Was your childhood painful?

Social media posts and Bollywood have painted a monochrome picture of how we should think and feel about our parents. We are required to think they’re perfect, accept all that they do and have to express how we love them the most.

There are definitely some parents like that.

There are also the other kind of parents. The ones who we never quite connected with, the ones we were told to love only because of the genes, the ones who were too busy, too strict, too far away, too uninterested, too different from us. Being surrounded by all this propaganda can sometimes jar with what our own experiences of our parents have been. Take a look at the words in those Father’s Day and Mother’s Day posts – it can sometimes be difficult to identify with them.

Our parents may not have been what we would have liked them to be. Being a good parent takes time, energy and commitment among many other things, and there are some people who don’t have it in them - or who were just not able to make it work, despite trying. Thinking back over our experiences might lead us to feel sad, hurt, angry and sometimes guilty that we don’t feel that way about our parents. For some there is the fear that perhaps we will never be able to be good parents ourselves.

At such times, it helps to remember that it’s okay to feel this way. Our feelings are in reaction to our experiences and so, there they are. And we are not alone in this.  

Living with these feelings day-in and day-out, however, is not healthy for us. Working our way through and coming to terms with it, is important, as is being able to forgive and move forward. Talking to someone about it – a family member, a friend, or a counsellor, can help us understand how we feel, why we feel that way, and work towards making it better. 

Another thing to do, is to identify people in our lives who step in and fill the role that a parent might otherwise play. People who provide us with feelings of safety, security, love, affection, attention etc. It could take more than one person to fulfil these, but as long as these needs of ours are met, it is good for us. If we do not have the family we need, we can form the family around us, even if they are not related by blood.

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