Yesterday, a long term employee of mine expressed her gratitude to me for educating her in and helping her to understand the principle of stability in regard to all behavior, but most specifically in regard to that of her child.
As I myself have said on many occasions, she began talking to me by reiterating that “It’s very difficult to be a parent who truly cares about your child and wants more than anything to do the right thing for them. There isn’t any type of instruction manual and unfortunately, most of the advice that everyone wants to stuff down your throat, including your parents and the rest of your family, doesn’t really work worth a shit. That advice more often than not, simply perpetuates ongoing behavior in yourself and your child that isn’t helpful or healthy in any long term manner. The same sins, madness, abuses, and confusion of the parents usually get passed on to their children. It happens in a familiar presentation of the societal norm, routine parental expectation, and supposed love, but in the end, there isn’t any real growth or learning or escape from the past for that child. Everyone involved, though, just keeps smiling and pretending like everything that could possibly be done is being done, that it is what it is, and that life is only supposed to play out that way. And meanwhile, if you are a person who actually observes and engages your child without that common delusional filter, you can see their suffering and struggle with all of life. You want to do something about it, but you don’t know where to turn or who to listen to. It doesn’t seem like anyone knows the answer.”
I replied “Well, you know that I understand all of that and that I agree with every word of it. I guess most people are just too broken or oblivious to want to look at all of that in the face and then be forced to do something about what they see. They are okay pretending to care, pretending to be a parent in the “normal” way, but not with acknowledging the actual degree of responsibility and obligation that they should have committed to themselves before biologically reproducing. It’s exactly the same way so many people approach their pets. You know that just as much as I do. We see it every day, over and over and over. People, parents, owners, whomever. . .they love to talk and editorialize about love and all that they do for those they love, but their actions are irrefutable proof that they are more focused on telling the fairy tale and selling it to everyone, than actually figuring out what it profoundly means to love and cherish another living creature. Love is stability, of that I have no doubt. Less than stability is instability or unstable or destabilizing, however you want to describe it, and that’s not love, that is passing on torment, suffering, and confusion to another living creature. That is anti-love and it is despicable.
I’m not sure how everyone is supposed to figure all of that out. Like you said, there isn’t an instruction manual and most people are raised to have no clue whatsoever about awareness, behavior, and empathy. Generation, after generation, after generation, repeats the same cycles without anyone intervening or breaking out of the delusional conformity of their family tree. It is impossible to even know where the blame starts, but in the end that doesn’t matter either, because one person after another just keeps passing on the demons to their children and then, their children’s children. Everyone’s caught in this acceptable repetitive loop of conforming excusable deniability instead of simply engaging in the reality of love; of either fostering and nurturing genuine stability or encouraging and enabling destabilization. I have had to connect the dots from a lot of diverse and complex shit to bring all of that into the focus that I now possess, but I know it’s true and I know it works. I wish I could share it with people on a much greater level than I do now, but most don’t listen. They have no desire to contemplate such complexity or embrace such a never ending burden.”
My employee had tears in her eyes when she spoke next. “I’ve seen such a difference in him. He was having a lot of problems before and acting out frequently and feeling like a failure. He told me once that he didn’t think anyone liked him, and I felt so sad, so sorry for him. I told him that that wasn’t true and I tried to help him, but it was hard to know what to do to really help him, how to offset or change the influences in his life that brought him to that point and made him continue to feel that way. Working here, I have learned an enormous amount about stability from you. I’ve seen it over and over with our patient’s and I’ve seen it over and over in employee interactions. I’m so glad that I have because it has made all the difference in the world in my child’s life. He has responded so well. The difference in him is so astounding. He won an award the other day in school for being the best at something. He didn’t get sent to detention or recieve a bad mark or get it trouble for failing a test. He didn’t get attention for being a failure or doing something wrong. He got attention for doing something right and being great at something. He was so proud of himself. He felt so good about his accomplishment and what he had achieved. You should have seen his smile and how happy he was. It made me cry.”
I smiled back with perhaps the faintest trickle of a tear in my own eye and said “That’s awesome. That’s so great to hear. That experience will stick with him from now on in his life. I think you know it, but that is a profound paradigm shift, and it is in such a great direction. I’m unbelievably happy for you and for him. That’s the difference between destabilization and stabilization, between “love” and tough love. You would think everyone who knows him would recognize that change, what brought it about, and want some for themselves, but the sad part is, most will erroneously chalk it up to something irrelevant or happenstance. I wish more would get it, but we know that they will not even when it is that black and white. Nonetheless, we will keep doing all that we may at the Castle* to keep spreading stability in our funky way as far and wide as we might, and being happy in whatever change, great or small, that we catalyze in the world for the better.”
*The Castle is a term I use to refer to the veterinary hospital that I own and operate.