Who Is Your Role Model?
My father was the abuser, and my mother was Bipolar, so trying to find a role model as a kid was tough. It became even more challenging when I grew up and became a parent.
Let me back up a minute.
Life has been a whirlwind of ups and downs for weeks now. Six weeks ago, I stumbled against a padded storage chest and ripped a hole in my left shin. Thank heavens I was a den mother and knew how to apply a pressure bandage. The puddles of blood on the bathroom floor were more than enough to impress upon me the difficulties of recovery from this recent accident.
If you’ve never experienced wound care, I need to warn you. It’s not pleasant.
We desperately need these professionals to guide us, promote the healing process, and hopefully avoid infection.
I learned that some patients become extremely rude and agitated during the process as I talked to my team.
When the pain was the worst, I ad-libbed to make them all laugh. Yes, that’s my style. Mom used to call me her “Little Pollyanna” because I consistently smiled through the tears.
On Friday, I received the news that skin had finally covered the exposed nerve and the large wound on my leg. I was ecstatic!
My torture treatments were over.
No longer will they pick at my deep wound with their tweezers.
The burning, stabbing pain is over.
I intended to celebrate throughout the weekend.
And then, RBG happened.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg – Every Girl’s Role Model
Through her example, I joined the Chamber of Commerce in Lakeville, MN.
As she fought for my rights as a woman, I competed with men. I did the same jobs but never received the same pay.
When the news hit the airwaves that she died, I wept.
No longer did I feel joyous and celebratory. As hard as I fought to be treated equally during my 45 years working, I only had one employer who treated me fairly.
Before my role model’s body was even cold, the fighting over replacing her started.
I went from joyous to heartbroken to rage in less than two hours.
The saddest thing for me this weekend was the fact that I’m listening to her book, My Own Words, through Audible. It’s not a book I can digest in one, two, or three sittings. There is so much information that I choose to digest it slowly. The fact that Justice Ginsburg reads the book makes it seem like a gift that will never go away.
“At the heart of My Own Words is an abiding commitment to civility, to institutional norms, to the infinite possibilities of dialogue and cooperation, and the now-dubious notion that protecting outsiders and others is a core American value. . . . Above all, always in her own methodical way, what shines through these essays is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, feminist, who truly could not conceive of a world without meaningful gender parity in the 1970s . . . as a collection of thoughtful writing about perseverance and community and the law, it is a tonic to the current national discourse.”, The Washington Post.
What Do We Do If We Don’t Have an Appropriate Role Model?
I wrote Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals to give girls hope and convince them to find someone to trust if they are bullied or abused.
Since I had to sit with my leg elevated for the past two months, I’ve embarked on writing a new book. “Re-Parenting” – Breaking the Chains of Abuse – with another of my favorite role models, Catherine Gruener LCPC. As a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Elmhurst, IL, Catherine helped me with the discussion sheet for the Elle and Cosmo books. We are now embarking on the biggest project of all. What do we do when we don’t have an appropriate role model. Do we continue the abuse?
We want to help change things.
I’m working with Catherine again on this new endeavor. Sadly, one out of seven of you reading this also suffered abuse as a child.
You must have felt some degree of terror when you had your children as I did.
How do we avoid and change the abuse of our childhood? It’s the only thing we knew.
And so, I’m asking you to share with me in the comments the challenges and fears you faced as a parent.
I know this may be the first time some of you have ever acknowledged you had a less than stellar childhood. That’s OK. If you prefer, you can send me an email to my author account at firstname.lastname@example.org. I understand.
To be clear, I will not use your name. I’m guessing we all suffered different forms of abuse. In this book, with Catherine’s help, I don’t want to miss anything. There are so many challenges when we become parents. They write parenting books for parents who had normal childhoods. Some of us didn’t.
I remember when my father used the back of his hand on my cheek to knock me across the room.
Mother was either in bed so depressed she couldn’t move or out flitting around being, well, her.
I remember the seven-year-old little girl raped for the first time.
Whether it was verbal, sexual, or physical abuse, I want to hear from you.
If it was neglect, I still want to hear from you.
I’m no different from RBG. I want to stop the pattern of abuse in this country.
An estimated 678,000 children (unique incidents) were victims of abuse and neglect in 2018. This is for them.
4 thoughts on “RBG Is Our Role Model & We Carry On”
Because I grew up afraid of my father hitting me (boxing on the ears, punches in the shoulders, a belt across the back of my knees, a utensil across the fingers if I touched food with my fingers), I vowed never to hit or spank my son–my only child. I didn’t even believe in harsh discipline… which backfired in the school system. I felt guilty because I couldn’t give him the life I felt he deserved. I felt guilty because the school system wasn’t designed for children who were beyond normal in intelligence. I was also a single parent in between getting into dysfunctional relationships which resulted in moving way too many times. One of those moves was to Austin for a year, where I found out about a private middle school he was able to attend on scholarship. But then I moved back to California after I was promised a similar program… and it wasn’t. He got into even more trouble. Should of, could of. I regretted moving back. I didn’t know about home schooling either. My son was extremely independent, off on his own spending nights at his friends from the time he was 12 while I worked full-time and sometimes took college classes. I felt abandoned by him. Still do. He rarely called, didn’t answer my letters, and wasn’t available when I wanted to call him. But he is now married and the father of a beautiful 7-year-old, and I am proud of the father he has become… wanting to give his daughter everything he didn’t have when he grew up, including discipline. They live 1,500 miles away, and I rarely have calls or visits (video) with them.
There is nothing more difficult when raising our children than trying to get to “normal” after suffering abuse ourselves as a child. I guarantee you, no one does it perfectly. We know what we don’t want to pass on to our children, but as we struggle to try to recover from our own past, we’re bound to make mistakes. One day, he will realize everything you did was to try to benefit him. No one’s perfect, but the fact that you didn’t hurt him and that he has become a great father should give you the peace of knowing you succeeded. I would write a journal about all the good times you two had together, and one day send it to him. His choice then may or may not bring him back, but at least you’ve recorded all the things you did right. Point out here and there how your decisions were so different from how your father reacted in similar situations. I must admit I had great successes and some heart-breaking failures, but above everything, the boys knew I would give my life to protect them…and I nearly did.
Bless your heart, Peggy! What a heavy week you’ve had. At least your leg is on the mend. Thanks for your openness in sharing your childhood story. You’ve come a long way-:D
Thank you, Cat. I feel rather like an unfinished manuscript. Each time something bad happens and I recover from it, I tell myself I’m still here because God isn’t done with me yet. That’s the reason I wake up each morning with great expectations.