You CAN change the cycle of pain you came from..Rewrite your story for hope, for change, for unconditional love. What triggers you into a state of fear? What pushes your buttons? Where do you need to change for others? The best villain and hero in any movie knows this about themselves and others. One uses this knowledge for good and the other for evil. Self-introspection is the medicine for knowing what to do next. It is empowering!
An adult who has conflicted feelings around their parents is unaware of how those experiences are manifesting into their lives today. Affecting relationships all around them. Many of the decisions made have a lot to do with fearful experiences like rejection, shaming, or ignoring. Much of which leads to self-abandoning, destructive, and alienating behaviors. These can be explained through counter and co-dependency traits.
You can do the emotional work to know what causes your pain and fears. This helps you to understand what makes you tick! Your childhood holds the keys to your emotional state. That is where you know how you tick. If you were to look back at a picture of yourself at age five or six years old, what memories and feelings come flooding back? This is your kryptonite!
Children are naturally built to need, love, want, and be with their parents. It is an unconditional and natural state of children, regardless of how parents treat their children. Children want to learn from their parents, so they absorb everything around them. Children seek approval through the interaction with parents or caretakers. This process of learning occurs while self truths are being created. Children do not know how not to be dependent on their parents. Children are designed to be vulnerable and dependent on care takers. They do not have the ability to self-differentiate or separate themselves from the judgement of parents.
Children are also unable to control behaviors as well as adults. Impulse control doesn’t fully develop until twenty five years of age and begins at three years of age. The brain is growing all the time. Full development comes so much later into adulthood. This is why children and teens do not have well established boundaries and impulse control around their behaviors. Hormones and emotions are what push young people into survival mode.
Why does all this matter? It matters because it is with this understanding that one can look back on their own childhood and see the parts of themselves that are still young and childlike. Check your own heart and you will find that those same feelings are alive and dictating how you make decisions today.
Counter and co-dependency are ways to self-abandon based on what is happening on the outside. Self-abandonment is taught by parents like this: I am a child of a parent who does not meet my emotional or physical need. I see and/or feel my parent pull away from me. I also mimic the same behavior for myself and pull away or deny myself as well. I feel feelings like “that is unacceptable, I am not okay.” Then I reject those parts of myself. So I learn to self-abandon!
When these needs are not met or these needs are severely neglected with shame, neglect, or rage, children learn to live in a dual world of wanting and needing unconditional love while experiencing painful or even hateful feelings about childhood experiences. This duality is what brings many clients into the office for marriage counseling, because parental love patterns have become a built in part of the life experience. A client becomes trapped in an a confused state of unfulfilling experiences with their partner. Sometimes even with their children. Unable to explain the disappointment, anger, fear, and hurt feelings. They are very real. Children define their worth from within the parental relationship just as adults define themselves within a marital or parental relationship. This is enmeshment and relationship dependency. This is codependency and counter-dependency at work.
The cycle of loss and self-abandonment begins in childhood and carries into adulthood. If you’re experiencing marital strife or have pain about your childhood, come to see me. I can help you separate, self-differentiate, and become less dependent. It takes work and time, but you deserve a joyful life so you can stop living in the past!