My daughter browbeat me with insults, so I hurled one back. “Bitch,” I blasted from inside my head. She couldn’t hear me, but satisfaction oozed from my body. My hurting heart eased. A moment of joy even touched my spirit.
A smile then crept on my face. Not a warm, friendly, comforting smile. Rather, a sarcastic smile. One that pokes a nerve. My daughter eyeballed my face and thrusted her hands on her hips. “I hate you,” she screamed. My heart softened and tears welled in my eyes.
Shame replaced the void where satisfaction sat. Why do I do this? I questioned myself. Is it a stress reliever? Is it a survival tactic? Is it revenge? Maybe it’s all of these, but I’m the parent. I know better.
I’ve travelled this road before. It’s a muddy road that messes up our relationship. The fleeting “high” isn’t worth the fall. I love my daughter too much to let my thoughts harden my heart and fracture her self worth or our relationship.
I’m intentional when I fight this battle. I’ve been known to fall off the bandwagon but redirecting my thoughts on truth, restores me. Here are three redirection strategies that I’ve found helpful:
- Replace hurtful thoughts with healing ones. Bitch becomes My poor, broken girl. This alternate perspective lifts blinders. It allows me to see my daughter in need of healing. It positions me to respond with compassion and meet her needs.
- Use endearing terms to refer to your child. My sweet girl is my go-to phrase. How’s my sweet girl today? What does my sweet girl crave for breakfast? Does my sweet girl want to ride her bike? This reminds me of my daughter’s heart behind the brokenness.
- Meditate on an inspirational message. A google search produces many but I prefer biblical ones. Psalm 19:14—Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your Sight, Oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer—speaks to me. It purifies my thoughts towards my daughter.