I have spent three decades working with people in therapy, listening to their inner lives and their histories, and I have participated in raising three children over that time as well, and I've lived in Park Slope, the breeding capital of the country, for the last five+ years. I have heard and seen a lot. And some of the most horrendous stories of child abuse and mistreatment I have heard have been from adult people who claimed to have "great" parents when they were kids.

I have heard adults describe the beatings and physical torture they endured in their childhoods as simple "strictness" or just "cultural." I have heard grown-up offspring blame themselves over and over for the verbal abuse heaped upon them as children by their frustrated, out-of-control parents. I have heard about how mommy or daddy was "my best friend," which often meant that said mommy or daddy leaned on the child for emotional, romantic or sometimes even sexual comfort and support because the marital relationship sucked. And the damage caused by the garden variety narcissism so rampant and socially acceptable in so many middle and upper-middle class parents in enclaves like Park Slope is off the scale.

I have heard grown people idealize and cover for their parents with a determination that is frightening. Why frightening? Because an adult who isn't able to face the dysfunction in their parents isn't likely to take the steps necessary to heal the harmful effects of those distortions in themselves, and is much more likely to repeat the pattern of abuse and neglect in all of their significant relationships, including with their own children.

Little children have no choice. They have to idealize their sick parents because when you are that little and totally dependent and vulnerable, it is too overwhelming to face the craziness in those that you rely on for everything. So, children will elevate their parents and denigrate themselves at all costs because it seems necessary for survival. That child would rather think "Something is wrong with me, that's why I'm not getting what I need" than face that their caretaker is limited, maybe even dangerous to their well-being. But as adults, we are no longer dependent and little and weak. We can face the truth from those earlier times, face the madness of the circumstances we grew up in and stop the cycle.

If you are an adult human being reading this, you once were a kid with parents. I implore you - take your parents off the pedestal in your mind and heal yourself. In so doing, you help to heal the generations of children to come.

Really. Think about it. Do it. Really.

No comments:


blogger templates 3 columns | Make Money Online