Wednesday, December 8, 2010

And how is it supposed to go exactly?

(Warning: this isn't exactly a happy thought blog)

When you are born, you come into the world with absolutely no expectations - even the expectation to be fed or clothed or taken care of. That's just something you are given without the care-taker expecting anything from you in return. It's called parenting. Even if they aren't the biological parent of that child, people have an instinct to nurture and care for another living thing - usually. Sometimes though, that person,  even though they give birth to a baby, doesn't have the ability to nurture. Sometimes they can only nurture one person even when they are a parent to more than one.

Ask yourself if you were born into that family? You know, the one where one or both of the parents isn't exactly equipped to love you or your sibling (s)? You won't know this at first because you really don't know any different. Life is what it is. You see little things here and there but you don't really put them together at the time because, well, you are just a child and children only know today. They don't know about the past and certainly don't contemplate a future. They just wake up every morning and start the day new.

When does that change? It can be different for everyone. It all depends on your life experiences. If you have trauma in your childhood, it will most-likely happen sooner than someone who lives a pretty care-free childhood. Or, there's that person who learns very early on to shove those scary feelings to the back of their memory and act like nothing ever happened. It will eventually come out, of course, but they adapt very well to the world of "let's pretend that didn't happen". This practice is one that is pretty hard to break because it's a self-protection mechanism. It isn't until you are willing to face the truth and trust that there is something better on the other side that this practice will stop. There is that occasional lucky fellow who has two loving parents who seem to know exactly what the heck they got themselves into when they had children.

And how do people who are raised in the family with "non-functioning" parents actually survive that childhood to become half-way decent parents? How do they instinctually know how to love multiple children when the home they were raised in was so shut down from anything remotely similar? Isn't it possible that at some point in their adult life, they will come to see the truth - the truth about how their family was and still is to this day? Isn't it possible for them to still love the unloving parent or parents and yet make a choice to distance themselves from that parent - after giving said parent multiple opportunities over many, many years to make a change, to "see the error of their ways", show repentance and become the parent that child needs? If they were unfortunate enough to have two parents who basically checked out during the child-raising years and yet, by some miracle, one parent eventually came around and is doing better, they should consider themselves very lucky.

It is still sad if the other parent, or the one parent who was just not able to care for them, never came around and then started to loose their memory, slip into the old age memory loss called dementia and be forever gone into the bliss of never being able to say they were sorry. It's sad, but is it survivable? Yes, it is. You won't look very good to your peers, unless said peers lived through what you had lived through with their own parents or saw what you had been put through, so that's just a consequence of moving on. But if the child left behind is ever going to be good to anyone, to the children they are raising, there comes a point in time where that "child" has to make an emotional sever in their heart. It's not that the adult child does love the parent, but rather, can't spare the emotional conflict that comes with knowing the past, present and future. Knowing that the continued inability to love will always be present, you have to decide if you can live with that or not. Some people can and some can't. It doesn't make you a bad person if you can't. It changes you forever but you will survive.

This is for anyone out there who may stumble upon my blog and be in the same or similar situation as above. You aren't alone. We were all born into dysfunctional families. On some level, we are all a little messed up. It's the fixing it part that is hard, but totally worth it in the end. Stopping the pattern for your children is so much more important than trying to love the unloving parent. Love them on your terms, but do not forsake your own happiness for something that may never happen. Thanks for reading. I feel better now.
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