The Importance of Telling Your Children You Love Them

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“Couples Therapy” has become my new addiction. I can honestly say I had absolutely no intention of watching it until I saw the interview we conducted with Tashera Simmons. Listening to her speak, you could tell that she was sincere. She wasn’t going on the show to get chose, to launch her singing career or to throw drinks on her cast mates. She was going on the show to work on her relationship with her husband and friend, Earl, aka DMX.

So I watched, just to see how they would interact with one another. Eventually I grew to like the other housemates too; but for me, it was all about DMX and Tashera. And like many of you all, I was saddened and even disgusted by the way he spoke to her in the first episode. Disgusted because it was completely disrespectful and dismissive but also saddened because I just got the sense that he wasn’t a horrible person. That he just had some major issues he needed to address. As more and more episodes air, you can see that DMX really loves Tashera. It’s just that the way he knows how to love her is not nearly enough. Surely, a few of us have come across a man who loved us but was dealing with issues that blocked him from showing or expressing it in a way that was consistent or acceptable.

Well, we’re finally seeing what DMX’ block is. It’s his mother.

I know that sounds like Freud 101, but in this instance, she is a huge reason why DMX wants to “fawk as many women as he can until his d*%k falls off.” It’s no coincidence that he seeks inappropriate affection from women when his own mother denied the healthy kind she should have given him as a child.

I haven’t seen the entire episode yet but a 3:00 minute clip turned out to be very revealing.

It’s almost too hard to watch. Not only because those are real emotions for DMX but also because those emotions are real for people in our lives too. In my own extended family, the words “I love you,” get caught up in people’s throats. My mother told me that when she was growing up, her parents, my grandparents, never told she or her siblings that they loved them. Now, she could feel that they did; but as human beings that’s not enough, we need to hear those words. So when she grew up, she started telling my grandmother and grandfather that she loved them when they got off the phone with one another. Initially, she said both my grandparents had a hard time with the words. Sometimes you can feel something so strongly that it physically pains you to express it. But thankfully, they got over it and started saying “I love you too.” And it got easier and easier. Eventually they were able to say it first, to all their children. By the time I came along, my grandparents were always telling my sister and I they loved us. I didn’t know until I got older that it took them years, decades to get to that place. I just reaped the benefits of my mother’s initiative.

So I included this video and I’m writing this piece as a gentle reminder to all of us that our actions, while important, aren’t always enough. We need the words too. Because being able to say you love someone is an action in and of itself. If you have people in your family who’ve never told you they love you, it might not be a bad idea for you to say it first. Chances are, they’ll say it back. And if they don’t, you’ve been honest about your feelings. If you have children and the words burn in your throat, I pray to God you find a way to let them out because DMX has told us and shown us that no matter how old we are and how tough we think we are, we all need to be somebody’s baby and we all need to hear these three words.

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