The Complicated Relationships With Our Parents

Parents, for many of us, are a complicated relationship. They can be a source of joy and can also feel like an emotionally draining ordeal.

Confronting them and making them understand how they hurt us is an ambitious option, which is rarely successful. While we may assume we can make them understand, we are surprised to hear them blame us for being immature, ungrateful and naive.

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Coping with One’s Parents

theschooloflife.com

Even if we feel that we have made our point, painstakingly making our parents understand the time we felt they did us wrong, we erroneously assume that our twenty-minute discussion will suddenly cure them of behavioural patterns that are in effect from several decades.

An outright bad parent is easier to handle, but the problem is complicated when the same parent is also caring, loving and is a genuine well-wisher.

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While we may think that our parents are conflicted personalities, we are unconsciously having the same kind of behavioural patterns.

We periodically love and hate our parents, and have them imbibed in our body and mind, right down to mannerisms and quirks. We care for them yet sometimes wish to stay away from them.

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  • As our parents are from an older generation, the things and events that shaped their world and their values are quite different from what we have seen in our formative years. Every child, no matter how bright or unique he or she may be is moulded according to the adults in charge, bringing their fears and beliefs into the young impressionable minds. It helps to know that this happens with almost every young person and is not a unique experience to us alone.
  • Given the generation gap, older people often value the things that we may not. A high status, education, manners and wealth is extremely valuable for them, but things like honesty, truth, warmth and calmness may seem alien for the baby boomer generation, or even those born in the 60s/70s. Keep in mind that if we too have a child, the kid will find a lot of behavioural and attitude-based problems in us that we never noticed or thought of.

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Giving up trying to change your parents may sound like a reasonable option when we realize that:

  • The parents have a completely different outlook towards life, something that can never align with our own.
  • We are trying to get along with someone who has consciously or unconsciously played a part in damaging our psyche.

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An awareness of one’s parents behaviour and internal ‘mental models’ that are now frozen may be good for being able to spend time with them without getting into futile attempts to explain things that they will never understand anyway.

One can plan the meetings in a strategic way that minimizes any chance of an argument or a flare-up.

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Our parents are connected to us not by choice, but by history and biology. We are physically and emotionally intertwined with them in extremely intricate ways and do not share a similar relationship with anyone else.

Outside our families, we assume people and other relatives are normal, but maybe everyone is like that and we never got to know the other families in such detail.

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