when your parent is you

Dear Garbage Oprah,

As an 8, I know that it’s easy to cover up my tender emotions with anger, and with my 7 wing, I will do almost anything to avoid the feels. What are some ways to tap into the vulnerability I want deep down?

Man I feel that. When your root number has a penchant for denial and your wing a penchant for avoidance, you’re between an emotional rock & a fucking hard place. What I like hearing here is that you see that already - you’ve identified the problem - and want to get your shit straight. Imma take my best crack at this.

Here’s the truth about 8’s that 8’s don’t want you to know: at their core is a kid - one that they have bravely protected for many years. This is the same kid you were at some pivotal age - maybe it was 5 when your dad left. Maybe it was 10 when you had to fend for yourself against bullies in school. Maybe it was 14 when you realized your youth group leaders didn’t actually have your best at heart. At some point, you decided, very reasonably, that your power was in being AGAINST. Somewhere along the road you realized that guarding that kid was your job, and let’s be real, it was. You took an oppositional stance towards the world, vowing to guard that kid with your life. No one else was going to protect that kid the way you were, and for the most part, you’ve been successful.

Now the important question to ask yourself though is - what kind of parent do you want to be?

If you are going to be your own parent, do you wanna be that gruff, standoffish, protects-you-at-all-costs-but-emotionally-distant parent? You’re at the point where you get to choose. You have a chance here to be the parent you never had or perhaps still need. Look that kid in the eyes. Listen to him. Hold him. Remember that that kid also needs more than just you - he needs emotional interaction with people that love him and see him for who he is. People who will nurture him and hold him when your own emotional labor bank runs out. Let him out to run around. He'll be grateful for the fresh air. 

I’m excited to see which parent you decide to be. Consider it practice for the future, or practice for now. I know that you have a lion’s heart: you take justice into your own hands, you fight your own battles and the battles of those you love. But come home sometimes. The wise person knows that their strength lies in recharging and reconnecting, and that kid you’re protecting has a lot of good shit to tell you if you’ll listen. Hear him out.