Today’s podcast is soooo good! What a weird title though right? What do my parents have to do with the fact that I’m single? It might be EVERYTHING.
Now, before you think there is something wrong with you for being single OR that we are going to blame Mom and Dad for everything… let me stop you there. That’s not where this is going…
In the podcast you literally hear me go to therapy with Dr. Debbie and feel the pain and agony of a realization I hadn’t had in 16 years of searching. I believe now, with 100% certainty, it’s why I have attracted Gumball Guys for so long.
It’s tough for me to say this to you, but I want you to see that I am also still very much on this journey. What I am about to share is very personal yet I know you will be able to relate as we are probably a lot alike.
My parents divorced when I was 12 years old. It was the few months leading up to the divorce and the years to follow, I would learn the tremendous abuse my mother had endured and continued to endure from my father. I went from being a kid living a normal life to seeing my mother’s pain and learning the truth she worked so hard to keep hidden, until she couldn’t take it anymore.
The short story is…I became my mother’s protector. I fought for her, tried to be her voice and became obsessed with learning why my father was the way he was.
Over the years, I attracted the kinds of men that were like my father. Intelligent, intense and fun, yet emotionally unavailable and inconsistent. I didn’t realize, until we recorded this podcast, the chemistry I was feeling, was “wounds meeting wounds in an unconscious Morse code,” as Dr. Debbie so eloquently put it.
Dr. Debbie explained our first loves are our parents. We learn love from them first, and then we observe how they love each other. This pattern becomes the unconscious blueprint we will be attracted to over and over for the rest of our lives.
For nearly sixteen years my focus was all about the men and how to avoid the wrong type. This is very important and will still be my focus, however, what Dr. Debbie has made me realize, I am emotionally married to my mother.
Like many of us that experienced divorce or even death in our families, we naturally take on this role. If you are like me you have said things like, “I had to grow up fast.” Sometimes life doesn’t let you finish your childhood.
Dr. Debbie explained that a child should never become the emotional caregiver of the parent. Our parents should not be confiding in us, especially about our other parent, their love lives or their emotional burdens to the extent we are putting their needs above our own.
This is what Dr. Debbie calls “Over connecting.” If we are over connecting with a parent and putting their needs above our own, we are not allowing ourselves the space to then bond with our own significant other. (#A-HA moment!)
The Iceberg (95%/5%)
This is tough stuff, but the thing Dr. Debbie reminded me of is the iceberg. What we see and feel is only the 5%. The other 95% is the unconscious blue print dictating without our conscious awareness. Until we start digging, it’s the definition of insanity. We will hope and expect change while doing the same thing over and over again.
For instance, my mother didn’t ask me to be her protector. She didn’t put me on guilt trips or have pity parties. It was actually quite the opposite. She was a fighter and a survivor. We became a team and truly the best of friends.
My putting her needs above my own, was not something I was consciously doing. It was the 95% under the surface, making my decisions for me.
In retrospect, I wish I could have known it wasn’t my job to make sure my mom was ok. I wish I had even known that is what I was doing. I didn’t. And neither did she. We just were going from day-to-day living the best we knew how to do.
Dr. Debbie made a great point that even though we are chronologically older, we are still young on the insides emotionally. This also makes me realize my parents are also children of their parents. They have their own stories/trauma’s and issues.
This is why we cannot blame them for the blueprint nor can we blame ourselves for following the pattern. We simply become aware of it and work through it.
The Good News
The best part about this is we can be friends with our parents. We can call them as much as we want and share our lives. It’s not about that. It’s about being aware of the scales starting to tip too far in one direction and becoming over used emotionally or taking too much responsibility for our parent’s happiness.
I highly encourage you to pick up Dr. Debbie’s book, All The Good Ones Aren’t All Taken: Change the way you date and find lasting love.
In addition: Dr. Debbie has written two blog posts as additions to her book you will find very helpful and a nice summary of our discussion.
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