Tag Archives: relationships

Reflections – Love and let go

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:

  1. Their word was law because they were the ‘parent’
  2. They’re unable to reflect on their own behaviour and own it
  3. They never apologise
  4. You walk on egg-shells around them because of their unpredictable emotional swings
  5. They have ‘favourites’ and play this out within the family dynamic
  6. They are insensitive to your feelings and do not acknowledge them
  7. They shame you – they appear to show a contempt for who you are authentically and there is absolutely no room for individuation
  8. They expect you to mirror their behaviours, attitudes and moods
  9. Your individuality is stifled
  10. . They kill your dreams
  11. They inflict ‘strict’ (somewhat draconian) rules
  12. Their self –esteem and the image of the family are tied up in how you behave.
  13. 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.

SOLUTIONS:

1. Acceptance

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.

3. Boundaries

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.

Blissings and much love

Pauline Tomlin

(Insightful Angel)

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‘Black sheep’ and ‘crabs,’

Examining the ugly truth about Jealousy in the black family.

I went out last night…Whilst I was ‘shacking out’ and truly loving myself and the feeling of freedom I get from dancing, a woman came past me, invading my personal space (like literally inches away!) and shoved her miserable face into mine; threateningly. She then looked me up and down as if she’d stood in a dog turd and passed by looking over her shoulder as she went.

No words were exchanged, I didn’t even know her… the threat was obvious but why?

JEALOUSY!

She is an insidious and malicious mistress…

Two night’s before I was in the delightful company of four other black women. We chatted and discussed and all noted how wonderful it was to be amongst sisters and not have the tension and pique of resentment or petty insecurities peppering our commentary and tainting the energy.

Sad, though it is to admit, this is not often the case when ‘black folks’ get together and ‘two or more are gathered.’ The reality is, that oftentimes there is a thinly veiled covetousness and resentment amongst us. It’s a highly destructive and pervasive social malady.

Why does this happen? For if we are to change how we operate as a community on an equal footing with other groups in society creating opportunities for those that follow us, we need to undo the limitations and shackles we are still placing on ourselves.

Our great Leader and ancestor Marcus Garvey once said:

‘Do not remove the kinks from your hair, remove them from your brain.’

In my view one of the greatest and most insidious kinks prevalent within Black Culture, society and families is this Jealousy. Jealousy causes a huge wound ensuring we never come together as a collective to stem the tide of our collective destruction.

One reason jealousy manifests is the ‘Black Sheep’ scenario. This is when one member of the family is singled out for different (usually negative) treatment from the family’s caregivers. how they then treat the ‘Black Sheep,’ is noted subconsciously and can be replicated amongst the other siblings.

The emotional damage of this for the ‘odd one out,’ is incredibly painful to bear, but also, in my view, crippling too for the ‘jealous’ sibling, who spends their life focused on either the resenting their ‘black sheep’ siblings qualities, achievements or lifestyle or else trying to destroy their possessions, or reputation or both, when they should be focused on developing their own unique gifts to their fullest.

A Black Sheep is often created for the following reasons:

The Black Sheep

  • The have a particular gift or talent and without training ‘comes naturally and is executed to a high standard. This gift may bring external attention and validation to them.
  • Their personality is unusual and obviously different to that of the mother or father and they find it a challenge to relate to and parent them. Sometimes this is because the nature of the child triggers their insecurities. e.g. a particularly gifted child academically whose parent(s) struggled with school and harbour resentment or fear of the system; a child who is personable and friendly, yet has been born to parents or a parent who is insecure and nervous in social situations
  • The child could be very like the mother or father and the other parent resents them and the characteristics that remind them of the ex-partner.
  • Perhaps there is some secret or shame surrounding the child’s conception and the are a reminder to the parent of that poor decision or traumatic event.

Whatever the reason the persecuted child, the ‘Black sheep’ struggles for years with their decision-making & self worth and may reject the very ‘gifts’ they were born with.

  • They spend a lifetime wondering what is so horrid about who they are and insecurity a lack of self-trust and self-loathing follow them into adulthood.
  • If not that, then they make life decisions based on either pleasing others or in some cases in direct opposition to the advice of friends now around them in adulthood, as they find it impossible to believe these people have their best interests at heart .
  • An inability to trust follows and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy*

Invariably they blame themselves or become a people pleaser; wearing themselves out to make everything alright for everyone else, swallowing their own voices and shrinking in a vain attempt to gain approval.

The reality is that approval is never coming…

The worst of situations like this is that nothing is stated or discussed yet it permeates every interaction and every family decision.

It’s tough for an adult to recognise their parents are not perfect and are perhaps not as learned, emotional literate or experienced as they are, let alone a child who is dependent on these people for their view of the world and their care.

Crabs in a Barrel’

When one of us starts to ‘rise’ out of the constraining situation and circumstances of our birth or community, others members, become resentful.

They do several things to try and bring you down:

  • Other siblings, cousins or even the parents or caregivers take (usually without permission) use and destroy your property then negate your feelings of hurt, your protestations or upset, blaming you for overreacting or being ’emotional,’ disrespectful or miserable
  • Your physical attributes are often criticised
  • Family members cannot be pleased for you when you achieve triumphs and successes.
  • Family don’t pay attention to what you’re doing and show no interest
  • You’re not congratulated you on our achievements, or it is done with restraint and tension…the obligation being evident
  • Your school, college, work events & ceremonies are not attended, or they have excuses.
  • They separate others from you with whisper campaigns (or downright lies) or try and get them on their ‘side’ in situations. btw – their ‘side’ is always in opposition to whatever you think or feel.
  • They may go as far as trying to ‘live’ your life and cheat with your partner OR
  • Try stealing you own children’s affections and the affections of the wider family network in an attempt to isolate you. This isolation somehow ‘justifies’ their behaviour in their eyes. After all everyone else thinks you’re (insert your own negative label here)…’bossy,’ ‘too loud,’ ‘a know-it-all,’ ‘sneaky’ (if you’re shy) whatever it is they can find a way to persecute you for it
  • The wider community fail to support your attempts at entrepreneurship or comment on how you think you’re above them if your life decisions are different to theirs or you appear to be prospering materially.

Solutions

to move forward as individuals and communities we need to stem the ‘miseducation’ and warped socialisation that goes on within our lives.

Its imperative that we understand that the family is the fertiliser in which the ‘seed’ of the child is planted. For the seed to be properly nourished and grow into full potential that soil has to have the correct nutrients.

One of the most vital minerals in that soil is ‘support.’

I have taught many children for different cultural backgrounds and one thing they always tell me that we as a people do not do well, is support one another. They can be in the midst of a family feud, but if it comes to business or moving forward in society they will always support their own first…fraternise the shop within their own community and owned by a community member before running off to give their money, services to other social groups. Regardless!

Once we begin to support one another’s achievements we will see an exponential rise in our communities social, cultural and financial gains.

Family is the the foundation of society that community, if our communities are to move forward, but with proper understanding, we can come together and move and speak as one, create unity.

The family is the first place we learn to socialise and so it is here that that unity, the appreciation of and support for others and their gifts will first be taught.

It was through unity that our our ancestors fought tirelessly and secured their freedoms. It’s through unity that our countries gained independence and it was through unity that civil rights were won.

It’s not too late…

Come together within our communities and teach our children who they are and where they come from, teach them, their history and that they are unique; teach them that their gifts and those of the people around them are valuable. Teach them to respect themselves, their property and the community’s property as well as others.

Ensure they have collective and individual pride.

There’s no longer a place in the farmyard for a barrel full of crabs or black sheep!

Start the process of ‘de-kinking’ our minds!

Blissings and much love

Insightful Angel

*self-fulfiling prophesy: https://positivepsychology.com/self-fulfilling-prophecy/

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