Valentines Day and The Internalised Parent

G’day Gorgeous…

As many of you know, I am currently writing the content for my two new programs – Divorce Diva and Delectable Diva.  These are the base programs in my ‘Relationship’ series.

I’m finding that my own life is providing significant fodder for the development of this content – my relationship history in Divorce Diva and my current personal life in Delectable Diva (as well as history).

I am consistently amazed that the input of parents still comes into thinking in this space, I see this with my clients, but also in my own life – especially my Mum and Dating…

My Mum had a birthday this week and whilst we were at dinner I said that I was spending my Valentine’s Day engaging in Speed Dating (which I thought would be fun) as I had never done it before and then going onto a Valentine’s Day dance.  My Mum’s comment was quite a judgemental one – “Hmmm, because your last one was SO good wasn’t it!”

Her reference was to previous relationships, someone I met in November last year at a social event and we dated for a month. My mother obviously sees this as a ‘negative’ experience…  Which is interesting, because I don’t see it that way.

Now…  It is important to note here that my Mum has been on her own since my father left us when I was 15 months old – she has been on her own for over 40 years.  My mother’s experience of men is not good, my father was not a supportive, caring or nurturing man.  My father was a ‘bloke’ who really looked out for himself, in life and in his relationships… He was ‘typical’ of a lot of Australian men in the 1960’s.

It is fair to say that my mother has never experienced any form of ‘nurturing’ from a significant other, not emotionally or physically. In fact, all she has received from men over the course of her life is a confirmation that they lie, cheat and cannot be trusted…  And she has never experienced any of the ‘positive’ impacts that interpersonal relationships can bring with them.

So she chose to stay single… Alone.

I admire her decision – but it is not a decision I have ever wanted to emulate.  I think because my experience of men has been very different to my Mums. I think you don’t miss what you’ve never had!

In fact, I so did NOT want to live my mothers life that I desperately tried to save my first marriage because I did not want to be alone for the rest of my life. I thought that if I went on to have other relationships that this would have negative impacts on my daughters…

I went through six separations in the last five years of my marriage – trying to salvage a relationship that was failing…  In the end, I couldn’t do it anymore.  It takes two to make a relationship work and I could not get my alcoholic husband to deal with his issues – so I chose to walk away.

I have made mistakes…  I have had subsequent relationships that have not worked, for different reasons.  I accept my responsibility for those relationship breakdowns, but also recognise that again – it takes two to ‘tango’ and when there is an issue in a relationship, you need both parties to be willing to sort it out.  If the other party is not willing to address things that I see as ‘issues’ – I move on…

I suppose from my Mum’s perspective – I am the only one of my siblings who has had a ‘failed’ marriage… And I’ve had two 😀

I am the youngest of five children and all of my siblings are all happily married – or at least they appear to be.  From Mum’s perspective – I assume that she must think that I just can’t find the right guy for me, so I should just STOP trying…

But that’s just not me…

I’m an extrovert!  I LOVE people…  I enjoy ‘realtionship’ with people – not just intimate relationships, but I really seek to engage with friends and like to meet new people. I don’t have any responsibilities that tie me down anymore – so I enjoy going out, connecting with new social groups and interacting with human beings.

My Mum, by contrast, is an introvert.

In addition, I have been involved in some very ‘nurturing’ relationships – both emotionally and physically…  I also am aware that my ‘primary’ love language is Physical Touch! I just don’t have the same ‘desire’ to remain alone for the rest of my life…

To top it all off…  I’m also a great believer in my life’s motto:

‘Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all…’

OR my preferred motto:

‘Better to have loved and lost… Than to live with the Psycho the rest of your life!’

So…  As much as I love my Mum – I have to fight against her judgement about my choices in life…  Both in my head and those that come directly out of her mouth.

I find it really FASCINATING that even as the adult that I am, as a mother of adult children, my mother’s perceptions of me as a person STILL impact my self-worth and my actions.  Her words from earlier this week have ‘plagued’ me…  I don’t like the judgement and I struggle to help her to understand my perspective.

Interestingly, my eldest sister has an entirely different perspective… She says she just hopes that I can be happy. She’s been with the same man for 35 years!

So – I write this in awareness that Mum may be upset in the reading of it…  This is not my intention. My intention is to highlight that I’m a different person, with different needs, beliefs and desires… That doesn’t make me wrong.

So… However you choose to spend your Valentines Day – Enjoy! Be aware of your internalised ‘parent’, the inner critic.  Choose to live your own life in awareness and freedom of choice.

Get to it Gorgeous…