Some 25 years ago, I not only left my parental home but my country as well, flying from France to the UK to settle there.
The reason I left at the young age of 19 was to get away from my mother. Our relationship was a disaster, spending most days arguing and fighting, until I could take it no more and decided distance was the best option for me, for my sanity.
It was a great idea, I never regretted that decision.
Recently though, I have realised getting away from situations does not necessarily mean they leave you as well.
In fact, possibly those unresolved situations follow and shape you throughout your life, often without you realising.
As much as I have accepted and understood my mum’s behaviour towards me, and of course, forgiven – she did what she could with what she had, parenthood, at least in those days, didn’t come with a handbook – I have uncovered recently a deep rooted “issue” I suffer from due to my father’s behaviour towards me.
Luckily, since I understand parents do what they can with what they’ve got, I feel no hard feelings towards my dad, however, I am now given something I need to work on.
I have never had children, and I must admit of late, I have been quite grateful of that fact, because ultimately, with their gauche approach, insecurities, total lack of knowledge, biases etc, people are hardly ever “good parents”.
I watch parents I know and I see similar patterns everywhere – children are always brought up the way their parents think it’s best – but what do parents know? Only what they know, usually from their own experiences and subjective understanding of how things work.
It really is a minefield bringing up a child, everything that is being fed into their minds will shape them and mostly the first 18 years or so of their life, their biggest influence is their parents. Children who grow into teens mostly either “comply” with their upbringing or rebel against it – there is rarely a half measure.
So I fully understand how the parenting thing works, and I cannot judge any parent’s action: they genuinely all (mostly) think they do the best for their child and what the child becomes usually rests squarely on their shoulder (whether they see that or not). A mighty responsibility I have felt incapable of taking on.
So I don’t blame my parents for anything – however, my work is now to discover how their behaviour has affected, or shall I say hindered, me. Because as much as there is a lot of positive, there is bound to be some negative. And yes, I could bumble along accepting my lot as many do, or I can try and see if some influences have set me on the wrong path/direction and correct some rogued deeply held beliefs.
Quite a task you might think, however, I don’t think my parents have done such a bad job, I feel I turned out ok – possibly not the kind of daughter parents would be proud of, but I care very little what they think these days.
I feel I can be better though, entirely for my own benefit – I have no-one to impress or want to live up to their expectations apart from my own (which to be fair is probably the toughest of expectations) – and this past year has proven to me changes are possible and results surprisingly rewarding.
Thanks to a great video I saw recently on one of my new favourite YouTube channels – The School of Life – I realised how my relationship with my dad has shaped my relationship with men.
We all know that of course, but to truly understand its ramification is another story and I actually had a light bulb moment realising I could directly pinpoint to where some of my behaviour towards men stemmed from (my relationship with my dad when I was younger) – it was quite a unnerving to unravel, as the more I dug deep, the more I realised how big an impact that relationship had had on me, on a personal level as well as on my perception of men.
My job now is to find out how to correct this.
Here is the video, maybe you too will find something out about yourself: