Blog 1. How It All Starts: Your Relationships Mirror Your Parent’s Relationships.
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The old ways of doing things is changing. To reach your goals you need to develop yourself and your relationships. The best way of doing this would be to understand the basics of how we develop emotionally in childhood and how we then use this in adult relationships.
I will provide you with snippets of my insights in a step-by-step process of my relationship knowledge which will allow you to begin a whole new thinking process and a new relationship journey.
As a relationship therapist time and time again I observed the following:
That the relationships we choose are often very similar to our parent’s relationship:
Jean-Paul Sartre wrote, “We are our choices – but even before that, we are often products of our parental choices.’’
The type of relationship your parents had, whether their relationship was long term, whether they got divorced, whether positive or negative can affect your choice of relationships in adulthood. Parental relationships provide you with a relationship blueprint as you grow up. Children are like sponges – they absorb everything.
Often we don’t realize just how powerful and how important a parent’s relationship is, especially with regards to our own relationship choices. We often take our early experiences for granted and most people are quite unaware of the emotional impact their parent’s relationship has on their own relationships choices.
Our parent’s relationship is the one that we experience directly. We learn about relationships from our parent’s relationships. Irrespective of the circumstances, they are our role models. We learn a huge amount from parents and mostly this is absorbed unconsciously.
Some people may think that their childhood was happy. Unfortunately this may not be reflected in their relationship choices because “The success of one’s parenting lies not in the career a child chooses but the relationships they choose”.
And we often attract relationships that are similar to our parent’s relationship. This is not always obvious. Sometimes it’s subtle. We can attract a partner who is exactly like our parents or indeed just one of our parents. Another example is if we attract our fathers, over time we may suddenly come to realize that what we’ve attracted is actually someone similar to our mothers, or visa versa. We can also attract partners who are only vaguely similar to our parents but similar nevertheless.
Most important is that we often attract the relationship patterns we have absorbed or internalized from our parents. In other words, the length of their relationship might be reflected in our own relationship, how many relationships they’ve had, whether you came from a single parent family, whether your parents had affairs, the kind of relationship they had loving or otherwise, and so forth, is often reflected in the type of relationships we choose. This choice might either be unconscious or conscious. And it’s all to do with the ingrained patterns that become our relationship blueprints. You may say that it’s obvious that our parents have some influence over us. Except that we don’t always take the time to find out is exactly how much of an influence, albeit it subtle, a parent’s relationship has impacted on us.
Also, its not so much what you observed and experienced as a child, but how what happened was managed. Mostly what happened gets taken for granted. You may even have forgotten why and exactly where your relationship patterns come from. Except that these patterns become what you know. And what you know is what you attract.
What I observed as a relationship therapist is that therapy is not about change. We are not computers. Our past experiences cannot be re-installed. What we have experienced remains with us. Therapy IS however, about understanding. Understanding and getting to know your blueprints, what you have absorbed, your emotional knee-jerk reactions, your habits and patterns. It’s a case of ‘Knowing Thyself’. It is only when we stop and reflectthat we gain an understanding of how childhood experiences mould how we relate. This certainly does not mean that you must have had a terrible childhood to do this. Knowledge is power. Once you understand the type of relationship your parents had and why you then choose certain relationships and where your relationship patterns come from, then you can then begin to reconstruct and make better choices, depending on what you want out of life.
Once you understand your relationship or emotional make-up this is when you can begin to make better choices to suit your life’s goals.
Unfortunately, this requires some work. Nothing ever comes from doing nothing. My knowledge is for highly effective people who want to effect change and this takes a bit of hard work requiring self-observation and motivation – a bummer but ultimately a relief once you begin to see the pieces of your relationship puzzle falls into place.
Examining your family history and the beliefs you have absorbed about relationships is crucial as it’s only through understanding ourselves – our parents, their relationship and our childhood that we can begin to understand who we attract in either friendships, personal or business partnerships.
Soren Kierkegaard once wrote: ‘In Life one is condemned to live life forwards and to understand it backwards’.
Note: © 2014 Information Copyright Deidré Wallace
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