The Cost of Not Being There for Each Other

The collective cost of not being there for each other….and the justified vicious cycle….

We all know we cannot complain in our culture. Only few do it openly. How are you? Fine. Even when life is not fine, we know better. We say fine. Everyone’s got problems and nobody wants to hear yours. Because it’s taboo to talk about how bad things are to others, when we have kids (and they won’t judge us since adults are the ones in control!), we dump our misery, complaints and caca life problems on to them. Your friends will tell you to hush it, but your kids don’t have the power to do that. Some parents throw their tales of woe on to their kids more than others. Some parents might do all of their complaining on full-throttle mode and the kids have to take it on their shoulders. And this would be a bit fine if kids were able to have their parents listen to them, but that is probably rarely if ever the case! Kids aren’t allowed to complain back. Kids become a friend that the parents do not have and this comes at the cost of the kids not having any emotional parental support.

Kids emotionally need their parents, but parents are absent if they are complaining in their vodka, taking drugs and making themselves sick or going out partying all the time meanwhile who can look after the kid’s emotional needs? This is probably one of the many reasons why we cannot handle people who complain. The subconscious mind where the memories are stored is automatically triggered back into childhood with the sobering resentment of how we had to take care of our parents—that emotional one-sided relationship and not getting our own emotional needs met to boot.

I tried to cheer my mom up as she complained and freaked out all the time. When I ever complained about my problems as a kid, I was told I didn’t know what real pain was. (And most of you know my past and know that was not so!) Even I have some difficulty with people complaining too much. My mom wanted someone to hear her because she never got that from her own parents, so I got stuck being her sound board (because nobody else would be there for my mom). Emotionally, it was one-sided.

(Truth be told, my mom really did have serious problems and really needed someone to hold gentle space for them and I really feel badly she didn’t get that. She had every reason to to complain and freak out all the time. But see, kids don’t see that. Kids need a parent. That’s all kids know. They have REAL problems. And being a parent is not just about clothing, feeding, taking kids to school and doctors and providing a roof!)

We talk about personal responsibility a lot and I think it’s healthy to be able to own our triggers and realize people who complain are benevolent. There should be no trigger there. Life is crazy sometimes, so it’s normal, natural and plenty healthy to be transparent enough to complain when we want to even if it’s all the time. We only get triggered due to our own unresolved problems that we might not even be aware we have. When we make that connection to our past, it can make us a bit more compassionate.

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”

— Carl Jung


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