Cutting the cords

'Letting them go'
‘Letting them go’

We’re all familiar with cutting of the umbilical cord after birth, but what about the invisible cords that attach our emotions to those around us?

I’ve been very aware of these cords recently and have been reminded to keep ‘cutting’ them so I don’t get bogged down with other people’s rubbish!

It is said that a child has a strong emotional attachment to its mother until they are seven years old, both partners able to feel the other’s pain. I remember when my sons were babies how it physically hurt me in my chest when they cried in pain.
When they were older, maybe even nine years of age, I let them take the right of passage and walk on their own from our home to the town centre. Our lane opens onto a very busy main road with no crossing or pavement and very fast large lorries give small windows of a clear road to cross. This means that any Mother’s imagination is filled with horrific visions of squashed children,so it is quite a big deal letting them walk and cross that road for the first time,with no adult telling them when it is absolutely safe. The physical pain I felt in my chest each time I imagined where they might be on that journey, then the relief when they phoned or returned home, safe. I can’t imagine the torture for those parents whose children don’t return safely, and the scar of that cord ripped away.

It is easy to forget that we form other cords of attachment, with everyone we meet, sometimes they’re fine silky, spider like webs, glistening with light, other times they are thick ropes, the size of which could tow a ship.
It’s up to us what kind of cords we develop and which ones we cut.
The silky ones are formed after a brief hello and a pleasant chat. An encounter that can easily be forgotten as it was easy and pleasant, no lasting strong emotions are formed, and the relationship can be kept at a distance.
Then at the opposite end of the scale are the ropes, heavy with water and seaweed, and a direct link to the pain and misery of the person at the other end.
I’m reminded of a friend who was wanting to end her marriage and her telling me that she was just so tired of dealing with ‘his stuff’. We’re not talking of dirty socks here, but thick heavy moods, depression, anger, jealousy frustration, all pouring into and around her through the thick rope that held them together. Severing a cord that strong is hard which is why so many of us don’t. Sometimes we don’t even know who’s ‘stuff’ belongs to whom. As well as destroying us, pulling us down to the weight at the other end of the rope, it’s also safe, we’re connected, even to an anchor keeping us steady.

I have a step son who now lives with us. With him comes a huge web of cords from his extended family, his mother and himself. my natural instinct is to form a ‘mother cord’ but that isn’t his natural instinct. There’s not a handbook that comes with your step child saying what you are or aren’t responsible for. The cord between you and your stepchild snaps regularly, when you least expect, whipping away at speed, knocking you off your feet or slapping you across your face as it retracts. other times it’s a thick sludgy cord, reeling you in, full of grief, confusion and anger. Getting the balance that benefits you both is a master skill, a skill I have yet to learn.
We’ve all experienced toxic friendships, or worse still relationships with people we live with or near to. Where our lives are so intermixed that removing a cord of attachment seems impossible. Yet every time you interact with that person, sometimes even thinking of them, pulls the cord tighter and covers you in a thick sludge of negativity. It’s then that we have to remember to cut those cords. When you’re poorly the mesh of webs and ropes flying off you connecting you to all and sundry, can really weigh you down. The energy needed to just distinguish between your emotions and everyone else’s can be too much. You start to drown, and be strangled, all tying you up in knots.
I’ve had many a sane person remind me to ‘cut those cords’, and the simplest and most effective way is to imagine Archangel Micheal slashing them away from you with his almighty sword. Sounds crazy I know, but it works.
We sometimes make those cords stronger than we need, thinking that we are responsible for the other people in our lives. We’re not. Keep the cords attached with love that allow intravenous positive thoughts and emotions, they keep you strong and support you in tough times.
When you next feel angry, frustrated or just in a bad mood, step back and think ‘is it me?’ Quite often you’ll see it isn’t at all, it’s someone else’s rubbish pouring into you. Let it go!

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2 comments

  1. As usual, Paula, You write really well. I so identify with what you say. My stepdaughter came to live with us when she was 17, twenty two years ago. Basically, the waves coming and going at the ocean is the best way to describe a step relationship. Or the ups and downs of a Ferris wheel. But, as you know, you have to focus on your illness or there’s nothing to give anyone. My continuing prayers are with you.

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    • Thank you Roberta. I didn’t realise you are a step parent too. Yes Ferris wheel sounds about right, or a roller coaster! Thank you for your prayers, they are much appreciated!

      Like

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