When you give love proofs and encouragement to your child while you don’t enjoy his own personality and try to change it constantly, then the love received is cancelled! It’s that simple…
Many parents make this mistake.
We have all heard parents say: “I gave him everything he wanted but he is never fine!” or even “He has everything and here is the result!” or “We gave too much and not a thank you!”.
At my practice office I meet a lot of parents disappointed to have given a lot and many children disappointed to have received everything except what they expected: that we do like their own personality. That personality which they built from the day of their birth.
Parents usually idealize the child during pregnancy. The last phase of pregnancy and childbirth should help parents to cut the umbilical cord with the idealized baby.
However, this step is not so obvious.
I am a child who has received everything. My parents have always encouraged me in all the paths I chose to follow. I was also encouraged by my grandmother. Today I am approaching 50 years old. Half a century is no small thing! Some things are clearer now. And they are not very positive.
Yet yes I have trouble feeling loved.
I remember the proofs of love from my parents as beneficial aids intended for … that I change my personality quickly!
Since I was 12 I have always heard: “You have to be calmer, less excited, you have to get less carried away”. Around the age of 20, my parents kept telling me: “You have to be more stable” while I am an artist who likes change and who can’t stay in one . I remember my 20s, my 30s and then my 40s as periods when I tried to fit into a mold. That mold imposed by my ancestors and by society. Before, when I was younger, I laughed out loud. I was criticized for being someone who was neither discreet nor quiet. Today the result is that I hardly dare to laugh…
As far back as I can remember, my parents and my family loved me but never accepted my personality as an artist’s only daughter. I was told “the bohemian is fine for a few months” or “you have to stabilize yourself”. I ended up doing it. I thus lost all my joy of living.
I still remember the last day I was truly myself. Sitting on a concrete bench in front of the university with a friend who was dear to me. I had gained 5 kilos. I had just cut my long blond hair which I had exchanged for a small black bob à la Louise Brooks. I asked him if he liked it and he replied: “5 kilos more or less, blonde, brunette, redhead, what I like is that you are Life! You laugh and you love passionately. I love you because you are Joy”.
Three years later, this friend died at age 26. He was my only memory of someone who knew how to love me as I was.
Last year, 21 years after his death, I made this mourning that I was prevented from doing because when you have children you should not be sad. The shock was terrible; I cried for months. I realized, in becoming myself again, the extent of that loss.
I have lost many friends and family members over the past few years, but for this friend the loss is immense, immeasurable. It totally rushes me some days. It took me so long to figure out why. Of course the bond was strong, unique, inexplicable but above all, by dint of observing me in real life, he had understood who I was, how I was and he was the only one capable of loving me like this. He was also able to follow and accept all my changes which made him laugh heartily. Never has anyone loved me so much for what I was.
It took me months to understand why I felt so loved by him and so little by my parents who nevertheless made all the sacrifices for me. I understood that each of their visits to me was a series of recommendations for change. “Be calmer”, “Be more adult”, “Be less excessive”, “Be more persistent”. It took me a long time to understand that if I had so much trouble getting my children to respect me, it was simply because my parents did not consider me a “valid mother”.
When my eldest son, a teenager, spoke badly to me and I reframed him, my parents systematically corrected me in front of him: “Oh that’s ok and you think you were a perfect girl?” My husband has pointed this out to me many times. And he’s right. My parents take away my status as a mother. They know everything better than myslef even if they rarely see my children.
Never mind. This allowed me to understand that everything I did in my life displeased them and that they talk about it today in a negative way. I set up my first communication company when I was 24, with their help. Today they say: “All we did for you! Find you a place, buy you a computer, all for nothing!” or even “All your projects fall through” when I was a journalist for 12 years and I have now been a therapist for years. Their speech is really: “Be less like you and more like us!”. This is a constant battle, a constant pressure to change me! I’m tired…
Today I know why I feel so unloved by my parents. Probably because while loving me and laughing with me sometimes, they always sought to change what I was, what I still am. Their disappointment is equal to all their attempts to change me because they all failed!
Today the very fact that I seek to travel as in my youth while having a husband and children offends them. They consider that I should be content with France. I die when I stay put. I am hyperactive who needs to move, to discover. But they try to make me a calm and quiet working mother “beautiful in the context of her home” as Tertullian, a father of the Church wrote…
If you’re giving your kids everything and it’s never going well, ask yourself if you like their personality or not. Are you trying to change what they are? To make the emotional one a strong man? To make the hyperactive one a calm and docile boy? To make the artist a mathematician, or the mathematician a painter? Do you REALLY enjoy theur personality and state of mind? Or do you wnt to rebuild them your own way? Because here’s the question! You can kiss and hug a kid even if you don’t like his personality or his reactions. It won’t fool him for long… There’s no balance in that situation…
Yes if we give affection without loving our child’s personality so we definitely are out of whack. The love received is not recognized as authentic by the child. Love begins there: accepting your child’s personality, developing it without wanting to change it.
If you don’t like your child’s personality, you will build your love on sand. Giving a solid foundation to love consists precisely in loving the land before building on it…