“That’s Still Your Parent….”
What’s up, ‘Inspirers’! I’m going to cut straight to the chase with this one and I know someone’s going to feel me! A lot of us have grown up in households where we didn’t get the best support from our parents. And I’m not talking about “coming to your soccer games” type of support. I’m talking about the type of support that uplifts you when you can’t seem to go on any further, or the type of support that won’t put you down for being different than everyone else. Whether we realize it or not, a majority of us in the African-American community have parents who unfortunately lack that type of emotional support and MY mother was the one who helped me realize it. Growing up I never had my dad around and the relationship between my mother and I began to deteriorate around the age of 15. I would talk to other members of my family about how depressed the situation made me and how alone I felt but no matter what I said, it always went back to “…but that’s still your mother.” Yes this is true, but does that mean I have to tolerate certain behaviors? To this day that is still one of the most obnoxious excuses ever used and if you ask me, this is why the generations that come before us have that “therapy isn’t for black people” mentality and continue to pass down unhealthy thinking.
I say all of this to say that it’s time to stop giving excuses and LET TOXIC PARENTS GO! I know people who are GROWN that are still dealing with unhealthy parents. As said before, people tend to normalize the wrong doings of a parent as “parenting” without even realizing what’s being taught to the child. I can surely attest that a lot of my toxic traits are the result of what I experienced with my mother but I’m healing and working toward being a better me every day. It may be hard for an underage child to get away from a parent’s toxicity but believe me, it is possible. I’m no counselor, but here are some of the ways I broke free from that type of environment that I KNOW will help some of you:
- SEPARATE YOURSELF: An unhealthy environment will affect your everyday life. Minimize association with that parent as much as you can and learn when it’s emotionally safe and not so safe to communicate with your parent. It’s important that you keep yourself occupied and in your own lane.
- CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS WHEN DEALING WITH THEM: As long as they can trigger you they’ll continue to have power over you. Once you no longer allow them to have control over your emotions, you’ll be able to break free from the unhealthy cycle.
- MAINTAIN YOUR INDEPENDENCE: (Again, age is a non-factor. When I moved out at 21, I was excited to share my news with my mother but it was clear as day she didn’t see it happening for me, nor was she excited. That pushed me even more to work hard so that I would never have to rely on her again.) Being independent makes you stronger. If you remain dependent on that parent, it’ll only limit you to the things you accomplish.
Fast forward to 26, the relationship between my mother and I is a work in progress. There are some days that I can deal with her, and there are days when I know to stay away. Of course I love her for who she is. She’s my mom! But had I settled for the excuse that “she’s still my mother”, I wouldn’t have been able to grow mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Parents, listen to your children when they have something to say. Whether you agree or not, hear them. Just showing confirmation that you care goes a long way. And if you are someone who is dealing with a toxic parent, break free and take your power back. No more settling for old beliefs and unhealthy cycles.