Understand Your Childhood Relational Experience
By: Jeff Pipe, PsyD
I would like to say a few things to you regarding the impact of your childhood home on your relational style. Sometimes people fail to consider the impact of their parents influence because they had loving parents and no overt trauma in their childhood. However, the relational/emotional learning that you experienced in your childhood home is unrelated to the nature of your parents love for you. Whether your parents loved you - or loved you enough - is a separate question. Honestly, it’s safe to assume that they loved you deeply. Few parents don’t. Further, the current quality of your relationship with your parents is equally irrelevant. You may get along with them great as an adult, but that does not negate or substantially alter the emotional/relational learning that went on when you were a child.
At the very least, you must recognize that your parents personalities, ages and manner of relating formed the context in which you learned how to relate. But, if you believe the Bible then we can be honest; your parents are sinful, broken, self-serving, self-protective people whose sin runs deep. They screwed up as people and as parents. We all did. Denying the reality of their failure is not “honoring” of them; its dis-honoring of the Gospel that they embrace. Because of their sin, your parents failed you in specific, concrete ways on a regular basis. Their fears, weaknesses, wounds and deficits specifically impacted the way they related to you and their manner of relating formed the template from which you, in turn, learned to relate. This has nothing to do with the strength or quality of their love for you or their spiritual maturity. It is critical that you take ownership of their failure and forgive them so that you can get about the important business of understanding how their failures specifically informed your emotional/relational development.
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Legacy Strategy, Inc. is a private counseling practice in Kennesaw, Georgia.