I was recently asked where I was avoiding important topics because they felt too difficult.
The parent factor immediately sprang to mind.
Of all of the things I share and talk about, a missing piece of the puzzle is that by far the greatest work I have done, which has impacted my life in the most profound way, has been to understand and work through the dynamics in my family.
I share openly about this work with my clients, both in individual coaching sessions and in my programs, but in my emails and on social media, I tend to keep it hidden or skirt around the issue.
Partly because of my own shame and partly because this is only my narrative and my experience. It is possibly not my parents narrative and it almost certainly isn’t my sisters narrative. And when you grow up being blamed for everything and carry the responsibility for the emotions of others, doing something you know will result in more of what you have spent your whole life trying to avoid feels dangerous.
And yet this work is what has freed me.
It is what allowed me to leave a job I hate.
It is what allowed me to create a life I love.
To work through the need to people please and to try and be perfect.
To know that I deserve to have the fantastic life I created.
That I can earn well and have a beautiful home and NOT feel shame about what I have created.
And as much as I would like to keep this chapter of my story hidden, I think it is important that you know this.
We get taught that our parents are to be revered, respected above all else and can do no wrong.
It isn’t true.
As with all humans, they did their best. But they also made mistakes.
Not all parents are willing to admit that and it can leave the children of those parents feeling like they were the mistake.
Never quite good enough.
Not worthy or deserving of the love they craved.
It leaves a mark.
This is not to put any blame on any parent. Even my own. I have zero doubt that each and every one of our parents did their best.
But that doesn’t mean that what they did was always ok.
And I want you to know that however you feel about your parents, it’s ok.
I have worked with numerous client who introduce the topic of the damage a parent has inflicted with a sense of shame or embarrassment. Because they *KNOW* that such things are not meant to be felt.
We are *MEANT* to adore our parents and be grateful for everything they did.
But what happens when we aren’t?
When much of the experience was toxic, damaging and brutal?
Where do we go then?
If we don’t do the work to address our experience, it results in a shame spiral where deep down we believe that we must be the broken ones.
Unworthy of unconditional love.
Undeserving of praise.
So we overwork, over deliver, mould ourselves into the person we think will be worthy of love and approval.
It’s exhausting and it’s damaging.
I could (and may) write a great many emails on this topic, but for now this is enough.
I do however, want to leave you with a couple of takeaways.
You were always and will always be worthy of unconditional love and approval.
Your parents did their best, but if they left a mark on you that is damaging, you will benefit from doing something to work through that.
Take care and please reach out if you want some support on this massively under talked about topic.