I think it is an unhealthy and unhelpful thought pattern, one which can transfer easily from person to person.
I don't think it ever helps anyone. And I think it is a coward's pursuit, because most parents will not try to hurt you back, even if you hurt them. And hurt them you will, because it hurts to hear your own child speak against you.
All of our parents have done something that hurt us as children, and most of our parents have done much, much more trying to do good, despite the odds being stacked against them. As a parent, ancestral customs, societal pressures, and entropy are all fighting against you, trying to kill, maim, harm your child, and it's all you can do is sweat working against all that shit at once, while at the same time, behind you, trying to create a positive, happy experience for your child.
I think it is a symptom of how spoiled we are by our society with space and resources, because most people in the past had no choice but to live with their parents and get along with them.
I like what Joseph Brodsky has to say on the matter: “Parents are too close a target… The range is such that you can’t miss.” Be generous with your family. Even if your convictions clash with theirs, don’t reject them—your skepticism of your infallibility can only benefit you. It will also save you a good deal of grief when they are gone.
As a result I decided to tell my Mum I loved her. Let's just say the didn't go well. It was an important step for me however. I have my own wonderful family now and saying I love you doesn't come easy but I do it.
I'm nearly 50 and time has taught me two things. People are generally self-focussed. Thankfully there are those who put others first. Luckily I married one. Secondly, parents often get it tough and then bring their brokenness with them into their own family. It doesn't excuse them but understanding your parent's journey can sometimes make you more aware of what they did do for you rather than what they didn't do for you.
It took me a long time to realize what had even happened. I thought I had had a good childhood for most of my life. All I knew was that I was a deeply depressed person who felt "broken" and couldn't ever figure out why because nothing was obviously wrong. I was still an outwardly successful person.
I stumbled on CPTSD by chance and things suddenly clicked into place. I found the symptoms matched up perfectly to my experience. That forced me to question my upbringing, and on revisiting a lot of memories I began to understand that I was abused and that I had repressed the pain and conflict for my own survival. Children tend to love their parents no matter what as a survival mechanism. It's not uncommon for abuse survivors to convince themselves that everything is/was fine.
That was an important step to healing. I recognized terrible things had happened and I was able to actually start addressing my pain. Part of the healing process for me has been to feel anger towards my family, both for the abuse and for standing by. And that's where I'm at: I don't hate my parents but I have years and years worth of anger, resentment and pain impacting my relationship with them. I'm still working through it but am mentally in a far, far better place.
Trauma can ripple through generations. My parents abused me because they themselves were abused and didn't know a different way to raise me or express their pain. I think a lot more people than we realize suffer from CPTSD. My gut is that it's especially common among high-achieving individuals since many of them were likely forced to perform well as children in order to receive their parents' love. The pandemic has forced everyone to be alone with their own thoughts or confined with family for the first time in a long time and I think it's forcing everyone to confront issues like this.
If you would like to share, I would love to hear more about this. My best friend is going through something and many of your points seem to fit.
I commenced my policy of non-contact / NC and it's been the most
peaceful five years I've ever had. Here is my advice based on
my own experience:
1. If you still live with them, move ASAP with the shirt on your
2. All communications with them shall be written via email, and
don't tell them where you live, where you work, your bank
balance, who you're dating, etc. Every piece of information
will be used against you.
3. Get some therapy and start your recovery process.
Here's some things I would go back in time and tell my younger self:
You're never going to change them.
You are not responsible for their mental health or emotional state.
Don't bother trying to reason with them, they are irrational.
Don't try to earn their respect, you never will.
Don't agree to their assessment of your capabilities.
Don't tell them how much money you make.
Don't tell them how much money you have.
Don't tell them where you work.
You will not get them to be accountable for their actions,
it's useless to try.
Don't wish them happy birthday, don't have dinner with them, don't
show, call or send a card for any holiday, christmas, hanukkah,
thanksgiving. Don't do it. It's a trap.
Remove the emotion from it. It's not out of spite, anger or
vengeance -- it's for your health. You are not a petty person, this was
in the works for a long time. It's like going for a jog in the morning.
It's what you need to do to stay mentally, emotionally fit in your life.
Don't blame yourself, this is a logical consequence of your
nparents actions. People around you might not understand and that's
okay. The time to leave and break contact is right now.
Retake agency in your life.
Good luck everyone!
I wonder how much of the tension is from changes in society.