Parents play an important role in their children’s life – they are supposed to love, care, protect, nurture, and guide their children in their life journey. Children depend on parents to help them understand about the world, and define their self-image and behaviour through their parents’ communication and connections.
You see, as children learn to define who they are and how they feel about the world, they copy. Children learn to interpret parents’ communication through body language, words, judgements, behaviour etc and project it as their own self image, that is, how they see themselves.
However, unfortunately some parents were not ready or cut out to be the parent they set out to be. Some parents have neglected their parenting obligation; they are cruel to their children, they abuse them physically and emotionally, and they discriminate. Those actions lead to REAL trauma in their children, especially when children look to their parents for love, connections and protection.
I know people who are very close to their parents; however, there are some who just can’t wait to get away from their parents and habour intense hatred and resentment towards their parents.
This is a life lesson for me personally. I had a very intense relationships with my parents, and I had to say, I was very glad whenI left home to pursue my tertiary education in Australia. Being away gave me an opportunity to be my own person and gave me time and space to figure things out.
With that time apart, it did bring the relationships a little closer. However, the emotional baggage that I carried with me and the judgment I had for my parents still lingers in me, and it does not take much to trigger it.
Bringing consciousness to the surface
However, this is my life journey of bringing the unconscious prejudice about my parents to a more conscious awareness. This journey enabled me to forgive not only them (any judgment they made through our own interpretations) but also to forgive myself for making my life a misery for holding on to such intense emotions towards them. Until I did that, only then, I was able to move on with my life and release the intense emotions towards them that I was unconsciously holding on to.
You have strong emotional judgements against them, and you can’t wait to get out of their home as soon as you can… but…
Your parents are not to be blamed
Whatever their parenting style, it is not their fault.
You see, your parents could only parent the way they knew how, based on the knowledge and resources they had at that time, which could be the way they were parented, what they had learned from their observations, and the expectations from society and families.
They may have taken out their anger and frustrations on you when you were young; they may have punished you or hit you out of frustration. Then they may have discriminated towards you (some cultures still discriminate between boys and girls); they may have hurt or abused you emotionally (not that I am downplaying the pain and trauma of your emotional wounding). They may have yelled and verbally abused you…
However, your parents could only do what they knew with the knowledge, support and resources that they had at that time. Just like what you are doing now. You are parenting based on your best ability, from what you know, from what you have learned consciously or unconsciously, and from what you have learned from your family and friends or from parenting classes etc.
Do you know any better? NO, because you don’t know what you don’t know!
I hope I have shared with you something valuable here. If you are still habouring any anger towards your parents, forgive them. They may have been parenting the only way they knew, and may have been working towards improving themselves but did not know any better.
As I mention above, you don’t know what you don’t know! So how do you become more conscious about your parenting paradigm? About who you are as a person?
We talked about having more empathy for your children’s feelings and emotions… however, you need to have more understanding about your own feelings and emotions….
As a parent and adult, it is time to take a good honest look at your situation. Whilst your parents may have unintentionally passed on their pain to you, your conditioning was also influenced by your peers, environment, and community etc. It is your responsibility to take stock of your beliefs and actions, and take responsibility and accountability for our own actions and inactions. Take action to reinterpret your experiences, change them, and improve on them as adults.
Remember, it all starts with you!
Love your thoughts.