One of the jokes about therapy is that the parents are always at fault. In real life, psychotherapy is not just about the parent. It’s about the interactions between people, the coping mechanisms, the life stressors, and so much more.
But parents are still our first teachers, and so yes: the role and behaviors of a parent can affect how their child grows up and sees the world. What many clients do not realize, however, is that the “culprit” may not be who they think.
Identifying the Source of a Problem
When people come to therapy, they often identify one parent as the primary source of their mental health problems. Sometimes that is the case.
But what’s interesting is that, in many cases, the identified parent is actually less problematic to their mental health than the parent they fail to mention.
Is this because the “problem” parent is actually a good parent? Not always.
The main reason that the other parent may be the source of their current challenges is because identifying the cause of the problem is part of treating it. Adults that blame one parent already have clarity about that parent’s issues. That means that parent’s mistakes have already been identified, and presumably the client has taken steps to overcome it.
But the other parent – the favored parent – is the one that has caused more long term issues because their child never grew up able to come to terms with that favored parent’s mistakes. They only think about and remember the positive parenting experiences, and have not necessarily examined or come to terms with any negative ones.
Even Great Parents Make Mistakes
The favored parent may be seriously flawed. But they may also be a great parent. It’s not about the quality of the parenting but how the child grows up as a result of that parenting. IT is possible that, because of the overall package that the favored parent provided, the person has simply not yet processed the mistakes and issues that the preferred parent may have struggled with.
Examining your upbringing objectively becomes an important part of learning how to cope with today’s challenges. That’s why seeing a therapist on Long Island is so valuable, as it gives you an opportunity to have a third party examine your parent’s roles in your life and try to cut through any packages to discover needs that may not have been met.
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