Humanizing Our Parents.
When I was a kid both of my parents were so entrenched in their personal dramas that I was exposed to relationship insecurities, low self worth, jealousy and anger before I even knew how to discern what love looked and felt like.
Growing up, I had a fairly close relationship with my dad. I followed him everywhere and wanted to do everything he could do - I was a tomboy of sorts. My father has a presence about him that makes you feel like you need his approval, despite the fact that he rarely speaks. Spending time with him affirmed for me that I was loved, supported and doing good in his eyes.
photo taken from tumblr.
Then one day I woke up and my dad was distant. We were strangers. We weren't hanging out as much anymore. We never spoke at all. He began to throw himself into church and isolate himself, while I ran to lock myself in my bedroom. All we shared were passing hellos and goodbyes as I started getting into trouble in school, was doing the most to find acceptance from friends and my first boyfriend, and lied to my parents about everything. We grew increasingly distant (and of course none of my rebellious teenage foolishness helped our relationship).
Being withdrawn from my dad threw me into the arms of many toxic men. Each relationship I had with these men looked exactly like my relationship with my dad - starting off solid, loving, with amazing companionship and then abruptly becoming distant, withdrawn, cold, uncommunicative and in the most extreme cases violent (sidenote, my dad is not a violent person). It was painfully obvious that what I needed from my Pops - love, attention, affirmation - I was trying to manifest into my relationships, but instead I was only manifesting exactly more of the negative attributes that I did not want.
We often flow through relationships with its ups and downs, stockpiling hurt, blame and chipping away at the love we hold, while never truly focusing on introspection to discover what we need, why we need it and how we can go about getting it. I believe our intimate relationships are opportunities to discover parts of ourselves that are waiting to be healed. Taking much needed time to myself and asking myself plenty of tough questions, has helped to make the picture a lot clearer. It has helped to alleviate anger, hurt and pain and has helped me to stay open and trusting when meeting new men, while still having the discernment to know when to run.
Taking the time to understand my parents and my upbringing has helped me to discover the negative patterns I was holding onto in my intimate relationships with men. It's not often easy to look deep within yourself and say "hey I'm messing up and here's how" but it's very much needed to move forward.
When you let go of the idea of who you wish your parents were, and accept who they are, you can finally see them. It’s at that point that forgiveness, understanding and healing can begin. I often say we have to remember that our parents are people too - people who had less resources and access to the information - especially the healing information - that we have at our fingertips.
Healing our relationship with our parents and subsequently ourselves, looks different for each of us. Healing might mean accepting the reality that we didn’t get what we felt we deserved as a child, maybe our emotional or physical needs weren’t met, maybe our parent’s didn’t know how to meet those said needs, and lastly, it might mean that even today - they still don’t know how or are unable to meet us where we are at emotionally. This might mean you having to set boundaries and accept the role that they can play in your life, while building a relationship with them based on what they can provide or what needs they can meet. In some cases it may also mean seeing the relationship for what it is and choosing to take space by walking away all together. In the end you have the power to choose and create the type of relationship with your parent(s) that works for you.
What is something that you wanted or needed from your parents that you didn’t feel you received?
What difference would it have made to your life if you had received it?
What role are your parents playing in your life today?
Let me know in the comments or consider journalling your thoughts.
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Bare with me y’all.
I love you.
Til next time,