Wednesday, June 29, 2016

protecting the heart


First, thanks for everyone in Hiroshima last weekend who told me they were reading my posts and asked me about the family. Special thanks (and you know who you are) to someone who shared her family trials with me, showing me that it's good to talk about the hard side of parenting, and that every family goes rough times. What I took from our conversation is that no matter what we do or don't do, our children have their own paths to follow.

This post is called "Protecting the heart". I did not enjoy childhood at all. I felt misunderstood, alone, and was bullied severely (as I have mentioned), which made me create a sturdy wall around myself -- for years, I was loathe to let anyone in, and that resulted in serial monogamy until I met my husband, the first person I could let in because he made me feel that he liked me the way I was and he truly made me want to be a better person because of his belief in me (not to say that any previous people I was involved with didn't feel the same way, but I was too busy protecting myself that I didn't notice).

In Japan, it's easy to let your guard down. As a foreigner, you are judged by different standards, and because people value harmony, they rarely get in your face, although they will talk about you and speculate behind your back, just like anywhere else. Because of this lack of confrontation, I've been letting my guard down more and more over the years. In fact, I'm pretty open-hearted now and let everything go in, good or bad.

And with the kids, I feel it's important for me to have an open heart and to keep it that way, so that they will feel I'm there for them. However, the girl tests my heart every day with her bad words and violent actions, and although things are really, really improving, I'm finding myself relying on the anti-anxiety meds more and more because I'm a naturally nervous person and I tend to imagine worst-case scenarios even when there's no reason to. This morning, for example, I was just sitting at my desk overwhelmed with dread. I took half a med and now I'm chilled (I'm also menstruating, so my hormones are crazy, too -- yes, still menstruating weeks shy of 53 years old) which I'm sure doesn't help much. I'm finding it a little difficult to find things to be happy about our look forward to at times like this, but I have my own roller coaster to ride, I guess!

Anyway, any guidance on how to keep one's heart open while not letting in the bad stuff would be greatly appreciated!


  1. Sounds like the past weeks have had their ups and downs indeed. Fwiw, we've been there with the stealing money, too, and it is just so hard. A different kind of pain from that of the more physical outbursts, at least for me. Trust is so important, and so fragile. It sounds like you've got a great plan in place, and a wonderful attitude. You are doing so well by your daughter.

    Anyhow, on the subject of keeping an open heart. This maybe sounds too touchy-feely, but you did mention how much you've been benefitting from meditation, so maybe. I've been getting a surprising lot out of "loving-kindness" meditation. I've been working through a book called "The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion;" again, sounds pretty hippy-dippy but I have been getting a pretty solid emotional boost from it, beyond what I had been getting out of straight mindfulness meditation, which I've done on and off for years. Just throwing it out there in case it resonates!

  2. Thank you for your comments and recommendations, Sara. She stole again from me yesterday and I confronted her in the gentlest way possible. I told her I was very disappointed, and I knew that in her heart she was a good person, but she was doing a bad thing. I told her to do good things and that she's smart enough to make the right decisions. After about 40 minutes of silence punctuated by my pleas for her to return the money, she admitted that she'd done it and apologized, which was a big step. I told her she was halfway there and returning the money would be the next step.

    She said that she'd already spent it at a convenience store, but I noticed this morning that there was extra change in my purse, so she returned some of it, which is another big step.

    I welcome all forms of meditation and thank you for the recommendation. I will look into it for sure. I need all the resources I can get!


  3. Oh, I am sorry! Amazing progress though. You two are going to make it!