Why I laughed when my son called me a f**king b*tch.

Children play in wild water, oblivious to danger. They haven’t learned fear.
Photo by Freya Dawson

“You f**king b!tch.”

These were the words I heard multiple times a day from one of my dear sons.

I can laugh about it now. I wasn’t laughing at the start.

When these words first started coming from his lips I was challenged. Very challenged.

I got upset. I felt hurt.

I felt angry and quickly ended up in an emotional reaction. When I reacted, I felt like hurting him back. My thoughts and words turned ugly.

This clearly wasn’t helping either me or my son.

I knew I had to turn this situation around into an opportunity or it was just going to get more ugly for both of us.

What opportunity, you may ask? How could I turn this into an opportunity?

After struggling with his swearing habit for ages I EVENTUALLY realised that this was an opportunity for me to unlearn my belief that any words could hurt me.

These words! F**king b!tch!!

Why on earth was I giving these words the power to hurt me??

I gave those words the power to hurt me because I grew up a Believer: I believed the meaning for those words that I was taught.

I believed that I should take it personally and that those words meant something bad about me.

I was willing to believe that there was something bad about me; that I was wrong, or hateful in some way.

To unlearn the power of those words I had to question all of that. I had a very close inner look at what I was believing about myself and about the power of words. I used my favourite “tool” for unlearning; The Work of Byron Katie

I came to see that the whole setup is a joke! We are trained to learn the meaning of words and then trained to believe they can hurt us. When I questioned those beliefs, I couldn’t find any good reasons to keep believing all those stories any more.

The freedom!

It’s hard to describe how wonderful it feels not to believe that ANY words can hurt me.

I assure you, my family has been testing me.

The are undoubtedly my greatest spiritual teachers.

I’m delighted to say that I’m basking in amusement now if I hear someone swear at me rather than a painful emotional reaction. I don’t usually react to the words and I also feel fine about walking out of the room or the door.

Even better, the phrase “What you resist will persist” seems to have been proven true.

Once I stopped resisting and started laughing, ignoring or leaving the room, those words eventually stopped. Completely.

Yes! My son stopped swearing at me. And, I would have been fine if he hadn’t.

Dealing with my own old beliefs was a powerful and peaceful way to respond to a child swearing at me.

I still feel twinges of the old hurt occasionally - and it passes much. much faster. It’s like a faint echo of the reactions that I used to experience. I like to think of swearing and other angry words as being like a gust of wind, a storm or a big wave crashing on the shore. It’s a surge of energy, but it’s not going to hurt me if I’m alert, present and not upset or confused.

I’m really happy that I gave up verbally attacking my son as a weird form of defense. When I called him “rude” or yelled at him in anger I was only adding to the painful energy between us.

I’m really, really happy that I gave up believing the self-judging voice in my head too. Those internal attacks used to be worse than anything my children could dish out.

This freedom from believing in the power of words to hurt me is f**king Amazing and I know you can have it too.

We all have the power to unlearn the stuff that we were taught as kids and to not pass it on to the next generation.

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Freya Dawson

Freya Dawson

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I’m a parenting, unschooling and spiritual mentor and writer. I help parents live with their children without stress or struggle.