I grew up with childish parents. Trying to parent childish parents is damaging to the child. It teaches the child his or her needs not being met is okay because his or her parents’ needs take priority and that is justifiable and should be accepted as a growing responsibility.
I witnessed violence between my childish parents and my power imbalanced grandparents when I was really young, perhaps 4 or 5 years old. Hence any memory prior to that age was non existing for me till to date. I stopped searching for those memories because I realised they are probably coexisting with the traumatic memories. So I am at peace of letting those memories of 4 or 5 years of my life go.
My parents were my guardians. They provided me with shelter, food, clothing. They sent me to school for education so I would have a better life. Because of that, I was opened to the wonderous world of literature where I took refuge and comfort. They are diligent parents with good wills.
I am the only child to my childish parents. Three person household should have been fairly straightforward and orderly. My childish parents are competitive individuals whom rather die to give in to each other. Every disagreement is serious, every argument is a war and every fight is life or death. One has to question where is the peace in this tiny three person household.
One night when I was about 13 years old, after attempting to tolerate the fighting noise for lengthy period of time, I broke out of my bedroom to the battlefield. I told my childish parents ‘Hey you two, need to make up your minds. You either get a divorce or living in peace. I am fed up with your never ending fighting. You are not children. ‘ I retreated back to my bedroom and put my Walkman back on.
Don’t get me wrong, my parents did not get married to an arranged marriage. They fought for their freedom to marry each other. They love each other but they love themselves more. They are self centred and childish.
I had been their mediator over the years and I counselled them on their relationship which I should have had never got involved. I had always put their emotional needs over my own. I was frightfully independent.
When I was about 17, my father was arrested in the police’s custody. My mother was contacted by the police and given the option of my father’s release on bail. My mother was in complete denial. Instead of focusing on getting the documentation ready for the bail, she went on and on about how the police was corrupted. The irony was, both of us knew my father was far from innocent. I stepped in and organised the bail and my father was released. I comforted my mother. I talked to my father and negotiated some rules to prevent future offence. In hind sight, I should have had let my mother grow up and let my father run his course. I am not their parent disregard how childish they are.
I was forced to grow up to be independent, responsible and peaceable. I am an excellent listener and conflict handler. These qualities all sounded positive traits. So it is very easy to consider I am a well adjusted child and a healthy grownup.
A child parents his or her childish parents has never learnt their precious place to be a child. We learnt that our unmet needs are secondary at best. We have poor boundaries and reap destruction in our own personal relationships.
I became a rescuer who attracted to victims and took accusation from the persecutors on the chin. In this power balanced and stubborn triangle, as long as I stand firm as the rescuer, the victim remains victim. In another word, I enable them not to grow up and take responsibility for their behaviours. I was merely repeating the pattern of raising my childish parents in my personal relationships.
I came to a point where I was completed worn out and cocooned myself shutting off any warm or fuzzy human contact in any kind. I had been numb and oblivious to emotional pain. I survived by dissociating myself to my life and surroundings. I have always been able to hear my own thoughts clearly, I hear the battle between spirits and the power struggle among them. I had watched my own life playing out like a long television series for over a decade. When I bled out emotionally, there was nothing left of me to be squeezed, not compassion, not sympathy, not care nor love. I was dead to myself before I was dead to others. Even in death I was secondary.
I knew the root cause of my sour fruits came from taking up the inappropriate responsibility for parenting my childish parents from a young age. Yet they were not the solution to my heartache, I am. My life will not bear sweet fruits if I continue failing to take responsibility for my default rescuer setting. When I was so dead that I was unable to disassociate. I was in my own flesh within a shell and faced the cusp of life and eternal death. I was lucid and saw my life as how it really was, the part I played and the effects on people around me in particular my love ones.
Transformation came after realisation. I have learnt self care, validation of my own needs and boundaries of trust and respect. I have come to know myself again. I know who I am. I am able to dream again and follow my dreams. I know who I will trust my life to.
My childish parents taught me an invaluable life lesson and I love them for it.