How do you deal with a parent who has an emotional disability?
Updated: Jun 14, 2020
As a parent, we all know that when you have a child of your own, you would do anything to keep them safe, you would take a bullet for them and you have a natural desire to protect them wherever you can. Oh and the love you feel, OMG there is nothing like the love you feel for your baby boy or girl, a deeper love that makes you realise just how powerful love can really be.
So how can you make sense of having a parent yourself who does not offer unconditional love, who behaves in ways that make no sense and you are left feeling unloved, disappointed and confused about what you could have done to have a parent treat you this way. My problem is that for so many years I was always blaming myself for something I did wrong in the relationship which affected my self worth and respect for myself.
Recently I had a situation again with a parent where they behaved in a way that hurt me and it got me thinking about my value system and how different we are. I always see the good in people and sometimes this means I get hurt and as I sat on my bed shedding my tears, I started thinking about what is an emotional illness and disability. The definition of a disability is a physical or mental condition that limits a person's movements, senses, or activities. Is it possible that I have parent that has an emotional disability?
I found my mindset changed from focussing on me as the problem and realising that I have a parent who behaves in a way that is selfish because they are just unable to love freely, they have limitations. When someone is in a wheelchair and they can't just get up and walk, you don't get angry at them for not being able to walk. They are just unable to do this task because they have a disability. It is the same for a parent or loved one who is emotionally disabled. They can not offer you the love and support that a parent should provide as they are just unable to do this task, they have a disability. You can't be angry at someone who is not capable to doing something, they are restricted, they have an emotional disability.
I am well aware that for generations before us, if you had negative feelings, you just had to get on with it, don't talk about your issues, you just need to move forward and never look back. Issues were seen as a weakness and because so many people have never dealt with their own issues, they are just repeating the cycle. I know this may not be the case for everyone, but it makes me feel sad that this was the way it was for so many people and yet today, we have so much more awareness of mental health, we can talk about our feelings although sometimes we don't and we can seek help from professionals, learn more about natural healing through meditation and reiki and know that it is ok that we are not ok. And even though we are getting better at allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, we have a long way to go because talking about our issues means we have to deal with the emotions and to do that it will hurt and make us uncomfortable however, this is your chance like mine to break the cycle. Are you up for it?
I believe when we truly love who we are, you become so powerful that we don't actually need love from a parent or anyone else, you no longer rely on it to make you feel whole. The love and compassion you have for yourself is enough. But loving who you are is hard because blaming yourself or feeling guilty about the failure of a relationship is what we do. We want to fix things, fix people and make others happy and when we can't fix things, we blame ourselves.
So let's re wire our brains and think about this. What should a parent child relationship look like. The parent is the teacher, the provider of love, guidance and safety. We as the child are innocent little people who are just wanting to be loved, safe and secure. Pretty simple isn't it! The child is innocent, you are innocent because no child asks to be rejected. So stop blaming yourself, take a step back and realise this is not about you, this is about the other person. Love the person you are and be proud that you treat others with respect and love and value good people.
Our focus needs to be on mending our broken heart by showing ourself love and kindness by remembering you are the child, you are innocent. Find your people to talk to, allow yourself to heal and be glad that you have not inherited that emotional disability!