Child Abuse: Is Someone Engaging In Repetition Compulsion If They Are Looking For Their Parents To Acknowledge They Were Abusive?
After coming to see that their early years were anything but nurturing, someone could spend a fair amount of time trying to get through to their parent/parents. This could be something that hasn’t been going on for very long.
Then again, this could be something that has been taking place for a number of years. If it has been going on for quite some time, it will mean that they have spent a lot of their time and energy trying to make headway.
A Dead End
However, regardless of how long this has been going on and, consequently, how much time and energy they have expended, they might not have been able to get very far. In fact, they might not have made any progress whatsoever.
But, while what they are doing won’t be working, it doesn’t mean that they will stop behaving in this way. No matter how many setbacks they receive trying to have what they went through validated, they could continue.
A Miserable Existence
Being in a position where their parent, assuming it is one parent, is not able to acknowledge what they put them through is going to be hard for them to handle. Before they speak to them, they could get their hopes up and believe that it will be different this time.
Whilst they are speaking to them, they could feel ignored, rejected and worthless. And, after they have spoken to them, they could feel guilty and totally hopeless and helpless, and they could be filled with anger and rage.
Up and Down
What this will show is that this parent will have a lot of control over how they feel and this is likely to impact other areas of their life. So, after they have tried to get through to them, they could feel down for a little while after.
Or it could be even worse, with them feeling deeply depressed and they might even think about ending it all. Ultimately, they are not going to be in a good way as it is and looking for their parent to truly be there for them is just going to make things worse.
If a close friend or family member was to become aware of what is going on for them, they could say that they just need to move on. They could see how much harm it is causing them and no longer want to see them suffer.
Now, they might be able to see this but it doesn’t mean that they will just be able to draw the line. Before long, they could end up doing the same thing all over again and experience the same outcome.
If, at this point, they were able to step back from what is going on, they might wonder why they are behaving in this way. It will be crystal clear that this is not working and is causing them a lot of unnecessary harm.
What would be rational would be for them to accept that this parent, due to their own wounds, simply couldn’t provide them with what they needed all those years ago and can’t provide them with what they feel they need now. So, no matter how hard they try and how long this goes on, it is highly unlikely that this parent’s behaviour will change.
Taking this into account, they can either continue to suffer unnecessarily or they can cut their ties and move on. Yet, although they will be able to see that this is so, another part of them won’t be able to accept this.
This part of them will feel compelled to receive their parent’s validation and it won’t give up until it is received. After realising this, they could wonder why this part of them is this way.
What’s going on?
When it comes to the part of them that doesn’t want to let go and is like a dog with a bone, this part of them will be looking to fulfil the needs that were not met during their developmental years. This part of them will be frozen in time and won’t be able to see that this stage is over.
Another way of looking at this would be to say that their emotional self or child self has no sense of time and this is why this part of them can’t see this stage is over and that these needs will never be met. The outcome of this is that it will give them the need to continually look for what wasn’t provided all those years ago.
Thanks to this, they will be a walking definition of insanity; doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Yet, as painful as it will be for them to behave in this way, the alternative will be seen as being far worse.
If they were to face up to the fact that this stage of their life is over and these needs will never be met, they would end up coming into contact with how they felt when these needs were not met. At the time, this pain would have automatically been repressed by their brain to allow them to keep it together and survive.
The way out is in
Facing this pain, working through it and becoming a more integrated human being in the process will take courage and patience and persistence. In the beginning, they might not be able to do this by themselves.
By being supported by another, they will be able to go where they wouldn’t go by themselves. Working through the layers and layers of pain inside them will allow them to gradually accept that these unmet developmental needs will never be met and to no longer look towards their parent for what they simply can’t give them.
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.