Mirror, Mirror is My Child

This is a story about love, courage, great pain and forgiveness. It is the experience of my life as a mother and the amazing lessons that were bestowed upon me by divine grace through the mirror image of my child, Benjamin.

An opportunity to learn and grow in this life and move beyond lifetimes of victimhood, codependency, deprivation and human suffering. Also a story of hope for others who live with children suffering with obsessive compulsive and bipolar disorders.

I began my life with two main ingredients. First, I had a deep knowing that I was here, in some way, to serve a higher purpose which was somehow connected to God. On the opposite polarity, I had a deep fear that I wasn’t good enough to become that which I saw inside myself. My fears were reaffirmed for me through the relationships I chose in this life. I have come to believe that all of the players in my life were placed in my path to help me grow, and visa versa.

I lived the first half of my life in emotional chaos and abandonment and tended to my wounds through alcohol, drugs and co-dependant relationships. I created a deep-seated belief that I was a victim of circumstances beyond my control. By the time I was 16, I could have become the poster child for “the kid from the school of hard knocks, high school drop out, drug addict and child of a lessor God.” I had no idea of the strength that lived inside me. As it turned out, I pulled myself up by the bootstraps and through hard work, determination and drive I began to create a life for myself and was quite successful both financially and academically. But, that is another story.

By age 27, I began my journey as wife and mother. I have three beautiful, amazing, creative, artistic, powerful and empowered children. All three came into the world with an enormous strength of will. My middle child, however, was over the top and became extremely difficult very early in his life. Even before my sweet baby boy Benjamin was three years old, it was quite obvious that I was dealing with something extraordinary. From the time he could move his beautiful hands, he was creating fear-based rituals and exhibiting behavioral patterns that went beyond the normal experience of most children. When he reached school age, he was performing a continuous stream of rituals before he could eat, go into school, get in the car, or go to bed. One minute he was angelic, sweet, kind and empathic and the next he would turn into a tyrant — difficult, demanding, almost demonic. I had no idea what to do to help my child, much less protect myself, my husband and my other two children from his strong, negative energy.

To make it worse, Ben’s problems seemed to be directly related to me. His violent and defiant episodes, which at times happened two or three times a day and lasted for hours, seemed to be triggered off by me — Me — his beautiful loving, nurturing mother who went into the experience of parenting with an open and loving heart and a desire to raise my children differently than I had been raised. How could this be? What was I doing wrong? In my own history, I had been the ultimately wronged child in my family of origin. Was there somehow a link? Most certainly there had to be!

Years of conventional therapy, medications and behavior techniques were unable to penetrate this insanity. Our lives were falling apart on a daily basis and we were becoming more and more separate from the world around us as family and friends had great difficulty being in our presence. As much as they loved us, they couldn’t help.

Through a daily practice of prayer, a deep and abiding faith with no religious base, amazing support from my sister Lyndsey and two close friends, Anne and Cynthia, and the foundation of yoga and song circle which I practiced weekly, I was able to stay grounded enough to hear the voices of angels as they came through in many miraculous ways.

Finally, an energy healer by the name of Mary showed up in my life at just the right time. Mary was a gift from God. She moved into my home and we began the process of examining the patterns that created this insanity. It very quickly became obvious to me that the changes I sought began with me. We found that the archetypes of the victim, the wounded child and the attached-to-the-outcome seeker were being mirrored through my child’s behaviors. If there was any hope for this family, I (as well as my husband, Tom) needed to focus attention inward.

I had begun my intentional spiritual journey long before this realization, but this juncture was truly pivotal. This journey of self-awareness and evaluation ultimately lead us to conducting a past life regression. As Mary took me, Benjamin and my husband Tom into our most recent past life, we learned that the lessons we were seeking to heal lay in the past. We had each carried our lessons forward into this current life, and until we were able to come to forgiveness and release the past we would continue to reinforce these patterns. This past life journey lead to a miraculous moment of healing — first within myself and ultimately within my suicidal, deeply obsessive and controlling, and sometimes maniacal, beautiful 12-year-old boy Benjamin. Our prayers were finally answered after 12 years of suffering and one year of hard work to break these life long patterns.

The past life story itself is not as important as the outcome of the regression. Through the story, we were able to come to healing within ourselves and, in an instant, finally let go of the past. The years of family abuse ended on the night that Benjamin was finally able to release the energy that haunted him from the time he was born — the energy of the boy Ben was in his past life. We called him Jacob. Ben was able to send Jacob to the light through his ability to forgive and let go. It was by far the most miraculous moment I have ever witnessed. After twelve years, the energy of Jacob was never seen again.

After years of turmoil, and much work to still be done, we continue to learn and grow as a family. I am blessed with the opportunity to watch my son Benjamin grow into an amazing, strong, balanced and loving, empathic young man. I am forever grateful for the tools that have been revealed to me through my growth process with Benjamin and Jacob:

  • A consistent faith in God
  • A willingness and ability to take responsibility for my life, my patterns and my behavior
  • Learning the art of detachment from emotional drama
  • Staying focused on my own plate
  • Creating the life I want through focus and intention
  • Remembering that whatever I spend my energy thinking about, I create
  • Continuously being aware of my thoughts and feelings (to the best of my ability) and knowing that I have the power to create change by changing the tapes that live in my head
  • Come to peace within myself through meditation and by sending my beautiful light into the universe

As Marianne Williamson so eloquently stated, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Through this experience with my amazing son and family, I have learned that true peace, in my home as well as in the world, absolutely begins with ME.

Judy Giovangelo is a certified YogaKids facilitator and the director of Diamonds in the Rough Yoga & Art Studios in Medway, MA. She offers many programs to assist and facilitate families to find tools to reduce stress and learn the practices of yoga, meditation, visualization and expressive arts. Judy can be reached at 508-533-7898 or email judygio@aol.com. Please visit http://www.diamondsyogakids.com.