The culture we live in and the mindset that we are inducted into takes parenting for granted
What triggered this post?
I am using writing as a medium of catharsis, to come out of transference that occurred in a counselling session couple of days back.
Transference in Psychotherapy is - the feelings of a person unconsciously gets redirected or transferred to the Therapist.
During my counselling sessions, many adults have shared these anguishes with me - I hate my parents for ruining my life. I get jealous and angry when I see my friends with their parents. They are impossible to live with. They want to control my finances. You must hear them talk to me, so rude and obnoxious. They want to know everything about me, it is so exasperating etc.
I know there have been many instances when I have taken things for granted, especially my parents. It has taken me many years of self-awareness and disciple to understand the fact that there is no good or bad parenting, there is just parenting. I am a parent myself and have been judged many times for my parenting skills. The culture we live in and the mindset that we are inducted into takes parenting for granted.
Many times we have no clue about the journeys our parents have taken. It is imperative that before we show our hate/resentment or judge them, we must have a conversation with them.
When I chose to become self-aware and disciplined in my relationships, I practiced a few things with my parent too.
● Do not be Just in Contact with them, Connect with them - The tool I use most times now to engage my parent in a conversation is either a short story or a discussion on a WhatsApp share (cause nowadays I have observed most parents in their 60's & 70's are getting all information from The WhatsApp University). The topic is most times free-flowing, nothing specific. I start talking, sharing information & practice knowledge transfer. When I see an active response or hear the parent singing like a canary, I put on my active listening gear & pay attention to words, tones, action and non-verbal clues. This I've realized, helps me understand the parent.
● Once a child always, a child - I understood that no matter how old I am, I will always remain a child to my parent. Worrying and interference are second nature. Ever since this understanding, I've tweaked my ways of having a conversation. Most times, I am direct to the point and have now understood that I'm not obligated to inform all my activities. It has been now established that I would like to take responsibility for certain decisions or actions and, if I ever need any kind of support, I will not hesitate to ask.
● Poster child - My only agenda in life since I can remember was to be a perfect child. I always wanted to look good in front of my parents and did everything possible to please them. If they ever showed displeasure, I internalized everything they said and beat myself black and blue emotionally. It took a heap full of mistakes, loads of pathos and acceptance to understand that I was not like my parents. My physicals feature did match them and that I was distinct in my mindset. Being a poster child can be stressful and can impact negatively on ones physical & mental health most times without our knowledge.
● Agree and disagree - I know now it is okay to disagree with the parent and their parenting style. Bringing up old matters just creates a bad mood and a bad vibe in the house. Sometimes after a vengeful conversation when my mind has settled down and, I get into self-reflection mode, I realize that my actions were most foolish. I wonder why I got so vengeful when the incident happened years back and, I've since moved on. I've listed out & shared instances, situations, words that made me feel hurt and resentful. I've since accepted my parent.
● Take a break - Struggling a bit here. I've learnt to respect personal spaces and told my parent that my personal space needs to be respected too. When I feel my boundaries are not respected, I make it a point to communicate. But then I fail most times because a parent is a parent and, in the Indian social system, the concept of personal space and boundaries is alien. Learning to protect your energy and taking a break from a parent is not being selfish at all.
● Appreciate - I realized I did not appreciate my parents enough. Every time I go back to memory lane and have something to smile about or feel positively overwhelmed about an incident, I tell my parent about it. I regret now not appreciating my other parent. I know I've lost the opportunity forever and feel a throbbing uneasiness.
The transference that occurred during my counselling session brought out old wounds, regrets, grudges and disappointments.
A feeling of being incomplete has come over me and my desire for certain knowledge will never be satiated.
We are by default anyways bits & parts of them.
Written by- Sheeca Ganapathy
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