How I Found Peace in My Relationship with My Parents, Part 3: Revelation and Happiness

This is part three of my series on parents and understanding our relationship with them.

  1. How I Found Peace in My Relationship with My Parents, Part 1: A Child’s Wish
  2. How I Found Peace in My Relationship with My Parents, Part 2: A Pervasive, Widening Gap
  3. How I Found Peace in My Relationship with My Parents, Part 3: Revelations and Happiness
  4. How To Improve Your Relationship With Your Parents: A Delicate Guide

Mother and Daughter Love

There was a point when I contemplated not growing at all, to take a step away from pursuing my visions in life, and to go for a “normal” or “routine-based” life, just so the chasm between me and my parents would stop widening.

Growing Up as One

For it is when I was a little girl when my parents and I were the closest. We would go out at least once a week, as a family – be it to the Bird Park, Crocodile Farm, the Zoo, Chinese Garden, IMM (a mega-mart), Fantasy Island (in Sentosa), and the like. We would also go out for family dinners 1-2 times a week.

Then during the weekdays, while my dad was working, my mom would bring me and my brother out, be it to the local market, to run errands, to do some shopping, and so on. Sometimes we would even go out with my aunt, my older cousin, and my grandmother.

During this period, our world was one and the same. My parents played an active role in creating my reality as I knew it. They were with me every step of the way. Every time I came across something new, they were either the ones who ushered it in, or they would be there to educate me about it.

Divergence

Then slowly, things changed.

As I officially started school, a large chunk of my time became occupied with it. Suddenly, there was this other part of my life that did not involve my parents. I formed new bonds with classmates and teachers. I was busy with school activities that did not involve my parents. The school inculcated me with knowledge and teachings that my parents could relate little to. While I was able to discuss my school work with them while I was in lower primary, this stopped being the case in upper primary – the syllabus was outside of their realm.

This marked the start when we drifted away from each other.

Then as I entered secondary school (and later junior college, then university), we grew further and further apart. It seemed the more I ventured on my path and grew as an individual, the more dissimilar my parents and I became. For every new thing I learned was something outside of my parents’ universe. There was barely anything we could relate to one another anymore.

Instead of becoming the best friends I hoped we could become, we had become no more than just strangers, living in the same house, under the same roof.

Revelations

At first, it felt like a conundrum. Should I continue to grow, but face the inevitable consequence of growing further away from my parents? Or should I stop growing and try to salvage as many of the gaps that were between me and my parents? But not growing would be to deny myself and I would never be able to live with that.

I felt a deep internal conflict. It was clear that I could never turn my back on my life purpose, which is to grow. As it would turn out, I eventually came to several revelations (about 1.5 months ago) that helped me realize that the conundrum never existed at all – and that my relationship with my parents has been the best it could ever be all along.

The ideal that is not the ideal; the non-ideal that has been the ideal all along

Mother and daughter walking in a park

As I reminisced about not being able to ever attain the ideal relationship with my parents in this lifetime, I began to reflect about the situation.

  • Why is it so important that pa and ma must be my best friends?
    • Because then it means we’ll finally be able to connect with one another.
  • Why is this important?
    • Because that means we’re in the best relationship we can be ever be with each other.
  • Why is it important that we’re in the best relationship possible?
    • Because that means we truly love one another.
  • So does it mean that we don’t love each other today then?
    • No, of course not – that’s ridiculous. We’ve always loved each other since the beginning.

Suddenly, I had a bizarre, weird aha moment where everything just clicked. The reality as I knew it melted away, and rebuilt itself almost immediately – into something that was essentially the same, but fundamentally different at the same time. A layer of fog lifted before me. Everything became crystal clear all of a sudden.

Truth is, I had always sought out the ideal parent-child relationship with my parents because I saw it the epitome of love between a parent and child. When I couldn’t achieve it, I subconsciously interpreted that as my parents not loving me.

But the thing is, my parents have always loved me since young, as all parents love their children before they are even born. From since I was born, they have relentlessly showered me with love. They would buy me everything I wanted, within all their means. They would always make sure I was well fed and well clothed. They worked incredibly hard to earn money for the family, and to fund my education. They doted me as the baby of the family. They never once complained about having to take care of me nor my brother, but instead did everything in their power to make me (us) the happiest kids we could ever be.

Even today, they continue to express their love for me every day. For example, when my mom rushes back home every day, after work, to cook and do the laundry. When my mom worries about grocery shopping and household supplies. When my mom rejects the idea of going out on family meals (because it’d jeopardize the routines of other people in the family). When my dad asks me if I have eaten for the day. When my dad asks me if I want him to cook anything for me. When my parents go to work every day, to maintain the family.

I had been unable to “see” all of this because I had been so hung up on that one ideal, that one vision, which was merely just one of the many expressions of love from one to another.

Suddenly, I couldn’t help but burst into a big smile. This had been such a silly mind warp I had  been living in! To think that my parents have been trying to express their love 110% to me all this while, in their own way, in their own language (of love), but I did not catch hold of that. To think that I’d been experiencing anguish all this while for no reason. To think that I’d been looking to build love between me and my parents so desperately, so hopelessly, when it is right there before me all this while. I had caged myself in a world of pain, when there has been no pain all along.

I felt like I was living in a dream before, and now I have finally woken up. I finally saw the love that my parents had been trying to shower me all this while, and the love they continue to shower to me today, for what it is.

At this moment, I finally felt peace in this area of my life which I had been struggling with all this while. I realized the ideal I had fixated myself with was never my ideal. It was merely an arbitrary ideal crafted out by the media, something I saw on TV – nothing more, nothing less. There’s nothing wrong with this ideal – It may well be the parent-child ideal for some parents and children, but not for me and my parents. My ideal with my parents is in reality what we have today, between us. It has always been the perfect relationship I’ve been looking for and I can’t imagine it being any other way.

And with this realization, my relationship with my parents – something which I’d usually rate as 1/10 on my life wheel – became a full 10/10 instantaneously.

Releasing pressure on the parent-child relationship

Love between Mother and Daughter

Right on the heel of this revelation, I realized that I had put a lot of pressure on my relationship with my parents – pressure which prevented the relationship from coming into its own.

For example, in my ideal vision, my parents would be my best friends. I would be able to share anything and everything with them. They would be able to understand what I say. They would be able to relate to everything in my life. We would be able to discuss important life decisions. We would have an unspoken camaraderie. We would hug each other whenever we want. “I love you” would be common words in our everyday vocabulary. We would have lots of long, reflective, philosophical discussions. We would be going on family outings every so often. And that’s just the tip of the ice berg.

Looking at these expectations, I realized I had hinged so much on this one relationship I have with my parents. For my parents to be my parents, my best friends, my mentors, my confidantes, my emotional anchors, all in one – all these are heavy roles for anyone to play. I had literally, created impossible shoes for my parents – or any parent, for that matter – to fill! It was a vision that no one could uphold to begin with.

I began to question these expectations, one by one.

  • Why do I have these expectations of pa and ma?
    • Because these are my emotional and relationship needs. I love to connect with others and to build deep, meaningful, emotional connections with others. Connecting with others make me feel alive.
  • What happens if I don’t fulfill these needs?
    • Life will be quite empty and meaningless.
  • Are these needs of mine not being fulfilled at the moment?
    • No, not really actually. I have my best friends who are the best confidantes I can ever have. I have my readers whom I can share anything and everything with. I have business associates whom I can discuss work-related topics with. I have coaching clients who connect with me on the deepest, most personal level. I am continuously making new friends who inject new colors and joy into my life.
  • Does it matter who is the person fulfilling a particular emotional  need?
    • No, it doesn’t. As long as all my needs are met, I can’t be happier. I can’t ask for more.
  • If that’s the case, does it matter whether pa and ma fulfill my emotional and relationship needs?
    • No – actually it doesn’t.

With this, I realized how unnecessary my expectations had been. There was never really a need for my parents to fulfill my X and Y needs. There are all these people out there, all these relationships I’m in, which can help me fulfill my emotional needs perfectly well. By insisting my parents fulfill my emotional needs when its not in their desire or capacity to do so, I had created a mold which boxed in our relationship and prevented it from becoming anything it could be.

Rather than create a mold for this relationship, or any relationship for that matter, I realized I should let the relationship come into its own. Rather than expect my dad/mom to do certain things or perform certain roles, I should just appreciate and enjoy whatever they can/want to give to the relationship, in their own space and capacity.

By removing this mold, suddenly a space is created for the relationship to develop. I didn’t know this before, but my narrow expectations had ironically prevented the relationship from growing. Just like when you press down on a seedling – it can never blossom. With this, I finally saw my relationship with my parents as it is for the first time – a beautiful bond that has been bearing beautiful fruits of love all this while.

Finally, viewing the relationship from their perspective

My final revelation came when I adopted a new perspective on the situation.

All this while, I wanted my relationship with my parents to conform a certain image. When they were not able to fulfill that, I was disappointed. As you have read in parts 1 and 2, I wondered why my parents couldn’t open up to me. Why they resisted my attempts to know them better. Why they couldn’t make an effort to have family meals/dinners. Why they pushed away my attempts to arrange family outings, including vacations.

Seeing as to how I had not been able to resolve the situation all this while, I tried a different approach – I stepped out of my shoes to view the situation from their perspective instead. The realization was jarring.

For in my one-tracked mind to get my parents to fit my parental ideal, I had not stopped to think whether I myself fit their ideal for a daughter to begin with.

Fact is, if I am to hypothesize a typical ideal a parent would have for a daughter, I’m none of that. None of that at all.

I’m rude, obnoxious, rebellious, critical. I lose my temper at my parents all the time. I barely ever take time out to be with them – Instead, I’m always busy with work and my life. I’m never happy with my parents even though they try so hard to be the best parents to me. I’m unfilial. I do non-conformist actions like quit a proper, well paying job in the corporate world, which leaves my parents worried about my career success (even though I was not worried and had told them that everything would be fine). I keep pushing them to do things which they are obviously not interested nor comfortable in doing, such as suggest family vacations, ask them personal questions, hugging them (which is not their language of love), and so on. I do things like go to Europe on an extended trip, an action which inevitably leaves them worried regardless of the whatever reassurances I give. I had my ideal for the parent-child relationship – but I never considered if it was their ideal too. It clearly wasn’t – else we would never have had the resistances in the first place.

In short, I absolutely suck as a daughter. I’m probably the worst daughter any parent can ever have. Hence, who am I then, to even demand or expect them to fulfill anything? It is not in my place to do that at all.

On the contrary, my parents have never demanded or expected me to fulfill anything as their daughter. They have always given me my space to grow and come into my own. They have never judged me for what I have done or haven’t done as their daughter. They’ve never rejected me in any way, even if I may not fulfill the role of a typical daughter. I have been so selfish all this while, and them – so graciously forgiving.

Rather than expect them to fulfill anything, it suddenly became clear to me that I should first work on becoming a better daughter. For it’s something I’ve never thought about since I was born. It was well time for me to fulfill my role of being a good daughter to them.

Putting Everything Together

All-in-all, the struggles I had experienced in my relationship with my parents in the past 15 years had been in my mind. Because I had been wrapped up in that one ideal as the expression of love, I had suffocated our relationship and prevented it from growing. My internal struggle in turn manifested itself outward – I would face resistances in my efforts to improve our relationship, simply because the efforts came from a misaligned place to begin with.

Today, I can’t be happier about my relationship with my parents. I respect the space they have given me to grow and become who I am today, while I do my best to be a good daughter to them. While I may be in Europe now (as of Jul ’11), I call back once every few weeks to check back on how they are doing – the way they want me to. We are able to talk normally, without anyone losing temper or snapping. We are able to express concern for each other openly, without feeling weirded out by it.

And guess what? We’re actually closest today than we’ve ever been since I was a kid. I would never have imagined our relationship reaching such a healthy state in my lifetime.

The funny thing is, the trigger point for this change didn’t come from the external reality. It came from an internal shift in how I perceived things. This in turn rippled out into positive changes in the external world.

If you’re experiencing a struggle with your relationship with your parents/children today, that’s very likely to do with how you’ve been perceiving the relationship all along, and a sign for you to reexamine how you’ve been looking at it.

As I grow in life, I realize many of the seeming “struggles” we face in our world are a reflection of the inner workings in our mind. When we get an alignment of our internal issues, our external problems will naturally fade away.

Is it then about forcing, coaxing ourselves to make-do with what we have then? No, of course not. As you’ve read above, nowhere did I try to convince myself into accepting with the status quo. It was from sorting out my warped perceptions that I realized my relationship with my parents was actually perfect all this while – thereby finally gaining peace and resolution in long standing issue in my life.

In part 4 of this series, I’ll share a guide, together with my personal lessons, on how you can go about working on your relationship with your parents. If your relationship with your parents is not the 10/10 you wish for (yet), you’ll find the guide to be helpful. Stay tuned for it. It won’t be up so soon as I’m currently traveling in Germany, but I anticipate it’ll be up sometime in the next week.

Update Jul 23 ’11: The article is now up: How To Improve Your Relationship With Your Parents: A Delicate Guide

I’d also like to thank all of you for your wonderful comments so far on this series. Hug smiley I want to let you know that I do read all the comments, though I may not be able to reply to every single one of them.

By now, I regard all of you readers as my guardian angels in life – you give me the wings to fly and I draw strength from all of you in everything I do. The kind of connection we share is something that others can never understand, I think. You are the reason why I continue to write and share openly at the blog every day. Thank you for always reading and relentlessly sharing your support – I really appreciate it. I’m glad to have all of you with me as I journey through life, and I’m glad you have decided to let me be a part of your growth journey too. :)

This is part three of my series on parents and understanding our relationship with them.

  1. How I Found Peace in My Relationship with My Parents, Part 1: A Child’s Wish
  2. How I Found Peace in My Relationship with My Parents, Part 2: A Pervasive, Widening Gap
  3. How I Found Peace in My Relationship with My Parents, Part 3: Revelations and Happiness
  4. How To Improve Your Relationship With Your Parents: A Delicate Guide

Images © Shutterstock

  • Ahmed

    Hi Celes

    Thanks for unfolding the mystery.. ;)

    Looking forward for part-4 of this series.

    Ahmed

  • Moira

    I can definitely relate to this now. I think that most families are like this and I am very thankful to have come to the conclusion that my parents did the best job they knew how to do while raising me and that we can offer love and support now that will help our relationship grow better. I am intrigued to see part four of this series as well, even though I am not sure if it something I personally need to work on.

  • http://www.clintcora.com Clint Cora

    Thanks Celes for revealing. I know it must be hard to tell all. I think in a nutshell what you did was simply realized that these are the ways things are and that you are okay with it. You didn’t let the media or TV fantasies cloud you anymore. If only so many others out there globally could do this …

    • http://personalexcellence.co/blog/ Celes

      I think a lot of our thoughts and behaviors are driven by subconscious underpinnings, and apart from conscious realization, there’s a need to dig deep into our subconscious beliefs to address them. I have always known consciously that my parents love me, but it was unrooting/addressing this on a subconscious level that did the trick. I hope the series will help others in this journey of realization too.

      Another thing I want to point out (which I didn’t explicitly mention in the series) is that I don’t see any of this as the fault of TV or media conditioning. I think there are only so many messages that can be delivered through TV, and it’s good that TV has always been pretty consistent in showcasing healthy relationships between parent/child and within the family. If put in the shoes of the TV producer, I’m not sure if I would have done anything different.

      By the way, it wasn’t hard for me to share the story at all – in fact it just comes across as a natural action. I want to share myself/my life with all my readers and I enjoy doing so – if it helps others to grow. That’s the very reason I start Personal Excellence and what drives me to keep writing every day.

  • http://avene.org Glenn

    That’s a great ending Celes! I would have never guessed that’s how you resolved the situation though. Was this around the time you talked about your relationship with food and how food had always been one of the ways in which your family communicated?

    Also, you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself for being rude, obnoxious and all the rest. I’ve never imagined you being any of those things! ;) One thing though, you don’t think 3 weeks is too long between calls to your parents?

    • http://personalexcellence.co/blog/ Celes

      Hi Glenn, thanks! :) Nope – it was resolved about 1.5 months ago (mentioned it somewhere in the middle of the article). And also nothing to do with the food thing – that one is a separate thing/story I need to write about on the blog but haven’t yet. And I think 3 weeks (actually more 1 month) is fine – it’s the duration which we’ve agreed on anyway. It’s not like we have much to say to each other anyway – a lot of our care and concern for each other is implicit and not explicitly spoken.

      • http://avene.org Glenn

        That’s good. As long as you’ve discussed it and they don’t worry about you too much.

  • Leyla

    Hi!
    Im really happy that read this entry today. I think I received the email as a sign, because I am currently struggling to overcome some past issues with my parents.

    Thanks for brightening up my day and giving me a more positve view on this issue :)

    Good luck in all your future adventures dear :)

    • http://personalexcellence.co/blog/ Celes

      Thank you Leyla. :hug: I’m glad this post could make some difference! Keep working on it and you’ll see the change – I promise. Even if your parents don’t seem like they’re responding in kind, your actions are making their impact as we speak.

  • http://www.mamalapte.ro Oltea

    Hi my dear!
    Your series kept me again very close… as I struggle in my relationship with my parents too. And right now I am visiting them for some days. I wait for your guide… Meanwhile, I will think about my perspective I live my relationship with each of them. Very inspiring! Great job, thank you!!

    Have a beautiful journey… Eventually Romania still on the list?
    Oltea

    • http://personalexcellence.co/blog/ Celes

      Dearest Oltea, thank you for your comment! I hope you gain resolution with your relationship with your parents. It can be quite tough and very discouraging at times, but trust that every effort you’re putting in does go somewhere. It’s the natural law of the universe – if you set the intention and give an input, there’ll be an output – even if it’s not immediate. I spent years working on my relationship with my parents, and many times it seemed like they led to nowhere – but today, looking back, I can see how all of it played a role in making the eventual change I see today.

      PS: Don’t think I’ll be able to visit Romania within this trip unfortunately, but when I make the round trip back after my world tour (post-US), I’ll see if I can make Romania part of my itinerary, as I do want to visit my other friend in Romania too. Hopefully we’ll get to meet then. Thanks for asking!

      • http://www.mamalapte.ro Oltea

        Celes, I really need to talk to you on skype about a plan I have. The talk of you here, I meant it professionally… Please, let me know if you have any time to talk privately on skype about this. I always thought you are so busy and never talk on skype, I need to schedule some things and I would like to include you there.
        Thank you and have a great trip!
        Oltea

        • http://personalexcellence.co/blog/ Celes

          Hey Oltea! Can you send the information to my business email instead? It’ll be much better – My business email can be found here: http://personalexcellence.co/contact. Thanks!

  • Diego

    I had never noticed that you were so beautiful. :love:

    The relationship with my mother is amazing. We talk, laugh, cry, share dreams, plans and fears.
    The relationship with my father is fake. We try to “talk”, we try to worry … but the truth is: he hates me, and I hate him. I’m ashamed to be his son … and he is ashamed to be my father. When he needs help, I help, and vice versa. But just because it’s my * father *, e. .. I can’t explain.
    Lately, I’ve helped him a lot, but I avoid thinking and talk about it. It’s my must. Every time I needed help, for social obligation, he helped me (especially financially), but after destroy me with words; and doesn’t miss a chance to remind me that he have “help”. I hope, one day, when he needs more … I don’t act like him.

    Sorry for the bad English.

  • Qiuling

    “The ideal that is not the ideal; the non-ideal that has been the ideal all along.”

    This is beautiful. I couldn’t agree more. It just reminds me of what Buddha says in the First Noble Truth, “Life is suffering.” A typical problematic misconceptions in relationships is that we think we need another person in order to meet all our needs and desires. It’s common to see and hear this in TV, movies and songs, because this feeling of “You make me complete. I need you in my life and I want to be with you forever.” is something we desire to experience. It’s universal, thus the fantasies and illusions we’re been fed.

    We fall in love, and slowly, we forget how to love, as we end up falling love with Love. Most of the time, we love the ideal of our beloved in our mind, the ideal of who he/she should be, not who he/she truly is.

    The truth is no one person can ever meet ALL of the another person’s needs and desires. Once we open to this, we learn how to love.

    I only truly come to understand this a week ago, so it does exactly like what you describe. A sense of waking up, a realisation that I’d actually still sleepwalking, and it’s time I really pay attention to my loved-ones, look them in the eye and listen to them, accepting them for who they are.

    Aw. Be gentle to yourself. You may not do a good job, but surely you never suck as a daughter. No parents would ever want their children to think of themselves like this. If you are rude, obnoxious, rebellious, critical, then I’m sure I’m much much worse. (Laugh). I choose to do a lot of non-conformist actions and yes, at one point I felt so guilty that I always make my family so so worried.

    Yet at the end my mother told me this,
    “It’s okay you are different. It’s okay you may not do well now. You just choose to go forth on the road less travelled. No matter what you do, always keep the promise to yourself that this is the path you want to take, that you are happy with your choices. Most of all, I want you to be happy.”

    Do you know you are so beautiful? Thank you for writing.

    • http://personalexcellence.co/blog/ Celes

      Dearest Qiuling, thank you for your comment! I love what you wrote about how no one person can meet all of another’s needs/desires. That is indeed very true. I think if we focus on accepting everyone as he/she is, and appreciating what everyone can offer in his/her own capacity, that’s when relationships blossom.

      I love what your mom shared with you! My dad/mom always say that to me as well, which really warms my heart. It reminded me that at the end of the day, our parents really just want us to be happy. Some parents may do it in oppressive manners, but they really have the best intentions at heart. Thank you so much for your ongoing support! I really appreciate it.

  • http://selfhelpforme.com Garry Robbins

    Hi, celeste, I ahve been following your blog for sometime, and have lover it. I have had a long journey myself. This series of about your family has been inspirational, I have had to spend alot of time, energy and effort to accept and move past the issues I faced with my Family.

    You have inspired me to start my own blog. http://selfhelpforme.com/blog/, I figure if I help or inspire at least one person it will be worth it.

    thanks you so much

    Garry.

  • http://www.josipbarbaric.com Josip Barbaric

    Hi Celes,

    This is an amazing series of posts – really enlightening.

    I think you’ve touched on an important subject and that is letting go of our own preconceived notions of how things should be and allow growth to enter our lives.

    In many cases our ego-ideas prevent us from living fully, even though we think that are very desire for xyz will bring that about. Joseph Campbell said it best: “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.”

    I wish you an amazing day and I look forward to the next post!

    Josip Barbaric

  • Minttu Lilja

    I can so relate to everything you wrote, the whole parent-child relationship series. Communication is a big problem in my family. We all communicate just fine outside the family but somehow we can’t bring the same openness in our conversations together. I often feel that I can only share the superficial daily stuff with my parents. We can never get to the deeper issues.

    I’m the kind of person who likes to get to the bottom of things, to talk things through and resolve things. My parents never discuss arguments, disagreements & such afterward. Argument happens and then life goes on and we never return to the issue. Next time we meet they act as if nothing happened. This drives me crazy as I want to analyze every word and their meaning and need to hear that they too are sorry and didn’t really mean all those words they said. They forget the argument almost as soon as it happened and for them the love between us is so strong and forgiving that such little disagreements won’t change it. Apologies happen in actions not in words in my family.

    Now that I’m adult and have my own children, I understand them better. I realize that they are unique individuals and they do things their way, just like I do things my way and hoping and wishing they would be something different is useless. I’m working on changing my own expectations regarding my parents. I’m working on being more accepting and appreciative of what I have instead of focusing on what I don’t have. It is still early days and I often have to remind myself to correct my way of thinking.

    It is hard realizing that our parents aren’t the perfect beings, who know everything and can save us from everything, like we think as children. Thank you for reminding us that we can only change ourselves and the way we view the world.

    - Minttu

  • noni

    hi Celeste,

    Thanks for sharing your life with us……..full of insight and inspiring. I am glad that you now see your relationship with your parents in a different light and view. I have also learned that my parents had my best interest at heart even though they never expressed it or showed it.

    • http://personalexcellence.co/blog/ Celes

      Thanks noni. :) I’m glad that you came to a common realization too. I believe all our parents have our best intentions at heart, just that they may express it in a different way from how we normally identify/recognize it. If we take a step in their shoes, the signs then become quite apparent I feel.

  • Matt

    Hey Celes

    Just wanted to say thank you for writing this series. I have been reading these articles for the past couple days with great enthusiasm and I can’t wait for the conclusion. I’m sure this series will be very helpful to people. Not only with their parental relationships but other relationships as well.

  • Nick

    Hi Celes,

    I’ve separated from living with my parents since I moved to Sydney for my university. I would say that my relationship with my parents are in similar state as yours – and we communicate better when we’re talking on the phone rather than face to face!

    Anyways, wanted to share you this story when one time my mom visited me to Sydney for my graduation. Around a week after that was the Mother’s day here, and it’s the same day as the church mass we went to. I’m like you, never include “I love you” in my everyday vocab with my parents, but this time the priest told all of us to say “I love you” to our mother who’s sitting next to us! It was a bit awkward and it feels like the words stuck in my throat but I managed to say that slowly. I was surprised that my mom was really really excited and she felt so special that day – I guess even though we don’t usually say that to our mother, they will still appreciate it and will feel…loved :)

  • Vibha

    Hey Celes it’s been a long long time since I commented , but i have been reading all ur lovely articles regularly…and have been following this series too. :) This article has given me a new perspective to view things from a different angle. Your suggestions, ur guidance has opened so many doors for so many of us here. I deeply thank you for being there for us. :)
    Love

    Vibha

    • http://personalexcellence.co/blog/ Celes

      Dear Vibha, thank you so much for your kind words. :D I really appreciate it.

  • CJ

    I love my whole life, but I do struggle with my relationship with my parents.

    My mother has been an alcoholic for decades. I never even realized she was one until my now-husband recognized the behaviors and pointed it out. At this point, I’ve given up hope that she’ll ever stop. She’s still with my dad. After I left the house, I recognized that their relationship with each other is toxic, loads of unspoken communication that comes to the surface in snippets of anger about unrelated topics. My husband hasn’t seen his father in years – he’s an addict too. We feel like we’re forging a new path in our relationship, and try hard not to repeat our parents’ mistakes.

    In December, my parents told me they don’t approve of my husband. They made all sorts of wrong assumptions about him, and I was confused how they could act this way, until they explained that his race made him that way. I was horrified. They had spoken to me when we first started dating about how “his culture” and mine were different, but I guess I didn’t want to think their close-mindedness had continued after my husband and I had been together happily for years. I didn’t speak to them for months. Living without their judgment has been freeing. Conventional wisdom says we should have it out, that I should confront them, but honestly, I don’t think that would make such a deeply-ingrained situation better, and I feel reasonably sure it would make things worse.

    It’s so easy to villify them, to say they’re bad parents, but the truth is that the dysfunctional piece seems like a small part of who they are. We still have traditions together. They’re generous (especially with money), and well-intentioned. I know they sacrificed a lot for me. I don’t know if we’ll ever get over our differences. I’m constantly riding a balance between wanting to love and respect my parents, and feeling like I’m justifying bad behavior. Obviously, my husband doesn’t enjoy hanging out with them, and we see each other only at unavoidable functions. For now, I maintain a friendly but cautious distance, and although it’s far from the ideal relationship, it works for DH and me right now.

  • http://www.bredoualbanbrice.com ABB

    Distance creates unbelievable bonds, between children and parents. One day, the deep relationship you seek will be a reality. Keep up improving your being. Rgds. A fan.

  • bhing

    it’s such a blessing fOr me tO read this article. i’ve been trying tO understand my mOm and hOw tO OvercOme her shortcOmings as a mOther….

    prOblem is, i’ve been lOoking at her faults never seeing mine.

    thanks a lOt for the enlightenment and insights!

    God bless yOu fOr making us see things, realize thing and change things for the best!

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