It’s really important here to take a moment and understand where all of these behaviors come from. It might be easy to blame our parents or caregivers. Or for parents or caregivers to blame themselves. But it isn’t their fault. Nobody wakes up and says “I want to be a terrible caregiver and mess my kid up.” Many factors play into our caregivers’ ability to connect with us as children.
Perhaps most important is how they were raised. Remember that our infant brains learn whatever our parents model for us. So if our parents didn’t get their needs met, that’s what they learn. If they didn’t see their parents model healthy emotions, they probably won’t be good at it. And if our parents’ parents didn’t handle stress or anxiety or anger well, then our parents probably won’t, either. Or maybe they learned ways to survive that worked when they were kids, but aren’t so great now that they’re adults and parents.
In short, we are all a product of the things that went on when we were growing up. Most of us have never been asked in detail about our childhoods. We often don’t know these wounds or unmet needs are there. If we do, we may not understand how much they impact how we think, how we react, how we behave. We grew up with it, and so it may seem normal to us.
But until we really explore that with curiosity and openness, those experiences are going to influence how we “show up” with others, especially our loved ones, and how they “show up” with us. When we “get” that, then we realize… it isn’t anyone’s fault. And when we remove blame, we’re opening the door for connection, understanding, kindness and acceptance.