When Parents "Screw Us Up"
It’s interesting how Spirit works with me with these blog posts. At first I didn’t quite get it, but I do now.
I don’t just sit down and decide what I’m going to write then and there. For weeks, and sometimes even months, my Guides will jab me in the side with a blog concept. It won’t be much, but just enough for me to grasp a very generalized idea. And for days…or weeks, things will happen; little conversations here and there, experiences that sit with me, people who I meet or reconnect with; and as if the idea sitting on my conscious is collecting these experiences like a magnet, the blog shapes itself until the exact moment where I notice everyone coming in or around me is in need of hearing exactly what it is I’m going to write. And it never clicked until this very moment as I sit here...ready to blog about this long-brewed lesson in healing that seems to be the prevalent need.
I have this long standing joke with my mom whenever there’s a discussion about what’s “good” versus “bad” when you’re pregnant and she says something like, “Well, I smoked during my pregnancy” or “Well, I didn’t breast feed.” My response is, “And now I talk to dead people. You screwed me up.”
Clearly, I’m kidding…but for the longest time, up until a few years ago, I used to blame my parents for “screwing me up” for one reason or another. They did this wrong, they did that wrong…they should have hugged me more or been there more or supported me in this way or that way. Part of me “joked,” while the other half actually felt that I would have been different or felt differently had my parents raised me in another manner.
This topic comes up often in my sessions…“mommy/daddy issues” and really, relationships in general. And with Venus and Uranus now in Retrograde and the Moon in Libra, the energies buzzing around our planet are bringing up a ton of past relationship (family and love) issues and the need for us to step outside of ourselves and see the lessons and realities about them.
I’ll begin by giving you a little background on my family life. While I won’t defame any names and I won’t give out personal information, I think it’s important that my readers know that I, too, have had to do a great deal of healing surrounding my family life.
“We don’t choose our family.” Well, I could contradict that statement, because on a soul level we really do choose our family. When we come into this world, we know exactly what we’re signing up for because we have very specific lessons and growth opportunities that come from these families. Regardless of your belief on that statement, however, the lesson in healing will still apply.
I remember sitting in my basement when I was a senior in high school, blasting music, bawling my eyes out, high or drunk as all hell and wanting to die. I hated my life. I hated my family. I hated everything. I was in a very “dark” place or as I like to call it, vibin’ real low. Stability was not something I had. Food and warmth…meh…questionable because we couldn’t afford oil and dinner consisted of sharing a can of green beans. Drugs and alcohol were frequent guests of our home….and not just for me. It wasn’t an “ideal” environment for a teenage girl to grow up in, and frankly, if it weren’t for the “little voice” in my head telling me that I was better than this and could achieve more than I ever imagined (thank you, Spirit J ), I probably wouldn’t be here writing this blog.
Fast-forward some odd years: while alcohol slowly tapered away from being a significant part of my life, it was replaced with anger. I was furious looking back at my life and the cards I was dealt. How DARE the people in my life put me through what they did?! How could they EVER make me feel the way they did, put me in dangerous predicaments with drug addicts and piss away all of our money so I starved and had no warm shower? HOW?!
That rage festered inside of me. And then it turned to resentment. I would forever be angry and bitter toward certain family members because they didn’t raise me the way I should have been raised…the way I DESERVED to be raised. Right?
The resentment grew when I removed myself from the life of substance abuse and alcohol dependency and “they” still held on. However hard I worked to “heal” and “forgive” from the past, it kept coming back to haunt me. And not in a way where it tempted me to fall back into that hole of depression or substance, but watching the continued alcohol abuse only played as a constant reminder of everything that happened. I grew. I healed myself. But they stayed that way. And it infuriated me. I went from killing myself with this person; to watching them continue to dig their own grave with pills and alcohol. That killed me.
I don’t really know when I went from blaming my parents for “ruining my life” to pulling myself up out of the mindset plagued by misery and negativity. Somewhere on my journey, I picked up the right books, met the right people, and shifted my energy. It didn’t happen over night, but it happened. And once it did and I saw the reality of my family circumstances, it was like a blow to the chest.
I won’t lie, I still struggle with it from time to time, but every “bubble up” of frustration is only a lesson for me in healing.
Alcoholism is in my family. I can assure you that it truly is a family disease. It doesn’t just affect the alcoholic, but everyone around them. And when it’s a parent, and you watch your siblings heart break and your parents personality change to the point they are no longer the same person you used to know, it hurts. And for the longest time, I let that hurt become bitterness. I let that hurt become guilt. I let that hurt get buried deep within myself so I could ignore it and not admit what was really happening.
But, we forget that our parents are souls too. We forget that our parents are on their own life journey, one that could be filled with pain, trauma, and alcohol abuse. And while I spent so much time angry that those were my circumstances, because parents are supposed to be perfect or supposed to behave in a certain way, I never stopped to see that parents are people too – and everyone copes with pain in different ways. Everyone heals in his or her own way. And for my particular family member, alcohol was their coping mechanism. Just like it was for me at one point. Just like it is for many. The difference is I made decisions to heal what I masked with the alcohol. I chose healthier avenues, found better alternatives to navigate my life.
But who was I to tell my family member how to heal? They’re coping the way they know how to. And I can provide support, guidance, and help until I’m blue in the face, but no one can ever change until they are ready to. I can’t judge them for not taking the same route I did, just like I wouldn’t want anyone to judge me for my choices.
At the end of the day, my family member did their job. They made sure I was clothed, fed, had a roof over my head and loved me unconditionally. But along the way, they lost their sense of self, their self worth and happiness. That’s the reality of it. It doesn’t make them bad parents. It doesn’t make them bad people. It makes them a human experiencing human pain. They just happen to be a parent.
Parenting doesn’t come with a handbook. Nor does life. “Supposed to’s,” “Should be’s,” all of those expectations we have for parents…and really all relationships in general, are ones that set us up for disappointment. We can’t guide everyone’s life path based on how we want them to act or be. Everyone is going to live their own journey out the best way they know how. All we can do is be there to support them in a way that’s healthy for us. When it gets to be toxic or we’re expelling far too much energy than we are receiving, we need to distance ourselves. We can distance ourselves from unhealthy relationships and still be understanding that that person’s journey is that person’s journey. When we remove expectations and wanting to control another’s behavior, we release ourselves from a life of disappointment, anger and blame.
If you notice over the next few weeks that old relationship issues are surfacing (and this goes for love, family and friendship), stop and take a look at why it is that you’re upset. Are you angry that they behaved or are behaving in a certain manner? If so, why is it so upsetting? Is it because you wanted them to act or say something differently? Release the control of wanting someone to be a certain way. Where does that leave you?
I know this blog was heavy. But it was one I’ve been building up in my head for quite some time now. It’s not about my past. It’s not about alcoholism. It’s about accepting those in our lives, past, present and future, for who they are and the lessons we learn from them. It’s about understanding that, while there are “text-book moms, dads and families” out there that the media created, parents, family members, friends, loved ones are all individual souls on their own individual journeys. We all require healing; we all require guidance, support, and love. And when we get frustrated at the cards we’ve been dealt because they aren’t what we want or expect, stop to see the lesson in the relationship. Find the healing message, find the new perspective. After all, you did choose this lifetime and this family for a reason.