One of the main things I have been working on for myself is seeing what — if anything — of my childhood, teen and early adult perspectives on life, love and romance need to be “edited” so that I do not fall back into those old habits and behaviors, and repeat the same kind of relationships I had in my past, whether with the ex or with anyone else, including my parents.
Thing is, when you are a child, no matter how often a parent can tell you that you are not at fault for something, that you sometimes just had things happen to you — and you may not have seen anything of what others including your parents or family did to protect or defend you.
Childhood and adolescence is a time when things are very polarized. Things are either all good or all evil. And, if you feel resentment or any assorted negative feelings about your parents or grandparents (or anyone else who raised you), those emotions can color your relationships with them negatively for a very long, long time — perhaps even well past their deaths if you have not tried to find a way to see them as more than just the paper figures you created in your mind.
As I’ve said before, my father and I have had a fairly tumultuous relationship for much of my life. The thing is, if you look at our personalities, I take far more after my father than I do after my mother. And, additionally, both he and I pretty much take after his mother. Even worse, I could pretty much be a clone of my grandmother both physically and personality-wise. Since no human being gets out of their childhood without some perception-based opinions of people in their lives, I’m sure some of my reactions to him may have reminded him of some of his own interactions with his mother, and could have elicited a similar response to me.
Why is all of this important? Because tonite, without any plans or preconceptions, we went from discussing my recent psychological tests, and my emotional reactions to the results to discussing relationships between them and I. And, again, like the discussion with my mother recently, there were far less of our own defense mechanisms involved.
Oh, there were some habitual responses, but I think there were less than we’ve experienced in the past. And, I found out many new stories about what it was like for him to be a child. In fact, I got a lot more information — which I would never have had if I hadn’t asked. My father has always been good at telling stories about himself if they are germane to whatever we are discussing, but since many of our more reasonable discussions have centered around me asking for his advice, some of the stories from his childhood were not necessarily relevant.
For example, I think I’ve said before that he lost his father in the 40s. In fact, I found out tonite that he lost his father two years before when I thought he did. His father died in 1945, of cancer. That’s also the year WWII ended, so Grandma Rose who had been working in the factory was laid off because the men were all coming back from war.
And we discussed how difficult it was, not only for my grandmother, but for him, growing up with a single mother. Those decades weren’t exactly good to women raising their children alone, but I didn’t necessarily equate that with difficulties that those women’s children experienced.
I know I’m broken in ever so many ways. BUT….the least I can do to pull myself back together is to make sure I’m doing so in order to create a healthier me.