The apple never falls far from the tree. Our grandfathers and great-grandfathers were wise and well noticed what was happening, both in nature and with man. However, over time, some knowledge began to interfere with life more than help. Only with the advent of psychology has it been possible to investigate the reasons why this happens and how to change it. asked Gestalt therapist Olesya Shipilova about what parents’ words affect children, why they say the way they do, and how it can limit a person.
You can’t go far from family traditions
The family is the main environment in which children receive everything they need: care, communication, nutrition, emotional attachment and much more. From early childhood to a certain age, the family is a significant landmark of a person in life. From parents, the child receives knowledge about how the world works. In order to navigate, interact in the world, understand some of the laws of being. Children learn these basic rules – “helpers”. Parents consciously and unconsciously broadcast these principles and understanding of the world based on personal experience that once helped them solve their problems, survive, or what life conclusions they made. There are those to whom his experience was given at the cost of the life of a loved one and their own blood. As a rule, few people think about the fact that circumstances change, time passes and it is time to change the old, once effective settings for new ones.
Much that is said by parents is absorbed like mother’s milk and becomes part of the psyche of the child, and then the adult. The child’s psyche does not filter words and messages, but adapts to circumstances, including devaluation or prohibition, making this the norm of life. Everything in which the child lives, hears and sees becomes a natural picture of his world.
Advice is confession
However, the messages that parents or other people broadcast to us are “only” their experience. When they are perceived as the ultimate truth without a doubt, an adult may suffer from the fact that he ignores his desires and needs, but lives according to someone else’s commandments, accepted from the outside. You can find other people’s rough diamonds by internal discomfort or I don’t understand “why am I doing this?”, “why do I think so?”. Sometimes a person does not admit to himself that something does not suit him, because he experiences it as the only way of being. Let’s try to consider what could be behind the words of parents once said, for example, “take care of what you have, don’t look at more, it still won’t work”, “work is hard work”, “keep your head down”, “in our family there is no money.”
Look what you want! Even I don’t have it
From such an exclamation of the mother to her voiced desire, the child will experience a sense of guilt and shame, because he wanted something that his parents do not have. But my mother, most likely, said this from her feelings that she cannot survive: envy, disappointment, grief over the fact that something she wanted did not happen. She encounters a primary reaction, does not have time to differentiate her feelings, and unconsciously reacts quite aggressively to the request of the child. Perhaps this is due to the fact that it is difficult for her to face her own experiences, which were once painful for her. A woman herself can continue to live according to the old rules, without even noticing that the time has changed and what was impossible before can be done now.
First learn, then get married, give birth and live as you want
Now the institution of marriage is changing its function. Previously, he had specific goals: procreation, ensuring safety for the woman and the child. Social tasks were more important than personal ones. Despite the fact that changes are taking place, many are trying to keep the old requirements for marriage and quietly adding new ones, such as “let’s talk!” Previously, this was not at the head of the choice, and for some families it was enough that the husband does not drink, does not beat and brings a salary. Behind such words there is always some personal weighty story of a woman.
Be content with what you have, otherwise it will not be
The phrase of the people of the post-war period, who went through deprivation, hunger, scarcity. People valued and cherished what they had and were in no hurry to take risks and try something new for fear of losing what they already had. At one time, this idea helped many to survive and feed their families and children. But despite the fact that circumstances change, the adult generation continues to pass on this principle as unshakable to the following generations, thereby clipping their wings.
Messages are transmitted not only through words, but also through deeds. Here is an example of a dialogue from practice:
– Mom, why do you cut duck wings when you bake it in the oven?
I don’t know, my mom always did that.
“Grandma, why did you do that?”
– I do not know. My aunt taught me that.
When they called my aunt and asked her, it turned out that she had a small oven and the whole duck did not fit. It turns out that once upon a time one person acted in a certain way, because it was vital for him, and those who follow him repeat without thinking about the meanings.
People used to live behind curtains
“Now do you want each of you to have a separate room?! Why do you need so many?
Many of the adult generation still do not notice that times are changing, their own comfort and well-being is becoming more important than just giving birth and huddling on three square meters. There was an idea that you can live for yourself and this is no longer a luxury. Question: “WHAT DO I WANT?” became essential in the life of modern man and replaces the era of collectivist ideas. Individuality is emphasized. The time has come to reconsider not only family, but large-scale, total ideas, meanings and values. Now, relying on your inner experience, it is important to discover, define, rethink what you have found in order to develop your own rules and judgments.
It is always important to check and try on how other people’s words are right for you, thereby creating your own opinion and setting priorities.
How are changes taking place?
A lot depends on the child and his character: he agrees with what he is told or not. Sometimes children riot, trying to resist what they don’t like and stand up for their desires. If the system is stronger, then changes in habitual choices and behavior begin in adulthood, when a young person is already separated from his parents and can afford to live differently. A person begins to face the fact that people and circumstances constantly highlight him a childish, habitual, established way of behavior that is dissonant with the surrounding events. People and life itself begin to treat what has stopped working and has begun to do more harm than good.
Such messages, both from parents and society, can greatly distort reality and cause harm, both to themselves and to other people. Similar examples can be seen in the films “Malena”, “Olesya”, “Anna Karenina”, “Cruel Romance”, “Society of Dead Poets”, “Peaceful Warrior”. If you remember what your parents told you or films with similar examples, share in the comments.
But that’s not all
The considered parental messages relate to the topic of how the world works, our family, the system in which we live, relationships. We have not touched on those that form the basic sense of the child in this world and influence the identity: “Who am I? What am I and what am I entitled to in this world? For example, such messages as “you are the light of my eyes”, “you will succeed”, “you have hook hands”, “my eyes would not see you”, “all children are like children, and you … some” and so on. This perspective requires special attention.