Sometimes I imagine I'm the somebody.
I will never forget when Ivy was five weeks old, and I smacked right into a news story about a 5-week-old baby whose mother had killed him. Probably a case of postpartum psychosis. At the time, I was absolutely high with love for my tiny daughter, and I didn't feel depressed. But I'd had intrusive thoughts about harming her.
It seemed like pure luck that I was not the psychotic one.
* * *
I'm not afraid of hurting my children. I know my bad thoughts are just that—bad thoughts. I also know that intrusive thoughts are very common among people with clinical depression, and that they even occur in about 7% of non-depressed people. Totally normal.
But still disturbing.
I take Westley's violent play personally because it reminds me of the violent thoughts I have. Playing violent scenarios and talking about hurting and killing are an important, psychologist-sanctioned developmental stage. I'm cool with that. At least, I'm cool with it to the point that I'm not really worried about my children growing up to be axe-murderers. But when Westley plays at solving problems with punching, it's easy to remember all the times I wanted to solve a problem by punching...or shouting in someone's face...or jumping off a bridge...
Westley has been in a few situations where a peer hurt him on purpose. Once, another child made him bleed. I wanted to rip that kid in half. (And when I think about the incident, I still want to rip that kid in half.)
So. I'm not as peace-sign-flashing, flowers-in-the-hair as I wish I were. I do believe in kindness and mercy and helping each other. But violent thoughts creep in too. I still believe that lumping people into "good guy" and "bad guy" categories is wrong. But I've fantasized about hurting "bad guys" before.
This, for me, is one of the most wonderful and terrible things about having children. They spin me around and make me face my own shadow. It's painful sometimes, and ugly. But I'm doing it anyway, and I'm grateful for the experience.
The wonderful thing about facing your shadow is knowing the Light has got your back.