My parents are different

The growing child is busy discovering himself and the world. Parents are a stable basis to fall back on. If it gets too scary, you can go to your parents. But what if your parent is different? Growing up with a parent who is different always has consequences for the growing child.

When we talk about “there is something going on with my father / mother” it often means that there are uncertainties. Question marks. Strange behavior. Or taboos. Things that made it difficult for you as a child to explore the world with confidence. In order to investigate who you are and how the world works, it is necessary that adults give you an honest picture of the world. A parent who is “different” is usually not very good at that. They themselves do not know very well how the world works. And have not been able to give that to you. Maybe they even got in your way a bit, by pretending they knew it all or by making things appear different to you than they really were. Maybe you weren’t allowed to ask any questions at all. Or the situation at home gave you that feeling.

From my own experience as a child of parents who are “different”, I understand how lonely it can be when, as you grow, you enter a world that your parent does not fit in with. You have to figure it out yourself in those areas where your parent cannot grow with you. This also applies to your inner world. If your parent does not have a clear image of who you are, you might miss guidance from them. You may

  • have mostly made safe decisions, or have made choices that you hoped would offer you safety
  • have moved far away from your parents
  • not know very well what you’re feeling or take a long time to figure out what you’re feeling
  • sometimes get overwhelmed with emotions
  • not know whar your talents are or be afraid to develop them
  • feel like you’re not living on planet earch, but floating somewhere in outer space
  • be afraid to make mistakes
  • have difficulty to decide what you want
  • rarely say “no”
  • have many second thoughts about decisions you have made

It is almost impossible to determine what exactly it is that you missed out on in childhood. Many people whose parents were “different” do not have the words for what was not there. After all, it wasn’t there. If you’ve ever sought help, this help may not have gotten to the core. Regular healthcare does not go beyond symptom lists. Questionnaires, diagnosis of your personal issues and then treatment: working with you in the “now” without talking about the past.

I will purposefully dive into the past with you. People are quick to say “Let the past rest” or “Aren’t you over it yet?”. Believe me, I’ve been on the receiving end of those those questions. That resistance of others to your own search within yourself, it says nothing about you. It says something about themselves. Your search for explanations for past events arouses fear in them. Leave it there, with them. We will look together at where you come from.

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