The Problem With Parents


Parents. The relationship we have with them is often complicated. Even when we get along with them and things are fine we are never more than a misplaced word away from all out warfare.

Religious guilt gives us this attitude of “honour thy father and mother”. It is flawed in so far as some people do not deserve it. To honour them would be a failure on our part as a human being.

It is important not to lose sight of the fact that not only did we not ask to be born but it was completely out of our control as to what kind of parent (good or bad) they go on to be. Let us make no mistake here. A bad parent is a bad parent. There are mistakes and then there is down right negligence or neglect.

Often I see forums where people have fallen out with the parent and others always advise that somehow it is their fault for this broken relationship with the parents, ultimately that they are our Mum/Dad and that we should respect them.

I have tried for 31 years to both honour and respect my Mother. On an almost daily basis (if I allow her that access to my world) she has repeatedly let me down. Every chance or opportunity she has had to step up to the plate she has failed. Not just as an adult now but also when I was a child.

Older family members speak of as a toddler I was the adult and she was the child. If I had something she wanted I would give it to her and share. I would be the one who would try to reason with her as a young child. It was me who looked after her when my Dad died calling her daily and arranging things. I have tried to keep the peace and bite my lip.

Around this time last year something change. I could no longer carry on the way I had been. I introduced what my therapist calls “boundaries”. It was not what I had planned but it just happened. Enough was enough. After an extended period of withdrawal I got back in touch with her when she went into hospital. I imagine most people cut out of another’s life would ask why the absence and what had they done to deserve it. This question was never asked.

I am of course in the interests of privacy and “respect” omitting a lot of the things that happened growing up. I will write about it one day simply so that it is out there in writing and when I feel that perhaps you all need to understand it.

So to anyone with a difficult parent or parents, you have my sympathy. The world will tell you that you are at fault and that you didn’t do enough. Know that this is not true. Never forget you are the child and they are the adult.


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