What someone may see, after taking a closer look at their early years, is that they were not treated very well by one of their parents. After coming to see this, they could have the need to talk to them about what happened.
This might then be a time when this parent is able to truly be there for them and is, therefore, able to validate what they went through and express remorse. Thanks to this, it is likely to be a lot easier for them to gradually move forward.
A Key Part
Of course, receiving their parent’s validation and warmth won’t change what happened but what it will do is play a part in them being able to come to terms with what happened and to heal. This parent could say, in one way or another, that they were not in a good way and that this is why they behaved in a destructive manner.
It could be clear that they are carrying a lot of guilt and shame, and they could be grateful that their adult child even talks to them. In this case, it could be said that it will have taken a lot of courage for them to acknowledge how they behaved and to apologise.
However, this is not going to be how all abusive parents respond after their adult child opens up about their early years. When this is not how an abusive parent responds, it can be hard for their adult child to handle.
They can then talk to them about some of the things that took place during their early years and most if not all of what they say can be dismissed. Based on how their parent responds, it will be as if they have walked up to a stranger and just randomly accused them of something.
The Same Old Story
If what they say is dismissed and they are even criticised, this experience is likely to be very similar to how it was for them as a child. Throughout this stage of their life, they might have often been verbally put down, physically harmed and emotionally neglected.
At this point, they might wonder why they are trying to get through to this parent. Additionally, part of them might feel comfortable with what has happened, with this part believing that they deserve to be treated badly.
If they do believe this, it is likely to be a consequence of the fact that they were egocentric as a child and would have personalised what took place. In reality, how they were treated was a reflection of what was going on for their parent.
Now, after the dust has settled, so to speak, they could end up trying to get through to this parent once again. And, like before, what they say could be dismissed and they could end up being criticised.
A Dead End
Sooner or later, what might enter their mind is that it doesn’t matter how many times they try to get through to them, what they say, or how they say it. For some reason, this parent simply won’t be able to acknowledge how destructive their behaviour was or the harm that they caused.
What this is likely to show is that although their parent will look human, they are not in touch with their humanity. Said another way, they lack the ability to empathise, experience shame and guilt and engage in self-reflection.
What is going on?
If their parent was in touch with their humanity, it would be possible for them to validate what they went through and to be there for them. As to why they are not in touch with their humanity, it can be due to what they went through during their formative years.
This may have been a time when they were verbally put down, physically harmed and emotionally abandoned. Whatever it was that happened to them, it would have deeply wounded them and they would have ended up creating a disconnected and inflated false self.
This false self would have allowed them to disconnect from the pain that they were experiencing; the downside is that they would have lost touch with their ability to feel certain feelings. If they had stayed in touch with their feeling self, it would have been, and would be, normal for them to feel worthless, ashamed and hopeless and helpless.
By keeping a lid on how they really feel, through having a false view of themselves and blocking out anything that goes against this view, they would have been able to, and will be able to, feel superior, unashamed and powerful. Keeping this inflated view of themselves in place will be essential if they are to keep it together and function.
It’s not personal
Their parent is then unable to be there for them because if they were to face reality, they would come into contact with a lot of painful material and end up falling apart. So, as strong as they may appear to be, this will be nothing more than a facade.
If they were truly strong, they would have the courage to face up to and take responsibility for their behaviour and the impact that it had. They are simply not strong enough to do this.
If someone can relate to this and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.