Parent Child Relationship When Loyalty Costs too MuchBy
When it comes to parent child relationships I often feel as though I struggle to explain or communicate the difference between how I felt about the past when it was in the past, how I felt about it when I was in the healing stages of it and how I feel about it now. This comes up a lot on the blog and on the facebook page for Emerging from Broken so I thought I would write about it.
This blog gets hundreds of views every day. The comments don’t reflect that though, and I get these private emails from people who don’t want to write publically, especially about parent stuff. By some of the questions that I get asked, I understand why this is; most of us have really big loyalty issues when it comes to our parents and our parent child relationships. This has to do with several things; our belief systems, our upbringing and the way that society frowns on anyone revealing family secrets ~ even if the whole family could recover from the pain of the past if they were revealed ~ some things are just taboo.
I sometimes wonder how different my life would be today if my mother were willing to pursue wholeness and freedom herself? How different would it be if she were willing to work on our mother daughter relationship stuff with me? But sadly this isn’t the case.
I know one thing for sure, it would not change the past. What happened, really happened and it was dysfunctional, devaluing and abusive much of the time. So my decision was to get on with the present and future and to do that I ended up having to deal with the past. (Again) But this time I went deeper then I had gone before. I ventured into previously uncharted waters. The truth about my parents and just how dysfunctional the parent child relationships were.
When I talk about anger and blame towards my abusers as well as my parents ~ anger and blame were a necessary part of my healing. I had to look at the truth ~ almost from a neutral point of view if I were ever going to heal from it. I can only say this in retrospect as I didn’t realize that this would be a key before I did it.
I was so wrapped up in should and should not’s and because I believed expressions like “if you have one foot in the past and one foot in the future you are peeing on today” I was stuck. So I had to look at what my life story was as though I was looking at it through someone else’s eyes. Some of the events of my life were shocking and yet I didn’t think so. I felt guilty for feeling even a glimmer of hurt or anger towards my parents, especially my mother because I felt so sorry for her. It was almost easier to just accept the blame for our difficult mother daughter relationship.
If someone else told me the exact same things had happened to them (that had happened to me) I was horrified. I could feel justifiable anger, outrage, shock, disgust, sadness, sympathy compassion and love, but I could not feel these things for myself about my own life or about the things that had happened to ME. I can’t stress enough how convinced that I am that taking a look at my life story through different eyes was one of the biggest keys to the eventual restoration of my emotional health and overall mental health. This was also one of the biggest keys to overcoming depression. Seeing things from a neutral view point, was a huge key to my overcoming dissociative identity disorder and the integration of all my “alter personalities” and a major key to my wholeness and freedom.
As a child, I surrendered all my power over to my parents, teachers, and elders. When those people treated me with less value then I deserved or abused and controlled me in ways that were not acceptable, I complied and surrendered even more of my will. I had no choice as a child. It wasn’t a decision I made, it was survival and it was necessary. But this became my way of life and when we live under dysfunctional control, we become accustomed to living under dysfunctional control. This becomes a habit that is familiar and even comfortable. I grew into an adult in this familiar comfortable fog and I continued to give control to the abusers or controllers. Often when we are adults this control and abuse is psychological and emotional when it comes to our parents but none the less is in not really love. It is not a healthy, functional, love based parent child relationship.
But there I was in it anyway and in order to survive and cope I convinced myself that it wasn’t really wrong. “My poor mother didn’t know any better.” (true but so what?) Until I had nowhere else to turn and I was an emotional mess and I realized through getting some help to navigate through the false and the true, I suddenly realized that if I remained “loyal” to my parents, and if I didn’t want to look at this stuff that had happened to me at their hands through the lens of truth in order to place the burden back on them and realize that this was not my fault, then I was actually giving them control over MY recovery and my will to recover, in order to protect them. (as we have learned to do our whole lives)
This isn’t about loyalty. I was fighting for my life, and I had to get really honest. I had to accept the past the way that it was ~ the plain honest way that it was without the loyalty and excuses that I consistently made for them all my life. What I am trying to express in this blog is about emerging OUT of victim mentality and into wholeness and freedom and real relationship.
In love and in truth,