People struggling with relational trauma often believe that visibility equates intimate understanding. This trap comes from the idea that if someone we love choose to be close to another person, that means that other person is more valuable. Any other details are ignored because when pain runs deep, what dwells at the surface is easiest to see. Emotional pain is often counterproductive to the complete truth. When it comes to that consistent parent in our sibling’s life, the idea that we have lost our parent’s approval is hard to shake. We see that parent constantly active in our rear view mirror, and we store negativity and resign to believe that we are bad children because the other child is constantly “chosen” over us.
Consider the side mirrors of an automobile. The mirrors are a wonderful tool to aid us with safe driving. We learn the rules of the road. However, it takes much constant practice to learn that the mirrors are only as productive as the driver. This is why mirrors come with a warning about closeness. We all remember the warning: “Objects may be closer than they appear.” The same problem with depth perception can be applied when we examine the inner workings of relationships. Sometimes what we fail to notice ends up being more meaningful.
The same can be said about my close friends. When I find most enduring about them, is never seen or acknowledge by those who know me.
Some parents have perception issues when relating to their children. Visibility from child to child must examine birth date, life events, and the journey of each relationship individually.
Some parents allow their own self-worth to inflate their sense of duty. While the mistreated offspring might conclude that their duty is just a symptom of favor, the favor could be masking a deeper problem. Parents in crisis often atone for some mistake in harmful ways because the shame of admission would reveal a sense of personal defeat. Parents often live life through the lens of their children. If a child is experiencing a struggle that a parent feels overly-responsible for, they might devote an unbalanced amount of time trying to solve the problem(s).
Duty is motivated from a strong sense of pride. An overabundance of pride almost always follows destruction.
Every person handles tragedy differently. Some people bury their pain with work. Some people abuse drugs and alcohol. Others hide pain by judging others unfairly to make themselves feel better. Some allow their pain to destroy a relationship because lashing out with guilt is easier than accepting responsibility. It’s important to acknowledge mistakes because it’s human to be imperfect.
I used to believe that closeness demonstrating intimate understanding. Now, I am sure to examine the idea that some people are close because they need to enable each other’s harmful behavior. History is a powerful teacher when understanding depth perception, it’s important to know when what we value is light-years away from what we thought we valued once before. Once that realization is clear, everything will change.
For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.”
Sometimes what we need is beyond our grasp because our depth perception is incorrect.