I mean, they’re family, right? So, we have to love them…right?
I believe so.
In spite of the mistakes, in spite of our realization that holy crap, they aren’t perfect….we love them.
We don’t always like them. And it seems like we blame them for every messed up thing about us- it all stems from our childhood experiences somehow. But they chose us. They chose to help us enter this world and have whatever existence we’ve had thus far, and for that alone, we do love them.
Even when we hate them, we love them. Because what is hate without it’s loving origin? Even when we start to see their weaknesses, vices, toxic traits, and shortcomings. I hope we see their struggle just as vividly. Because the truth is they did the best they could with what they had physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially.
You see, what we fail to realize at times, is our parents weren’t always our parents. They were helpless kids once. They were products of their environment (positive or negative). They were teenagers once, and young adults driven to perform according to societal norms, emotional trauma, and -hell- mental illnesses that “didn’t exist”/ weren’t diagnosed back then. They had a whole life before we were even thought of. Or maybe they didn’t. Perhaps they were married and having kids at 18 or 19 years old, never getting the opportunity to fully learn themselves let alone heal from trauma they had survived.
Some of us are fortunate enough to have these talks as adults with our parents. What they went through, secrets they locked away, trauma they never healed from. However, many of us don’t have that luxury. We don’t get answers. We develop resentment due to not knowing why we had the experiences we’ve had and possibly still may encounter with them.
But we still love them. So, we enable their toxicity because we get that they won’t change or face their pasts. Or we distance ourselves from their possible destructive behavior. Behavior in which, sprouted from their hurt, growing a family tree budding emotional and/or physical scarring fruit.
So what’s the remedy, you ask? Forgiveness. Accepting apologies you may or may not ever hear. If possible though, initiate these conversations. Try to uncover some of their past. You might find those answers you’re looking for. Or, you may hit a brick wall. It’s hard to speak on hurt. It’s hard to relive that, or even to admit to your children that you’re broken. And if your parents have already transitioned/passed, forgiveness is even more important. That’s the key. Forgive for YOU. Don’t allow their mistakes to latch onto you, weighing you down with every step you take.
You are NOT your childhood/adulthood trauma. You were strong enough to endure and make it out, you’re equally powerful enough to heal. Break the cycle. Don’t bring that hurt into raising your own family.
Perhaps our parents didn’t grow up in a society concerned with mental/emotional health. But, things are changing. It starts with love and forgiveness. It’s starts with you.
No parent is/was perfect. We’re all just trying to figure it out and deal with the obstacles that come our way. Be gentle with yourself and with others. Your mind, and your heart will thank you.