Bonding with Notebooks
"Today could be the day that my mom realizes I'm growing up and gives me some more responsibility."
Dear Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul,
I have always been a real fan of your books and the important lessons of love and understanding that are shared in each of the stories. They have helped me to see things that were not so clear to me. I have received a great deal of comfort from reading many of the stories.
I had been going through some difficult times not so long ago dealing with the pressures of growing up and trying to communicate with my parents, particularly my mother. Our relationship had suffered because of this. When I would get frustrated or angry it seemed like we would end up in some sort of confrontation with each other and not talk about what we were really feeling. I feel like I have overcome those obstacles now, but not without a certain turn of events.
A while back I ran away from home so that I could be far enough away to vent my anger and release some of the pain bottled up inside of me. I stayed away for many hours, well into the night, before I finally decided to return home. When I walked through the front door of my house, I immediately saw all the pain, anger and disappointment on my parents' faces, especially my mother's. For days after the incident, my mom and I were on unfirm ground, to say the least. Everything we did or said was filled with tension until we both eventually snapped. We knew we desperately had to have a talk. We agreed to have breakfast together the next morning. That morning will remain etched in my memory forever. It was a turning point in both of our lives and our relationship.
We decided to go to a local café. On our way to the table I noticed that my mother had two notebooks and some pens. I asked her what they were for. She explained to me that sometimes it is easier to write down our feelings rather than try to talk about them. She then proceeded to hand me a notebook of my own and she kept one for herself. The "rules" for that talk were that she would pick a topic,
and we would write down our feelings about the topic in the form of a letter. It could be as long or as short as we wanted. Our first topic was: "Why I am so angry." I had written a half page worth of stuff, and my mom filled up nearly three pages. I watched tears stream down her face as she wrote. I never realized anyone could hide so much anger and frustration. It could have been that I never paid much attention, either. Sometimes we think we are the only ones with problems, but I was reminded that morning that other people can be hurting just as much.
After she was finished writing we exchanged our notebooks and read what the other had written. As soon as I started reading my mother's words, I began to cry and so did she. When we were finished reading we discussed our feelings. Amazingly enough, it felt like all the anger I had welled up inside of me drained from my body. Our talk helped me realize so many things I had never thought of before,
not only about my mother but about other people as well.
My mother and I continue to use our notebooks as a means of communicating our anger and frustrations, and our happiness also. We know that no matter how we feel about each other, our notebooks are a safe place to express it. We have made a pact that at the end of each letter we write, "I love you." Here are two of our more recent entries:
I just wanted you to know that some things I do are not meant to hurt or spite you. When I yell at you it's not because I hate you. And when I tell you I hate you, you should know that I really don't, although at times I feel like you hate me. Sometimes you just make me really mad and frustrated, and I don't know what to do with it. Like when you tell me you don't believe me even though I'm not lying, or when you do things that invade my privacy without my permission that you know I won't like. For instance, the other day you searched my room without
me knowing or being there. I just wanted to hate you so much then. Then today you yelled at me, and it made me so mad. I really don't think there is much more to say right now. I love you.
And my mother's response to my letter:
I realize that you get mad and frustrated, but I do, too. I don't want you to think that since I am an adult I don't have feelings. As much as you think that I might like it, I don't like yelling at you. I just wish you would help out a little more with the family and around the house. It would make things easier on me. Some things I do, like searching your room or not believing you, are not done to be mean. I only do those things if I have good cause. Sometimes you worry me, but it's just because I care. Although you might not think so, you yell at me as much as I yell at you. It hurts my feelings as well. Sometimes I just want to cry. I'm glad you told me how you felt about all those things. I'll try to work on my temper with you, and I'll try to be more patient if you will return the same courtesy to me and help me out a little around the house. If this is not okay, tell me and we can try to work something out. I love you.
We gained a special gift that day at the restaurant and we continue to be blessed with each other's everlasting love and patience. I am now a firm believer that we all need to express our feelings in order to live healthy lives. Thank you so much for letting me share this with you.
All rights reserved. Reprinted from Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul Letters
by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Kimberly Kirberger. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher.
Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL