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Of Parentification As A Form Of Emotional Abuse 4

This article is the ultimate and finishing brick for healing adult victims of parentification.

As parentification victims set boundaries as espoused in the last article, they should prime themselves for countermoves from their loved ones. Additionally, they should make an allowance for feeling guilty at their new approach towards relationships.  Eventually, the guilt will subside and they will feel ecstatic and thankful to themselves for having boundaries. It is essential for parentification casualties to realise that it is nobler to be at peace with yourself in the long run for having boundaries, than to be perpetually resentful and angry at yourself and others for having no boundaries.

It has been mentioned several times that adult parentification victims are prone to feeling resentful. Many a time when we are resentful, we blame others for making us feel angry or hurt.

Yet we are blind to our own contribution in the equation of anger. For example, A may be in the habit of rescuing their irresponsible sibling and giving him/her advice that he/she rarely follows. Consequently, A feels angry at their sibling for being constantly imprudent, obstinate, and ungrateful. Sometimes we need to change our patterns of handling anger for us to be at peace. What is A’s input to the equation of anger in relation to his/her sibling? What should A do to transform his pattern of anger towards his/her sibling?

A’s part could be that he’s crippling his/her sibling by rescuing them from the consequences of their action all the time. Moreover, the fact that they react strongly to their sibling by screaming at them and incessantly giving them advice, takes away their siblings opportunity to reflect on their conduct objectively and find solutions.

Therefore, A may have to empathise with their irresponsible sibling in a non-reactive way by remaining calm and refraining from helping or rendering advice when their irresponsible sibling seeks to be rescued as always from their unbecoming behaviour.

They may furthermore maintain an emotional connection with their sibling by checking on them occasionally just to show that they care even if they are no longer rescuing the said sibling.  In responding and not reacting to their sibling’s conduct it gives the sibling a chance to react/respond to their irresponsibility because there is no one who is reacting on their behalf now.  It’s noteworthy to mention however, that their sibling may never change or take eternity to change

despite the new patterns of anger erected by the parentified casualty.

One of the reasons parentified victims secretly cry and wonder ‘who is going to take care of me and sacrifice for me in equal proportions the way I do for others?’ is because they never share their struggles and challenges with their loved ones even when it is necessary. 

They still their stress levels by taking care of others but do not open themselves up for help or support from others even when they desperately need it.  Therefore, they got to learn how to share their anguish and vulnerabilities in their relationships. That way their relationships are most likely to be balanced and they will get to enjoy the fruits of interdependence and co – partnership.

In most cases adults who are still being parentified are an extension of their parents. Their identity is enmeshed with their parents and their career may even be their parent’s choice for them and not what they truly desire for themselves.  Work may just be drudgery for them thus mounting to their stress. Self-actualisation is one of the strategies these adults can employ in order to find their own identity. Psychologist Abraham Maslow defined self-actualisation as follows;

‘Musicians must make music, artists must paint, poets must write if they are ultimately to be at peace with themselves. What humans can be, they must be. They must be true to their nature. This need we may call self-actualisation – it refers to man’s desire for self-fulfilment, namely the tendency to become actually what he is potentially’.

Living a life devoid of purpose and self-fulfilment is an insult to our potential and a self - betrayal to a large degree.

It is also advisable for parentification fatalities to find healthy hobbies they immensely enjoy outside their relationships. This would most likely give them a chance to dig deep within themselves, rediscover and redefine themselves as well as handle stress better.

The ultimate and finishing brick for healing from parentification has been laid. I rest my case on parentification at this season.

Gaone Monau is a practicing attorney and motivational speaker. For bookings on gender based violence awareness seminars, motivational talks or consultations on relationships, confidence building, stress management and self-discovery contact +26774542732 or  Her Facebook page is (Be Motivated with Gaone).

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