A grandfather and his grandson were talking one afternoon at their favorite spot by the stream. The boy was worried about something that had been bothering him. He turned to his grandfather, and asked “Grandfather, how come I’m happy and sweet sometimes and at other times I can be evil and mean? How can that be when I’m only one person?”
His wise grandfather thought about it…and replied, ”I believe we have two wolves fighting inside of us. One is sweet, compassionate, generous and loving. The other one is mean, angry, and selfish.”
The grandson asked “How do you know which one will win?”
The grandfather said, “It’s simple – the one you feed.”
Indeed stepcoupling can bring out the best and the worst in us. For some stepcouples, mistakes were made in choosing partners prematurely and for the wrong reasons. For others who struggle, it could be the result of sadness and losses carried over from our childhood experiences and disappointments from subsequent relationships. If unaddressed, these issues can have an unhealthy affect on all our important relationships. This can produce FUEL FOR FEEDING THAT MEAN ANGRY WOLF INSIDE.
A typical example:
I remember seeing a woman in my office who was 6 months into her new stepfamily. She had no children: he had one young daughter, who she described as a good kid, sweet, eager to please. Nonetheless, when the stepdaughter visited every other weekend, my client would go into a tirade of anger and resentment.
In counseling she told me she was raised by an alcoholic mother. She felt she was NOT parented as a child. She remembers little about her childhood. However, when she fell in love and married a man who had a daughter, her anger and sadness from her past dramatically prevented her from having a caring relationship with her stepdaughter. She wanted nothing to do with her stepdaughter!
She was able to quickly recognize the problem and understand how her past drove her to act and feel the way she did. Fortunately over time she was able to develop a nice relationship with her stepdaughter based on nothing she experienced in her past.
Her marriage was strong from the beginning. Her husband was patient and supportive. Together, as a stepcouple, they learned to NOT feed the bad wolf, but only the GOOD ONE.
Which wolf are you feeding inside?
Susan Wisdom LPC