Growing up, the level of Partner Parenting I witnessed between my Mother and Father was disturbing. There was definitely gross control over my mother by my Father, but even in that awfulness, I could also pick out where my Mother didn’t help matters. Her level of trying to control him and his behaviours were, I later came to understand, overtly codependant.
My Fathers Story
My Father came from a very dysfunctional family, dominated by alcoholism and Irish Catholic control and shame. He didn’t have a chance. It was inevitable he would become a shadow of himself because of abuse perpetrated on him. He would later go on to perpetrate the same abuse on me. He dominated my mother and in turn my mother fussed over him like a baby to prevent the inevitable narcissistic outbursts. As a result myself and my siblings were left traumatised and confused and found it very difficult to navigate the world.
My Mothers Story
Again Catholicism reigned in her home. She was raised by my hardworking Father and her narcissistic Mother. My Grandmother dominated anyone she could reach and still does. My Mother was left trying to placate two narcissists coming at her on a daily basis. As a result she never really developed her own opinions or personality and tried to also dumb her own children down to make sure we stayed in our box.
Some examples of what I saw within my parents relationship are
- controlling behaviours guised as concern or care.
- demanding that the other change and giving ultimatums
- punishment or discipline with not coming home, shaming each other and the silent treatment.
- no trust in the others ability to do the right thing or handle situations that are difficult.
All in all it was quite the shit show. Us kids walked on eggshells all the time. Because of my mothers internal instability we never knew if we were doing right or wrong. The rules changed everyday. What we were praised for on a Monday we were punished for on a Tuesday. We only discovered our own sense of self in our forties. All three of us are talented in some way and thankfully we have found the strength and freedom from our conditioning to use those talents.
As the oldest child, I tried to shield my younger siblings from the awfulness in our home. I distracted, played down and removed them from the goings on. I learned to predict when something was about to kick off so I’d distract my siblings with a game outside. I’d then try and defuse the situation between my parents before it got out of hand. Both my siblings will tell you that they experienced some of the things I did, but their memories of their childhood is quite a bit different than mine. Looks like I managed to save them at least a little bit.
As an adult I found my way into my own abusive relationships. A long long list of them. Inside these relationships I discovered how to break free and dismantle the generational pattern of abuse and trauma. I can see I have been successful in how my own children are. Yes indeed they have had their own trauma. The fallout will last a few generations still I think, but they have faith in and respect for themselves. They are far better people than I have ever been, and they continue the heavy job of further breaking the cycle.
I have great hope for the future of our world. Most of us are in a pattern now of breaking codependant patterns of generations before us. Our children are indeed our future and giving them all the space to learn and develop without our interference and twisted logic is the way forward. It is in my house at least. I’m so glad that the utter evil I hear in houses of parliament and senates across the world is dying out. Old men spouting the same sickness out of their mouths for centuries. They too are all victims of controlling, shame based and codependant homes. Thank god they are a dying breed!