13. HOW AND WHY WE CHOOSE OUR PARTNERS
Via my step-by-step relationship knowledge system offered here in Section 2, you will gain an amazing understanding of relationships:
1. GOOD OR BAD INTERNAL PARENTS
The relationship that parents have, whether married, partnered or divorced becomes the relationship model for a child. The child absorbs from their parents what relationships are all about. They learn from their parents how to behave in a relationship. Consequently, the relationship of parents and how they behave with one another becomes the blueprint of the child. This then gets absorbed or internalised by the child. It becomes part of both the conscious and unconscious of the child.
Every family system is however, different. Each family has it’s own rules. So as you grow up you absorb your parent’s attitudes, their values and their belief systems with regards to relationships, money, family, work, careers, politics and religion. A parent shows by example and the child absorbs these values.
When I saw clients it was important that I explored what each individual had actually ‘taken on board’, absorbed or internalised with regards their childhood, their parent’s relationship and their family, as this usually affected their future relationships.
So the parental relationship can have extensive and vast consequences on a child’s relationships.
It might be worth your while to spend some time thinking about your childhood and your family. Do write down what you absorbed from your parents relationships. Give yourself some time as often many issues can be buried or forgotten. Writing this down will help you get to know yourself better.
And even if you are in a happy relationship, it will do you no harm to understand why your relationship/s is actually working.
Another aspect of internalising our parent’s relationships is that the duration of their relationship can influence the length of a child’s relationships. Generally speaking, a child’s relationships may only last for as long as the parent’s marriage or relationships or, for as long as the parents were happy in their relationship. For example, if the parent’s relationship or marriage lasted around say for four years, it is quite possible that the child’s meaningful relationships will only also last for around four years. Notice I used the word meaningful – this normally refers to the ‘big’ relationships, when the person falls deeply in love or the relationship is more important than say some of the others. This is when the links or what is shared is also stronger and deeper – this I will discuss in the next blog.
One explanation of internalising a parent’s relationship, which I observed regularly, was the following: if parents divorce and they then go on to have a long-term second marriage then their children may follow by example. Their first marriage may end in divorce but similar to their parents, their second marriage may be long lasting.
Another example is when a person from a ‘single parent home’ enters into a relationship they may find it very hard to sustain a relationship because what they are used to, is a ‘single one parent home’. Not having experienced two people in a relationship might become difficult once the child enters a relationship. And because much of what we internalise is unconscious often we have no idea of the impact a parent’s relationship or non-relationship can have on a child. Often couples from single-parent backgrounds, find ways either unconsciously or consciously of pushing their partner away in order to re-create what they know and are used to – a single parent home.
So what you experience as a child is very powerful and the unconscious is just as powerful. The patterns that you internalise from your parents, from your childhood can be so strong that without realising it, you may repeat the behavioural patterns of your parents.
These ‘internalised parental relationship repeat patterns’ are not always so cut and dry. However, it is still useful to bear them in mind, as it might help you understand why some of your relationships have or have not survived.
So to reiterate, when two people enter a relationship, they ‘bring’ what they know or what they have internalised from their parents and their background experiences into a relationship.
In the field of relationship therapy, reference is often made to a client having either good or bad internal parents.
Having ‘good internal parents’ refers to a client having parents who have stayed together for the duration of say 18-20 years. Generally having ‘good internal parents’ can also refer to a reasonable emotional maturity between the parental couple.
‘Bad internal parents’ would refer to the observation and experiencing of parental divorce or many dysfunctional relationships of the parents. ‘Bad’ meaning that the client may find it more difficult to sustain relationships in adulthood if they had not had a relationship blueprint.
And yet having parents who have stayed together for say 20 years certainly does not always mean that they have given their children excellent relationship blueprints either.
These terms however, give us a starting point, a reference point from which we can begin to look more carefully at our parent’s relationship – not to blame, but for self-awareness.
Another angle for single parent families, battling to sustain relationships, is to become aware that we usually consciously or unconsciously (I will explain this concept more in detail in my next blog) attract people also from single parent home. Why? Because we attract what we know and birds of a feather flock together.
One possible way round this dilemma is through self-awareness and possibly waiting for someone with ‘good internal parents’ to help overcome a partner’s relationship issues.
So it is useful for you to get to know these terms as it may begin your new relationship understanding – and you may also develop a new self-awareness.
In my next blog we will explore The Relationship Fit between two people.
Note: © 2014 Information Copyright Deidré Wallace
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