With the start of a new year coming up, many of us are thinking about who we want to be in 2013. For some this means a plan to diet and exercise, or to accomplish a specific goal. For me, new year's resolutions are more about touching base with my core values than a to-do list. I started calling it a "mission statement" a few years back, and make an effort to check in with it from time to time, to see if I still value the same things, and to remind myself of my intentions.
I wrote the following two years ago, as part of a post about coming out of the FOG, but I think it can stand alone as a mission statement for parents who are also children of narcissists. I'm considering printing it out and hanging it up somewhere where I can see it more frequently.
I will be myself. I will work to overcome the anxiety, fear, and shame that shackle me. I acknowledge the heredity and upbringing that contributed to these issues in the past, and take responsibility for handling them in the present time.
I will not fraternize with people who do me harm, physically or emotionally. I will not subject my children to such people. I will continue to build a community of reciprocal relationships with friends and family members who play actively positive roles in our lives and who show a willingness to work constructively together in times of interpersonal struggle.
I will not allow any person to bully and intimidate my family via threats of legal action.
I will be a compassionate witness for others who need to share their stories and come out of secrecy, whether it is about abuse or any other personal trial. I will express my gratitude to the friends who share their struggles with me in order to let me know that I am not alone.
I will work hard to be a truly loving parent who understands who her children are as people, who will respect their rights, who rejects control-based parenting advice with its negative views of the nature of children. I will listen to my children's concerns. I will acknowledge my mistakes and apologize genuinely to them. I will not shame them or withdraw love from them when who they are is at odds with who I am. I will not use my size, experience, or age to oppress them. I will exercise patience, self-restraint, compassion.
I will expect my husband to confront me and support my children when I harm them. I will support them when they believe that he has done something unfair, or when I witness him doing something hurtful. We will work as a family to encourage an atmosphere of respect for all members, regardless of age.
I understand that my children may choose their own paths. I will work to be open to their criticism and understanding if, despite my intents in this time, I fail to play a significantly positive role in their lives. I will accept whatever relationship they wish to have with me in the future. I do not own their bodies or their minds, now or ever.
If you are a parent, what is your parenting mission statement, and how is it affected by also being an ACON?