I’ve spotted my table for the day and put my things down but I’m much more interested in what the lady has at the table next to me. I lean in on top of her an say “hmm, Positive Discipline, I think that’s great! I’m a huge believer in all things positive especially when it comes to discipline. I used to be a school teacher and I’ve raised two kids and I’ve used it in lots of different ways.(all in one breath) Do you mind me asking who you’re getting these books for?” Her name is Mary, when she starts to talk I ask, “Do you mind if I sit down?”… I have a friend for life.
I was in my favorite book store and cafe. Coming here is one of the ways I fight depression and its one surefire defense against isolation. I always talk to strangers, I can’t help it. And if there are no suitable strangers, I just visit with my friends the “Young Barristas” and write.
As it turns out, Mary’s daughter has been with a man for only two years, recently marrying him. She has a son, eight years old, and this man (now the stepfather) mistreats her son, in the name of discipline. This is all according to other family members (Mary’s brother). Mary’s never witnessed it herself, and this man is who the books are for.
WHOA! Mary…unless you want to be an EX mother in law over night, I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Clearly, with Mary and I being the instant best-friends that we are, she confides in me and I counsel her. She tells me all about him, and he doesn’t sound like a very nice guy at all. (The voice in my head says…”okay spit it out already, he sounds abusive!”) I share with Mary (I’m sure it seems quite random) that I had been in an abusive relationship when I was young. From what she has told me, this guy has shown many of the warning signs of an abuser already. I shared with her how important my families support was in me finally being able to end that relationship. Family and a good therapist! Never stop being a listening, loving, ear and KEEP the therapy discussion on the table. At some point she will hear you.
Mary’s daughter has not told her that her new husband is abusive. Mary never told me that her son-in-law was abusing her daughter; I just got a bad feeling in my stomach about him. When Mary got up to leave she hugged me and kissed me on the cheek.