Published On: Mon, Oct 6th, 2014

We Are All Broken

Danielle Mantakoul

Danielle Mantakoul

BA of Ed Early Childhood and Editor at Mummy Weekly
She's described as one of the most engaging & dynamic speakers in the early childhood industry today, now having educated hundreds of thousands of parents & teachers. She has lectured for organisations such as KU Children’s Services, Only About Children, Qantas, National Australia Bank, Child Protection Australia, Goodstart and hundreds of council & private centres. She also developed and ran the popular parenting series for the Australian Financial Review.
Danielle Mantakoul

we are all broken picSmile at her as you walk past, because she too is broken. She may not know why, only that she simply sees herself as a not so great mother or an inadequate partner. A smile connects you, even for just a second. It tells her she is worth the attention, if only for a moment. It’s a moment where regardless of what broke her, your smile tells her she’s okay and makes us in return feel a little less broken ourselves.

We are all broken, just some of us more than others and for a million different reasons, but broken none the less. What breaks us? Many of us don’t even know, and simply put our failures under an umbrella of tiredness, stress, sick kids, demanding partners, the list goes on. But it tends to go much deeper than that. Some of us are broken by misguided parents, or a tragic one off event such as the loss of a parent. For others, it’s simply feeling the effects of being a middle child, only child, or adopted child. Big or small events, many say they all shape who we are, and too often we unfortunately accept the shape that these events have molded us into.

As someone who has been through the loss of a mother at a young age, constant family bickering, sexual abuse, physical abuse, a failed marriage, miscarriage, having a special needs child and another with kidney failure, not only have I survived, but thrived. What do I attribute this to?

Now you could be forgiven for thinking “she must of had a strong parent who taught her how to get through difficult times”, but no. It was not until I met my husband who taught me that bad things happens, but you just got to get on with it and force the smile. It’s funny. The longer you tell yourself something with conviction, the easier it is to start believing it and living it.  The saying “fake it till you make it” comes to mind. If you live it, it becomes part of you, where you don’t have to fake anymore. It’s like being an actress. When you first get your lines you have to simply learn them, then you have to get to the stage of knowing them with confidence and then, and only then, can you become that character.

You know that saying, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, what a crock. I believe it’s all about the choices you make when faced with a difficult situation, not simply going through the difficult experience and coming out the other end. I think we can make the mistake of thinking just because we have experienced difficulty that it has made us stronger. But many of us are not stronger on the other side of a difficult event, we just become even more broken than we already were with the event bleeding out into other areas of our lives. It is a decision to be stronger realise it or not. It’s easy for these cracks from our past to influence us in a negative way. They become our crutch, our reason for why we do the things we do, as if there is no other way of now doing things after this event. It becomes our path and we don’t question if there is another.

Some of us don’t even seem to realise there is a decision to be made when it comes to being broken. We simply accept whatever it is has taken place and live in it. Living in it is easy, it helps us to explain our behaviour away.  “I have no patience with my kids because my mother had none with me”. “I’m not great at pushing my kids to get their homework done because my parents never made me do mine”. “I drink because this was what I witnessed growing up in my own household”.  I could go on, and while claims such as these certainly do effect the way we view the world and how we live our lives, we have the power to make decisions regarding each one. We are not bystanders to ourselves!

What we need to be telling ourselves instead of justifying why we do or don’t do things is how we are going to create a positive from a negative. “I will strive for more patience with my kids, because I remember what it felt like as a child”. “I am going to make homework part of our strict routine, I want my kids to do well at school”. “I will not drink because I have witnessed the chaos it can bring to a family”. It’s all about what you tell yourself. Anyone can make excuses, it’s easy, we are all broken so we all have a few to choose from.

I am not a psychologist. But I am a woman who has been through many a trial. I am broken, and will be for the rest of my life just as I believe we all are. To think we can be fixed is ludicrous, that would be saying that our past does not effect us. The difference is, I choose not to let these events that broke me, predict my future, I shall do that for myself.

By Danielle Mantakoul
Copyright Mummy Weekly 2012
www.mummyweekly.com.au

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