This is something I learned in my first meeting. My parents, addicts as they may be, did the best the could when it came to raising me and my siblings. They didn't have it easy, and while I know that, and know they did their best, it still doesn't make it easy...

Lately, I have been so stressed and spinning, that I talk myself to sleep by repeating the serenity prayer over, and over, and over, and over. Sometimes I add in a few rounds repeating the 12 steps, too, but mostly, it's just the serenity prayer.

Grant me the courage to accept the things I cannot change (other people, my past), the courage to change the things I can (how I react to others, how I deal with my past experiences), and the wisdom to know the difference (which is what my T is there to help with!)
Original Post
R2G,
I do agree that they did their best. My father was a alcoholic and my mother had a childhood straight out of Dickens and definitely gave better than she had gotten. I think recognizing their humanity can help us come to terms with the whole "why" of the situation. That we can recognize that it was not about us but about their struggles.

But despite understanding that, I also think it's important that we allow ourselves our anger and sorrow over what happened. My parents did do their best,but they failed me in some very significant ways and I'm entitled to express my feelings over what happened.

AG
quote:
I also think it's important that we allow ourselves our anger and sorrow over what happened. My parents did do their best,but they failed me in some very significant ways and I'm entitled to express my feelings over what happened.


AG, this is what I am finally starting to deal with in therapy. I know they did the best they could, but it wasn't enough. And while I can't go back in time and change things and change them (which is what acknowledging they did the best the could has helped me see) I finally see that it really wasn't enough, and I suffered greatly.

Being entitled to my feelings means actually feeling them. I've avoided that for the last, oh, 25 years. Now that I'm in therapy again with a great therapist, we're melting the iceberg bit by bit. Tough stuff.

I am on break this week, and someone reminded me that I can go to an al-anon meeting while I'm off school, which I just might do, as the more I fill my time, the less time I get lost in the despair in my head!
R2G,
I definitely understand the whole avoiding of feelings, I held out for close to 40 years. Big Grin

It is really tough stuff, coming to grips with what happened and how I felt about it was a long struggle, but very freeing in the end. Being able to acknowledge and accept the truth really does free you up in very many ways by allowing you to see what's real and what all of your options are. But I know it's not a fun thing to go through. I'm sorry that you have to do it. You deserved better. (((R2G)))

AG
Thanks AG. Reading this brings tears. Frowner

Not a fun journey at all, but I have to take it cause the alternative is even worse.
yes they did the best they could but it does not stop the feeling of anger, coz their best wasn't good enough for me

Hev
I don't care. They could have done better.
They all fucked up. My parents, and my grandparents who accepted having alcoholic son in low under their roof and putting up with him.

I am grateful that I don't have to be near my parents any more. They are not bad, evil people, but weak and foolish and I hate them for that. I always come back from home angry and poisoned with this negative energy, this emotional desert follows me for some time.

I don't really care that they did the best they could. I just want to be left alone now.
Hi Amazon,
It's good to see you, it's been a while! I hope you're are doing well.

I just wanted to say to you and Hev that I totally agree. I'm not sure if it came across earlier in the thread but I think it is imperative that we are able to own our anger, and even hatred, about what happened. Those feelings are reasonable reactions and we should be able to express them. If I conveyed anything different, I am sorry.

AG
Hey Ag

No need to say sorry, I didn't react to what was said its just my feelings. I completely get that they did what they could but i think im beginning to feel the anger from my childhood

Hev x
"They did the best they could."

This is what my T says to me...about me. About my parenting of my own kids when I get overwhelmed with shame that they don't have a better mother, because they deserve more from me than what they get. Yes, they are getting better than what I got, but I am still passing on some of my junk to them. It seems to be the story of generations. And if I forgive myself for my best not being good enough, then it follows I have to apply that same compassion to my own parents. I have moments when I feel somewhat compassionate, but I can't hold onto it. I'm not ready to forgive either myself or them because its too much to feel to get there.
I very nearly put this phrase in Lady Grey’s thread as one of the most irritating statements that instantly pushes all my buttons. The whole point of saying someone did the best they could, ipso facto implies that the person has the intention or desire or is at least willing, to do the best they can. While a large number of people undoubtedly do mean well and are well intentioned, there’s also a large number who don’t – various members of my past family to name a few.

While it could be argued that even those who don’t seem to be well intentioned are constrained by their own internal set up and past issues, as far as I’m concerned when it comes to parents and children, that’s just not a good enough justification.

I remember my very first long term therapist saying in response to my describing how I was desperate to offload the blame from me onto my parents for how I ended up, – oh they weren’t bad, they did the best they could – and I ended up totally stymied feeling that she was saying I was bad and in the wrong for wanting to be angry at them. And subsequently had to ask myself, how the hell did SHE know they weren’t bad how did SHE know they did the best they could, she knew absolutely nothing about them, because I hadn’t told any stories at that stage... so it was just a knee jerk text book response (that was one of many many many red flags that I didn’t know were red flags at the time...) Ha ha just remembered that subsequently, when she actually did get to meet my mother, she herself spent half a session slagging my mother off as ‘totally neurotic highly toxic and a waste of space’... no need to say how that affected me, and how it negated all her prior mealy mouthed air headed psychobabble platitudes.

Having said that, this specifically to MH – there’s a huge difference between feeling like you’re failing your own children and being aware of that concern and trying very hard to make it better, and one’s own parents who probably never bothered to stop and ask themselves, hm am I doing this right, how am I affecting my children... I think I know exactly what you mean about feeling stuck in that you can’t forgive yourself unless you also forgive your parents, but it needn’t be an impasse. The key is in attitude and the willingness to both fix yourself and be aware of the impact your own actions and feelings have on your children. It’s the intention to recognize and the willingness to take responsibility for how we affect our children that makes all the difference, something that I would hazard a guess a lot of people’s parents on this forum did not have.

Bleh I’m lecturing here and I don’t mean to, just don’t want to make those who are worried about enacting on their own children the issues their parents landed them with feel like I’m wiping out the statement, they did the best they could, as totally meaningless and wrong... at the end of the day that’s all anyone can do in any given moment...

LL
UV!!!!!!!! Great to see you back and posting. Smiler

I’m glad you could understand what I was going on about in my post, after I posted it I thought hm that’s a bit strong and was afraid I’d gone a bit over the top (though it’s what I do believe – at this point in time anyway). So it was good to read your post.

I’m sorry about your mother – that sounds awful. I’m constantly amazed at how unselfaware a lot of people (namely parents!) can be. Yeah I guess using the words they did the best they could can be a bit of a defence, I find it’s used more often by OTHERS telling me that, with the unspoken message that it’s actually something wrong with me for continuing to be f***ed up… which is why I react so negatively to it (even though I can see quite clearly that ultimately, that’s what I will end up believing – not just yet though.)

LL

p.s. just posted this and saw you'd edited your post, I haven't written anything revealing I hope, but wanted to keep this up as a reply to you regardless. If it bothers you let me know and I'll delete it.
UV I’m sorry you had to delete, for what it’s worth I think you have every right to feel angry at your mother. I do get the whole being stuck with anger thing though, I take the view that nearly all self directed anger actually belongs to someone else, though it’s hard to sort through it all to find the ‘right’ object and anyway it’s not as simple as that, there’s anger on anger on anger that arises in response to layers of experiences not necessarily involving the same person. And then there’s the recognition that mostly people didn’t intend to do the things they did in order to hurt or damage, it’s mostly incidental, that’s the hard part (hence the phrase ‘they did the best they could’ being both accurate – mostly – and a real blocking thing too…)

What you say about getting angry about being angry at yourself more or less matches my set up – I became quite outraged when I realized the extent to which I was taking the blame for EVERYTHING. But that can be a double whammy too, being angry at yourself for being angry at yourself, like double splitting… a horrible state to be in.

Hope you’re doing ok ((((( UV )))))

LL

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