As a clinician, I have learned the importance of doing family of origin work. It is the key element to unearthing our core beliefs about the world around and us and about ourselves. My disclaimer is, “we don’t go back to assign blame on anyone. As adults, we accept full responsibility for our thoughts and decisions. However, we would be remised if we did not consider the importance and relevance of how our past experiences have influenced us.”
Many of us have erected thrones for our parents to sit upon in our lives. Although some of us may have evolved from less-than-favorable families, there remains an ideal we hold for parents. The facts are, no matter how far from the ideal reality takes us, we continue to be hurt and disappointed when our relationships with our parents lean toward dysfunctional and/or abusive.
David Earle (business coach, counselor, author, and teacher) once stated that our parents are our first gods. Whether they are loving or neglectful, our initial relationship with them becomes how we define The Creator, God. That certainly demands a “moment of silence” as we think of defining words for our experiences with our families and more specifically, our parents. Now before you brush this off as trivial or not applicable, consider the evidence. If your definition of your parents includes words like forceful, opinionated, and punishing, consider if those words truly define how, you view the god of your understanding.
Having said all of that, as mature adults we learn to shift our perspectives as we identify dysfunction and unproductive areas of our lives, just as healthy parenting requires a shift in its methodology. As our children mature, we loosen our reigns to allow them to make decisions on their own, trusting that we have instilled enough knowledge throughout their formidable years. In those instances where our families and/or parents were abusive, addictive, physically or emotionally unavailable did not exempt us from having to learn to make decisions as we matured.
This can be a painful process because of the “throne” we have erected and sat our parents and/or caregivers upon. Remember, they were our first glimpse at God. The process is further complicated as we prevent ourselves from admitting how we truly feel about our parents/caregivers and the choices they made as they helped shaped our lives. This is why it becomes vitally important to “Dethrone Mama” and daddy, and mema, and any other caregiver that you may hold above your own mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Please understand that this does not mean disrespect, disown, degrade, or criticize anyone. Dethroning is an act that will allow you to see and identify the humanity within. If we have parents/caregivers sitting on the thrones of our hearts and minds, we esteem them to be something that few (if any) people can live up to and that is perfection. Our ideal of what parents and caregivers should and should not be comes from a myriad of places, including media, and comparing what we thought others had. But the fact remains, we were assigned at birth the people we have (or had) and in the words of my younger counterparts, “it is what it is,” but that does not have to be a breaking point.
Momma is a woman that has her own set of concerns, issues, and demons. She did what she could, as best as she could, while believing it was the best decision for all involved. Her decisions may have been impulsive, she may have been driven by fear, but momma is a human, not her royal highness trained since birth to run a nation. Excepting the humanity in our parents/caregivers and others allows us to empathize on a larger scale. It allows us to be more patient with one another as well as ourselves as we all strive to be better human beings. It also positions us to love each other despite things done and said that we didn’t agree with and that possibly hurt us.
Go ahead, dethrone momma and anyone else you have on the throne so you can love and respect them as the wonderful human beings they are along with the unique influence they had in your life. You don't have to be afraid to "dethrone" anyone, even that voice of judgement and criticism in your head. Whether you realize it or not, all of them were a crucial part of who you are today and believe me, that person is great.