When I get angry, I feel as though I have to justify my actions and defend why I feel the way I do. This started long before my children began using drugs.

When my children were small and I established a rule, they would always ask why. I felt that I owed them a detailed explanation, which I thought would make me feel better. I believed, “No” should never mean just “No.” I felt I had to find the right words and the gentlest way to tell them why I had to say “No.” I believe I did this because I did not want them to be hurt or make them upset. I felt that this was the right and loving way to parent, and once they understood me then they would obey.

I discovered, with the help of the Nar-Anon program and therapy, that I was reversing roles and putting myself in the child’s role of explaining to an unhappy parent. I was reliving and trying to correct the frustration and anger I felt when my parents told me “No.” I am beginning to understand that it was me who needed the long logical explanations. Today, I understand that as a parent and as an adult, I do not need to explain my every action to anyone, but rather I am choosing to do so. I was doing this so others would be pleased and happy with me.

Thought for Today: I need to be okay with myself. I will remember that my power is to know what is right for me. It is okay to be myself; I do not always need to justify my decisions.

“Learning emerges from discovery, not directives; reflection, not rules; possibilities, not prescriptions; diversity, not dogma; creativity and curiosity, not conformity and certainty; and meaning, not mandates.” ~ Stephanie Pace Marshall, PhD