How many times have you been frustrated or angry with YOUR parents?
Perhaps, like me, when those moments hit you tried to debate the issue, recognized the futility of it and were both left tense, frustrated and drained.
I’ve since recognized that the source of my anger was pain because I desperately wanted my needs and my way of being, to be understood and accepted. Whenever I felt this was not the case, hurt, anger and confusion would ensue, on all sides.
At times, the role of parent and child felt reversed.
Why weren’t my emotional needs being met? Why didn’t I get the response I had hoped for? Why didn’t he/she intuitively know the right things to say and do?” After all, they are the parent.
In time, I realized a fundamental flaw in my reasoning and the feelings of resent have turned to one of compassion and understanding.
Parents do not wake up thinking how am I going to anger, humiliate or hurt my child. Parents responses and reactions are a reflection of the sum total of their own life experiences, experiences which can be deeply influenced by their own blind spots, insecurities and emotional awareness.
Find a parent who is frugal or hoards things and you’ll often find their early lives based on hardship, scarcity or poverty in their youth
Find a parent who ridicules and says things that are disempowering, and you’ll often find they have never felt the support and recognition for their efforts as a child
Find a parent who constantly gives advice and does not recognize your successes, may have never felt validated and worthy in the ways they needed to growing up
We can never know the entire spectrum of hurts, pains or traumas our parents experienced in their upbringing.
Moments which they are not attuned to, simply because the memory is too painful or too traumatic, so they’ve suppressed and disassociated from the feeling altogether. Instead, they bear the invisible scars of being put down instead of empowered, scolded instead of listened to, reprimanded instead of held.
My realization has created more compassion and empathy and the awareness that all parents, including us…. are doing the best they can with what they know or put another way, if they knew better, they would do better.
If they did a good job and we have sought our own enlightenment, then we just may surpass them our parents in our emotional understanding. That’s just the way it is.
When that moment strikes, what we can only hope parents put aside their own ego and have the loving insight to say, “It’s ok..this is exactly how it is meant to be, don’t wait for me to catch up…run ahead and I’ll be watching you, become inspired by you and learn from YOU now. The tables have turned and you are MY teacher. Do not be angry that I cannot heal you….but please know that I’m doing my best…old habits are hard to change”
Therein lies my empathy and forgiveness for her AND for my future self, whose kids will no doubt surpass me one day.
On those days when I forget this and the hurt becomes unbearable, I’ve discovered a way through, that can turn the frustration to compassion almost instantly.
Whenever you find yourself frustrated while interacting with your parent, stop and see them for a moment as a child. Not in a condescending, patronizing way but one striving and yearning for attention, for recognition, for love, for patience and for validation. This is not their fault.
It’s very hard to change what was hardwired into a child when they are young.
Hold the thought that we all 5 years olds some place in our lives. Our parents can still teach and inspire us. Even if they do not always offer us what we need, we in turn can offer them, what they need.
The compassionate and introspective student will have surpassed the teacher….and that’s ok.
Now, as a conscious parent, I must continue to research my own blind spots, find those places where I am 5 and stretch and grow from this understanding. So too, I must stay open for all the wonderful ways my own kids will surpass me, armed with the knowledge, that this is exactly the way, it was meant to be.