired, and we (quite frankly) don’t care about all the little things we used to care about (like whether or not other people approve of us). Because we aren’t as insecure as we used to be, we have the freedom to become comfortable in our own skin. This will mean that we have new learning curves, and we might make mistakes now that we know we wouldn’t have made when we were younger and more “on guard” about stuff. Accept this. Remind yourself that this is how we learn. Mistakes show us a better way to go.
- Make up for it somehow. The thing about witchy-ness is that it’s under-the-surface a lot of times. Don’t brush if off when you do it. Take responsibility for it and make up for it somehow. You remember how it felt to be in an environment of under-the-surface witchy-ness. It was not cool. Don’t allow the fact that you bounced back from it as a child to be an excuse to not fix the real problem now in the present with your children when you have the power to do so. The way that we do not become our parents in this context is to do what they never did: acknowledge it, apologize for it, and make things right.
- Try again (give yourself another chance). The deep remorse we feel for screwing up is a good thing. It means that we have a soul and that we aren’t so hardened that we can change course when we need to. So give yourself another chance to not be witchy when a similar situation arises. Try again. And again. Because this is how we learn to be better.
So keep going and keep caring!