My Family is Perfectly Sane
So this week we are talking about what do you do when your family and friends are more f’d up then you? This is particularly poignant when we discuss our children. Most parents walk around with the same worry: ‘AM I screwing my kids up?’ If you don’t then you are probably one of those self-righteous prigs who home-school, have an organic garden and sew all of your children’s clothing. For most of us though, there is always that nagging doubt about whether or not you are doing things right. Well, CoupleDumb is here to assuage your fears. Yes, you are screwing them up.
Lee says: As a Certified Hypnotherapist, I would work with clients to unravel their issues. Where did they begin? What triggers these memories and feelings? Undoubtedly, most of the issues began in childhood and usually revolved around a parent or family member. Whether Mommy told you to be quiet thus teaching you to keep your mouth shut and allowing every loser in the world to take advantage of you because you lost your ‘voice’ as a child or Daddy criticized how you cleaned something up causing you to doubt everything you do, simple parenting can cause the deepest of wounds. The good news? It isn’t your fault.
In most cases, the underlying theme to most trauma is ’I’m doomed’. Children, for the most part, have no choice. They are stuck. They are trapped with the families they have and their dysfunctions. ’Give your grandfather a kiss’ can translate to ’I know you feel really uncomfortable with Grandpa with the flimsy boundaries’ or ‘Let’s go to your aunts house’ translates to ’I’m sticking you in a house with those cousins who make fun of you and are generally nasty.’ Our kids are screwed.
However, if you think back to your childhood, without sugar-coating or rewriting passages that are painful, you will see that you had the same thing. Childhood is painful because of the lack of choice. As an adult, we are presented with a million opportunities to screw up. For our children, we as parents limit choices so that our kids stay safe. Taking the time to hear our kids or watch for discomfort may save our children from some horrible trauma. However, hindsight is a great way to beat ourselves up.
The best part of being an adult is choosing our family. Kids don’t have that option. As parents, I strongly suggest you watch out for them especially around family. Most people behave differently with family than they do with friends. We treat our friends nicer. We figure family will always be there. It is imperative that we watch for the crazies in our family who have the poor boundaries and take family for granted. These same fuck ups will be there to torture your kids for years to come.
My youth was no different. The family members who were bug-fuck when I was a kid showed their insanity in bright colors as I grew up. It was only after I had my daughter that I decided I didn’t want her subjected to that amount of crazy. I made sure she was never alone with the questionable ones and made the decision to not maintain an acquaintance with certain people because they were too unpredictable. Has this saved her from trauma? Hardly. I tried my best and that is all I can do. When you come to the realization that you can only do the best you can, you resign yourself to the imperfection of parenting. So instead of beating yourself up and questioning every move, use that energy to work on your own issues or start saving for their therapy.
Paul says: I was blessed with the eternal fact that the cousin that my brother and I hung with the most was always more screwed up than me. Hands down and by a couple of orders of magnitude, she was doomed to be the most crazy in any family reunion. How did that affect me as a kid? Well, it gave me something not to be. ‘You don’t want to be like your cousin.’ On one hand, I was thrown into the gladiator arena of self defense that comes with having peer aged family members but it also supplied me with a cautionary tale that unfolded as I grew older.
Wow. As I write this I realize how incredibly fucked up that is.