…and this may extend to other family members! An alarmingly high proportion of clients who engage with me for low self esteem, depression and anxiety, share the theme ‘lack of permission’ to be ‘good enough’ and of value, as much as anyone else on this planet!
So where does this originate from?
Many of us know how the influences of our first decade of life are important, informing as they do, much of who we become and how we behave as adults. The belief systems we learn about our place in this world are significantly established within those formative early years.
It becomes clear that, what our parents say to us and around us, becomes our learned beliefs as much as what they do and how they behave around us.
A healthy parenting style allows us to ‘know’ (even without words) that we are loved, safe and being nurtured, perhaps simply by inference.
Cognitions and Behaviours
The behaviours of our parents or guardians towards others also informs us. When our mum berates our dad and vice versa, we, as impressionable children, learn what we come to believe to be acceptable. It’s far from easy, as parents, to be mindful of all our thoughts and actions within the stresses and demands of life and of relationships. Sometimes, being the best you can be is more than enough; it certainly isn’t about being ‘perfect’, whatever that is! Attempting to attain perfection is unnatural and unnourishing. Kids need to see mistakes, humility, laughing at ourselves, getting angry even…
We most often teach our kids what our parents taught us, by default, unless we can achieve clarity and aforethought around what we believe to have been less than ideal, where that might be the case.
Breaking the Chain
At the toughest end of a psychological traumatic experience may be those relationships affected by trauma, however that is experienced. Many will know that survivors carry with them the lifelong effects of such trauma until they die. The extent will be determined by their own resilience and tenacity to repair, as much as is achievable their own self belief systems.
For those who are unable to achieve this, they may continue to engage in abusive relationships throughout adulthood, either as a victim, or an instigator.
At the other end of this wide spectrum, I see clients affected by parents behaviour that is dismissive, narcissistic, bullying or any number of emotional elements that were unwelcome and even intended. Parents do the best they can with what they have. It is the skills that are often missing due to the lack of teaching in their own upbringing – but this is of scant use to the individual carrying the legacy effects.
For some, the pain becomes so enduring, the emotions in adult life so turbulent, that they get to a point of seeking clarity and understanding; this is when ‘we’ meet! At no point are we seeking to ‘blame’! We seek understanding via knowledge and introspection. We seek new knowledge, a new, healthy way of being.
And the Parents…
And for parents who recognise this, in themselves, it is NEVER too late!