I notice myself at times talking down to my cats like my parents did to me and sometimes still do. I woke up to my kitten knocking over my glass of water on my nightstand. My immediate response was something along the lines of, “Why did you have to do that?!”
You would think being scarred that way would bar me from ever talking like that to anyone. But no, it doesn’t work that way. Maybe for some people, it does. But shitty parenting behaviors seem to cycle themselves. I’ve seen it with my friends with co-workers. If that’s all you’ve ever known, you can’t help but apply that yourself to situations. Fortunately, I had teachers and counselors present to recognize that the way I was often talked to is not a way you should speak to children.
While that guidance doesn’t stop me from treating someone that way, it leaves me more sensitive to wording and tone — which is a start.
My cats aren’t human babies, so it’s not like they can understand what I say. Regardless, they are my babies to me all the same. And if/when I ever do decide to have children, I can’t talk to them like that. I refuse to raise them like that.
I still love my parents. Even though my childhood was rough around the edges — it could’ve been much, much worse.
But it’s my parents’ tone of voice that is the predominant negative voice that echoes within my head. No matter how good I feel, that voice is often in partnership with my own negative personal voice, heckling my every action and thought.
I want that voice to end with me. My kids, human or not, shouldn’t ever have that linger in their minds. The only tone they should ever feel from me is loving support and firm discipline.
Even with the right precautions, they may inherit the gamut of mental illnesses that run in my blood. But I can at least control that one voice.
So that’s what I will do.