When we are adults, we often cringe the first time we utter the words, “I’ve become my mother!” or “I sound just like my father!” I mean, who hasn’t realized on their own or have been told by someone that they are turning into one, or both, of their parents? Yikes!
So where does this come from, this notion that we have mommy or daddy issues? Well, we can thank our good old friend Freud for his insight and wisdom on mother/daughter relationships that are brewing with contempt and on father/son relationships where the son wants to get rid of the father so he can have his mother all to himself – a.k.a. the Oedipal Complex (talk about swallowing a horse pill).
So, take your pick, according to Freud we all have issues. Now, before you start bashing Freud, many other prominent analysts and pundits also indicate that our childhood and parents/care takers played a significant role in our development, they just have a different point of reference or paradigm.
The bottom line is that the vast majority of us struggle with our parents and something from our childhood. For some it’s the way they were talked to – however slight, abandoned, scapegoated, abused or rejected while for others it’s the lack of struggle, over indulgence, fear of failure or prolonged isolation. In any event, parents’ behaviors or decisions are often the result of their fear, experience, deduction or some other dynamic logic. This logic directly impacts the child and the child is often powerless to change it.
This leads to what is known as ‘baggage’. Baggage is not so bad. If you love to travel from place to place and don’t plan to stay long, baggage is great! But if you plan to settle down somewhere and want to make a life for yourself then baggage can be a big problem. Since I am using travel as a metaphor for relationships, the next question becomes, “How does someone get rid of their baggage so they can have a healthy relationship? Or, not become their mother or father but become their own person?”
- Realize what you have become. Once you realized that you have become someone else or someone you prefer not to be, you are halfway there;
- Accept responsibility. Take responsibility in the role you have played in your movie. It makes it easier to change roles and become who you want to be;
- Identify what behaviors and thoughts you find disturbing or problematic. This requires you to scan your psychological landscape and take a quick inventory;
- Find a seasoned therapist. If you have insurance, they have therapists in their network that you can choose to work with. There are also a number of therapists in private practice who are great and can slide their fee if needed – so don’t be afraid to ask.
What do you think about Mommy and Daddy Issues? Do you or someone you know have any? How did you work through your ‘issues’? Do Tell!