All my life (it’s not that long though) I have heard people around me asking questions to others like, “how can you think something like this when your parents did so many things for you?” “Your parents made sure you have food, education, clothes, medication, and a roof above your head, how can you expect more?” All these questions always made me wonder if it is okay to have mixed feelings about your parents or not. Because relationships aren’t always smooth sailing.
Mixed feelings never really meant hatred. So, free yourself from this extra burden of negative thoughts that you “hate” your parents. The term mixed feelings mostly mean being pleased and displeased about something or someone. When we are talking about having mixed feelings about our parents, we are basically referring to loving them while not liking or supporting certain choices they made for us or on behalf of us. The choices, as adults, they could’ve made better being more thoughtful.
Now, mixed feelings can crop up from many situations and circumstances. We’ve tried to discuss a few reasons that might be responsible for these feelings and why it’s okay to have mixed feelings towards your parents.
We all have certain expectations from the people around us. Some of those expectations come naturally and some are here because of society’s one way of thinking. We mostly expect our parents to take care of us not just physically but mentally as well. It is not just about providing money for stuff. Having our back, listening to our problems, spending time with us, etc. are some of those basic expectations that show up naturally. Because they are our parents and they are supposed to be there for us.
The other kind of expectation is basically molded by society. Society fed us theories such as our parents are supposed to read our minds and so forth. Of course, parents are superheroes for doing everything possible they can and they’ve parental instincts as well but hey they are humans too. And normally humans don’t have these kinds of supernatural power. So, if you are thinking your mom will know exactly what you are going through, take a second guess. Your mom might sense something going on but she won’t know what it is exactly. She is a human too.
Also, movies, tv shows play an important role when it comes to expectations. So, when you are binging your favorite show, put some thought on the fact that such behaviors are humanly possible or not.
When Parenting Goes Wrong
Toxic parenting is a quite common term nowadays. And if you don’t have the idea of their existence, then know that there are toxic parents. But it’s not a medical term. The term toxic parent defines those patterns of behaviors exhibiting by the parents that cause fear, guilt, discomfort among their children. The whole upbringing process affects the child negatively and s/he/they might grow up with anxiety disorder, PTSD, attachment issues along with many other psychological and physical issues.
There are certain signs and characteristics through which toxic parenting can be identified. Manipulative behavior, controlling behavior, verbal and physical abuse, gaslighting, zero respect towards boundaries, and self-centric behaviors are the most prominent.
Brown parenting is such a kind of parenting. Brown parenting is mostly followed by South Asian parents. This parenting philosophy involves physical & mental punishment, racist- sexist remarks towards their own children, emotional blackmail, making decisions on behalf of the children, and on and on. If we put a little thought into this, we’ll find that culture has a great influence on this. But that is a discussion that needs way more time. Also, I am no scholar.
This can create a mixed feeling among kids about their parents.
Modern Parenting- the Parental Burnout Trap
Different generations of parents faced different difficulties. But the difficulties modern-day parents face are on a different level. It’s more overwhelming and obviously more demanding which ultimately causes parental burnout. Parents are getting more involved in their kids’ life while doing bare minimums for themselves. As a result, it is affecting the overall parenting process. Because when parents don’t address their own needs, they don’t become better parents.
The problem isn’t that modern parenting demands too much from parents. It’s society that doesn’t support parents in doing the best they can do for their children. Now parents need to make up for the fact that society is no longer as supportive as they once were, while its expectations kept growing geometrically. And as a result, parents struggle at each step because it’s impossible to accomplish everything.
Here, both parents and kids are struggling. Kids are growing up with mixed feelings towards parents, And parents are living in a state of constant guilt.
Your Mixed Feelings towards Your Parents are Valid
Now that you know the root causes of mixed feelings and the fact that parenting is not just about providing basic human needs to the child, if you are constantly blaming yourself for having mixed feelings about your parents, know that it’s completely fine. And definitely, you are not the only one.
Now let’s see why it is valid to have mixed feelings about your parents.
It is Okay to have Mixed Feelings about Parents
It’s a Hard Truth to Accept
It’s a difficult truth to come to when your parents love you but are somewhat toxic to you. But accepting this truth will set you free and you will feel less guilty in the process. Moreover, sometimes parents sincerely love their children but lack emotional stability that may force them to undertake excessively heavy emotional work. On the other hand, many parents’ mental illness symptoms appear in ways that are harmful to the children’s mental health.
Their Traumas don’t Justify Their Actions
Further, since they haven’t healed from their own traumas and are replicating the behavior they grew up with, some parents strive so hard to be excellent parents yet fall back on emotional manipulative practices. That doesn’t excuse their actions, and it’s completely fine to feel drained and wounded. And at times, parents unintentionally harm their children’s emotional, psychological, and physical well-being. Because they’re human and they can make mistakes.
Protect Your Peace and Theirs Too
On the other hand, at times, parents are just burned out. They are exhausted and going round in circles. The unreal expectations constantly telling them that they are not doing more. As a result, they forget the existence of boundaries and overstep. In an attempt of doing more, they do way more. So, sometimes you might need to look out for them. Because the ones who are supposed to pay attention to them are the ones making them tired and unhappy. But always remember your boundaries are important too.
Some of Them are Actually Toxic
But sometimes, our parents are toxic. This is another heavy and burdensome realization to come to. They try to manipulate us. Some emotionally, physically abuse us. They put them and their thoughts before ours most of the time. They always make decisions for us. Some of them have zero respect for our boundaries. While some hold us back and hold grudges against us. The list is never-ending.
If you are dealing with such behaviors, first of all, we are sorry. And if you are still thinking about, is it okay to have mixed feeling about them, trust us, it is. They are not supposed to treat us like someone who doesn’t deserve love or respect. They are supposed to be our safe place. Because there is already a cruel world out there. The least they can do is to try to make a safe world for us in our home.
The gist is, your mixed feelings towards your parents are valid. Your feelings or emotions are yours, and they exist for a purpose. Guilt, on the other hand, is not healthy for you. If you still can’t cut down the guilt just remember we all including our parents are the product of society. And we all are humans and humans are meant to make messes.
Again we are sorry if you were ever abused or bullied or felt betrayed by your parents. You never deserved that. You are not obligated to forgive every mistake. But learn to be kind and work on healing yourself.
Since this one was a pretty deep and dark article here are some parenting jokes just to make your heart a bit lighter.
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