Tag Archives: teenage angst

598. Opening up with Parents

 

Or sharing bits of my teenage years and how my relationship with my parents has evolved throughout the years of walking this process with Desteni.

I listened to these two Eqafe audio recordings today Children and Isolation – Perfecting the Human Race – Parenting – Part 79 and Parent and Child Communication – Perfecting the Human Race – Parenting – Part 80 and they made me remember a bit of ‘who I was’ as a teenager in relation to my parents and how uncomfortable that phase in my life was where I essentially would keep my communication at a minimal point because of fearing having my parents prohibiting me to go out with certain people, etc. and because of knowing the ways that my sister’s teenage years had been truncated in certain ways by a mostly fearful mother, which is kind of interesting looking back at how she was back then and how she’s changed over the years too, which has enabled me to develop a supportive relationship with her now, but she definitely had to walk her own process in her own way and I’ve done mine, which enabled us to create a good communication nowadays, but it wasn’t always like that.

As a teenager I definitely was the loner kind that didn’t want to go out and do what ‘most people would do’ and instead would prefer being alone in my room – where I had all I needed: my cd’s, my paintings, my vhs cassettes with all my favorite music videos, my books and notebooks for writing – that’s all that I needed ah and my computer later on as well. I did notice that  my parents would be a bit worried that I would never go out on a Friday night like my sisters would do, and in essence they would be comparing how my sisters were very social at my age and I just wasn’t doing that at all, so it’s kind of understandable that they were a bit ‘puzzled’ about it but it was just the beginning of a series of ‘puzzling’ situations I definitely put them though and that I definitely recognize they did accept me and embrace me the best way they could through all my various life phases and somewhat ‘extreme’ changes I went through in my life.

When it came to being a ‘loner’ in my house up to the age of 16, in a way I was in fact craving to connect with people, I really wanted to find a friend or someone I could connect with in terms of tastes and things we could share and enjoy together, so that phase became the time when I started to develop ‘who I am’ in relation to all these things I would soak in from literature, music, artists etc. I was developing my tastes, I was finding my way in terms of how I decide to see life, to view things which I also was able to shape first through books and then through finding people that had similar views to my own, which became the friends that I’d spend most of my time with from age 16 and on until around 21.

Back when I was living with my parents as a teenage and already going out with friends, there were days where all my communication with my parents was ‘I’m leaving home, I’m home again, yes I’ll be careful’ and that was it. I deliberately decided to not do what my sisters did, who would sit around my mother’s room telling all of these stories about their friends and their experiences, I just decided I would not do that because of fearing that my mother would criticize my relationships, my friends and not enable me to explore all the things I wanted to do. This fear of being ‘prohibited’ to do certain things emerged when I started going out more with particular people they didn’t approve of and so that’s how I then made a decision to never tell them anything about my life, which was of course not cool for me at all. It was a constant source of stress, anxiety, fear and worry because ‘what if they would find out about this/that relationship or situation I was in?’ and so, if anything for any parent or future parent reading this: instilling fear is definitely not the way, creating a prohibition is not the way and it’s even worse if it comes within an explosive argument like the ones that I had with them which included threats of sorts which of course, led me to then become the self-proclaimed ‘rebel’ in my own family pattern.

I visited one of my childhood/pre-teen years best friend and her family not long ago, and it was interesting to hear how they remembered how my parents were reacting to ‘my ways’ and how I ‘broke the pattern’ that my sisters had set up in the family, and my friend’s mother explained that she recalled how my mother was very worried about me like ‘could not make sense of me’ lol – and the interesting thing is that I would notice such worry about them whenever they would see me just lying in my couch reading books, listening to music, writing or painting… but they would not say a thing, they never really opened up other than asking ‘if I had any friends?’ and ‘why I didn’t like going out as much?’ and my responses were how everything that everyone was doing was very superficial/shallow or plain stupid at the time and I just don’t like to ‘follow’ like that.

In a way it was cool that I also had that period for myself and that if they didn’t know how to ‘deal with it they did let me be in my own ways. Sure I was at the same time generally sad or depressed because I could not ‘connect’ with anyone in school the way that I had wanted to ‘connect,’ which is through opening up what I would define as interesting conversations, and even though I could usually talk to most people, it would all be superficial talk or ‘peer to peer’ talk but there wasn’t anyone I could dive into the depths of what I was experiencing until I found one person in my school that was into that kind of stuff and so we became best friends and that’s where ‘the world opened up to me’ to a bunch of other relationships and things to test out, live out in a more or less comfortable environment, which of course wasn’t at all a super healthy relationship overall – but I also embrace it now as part of that time in my life that led me to get to know more about people my age and the usual troubles of that time etc.

Of course at my parent’s eyes, this friend of mine was a very polite and well educated in terms of meeting his family etc. and me spending most of my days in his house, so they never questioned that. Only I knew more about the actual truth of what was going on behind the façade, which was quite an interesting relationship for me to have, however it was only later on when ‘shit hit the fan’ that I had to explain to my parents how troubled this friend in fact was and how I had tried to help and how we had to eventually part ways.

So the whole point I want to share here is how because of fear that I got from my parents as a response to my seemingly ‘abnormal ways’ of growing up as a teenager, they didn’t know how to handle it and for the most part I wasn’t going to open up because there wasn’t such development of trust with them, especially with my mother whom I had seen having long and deep talks with my sisters but I never did that or create the space it, and maybe it was for the best considering the things I was into at the time that would have shocked her even more than her already existent constant worry about me and my life choices.

However, at some level they were also certain about having provided certain principles and they knew how responsible I generally was, so, that’s how they actually allowed me to have much more freedom than my older two sisters had, which they still kind of get jealous of – lol – like allowing me to go and live to another city and be the first one to ‘leave the nest,’ or travel on my own at a relatively young age, stuff like that which I’m also grateful for that they did have such trust towards me to do all those things, but I also was a generally responsible person so I sort of ‘earned’ it in a way as well.

In terms of parents having children stepping into their teenage years, I can only suggest to not be judgmental about what they’re going through, sometimes to not even try and understand it completely but rather consider how it was ‘for you’ when going through that phase and how being alone to me was a way to find my way through it – though of course some people will actually benefit from communications so I guess it all has to do with having developed such communication with your kids at a young age so that there’s no ‘awkward’ sudden interest in talking to the children when they start reaching their teenage years.

I also have a small context of how current generations are in terms of kids and their parents. There was a general failure in the internet service in Mexico yesterday and a lot of what I read in twitter was how what I consider were kids or teenagers were suddenly placed in a position of having to get out of their rooms and interact with ‘these old dudes that say are their parents’ which I found interesting, meaning, there is really no interaction at all now with kids doing their thing in the internet. But, who am I kidding? I did the same and would spend hours in the computer when I first got internet and would do the same without computer and be stuck in front of my TV to avoid family time, lol, so it is a phase indeed that can be changed based on supportive communication patterns that can be cultivated from the very first years of a child’s life.

Teenage years are indeed a phase where a lot of things get shaped within our personalities, tastes, preferences – and even if the initial ‘shape’ things are taken is not the best way, it is mostly when one gets into the 20’s that one can actually learn from what one did around that teenage phase and realign our path. This means that maybe for parents it becomes difficult to be able to connect with their children during those first teen years, but once they get into young adulthood, it might get easier.

To me starting this process having 21 years old assisted me tremendously to get back to communicate with my parents in a different way, from a different starting point, deliberately no longer seeing them as ‘my parents’ but starting to see them as people. I did decide to even stop calling them ‘mother’ and ‘father’ and call them by their name till today – which I did ended up doing in a somewhat stubborn manner which caused more reactions in them than any form of support, so I would not suggest anyone doing that because the point is to be open to them as people, no longer as these ‘guardians’ that we have to ‘check in with’ or that we only relate to for the basics of survivalism. So I decided to explain how I wanted to see them, how I want to relate to them as people and no longer as these ‘parental figures’ that I fear or have no comfort to talk to.

And this wasn’t an easy process – my mother had to walk her own process to understand how much of a control freak she was – and she now recognizes it, which is great – and my father has always been quite ok with me doing my thing and being more independent, because he lived his life like that by leaving his home when he was 13 so, nothing’s too shocking for him. So here more in relation to my mother and how it was very supportive for me to start sharing what I am doing in this process which of course at first she didn’t fully understand, she was in shock lol, especially because I went full-blown extremist within it at first. But as time progressed and she started witnessing many of the ‘evolutions’ within me, she’s now at that stage where she asks my perspective for certain things she’s facing with my sisters, the grandchildren, her friends, herself a bit as well and that’s quite cool, to the point where her friends by default appreciate me quite a bit because they always say how my mother goes ‘like Marlen says…’ and shares back what I’ve shared with her about my own realizations and points walked or what I’ve learned through the education at Eqafe and Desteni, my relationships with people etc. which is great really.

But it all wasn’t built in ‘one day’ so to speak, it’s taken almost a decade to get to that point but it is possible to do that even if I had a very sour relationship with my mother back then. 10 years ago I truly thought that I wasn’t ever going to have a ‘healthy communication’ with my mother specifically and that I was going to ‘forever have a grudge towards her’ for certain emotional outbursts that we did have toward each other during my ‘teenage  years’  – while also considering she was going through menopause so, not a good mix lol – and only later on me taking responsibility to place myself in her shoes, understand all the variables of that time and so not take the things said and done personally, but understand her fears and also being honest with myself in how my choice of relationships weren’t also the ‘healthiest’ ones either, which is kind of common at the time as well – we all make mistakes and eventually learn from it, walked my way through it regardless.

Surely at times I did rely on going to the school’s psychologist to ask for a perspective, because I knew I could not talk to my friends about things because ‘they were ‘the point’ of worry/problem in my life’ nor could I go with my parents to talk about it because they would get shit scared about what I was going through and didn’t have any other people around me to open up, so I did go to her and she made me realize one thing that, man,  yep I could have applied for the rest of my life but until not so long ago I was still playing out this pattern as ‘who I am,’ which is how I tried to save people from themselves instead of focusing on myself. I’ll never forget how she said ‘well who’s coming for help? Is it really about them or is it really you that needs help, because you are the one that’s here, not them’ and that clicked quite a lot within me to see that I was the troubled one in fact, not them. But even if I got that realization, it took me over ten years to fully understand what that meant, which means I repeated the same pattern every single time until I saw the consequence it creates and decided to for once and for all say ‘no more.’ But that’s something I’ve already shared a few months ago.

Currently I enjoy going out with my parents and sharing what I’ve discovered about myself, my relationships, what I’ve learned from others, how I see ‘the world’ in general and what I’ve gotten through walking this process with Desteni and educating myself with Eqafe material. It’s become an awesome way for me to connect with them because I’ve now been able to apply that realization that I can ‘connect’ with people because we are all human beings, we all have that one thing in common and so I can share and open up things and ask them questions. I’ve gotten to know a lot more about them as people, the hardship they went through in their own ways while growing up, their family set ups, their environment and relationship with their siblings and parents, their decisions and how that defined their lives etc.

To me that’s been quite cool because it is through that that I’ve been able to see how I came to be ‘who I am’ based on who they both have been in their lives. I also enjoy looking at them as my ‘mirrors’ because of course I am directly coming from them and so I see them in a way as ‘cautionary tales’ for me to look at what patterns they have developed that have become a source of ‘problems’ in their lives, from anger, anxiety and stress issues to control-freakism and general patterns of fear and prejudice that I can see in them that I can then ‘take back to self’ to ensure I am not following ‘the same steps,’ because I can see how things turn out with time and with having an advanced age. Though this is done not in a judgmental way, but through understanding in how it’s now up to me to learn from them and stop repeating the same mistakes they’ve made, which is a general supportive thing to do with our progenitors, to identify their weaknesses and turn them into our strengths and use what we have gotten from them as ‘strengths’ or things we’re good at and develop them even more.

 And the truth is that I would not be able to be doing what I’m doing and who I’ve become without the support of my parents. They both have been very supportive with everything I am doing, they fully support this process and my work in it – even if it was kind of rough for them to understand it at first – and it’s also great to have that confidence and trust to have them meet my friends/partners which I had not done at all throughout my teenage years, they only met my first ‘official partner’ when I was 28 years old, lol.

So this goes to show that I did have quite a distance-relationship to my parents in that sense, but it also was linked to me not having made the kind of ‘supportive choices’ in my life before that I would be confident enough to share with my parents, so it took me quite some time for sure, but I’m quite glad that they understood my process and that I found my way through it all, while also having worked quite extensively on my own to not hold a grudge to them at the time for the impositions they created on my life, but understand where they were ‘coming from’ and also being able to be honest about myself and seeing how if I had been in their shoes, I would have probably freaked out as well with the things I was deciding to do, but I’m here and able to tell J

I’ll open up in another blog about how this ‘openness’ relates to current relationships and the benefits that come along with it, which of course is also an outflow or result of having walked this process with Desteni.

Thanks for reading.

 

Marlenoise_1

Self Portrait circa 2005

 

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