Parents don’t only affect their daughters; they also have profound effects on their son and his future relationships. For example, a very common scenario may be a son who isn’t close to his dad, but is very close to his mother. He may have difficulty with commitment and being vulnerable because he may feel that a woman will be too emotionally needy (since he and his mother are so close), and he will be reluctant to repeating that situation. He never learned or was mentored by his father how you can be close to a woman and still have your own space to do the things you enjoy.
The key for Kellie, as well as anyone who has past resentment and hurt from their parents, is to make peace. It is better to do this early before you date or marry someone, so these feelings aren’t acted out with someone unknowingly and new. What we reject in our parents doesn’t go away, but remains inside of us. Much of life is repeating old patterns, but when patterns are unhealthy repeating them for generations seems pointless and cruel. 90% of all prisoners have been abused as children. Unhealthy patterns of resentment, anger, and cruelty affect our relationships, our families and our societies at large. Below are suggestions for making peace with your parents.
1. Realize that your way of continuing the pattern of your parents is an unconscious way to bring them back and keep them in your life. Therefore, the first and foremost thing you must do is write down and make note of any good behaviors they had.
2. Begin to look for these good behaviors in others, especially with people you date.
3. If your parents are still alive, sit with them and talk honestly about what you resent, and seek to understand why your parents acted in this manner. Many times understanding helps heal resentment.
4. If your parents are deceased or unavailable, write a letter of what they did that was so hurtful or upsetting to you. It can help release the feelings if you put them down on paper. You may want to burn the letter or bury it. If your parents are old and not able to understand, giving the letter to them will only cause more suffering for all of you. It is not part of letting go or establishing peace.
5. Talking to a loved one you are dating or married to about your discovery will really help. They may feel lightened by your enlightenment, and also relieved to see the pattern of what has been created. When you understand a pattern you can usually work with one another in an effort to not repeat it.
Our parents are the first people we loved. They are the first people who are supposed to love us. When their expression of love is unhealthy as children we aren’t able to grasp it because we have no other comparison. Therefore, the way they expressed their love for you and your other parent is bound to leave a lasting impression. The key to establishing peace as an adult with your parent is to be curious, honest, and forgiving. They may have been a broken child inside a parent body. Understanding and not repeating the pattern is Kellie’s and our ultimate goal. –Mary Jo Rapini
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Tags: Parenting, Relationships, Family, Communication, Dating, Marriage, Unhealthy Relationships, Love, Resentment, Marrying Someone Like Your Parent