I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, about the relationship between parents and children.  Now, some may scoff or ignore me because I don’t have any children of my own, and they’re right, I don’t.   I don’t have children, but I was a child at one time, and I am someone’s child.  I do know a little bit about at least one side of it.

I realized the other day that not once while I was growing up did I ever picture what a relationship with my parents as an adult would entail.  In fact, even as an adult, I am having a hard time picturing my ideal relationship with each of my parents!  I mean, I can list a million things that they do that I don’t necessarily like, and plenty more that I love, but as for describing what the perfect adult relationship with each of them would look like, I come up blank.

Is it any wonder that my relationship with my entire family feels exactly like it did when I was 19?  It’s time to update the user manuals!

I’ve been trying to do this piece by piece, but I am going to try some journaling and visualization of the ideal relationship with each of my family members, now that we are all adults.  I believe that this will really help me, not only in the way we relate to one another, but also in discovering and setting my own boundaries.  

If you are a parent… have you ever taken the time to visualize the ideal adult relationship between yourself and your adult children (even if they’re still small)?  To picture where your boundaries will be with your adult children?  To picture yourself relating to them as adults?

Parent, child, or sibling, have you taken the time to visualize your relationships with family members as adults?  Do you think you would behave differently toward some (or all) if you took the time to actually write down your desires for your relationships?  To really get clear on the relationship you want to have with that person, not just the laundry list of things you dislike about the relationship you currently have with them?

Your challenge, should you choose to accept, is to pick one member of your family, and describe the ‘perfect’ relationship with that person.  How would you interact with one another?  How would you greet and bid farewell to one another?  Would it be warmer than the greetings you offer now?  How would you speak to one another?  Would you talk more? Would you talk less?  Be more open?  More available?  Really take the time to focus on how you would feel if things were as you are picturing, and what behaviors, if any, would be different. 

Now… take a black permanent marker and cross through every sentence that describes the other person’s behavior, leaving you a description of your behavior, in this ‘ideal relationship’.

The next time you interact with this person, try behaving more like the ‘ideal’ you from your journaling, regardless of how they are behaving.  See how long you can stay in the mindset of the ‘ideal’ you.

The idea is basically ‘be the change you wish to see’ but I believe that really picturing the relationship the way you want it to be will have a great impact.

I expect to have a good report for you guys on my own experience with this in the near future, and I’d love to hear about your own experiences, if you decide to give it a go!


6 thoughts on “Relationships

  1. I think about this all the time. I get along tons better with other women my mum’s age than I do my mum. She treats me as a kid all the time, even if I am over 50. She hates I have to take care of her and resents it tremendously. She pushes me away if I try to love on her. Others can love on her, but not me. She doesn’t even like to sit near me if we go somewhere. Even to church!
    My own kids are funny. The eldest, he’s 28, has come to realise I’m an adult and a mom. But, he’ll still hug me and be my special kid. The youngest, he was a cuddler as a baby and sort of grew out of it. He’s closer to his dad, they are good friends. Not sure if they ever had much of a parent/kid relationship. ) I was the mean mom (My boys called me the Evil Momster in not so much fun!!) and fixed what was broken. OK< except for things that needed power tools. The dad did that!!! No matter, Bear will always be my baby!!! (he is 23)
    But, by and large, the kid parent relationship never ever really changes that much. There is a picture book, written when the author's mum died, which is beautiful and moving. 'Love you Forever' by Robert Munsch. Great story on relationships, how they change, and how they stay the same.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My relationship with my parents has only changed when I have acted in some way to make it clear that the old way of treatment is no longer effective. Like when I moved out the first time at 18. When I moved back in, I was treated more like an adult in my freedoms, but still like a child with regard to emotions (both mine and theirs). Since then, I have been in somewhat of a holding pattern, and haven’t really expected nor required much change. I’ve noticed that the less control they have over my life and my choices, the more distant we become, emotionally.

      I refuse to be held hostage by my love any longer. I am developing a much clearer set of boundaries, and from now on, no one gets a free pass. Not even my family. I am an autonomous adult, and I’ll no longer accept being treated as less than such… however, I also have a shiny new set of ‘rules’… (better said, expectations) for myself, too.

      I used to walk into every interation with my family members expecting the same old behavior, so I responded in the same old ways. I have come to understand that I bear equal responsibility for our relationship, and my happiness surrounding it. (Don’t take this as me lecturing… I’m not! Just sharing my own understanding of a tricky subject. Every situation is unique in its own special way… what works for me could be disastrous for someone else in a different life experience.) They’re giving me exactly what I expect from them.

      I spent most of my time thinking about them thinking about the things I wish were different, but not a lot of time thinking about what’s working and what’s not, not a lot of time considering what behaviors of my own need ‘polishing’… because if I believe what I write in my own blog (and I do), I control my reality, not them.

      Sure, they may be players, but my perception of events is my own. I control that. I can take my dad’s negativity personally, or I can see it for what it is… a man who has never experienced unconditional love in his life. Who has believed he was killing himself, working to support a family that didn’t even LIKE him. And yet… he never abandoned us. He is an honorable man… just a broken one. His problem is lack of love. Not being loving… he has loved us as fiercely as he knows how. Of BEING LOVED, even when he’s imperfect.

      And I’ve judged him pretty harshly for 37 years. Is it any wonder that it’s going to take some time for him to believe I’ve changed how I see him? And the same goes for the rest of my family.

      I don’t know if my entire family is ready for the new me. Love is a difficult emotion for us.. but all of us are dying inside for the lack of it. But I had to love MYSELF first, and I had to believe that *I* was WORTHY of being loved. I had to believe that I deserved the things I desired.

      It started with standing up for myself, but it has slowly been changing into a much deeper self love. One in which I barely even see their acts in relation to myself. I see their own pain is causing them to lash out.

      I’m still new at this, so I still get defensive, or upset sometimes, but things are just… better.

      <3. Don't lose hope, my friend. Perhaps your mother's pain is too deep to heal in this plane of existence. I regret that it causes you pain, though. You are in my thoughts often, even if I am only on WP sporadically. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  2. That’s interesting and I like this. I have found it much easier for me to set boundaries by becoming the ideal “me”, meaning by focusing on building the ideal relationship with myself instead of focusing on the ideal relationships I would want with people. By doing so, the relationships with others ultimately changed around the relationship I have with myself. What I mean by that is if I have an ideal relationship with myself, I attract ideal relationships with others. Does it make sense for you?

    My mother used to treat me like shyt , humiliate me. Last time I was in contact with her (few months ago) she slap me in the face (mind you I’m a grown woman just a little bit younger than you are) and told me she hates me lol. I told her to her face that I hate her too. She left and then I proceed to write a letter in which I told her I’ve always loved her and that I know she loves me too. She never replied to that letter (I never expected her to do so because I know she does not have the ability to reach higher places) but she started acting nicer towards me. And she started telling everybody how nice our relationship was (which never did before).

    So I have realized that some people are stuck in time or stuck in the way they behave. In other words, they do not have the ability to reach certain places and grow out of their character. But if you have the ability to understand that they will probably never change, you can embrace them for who they are and build a relationship around who they have the ability to be which brings you back to building the ideal relationship you want with yourself.

    When she slap me in the face and told me she hates me, in the midst of the fight, I let her take me down to her level, but then after she left I realized that is no longer the relationship I have with myself (I am no longer fighting and beating myself down). Hence why I was capable to write the nicest letter I felt capable of knowing she would never reply. While writing the letter, It felt like I was writing to me through her. But I was only capable to reach higher places because the relationship with me had changed. Does it make sense?

    When I gave her the letter, I realized how a long way I have come.

    The problem I think most of us have is that we have no relationship with ourselves therefore no true relationships with others. Everything started to change for me when I started to change how I treat myself. I became more open and more accepting of other people ways.

    There will always be people who will not accept the new you, not because they do not love you, but because it means they have to change. And change is hard for most individuals. When they see someone who they thought they knew changing, it requires them to step out of their comfort zone to get the new picture/perspective. It requires them to reevaluate their relationship with you which some of them are not willing to do because they fear the unknown.

    However, as you keep building the ideal relationship with yourself, you teach people how to treat you by showing them how you treat yourself. You will some of them will slowly start adapting and treat you better. They just need to be shown the way. But I realized in order to accomplish this, it has to come from within, from constantly working on your ideal relationship with yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First of all… thank you for sharing such a personal moment. I’m sorry that you had to experience that, ever. My mother has never slapped my face that I recall, but my father has. For something he imagined. I empathize with you.

      And you are absolutely correct. It is only with consciously choosing our own behavior, our own decisions, and our own thoughts, will we begin to see changes around us!

      That was the part about marking theough THEIR half of the ‘ideal’ relationship, leaving you with just your own ‘parts’ left. Perhaps I should make that a bit clearer? I just didn’t want to be too ‘lecture-y’, but perhaps I went too far in the opposite direction and left my thoughts too vague, lol.

      I, also, have been placing my focus on my own actions and thoughts rather than the actions/words/opinions of others, and the results I am getting are phenominal. Really incredible. That is part of the reason that I disappeared for a while, adjusting to all the rapid-fire changes going on, both within AND without.

      Thank you so much for the (as always) thought provoking comment! I actually groan when I see you comment but I am busy and can’t read it right away. I truly appreciate you! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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