Reparenting parent?

PreciousChild

MyPTSD Pro
Just wondering if this is a good idea. Doesn't feel like it. After meditating today, my mind started to think about my narcissistic, sadistic father as a child, the hurt he must have endured in order to become the mess he became. I thought about all the things he didn't get, all the wrong things that he did get, and the fear and shame he must have felt. I thought about how if he had been given the nurturing every child deserves, he wouldn't have become a father who tortured his kids. I still have the most intense nightmares of him trying to harm me. But my mind couldn't go there to re-parent that hurt child. Would there even be any therapeutic value in doing that? It was such a mind-f*** to think about this.
 

Friday

Moderator
Personal responsibility is a thing.

- People come out of abusive & terrible situations absolutely determined to never treat others that way.
- People come out of abusive & terrible situations, dislike who they’ve become/ have grown up to be/ or even just aspects of who they are, and set about changing to become the person they want to.
- People come out of abusive & terrible situations as abusive & terrible people.

People make choices.
Moreover? They have the RIGHT to make those choices.
The same way we have the right to make ours.

None of us are automatons. We all make choices in who we’re going to be, and how we’re going to live. You made yours. He made his. His suck. Yours don’t.

I can see why it would be alluring to strip an abuser of their most basic fundamental human rights by forcing them to become unrecognizable as themselves; rendering them powerless first by infantilising them, and then by denying them any agency/free will to become the people they would choose to become (if it didn’t match what you wanted). But, like other kinds of revenge fantasies? I’m not exactly sure what therapeutic benefit would be had. It just seems like one of those saints & demons 180 degree no shades order grey flips.

Because, sure… if the things that happened never happened, and entirely different things happened so different choices were made? Maybe he’d have been a decent father. Or maybe his personality is wired for selfish choices, when presented with character decisions; so he’d have been so neglectful you died, or so uncaring <insert horrors here, because he DGAF about protecting or nurturing his children> or so self obsessed that his children reflect well, you’d have been tortured exactly as you were, but this time for having a speck of dust on your shoes or an -A; or maybe he’d have pimped you out so you could ‘earn your keep’ / support him; or sent you away at the age of 3 to boarding school; or; or; or. Maybe he’d have been a good father. Maybe he’d be exactly the same. Maybe he’d be worse. Real life? A kid can have the BEST of everything, and still become a terrible person or parent. And a kid can be tortured and abused and become the best of people/ parents.

You made your choices.
He made his.
Your kids are and WILL be making theirs.

Sans a lobotomy? None of us are born blank slates. We have personalities from moment 1. We are more than the sum of Nature, or Nurture, but are the SYNERGISTIC amalgam of our own selves and our experiences.

Don’t minimize the choices YOU made, by relieving him of the responsibility for the choices HE made.

I know it’s a terrifying idea, as a parent, to envision anyone/anything breaking our bright and beautiful children & forever altering WHO they are -that we’ve so come to love- as well as equally terrifying that one can do everything “right” and still have them make choices that break our hearts.

So the temptation is there to rewrite history wih WHAT IF (what IF he’d had a glorious childhood, and been a wonderful father, so I had a glorious???), the allure is there with all powerful revenge (backed up with the moral high horse of “it’s for your own good!”), and it’s nailed down with defense mechanisms left/right/center protecting our children not only in their lives but in our own hearts and minds.

I’ve just never seen much good -aside from comedic value- come of “Let’s pretend this never happened.” especially when it’s “let’s pretend the terrible person is a wonderful person” as -at best- that’s just repeating old lessons worn deep/strong/sure/steady in abuse. And at worst? Is just another way of glorifying assholes & escaping reality, whilst minimizing & dismissing our own work & accomplishments.
 

Sideways

Moderator
But my mind couldn't go there to re-parent that hurt child.
Yeah, I'd put this in the "weird thoughts inspired by recovery stress" basket. Sometimes going through our own process inspires our head to have some truly bizarre thoughts (I've had more than a few of my own).

It's pretty normal I think to wonder, at some point along the way, what caused our abuser to be such an epic, unfathomable monster. I've never found following that particular line of enquiry gets me very far. It sounds a bit like where your head was at: how, why, what the...?

But nope, even if he did decide to pursue therapy? His victim being his therapist? Nah. Thanks Brain for that wildcard, but Nope, just Nope!
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Just wondering if this is a good idea. Doesn't feel like it. After meditating today, my mind started to think about my narcissistic, sadistic father as a child, the hurt he must have endured in order to become the mess he became. I thought about all the things he didn't get, all the wrong things that he did get, and the fear and shame he must have felt. I thought about how if he had been given the nurturing every child deserves, he wouldn't have become a father who tortured his kids. I still have the most intense nightmares of him trying to harm me. But my mind couldn't go there to re-parent that hurt child. Would there even be any therapeutic value in doing that? It was such a mind-f*** to think about this.
My T is trying to get me to examine what made my parents the way they are. She said not to excuse what they did, but put it in context.
So not to reparent them, but to reparent myself. In a way.
It isn't your job to reparent him.
It's his.

And that's what I say to my T: that we are all responsible for our own behaviour. And if I can reflect on who I am and how I behave, then why can't my parents? If I am hyper aware of how my behaviour impacts others, why are they oblivious or enjoy the hurt they cause?

So, my two cents: I'm totally and utterly against re-parenting other people's hurt inner children. As that is for them to do. And: unless they have a diagnosis/personality structure that renders them utterly incapable: they have the capability but chose not to. So that is on them.
Too much time is spent on thinking about other people and their feelings, at the expense of our own.
So f that.
 

PreciousChild

MyPTSD Pro
Thanks for your replies. I think we're all agreed that it's a messed up thought. In general, I agree with your comments. I don't think anyone should feel responsible for reparenting anyone besides themselves. But the question I had was about whether this line of thinking would have a beneficial affect for me. About 6-7 years ago, I focused on forgiveness of my parents, me, etc. It was more about me than them, and it was a genuine release.
Thanks Brain for that wildcard, but Nope, just Nope!
I thought this was funny. Thanks @Sideways. Nope to that random wildcard!
I'm totally and utterly against re-parenting other people's hurt inner children. As that is for them to do.
I agree with this. My father passed away some years ago, so this was a violation of boundaries in only the mental sphere.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Funnily enough, I was watching a webinar on the collective trauma online conference yesterday where this sort of was discussed. Thinking about ancestral trauma. Not in the sense to excuse. And the two experts were talking about how they explored with the client what had traumatised their parent. And when the client saw the context of how their parent behaved it became healing for the client.
I'm not sure if that is or isn't re-parenting a parents inner child? Or if it is having compassion (something I struggle with when someone violates another person)? Or understanding?

Idk.
Don't know if the conference will be of interest to you? It's on for 10 days and is free. Each webinar is up for 48 hours , so not sure where you are in the world but it'll be up for another day. That particular webinar was about attachment trauma and healing attachment through collective experiences.
 

PreciousChild

MyPTSD Pro
Funnily enough, I was watching a webinar on the collective trauma online conference yesterday where this sort of was discussed. Thinking about ancestral trauma. Not in the sense to excuse. And the two experts were talking about how they explored with the client what had traumatised their parent. And when the client saw the context of how their parent behaved it became healing for the client.
I'm not sure if that is or isn't re-parenting a parents inner child? Or if it is having compassion (something I struggle with when someone violates another person)? Or understanding?

Idk.
Don't know if the conference will be of interest to you? It's on for 10 days and is free. Each webinar is up for 48 hours , so not sure where you are in the world but it'll be up for another day. That particular webinar was about attachment trauma and healing attachment through collective experiences.
Thanks @Movingforward10 . I'm going to look into this. I've actually been interested in the notion of "ancestral trauma" (if I understand it correctly) in another context. My mother's mother was severely abused by both her husband and mother-in-law - beaten and starved, and no recourse because her parents were already gone. I'm sure that must have affected my mom. I've felt that if I could understand the dynamics of the history which lead to my abuse situation, maybe that would help me. Maybe that would broaden how I re-parent myself.
 
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