Wolf reading the wanted ads for daddy and mama replacements

“Some relationships have to and should end. If you keep seeing your relationships not working out as abandonment, aside from each person having what is closer to a parental role in your life, you’re too busy trying to hold onto them at all costs and make them fulfil what you feel is their obligation to take care of you and never leave, that you miss some very obvious reasons as to why the relationship isn’t healthy and shouldn’t be forced to continue.” The Dreamer and the Fantasy Relationship, from the chapter Letting Go Of Abandonment.

When we’re willing to hold onto a person at all costs, even if that means losing ourselves, we’d rather have them on some terms, even if they’re crummy terms, rather than not at all. We decide that they’re the only way that we can be happy and we act as if they’re our oxygen supply. The very person who is actually contributing to our deep unhappiness is at the same time regarded as the primary or even sole source of our happiness. It’s the whole ‘crumbs is better than no crumbs at all…’ and unfortunately when we don’t treat ourselves with love, care, trust, and respect, and in fact starve ourselves of these, any ‘ole person can come along and pretty much say and do very little, and it will still look like more than anything that we’re doing. Of course it’s out of context because a crumb only looks like a lot when we’re used to little or don’t believe that we deserve more. It’s still crumbs though.

Whether a person is shady or not, it’s never good or healthy for us to expect that they will come along and parent us. It’s our job to be our primary carer.  The fact that a parent may have inadequately parented us isn’t a reflection of our worth, our right to be here on this planet, or our future options. We deserve to be nurtured, loved, cared, respected, and trusted. We deserve to have a healthy, happy start in life, it’s just that this doesn’t always happen. Of course parents should stay and take care of us when we’re children because it’s what they’re supposed to do but, as I can attest to, this is far from being the case. It broke my heart as a child and I carried the burden of what I perceived to be my failure and fault well into my adulthood. I missed and yearned for what I could have been and what I thought my childhood could have been but the passage of time and some big lessons have shown me that actually, even if I’d had my father around, it doesn’t mean that my life would have been entirely different. Whatever has been, it doesn’t mean that we can’t have a damn good go at doing things differently for the remainder of our lives. At least we have a life to make our mark on – some children don’t make it.

Even if our parents are still around, trying to make them parent us, fix our adult lives, provide all of our security and give us our identity and purpose is unhealthy. Hell, they may be struggling to do these things for themselves! It’s not that they’re not our parents and it’s not that they couldn’t do with making some changes but there comes a time when we have to ask why we’re putting so much energy in trying to have Childhood Mark:2, when we could be getting on with the business of living our own lives. It’s not that they’re not our parents but it’s no longer their job to parent us because we’re grown-ups and we can do this ourselves.

We can use adulthood to unlearn all of the unproductive stuff and to figure out how to live our lives happily and authentically as us.

It’s our job to create personal security. We have to reclaim who we are, live our values, and make ‘mistakes’ (read: have experiences) along the way to gain clarity about what does and doesn’t work for us, as well as pay attention to where we’re making strides. We just don’t get much of an opportunity to do this when we nestle ourselves into someone who we’re effectively trying to get them to shelter us from ourselves and life.

It’s too much to expect that romantic partners will do for us what we’re not prepared to do for ourselves and it’s most definitely too much to expect them to fill up voids created by our parents. We want an external solution to our internal issues. We want to be directed and told who we are when that’s our role. We assign these people too much power. In deferring to them as being critically important to our survival, we end creating helplessness and taking up a child role in our very adult relationships. This is particularly scary when we don’t know them and/or they’re abusive.

When they leave or they don’t meet our hopes and expectations, it feels excruciating, especially because it confirms our worst fears and beliefs. We may do things in our quest to hold on that greatly diminish our sense of selves because we keep trying to please in the hopes that they’ll fill our voids and in turn, meet our needs, expectations, and wishes.

When we look for people to parent us, we invariably end up with a hotchpotch of one or both our parents who we’re trying to right the wrongs of the past with. We end up living in the past and playing out our child role in an adult setting with disastrous or certainly very painful results. 

We cannot assign romantic partners (or indeed anyone else for that matter), what amounts to parental obligations. Each and every time we do, it makes us excessively emotionally reliant on these people and we abandon ourselves while being blinded to how toxic the involvement and our expectations are. We have an obligation and even if someone comes along, we still have that obligation to represent regardless. When we stop stepping up for us and behave like someone handing over the keys and saying ‘Here. They’re yours. Do what you like, make whatever changes you need but just don’t leave’, we’re giving people the blueprints to screw us over. The shady ones will grab ’em with both hands.

It’s you who has an obligation to you to look out for you, to be you, to represent and meet your needs, expectations, desires, feelings, and opinions. Whatever you expect of others must be what you’re already being and doing for yourself. Once you do this, you approach relationships from a healthy place of desire, not a matter of needing a saviour for your survival. A person will add to your life not be your life or your surrogate parent .

Your thoughts?


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