It’s been a challenging week or two. Seeing to ailing parents has meant trips to the hospital and so last week I decided I needed to exercise some self care and rest. Since then the week has thrown a number of challenges my way one in particular which has been the cause of some insightful learning for me and so, as is my way, I thought I’d share.
We, who operate in spiritual circles, know that the people who come into your life are reflections of who you are, where you’re at spiritually or show you what you still need to pay attention to order to grow spiritually. We know too, that the soul inside you, that ‘inner knower’ will give you a ‘chups’ up de side a di head’ if you continue with an activity or behaviour that is not in the best interest of your soul’s growth.
At times this may mean losing the very thing or person you cherish the most in the world. So, that’s the kinda week I’ve had!
The immature parent
Parents who were immature raised many of us. Now I don’t mean they acted like babies, well, actually come to think of it that is probably exactly what they did do, but their childrearing style of course had a significant impact on the infant in their care; namely YOU.
There’s a profound loneliness and deep-seated scar, a trauma that occurs when we are exposed to the child rearing of emotionally immature parents.
12 signs your parents may have been emotionally immature
If your parents or a parent were/was ‘immature’ you my have grown up in an environment where:
- Their word was law because they were the ‘parent’
- They’re unable to reflect on their own behaviour and own it
- They never apologise
- You walk on egg-shells around them because of their unpredictable emotional swings
- They have ‘favourites’ and play this out within the family dynamic
- They are insensitive to your feelings and do not acknowledge them
- They shame you – they appear to show a contempt for who you are authentically and there is absolutely no room for individuation
- They expect you to mirror their behaviours, attitudes and moods
- Your individuality is stifled
- . They kill your dreams
- They inflict ‘strict’ (somewhat draconian) rules
- Their self –esteem and the image of the family are tied up in how you behave.
- They did not allow or respect your personal boundaries
These are just 13 examples, there are many more. However looking at this list, I’m sure that if you lived in an environment where even 3 or more of these behaviours existed you can understand now why you may experience some challenges in your intimate relationships and friendships.
The Wounded Child
Experiencing such behaviours creates a very lonely and hurt inner child. Your inner child is a sad and wounded younger you who is extremely lonely and unable to trust as your parenting experience left you feeling:
- Unsafe (threats, volatile emotions) or
- Insecure (being shamed, criticised) or
- Afraid (abandoned and having your authentic self ignored) and/or
- Angry/enraged (feelings repressed or not acknowledged or allowed expression).
Our work as we grow into adulthood is to find ways to heal that inner child in order to become whole and emotionally secure. In so doing we create relationships with healthy boundaries; relationships where each party is heard and seen for ‘who they are’ and are not a reflection of what we think we need; relationships in which the other person is not projected onto or seen as our ‘saviour.’ The truth is we have to save ourselves. The good news is we all have the capacity within us to do so.
It’s not their fault
The feelings, fears and insecurities you experienced and probably still do around your parents will probably not change unless they ‘do the work’ too. Accept that this may not change and adopt some form of practise that will go some way to soothing the aching loneliness and fear your inner child experiences when around them.
In order to repair the first step is to realise that your parents may not be capable of a having a balanced, mature relationship with you; one in which they acknowledge your authentic self and your emotions are validated. This is because they were not shown how to either. This isn’t about blame, but about objectivity. Stop hoping that one day you might be able to have a mature, mutually validating connection, I’m afraid it may never happen.
2. Relating vs. Relationship
Instead of trying to gain their approval, or getting upset or frustrated when your attempts at connection fail; once you recognise that this is the situation you’re best trying to find a way to relate to them instead of trying in vain to have a relationship WITH them.
Another way to start the healing process, once you recognise that it’s not about YOU, its about them is to assert your right to create boundaries. When we grow up without an emotional connection with our parents we experience instability and feel unsafe. Recognise that it’s absolutely OK for you as an adult to become assertive and request that certain boundaries be respected, so that you can protect your inner child’s sensitivities and begin to feel safe.
Bite you on the butt!
If you recognise some of the characteristics I’ve outlined and see yourself carrying some of the residue of such parenting styles, then you will find, if you have not ‘consciously’ engaged in a healing process for your inner child, that your relationships will be marred by sudden and explosive ‘episodes’ as your inner child ‘acts out’ when s/he find themself triggered and the original hurts are stoked…much like a poking a sleeping fire breathing dragon.
Suddenly there’s the ‘prick’ of recognition of the original hurt the dragon rears up, bellows fire, causing destruction and harm (usually to someone they love and who is the closest to them).
not until they calm down and see the third degree burns they’ve inflicted do they realise the damage they’ve caused.
An Example: what it may look like:
In a partnership, partner no.1 has abandonment issues. They were never properly nurtured, their emotions weren’t validated or recognised and they were left to self soothe. On top of this there was bullying and favouritism in the family, so their inner child also feels unsafe and afraid.
This individual may then become quite controlling because their child is in a constant state of fear of being abandoned by their partner. When they’re not with them they think that demanding to know every minutiae of their partner’s actions in detail will re-assure them and make them feel safe.
The controlling behaviour becomes oppressive; questioning comes across as criticism and triggers the repressed rage that their partner’s inner child was never allowed to express in a healthy way. In addition the partner’s feelings of being ‘less than,’ and of unworthiness (due to the control & criticism) reminds them of their emotional insecurity and of their lack of safety growing up.
The result is that the partner run’s from this immense pain ‘abandoning’ partner no.1, who’s worst fears are then realised. They tell themselves that they were right all along and so, they enter their next relationship even more fearful and afraid and with a deeper conviction that ‘everyone leaves them’ they will be abandoned and it’s because they are unworthy and unlovable.
Partner no. 2 pushes back by running. This risks re-enforcing their ‘story’ that they are unlovable that their childhood criticism created and their unhealthy expression of their anger in the form of raging or frustration (feeling attacked) makes them feel disgusted with themselves reinforcing their feelings of being unlovable. And so the vicious cycle continues.
Learn to Love yourself exactly as you are
Everyone deserves to be loved for who they are and to be ‘seen’ and authentically heard. The first step is to learn to love you. How you relate to yourself is often a residue from the parenting you received as an infant and young child.
Perhaps you people please in a vain attempt to get the approval you never did when you were young or maybe you have mirrored your parents bombastic bullying attributes, are overly confident to mask the insecurity you actually feel and demand love instead of having it be given to you freely or perhaps you impose conditions on that love.
On the other hand you may be someone who makes your partner, family and friends feel insecure or afraid because of your volatile emotions and they’re walking on eggshells around you.
Whatever the challenge for you, it starts with taking a good look at who you have in your life, as they reflect yourself back to you and honestly taking stock of how you relate to them.
Make notes on what you’d like to see in your relationships/friendships and then identify how far or close you are from your ideal. Consider what has to change in order for those relationships to become mutually respectful spaces where both parties are truly seen and heard?
Then start to implement practices, such as meditation, journaling, breath-work or specific ‘inner child’ therapy or counselling. Even just self- reflection is an excellent start, the answers are within and you do not necessarily need an ‘expert’ to get answers.
Start today, today whose date of 02.02.2020 is a Pallidrome and is occurring after 900 years!
2 & 0 symbolise new starts and balance. So give yourself the gift of a clean slate and sweep away the energies of the past.
Let your inner child know they are loved, accepted and worthy of love. Let’s start this new decade with the energy of healing and self- love.