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Intense Fear of Repeating my Parents Mistakes


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“If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.”

-        Ram Dass

 

I only very recently considered that I might want to start a family. For most of my life, I’d completely written off the idea. My own upbringing was somewhat traumatic, and it instilled in me the belief early on that family life was a road through hell and I’d be dodging a bullet to just avoid it altogether. I might be starting to heal from that and get past it which has me considering what it takes to start a really good family and be a really good parent. Because of my rough past, it's difficult for me to form a solid understanding of what a healthy family is supposed to look like. It's not like I'm thinking of having kids tomorrow or anything, but it may be in my future at some point. Regardless, I still have a lot of healing to do and a lot of rewiring of my mind before I can be the kind of husband and father that I could feel good about being.

 

Both of my parents were extremely dysfunctional. My dad was both physically and emotionally abusive. To my knowledge, I’m the only one of us that he ever hit, but there were times when he would break things in the house during fits of rage. One time he punched my bedroom door so hard that it split clean in half. And this was a solid wooden door, not some flimsy thing. Apart from that though, he was just completely distant and detached. It was like he had no desire to connect with anybody on any kind of deep level. I barely saw him since he worked all the time, and when he wasn’t working, all he wanted to do was watch sports. I feel today like I barely even know the guy. My mom was emotionally unstable and an alcoholic. When I say alcoholic, I mean passed out on the floor puking on herself level of alcoholic. I won’t even mention how much they would fight. People look at me funny when I say it would have been better for everybody if they just got a divorce. Maybe it’s weird to want that, but there have been periods of time when I sincerely meant it.

 

I’ve spent a lot of time hating my parents. Way too much time if I’m honest. Sometimes in my lowest moments, I’ve found myself wishing bad things would happen to them. Thankfully I never stayed there for very long. I always found ways to rise above those thoughts. I can’t claim that the hate is completely gone. I still feel it sometimes, but mostly it’s been replaced by something that resembles pity. I mostly feel pity for my dad, although I don’t have the heart to let him know it. It would be kinder to let him think I hate him rather than let him know how I actually feel. On a side note, his birthday is coming up and I was in a store looking for a card to send him, but all the cards had positive messages on them like “great dad” and “you’re an inspiration” and stuff like that. I got frustrated because none of them felt honest and I’m sick of continuing to hold up the fakeness. A more honest card would say something like “just the thought of you makes me feel physically sick, but you’re still my dad so I feel obligated to send you something”. 

 

I really don't feel good writing all of this, but it feels honest, and I want to give as clear of a picture as possible for where I'm coming from. I also don’t want to give the impression that I think I’m some victim of a horrible upbringing. It wasn’t good, but plenty of people have had it much worse and I don’t fail to recognize that.

 

Anyway, I’ve realized that I formed the belief very early on in my life that family life is a horrible thing, and it should be avoided at all costs. It wasn’t just my family that gave me this impression. I saw the same patterns in my grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. It seemed like the standard copy and paste format for the American family is the emotionally detached husband, the dissatisfied alcoholic wife, and the depressed kids. The only thing everybody seems to have in common is that none of them want to be there. I started seeing it everywhere, and as I saw it more, it solidified the idea in my head that this is just the standard cycle that we’re all doomed to repeat, and the only way out is to never reproduce. I got so paranoid that I made my girlfriend text me every time she got her period so I could breathe a sigh of relief. I actually had preoccupying and sometimes debilitating anxiety every month before the text came. She humored me with a saintly level of patience, but I can only imagine what she must have been thinking. 😂

 

Last month during a particular DMT trip, I was given a vision of what a healthy family might look like. It was so full of love and beauty that it brought me to tears. In that moment I was able to consider for the first time in my life that family can be a positive thing. It was very inspiring and so full of meaning and significance. I realized that this meaning and significance might be the same meaning and significance that I’ve been trying so desperately all my life to find. I didn’t know where to find it before, but now I think I have an idea. I’ve struggled with nihilism as long as I can remember. I’ve never really managed to find something that makes life seem truly worthwhile, although I feel like I’ve gone to the ends of the earth trying. Spirituality has taught me that worthwhile things are usually on the other side of a fear barrier. That insight gives me a bit more direction even if I haven’t yet realized my ambition. Since this trip, I’ve been working to totally change and rewrite my ideas about family and what family has the potential to be. If it wasn’t for this DMT vision, I don’t know how or when I ever would have been able to deconstruct my beliefs about family! DMT is so powerful!

 

I think my previous insistence to abstain from family life really came from a place of fear that I might end up like my parents. I desperately don’t want to be like them for reasons that are likely obvious. I also have a lot of fear that I may be much more similar to them than I’m quite ready to admit. I’m even being given more and more evidence that I may indeed be just like my parents. After my last relationship ended, I wrongfully assumed that she had been super distant and disinterested and that’s why it ended. When I tripped for clarity, I realized that it was me who was acting distant and disinterested. She had actually been putting in a ton of effort; way more effort than me! She tried so hard to love me and I couldn’t even see it. I wasn’t ready to open up enough to accept the love, and so I caused the relationship to fail. I feel really bad about it in hindsight. There are a few tears when I think she will never know how much I loved her. It makes me sad. That’s just it though. It made me feel like I was playing out the character of the detached man causing frustration in his significant other. I felt like it’d gone full circle and I’d become my father, and the same as all the men in the image of family which I found so unappealing.

 

I want to learn how to break the cycle. I think the way forward is to work on opening up more so that I can form better genuine and honest connections with people, particularly with a woman. The value is in human connection! Perhaps not coincidentally, that’s where the fear also is. The value is in getting somebody to feel the love. That’s all it ever was. Of course. How to do this when I struggle so much just to leave my bubble is the real question. Part of the problem for me I think is that I haven’t ever had any super positive male role models in my life, so it’s difficult for me to know what to aspire to be. It definitely feels more like I’m winging it and hoping to get something right. But I’m flying blind most of the time. All I really know about being a man is that my dad always told me I’m not enough of one.. 🤷‍♀️

 

Question: Fear of becoming like your parents is a pretty common thing. How do you deal with it and not let it hold you back in life?

Edited by DMT Elf
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6 hours ago, Phil said:

What you’ve shared here has made me feel a worthwhileness in what the hell I’m even doing which I’ve not experienced before, and the God-sized kick in the feels has to pass before I can even comment. Thank you. 

Awesome! tbh I debated for a while whether or not to post it because it feels so heavy and I have no idea how people will react. But then I thought at the very least it will be interesting to see what people say. I'm glad you appreciated it. 

 

41 minutes ago, Lotus said:

image.thumb.png.cc64d1434428958333ffb32ec9f9c351.png

@DMT Elf Break those generational cycles of trauma, baby! 👊

I love this! I'm breakin em. ❤️

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On 6/13/2022 at 4:43 PM, DMT Elf said:

Awesome! tbh I debated for a while whether or not to post it because it feels so heavy and I have no idea how people will react. But then I thought at the very least it will be interesting to see what people say. I'm glad you appreciated it. 

I’m super glad you did. I think it’s a breakthrough for the whole place. 

When I said “pass” before, I meant and should’ve said ‘transmute’. 

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I wouldn't worry about repeating your parents' mistakes.  I would worry about seeing your child through your own individual biased prism and unconsciously trying to mold him in that manner, as opposed to seeing him for who he is and what he genuinely needs.  You're probably not the same personality as your parents anyway.

Edited by Baller
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