WARNING: Game of Thrones Season Finale spoilers ahead
In the final scenes between Tyrion and his father, I initially felt the old kneejerk tears start to well up.
How perfect that it was Tyrion, a Person of Short Stature, confronting his more typical height dad, representing the way most of us feel in comparison to our parents for our entire lives, regardless of our age.
Watching him fire a crossbow through his father’s chest a few months ago would have filled me with a sense of relieved righteous anger. Now, I felt sorrow for him that he did not understand what I have since come to know. And that because of that, he is likely to remain infected by the poison that enters your life when one feels helpless against the injustice, grief, sorrow and rage that comes from not being loved by one’s parents.
It is only through a great deal (we are talking hours, daily) of questioning, introspection, philosophy and therapy that I have come to a few conclusions that might have helped the man through the pain of being hated by his father for being different and for having his birth be the cause of death of his mother.
This is a huge societal taboo. The final frontier of Things We Must Never Discuss. But, here it is.
Some parents do not love their kids.
Or more specifically, some parents can not love their kids.
“You must love yourself before you can love someone else!”, popular platitudes exclaim. The hidden, missing addendum being, “..unless you are a parent. Then anything you do or fail to do is considered love and any other belief is blasphemous. Amen.”
I am unable to draw fire on my mother as she has already passed. But, and I do not say this lightly, I have been driven by a rage towards her that under the right circumstances could have led me there.
I have raked my soul over coals of hellfire to arrive where I am today and let me tell you, it was worth the ride. If you disagree with anything you read here, you are right. Your anger is valid and must be acknowledged. That is a whole other post… and another few years in therapy. But after you have purged all of it (and sometimes you will think it’s gone until what’s left of it comes up again…and again), you will be left empty. And then you can fill yourself with things that will soothe you and make your life better.
There is a lot more that needs to be delved into on this issue, and I am making some videos on it in the future, but for now, here is what I have found to be true. PLEASE NOTE: these are not insights that are meant to be told to children with troubled parents! These are not insights meant to tell your inner child to shut up about! You have to face the grief and loss of disconnection with your caregivers from a point of view of yourself as a child (who doesn’t care that mommy has to work to make money in order for them to live but only sees that they are being abandoned) in order to move on and I will talk about that more in the future.
1) Some parents are incapable of loving their kids. Expecting them to have loved you is like leaving a sushi restaurant furious that they didn’t have pizza to serve you. Sometimes,
It’s just not on the menu.
It’s not like they possessed a transcendental love that they actively chose to withhold from you. It actually didn’t exist. Understand that the majority of people are emotionally stuck at a very young age, regardless of what it says on their driver’s license.
2) Parents who are incapable of loving their children were once children who were not loved. They are suffering as badly or worse than you are. Ninety nine percent of people suffer this loss and frustration for their entire lives, unaware. It results in health conditions, relationship problems, chronic dissatisfaction and oh yeah,
an inability to give to your kids what you never got or
learned to give yourself.
No matter how hard you try or what your intentions are, you will visit upon your children any childhood trauma that you have not dealt with. They will become the living embodiment of the part of yourself that you have ignored for so long. And then one day, you will have a miniature version of yourself, tugging at your sleeve and demanding for you to give up that which you never received.
And it begins.
3) What is love? There are many answers to this question. For the purpose of this article, I’d like to say that love is an affectionate appreciation for life and all of the forms that it takes. Love is not obligation. Or working hard to provide the basics of survival, sullenly (though most people (sadly) come to accept that this is what it is). And while I am not one to define it for anyone else, I have learned through excessive study of neurodevelopmental somatic based psychotherapy, that it is vital to the healthy development of a child to have a parent who delights in their existence. A parent whose eyes light up when you enter the room instead of being glazed over and focused on the tv, remote in hand.
Most modern stressed parents see their children as another chore to do on a never ending list of chores to do. Another bill to pay. A head bobbing through the cattle corral of “eat your breakfast……..tie your shoes…….don’t miss the bus………brush your teeth……do your homework”. At what point do most parents look at their kids and realize how special they are? How grateful they are their children are here? They came from an infinite source of pure love only to let you stuff them into scratchy clothes and sit them in a classroom for 8 hours a day preparing them for a job they’ll hate. They go along with it. They trust you. How grateful you should be!
However, it can help to think of love that you received from your parents as those moments in time when they facilitated a response in you that felt 100% good. Whether they meant to or not. Whether it was their intention or not. For me, one such moment is the amount of time I spent sleeping in the same bed as my mother. Or when we got those two dollar hand helicopter gadgets and flew them in the park. These memories and realizations help create a resource for you that makes your childhood something that can fuel you rather than an anchor around your neck.
Myself and many of the psychotherapists and spiritual teachers I follow, we often find infinite wisdom in the beauty of animals and children. Give a stray kitten a saucer of milk once and he will love you in that moment. He doesn’t spend his days thinking miserably on about how much more you could have given him or why you didn’t give him tuna as well. Or let him spend the night.
No, that is the realm of humans.
4) You are not entitled to love from your parents. This was hard for me to accept too and I admit that it took time. Haven’t you ever had the best intentions when taking on something only to realize it was more than you bargained for? Most parents don’t see having a child as something they can back out of once the damage is done. And most people with traumatic childhoods (the majority of people on planet earth, in varying degrees) make bad, life altering decisions in their lives. Many times over.
Being born to stressed parents can actually lead one into becoming a stressed parent yourself. A mother who is stressed, and most who have chosen bad partners, lack social support or are considering abortions will be stressed, bathes the child in her womb with a stress hormone called cortisol. It triggers a part of the brain that ignites fight or flight mode. Beginning with conception, the baby is constantly scanning the environment for clues as to what kind of world it is coming into. A fetus bathed in cortisol constatnly starts to understand that it is coming into a world with limited resources. It triggers a it’s them or me, win or lose mentality. As they get older, combine this with a lack of connection with their primary caregivers and we have a human being with a natural sexual urge which is then coupled with a desperation for connection without knowing how to get it. Also, having your amygdala, fight or flight brain triggered in a time of seuality creates a genetic urge to reproduce at all costs because the threat of annihaltion feels imminent. On a subconscious level, these people are not interested in choosing a suitable partner, getting to know them well, feathering their nest, pooling their resources, pair bonding and raising a healthy child with love. Their genes are screaming at them to reproduce NOW! Genetic pray and spray.
Mammals are compelled by instinct to love, care for and defend their offspring at all costs. Yes that is the natural order of things. But we are living in strange times. Generations of pain and traumatic distortions have caught up with us. Much like fiat currency and peak oil and superbugs.
The natural order of many things picked up and left a while ago.
You can live your life in pain, and you will, until you integrate your childhood frustration over what you never got. Or you can adapt to this new world. A nd become a pioneer
there are no roads where we are going
And that is a good thing :)