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Recovering From Emotionally Immature Parents

By Lindsay C. Gibson

Why We Love It – Ann Ferguson

Growing up, I did not get much guidance on what I was feeling or how to process my experiences.  My emotional vocabulary consisted of happy, sad, angry, and other. My parents were not emotionally available.  I have learned that the truth is they were emotionally immature and passed on to their kids a very limited amount of understanding about feelings.  

I remember saying to myself one day that happiness was just an absence of turmoil because, in my family of origin, there was so much chaos, drama, sadness, depression, and other things that I didn’t know that “happy” was not just when things weren’t going bad. I didn’t realize it was an actual feeling. The first time I felt happy I said, “Oh my gosh, it’s an actual emotion”. It was a really weird feeling.  

We all model what we have seen.  As a young mom, I did not know how to show up for my own kids in an emotionally healthy way.  I didn’t know it.  I was pretty good at digging deep, pushing on, and getting over it like my parents had taught me and so I taught them to ignore what they were feeling and “act like an adult.”

The night I realized what emotional neglect was and that because of my lack of emotional literacy, I had unintentionally emotionally neglected my own kids was both hard and wonderful.  I found a level of grace and understanding that for my own parents and was able to offer that same grace to myself as I looked at things I could have done better.  

This book helped me make sense of what emotional unavailability does and how it affected me and how I navigate this world.  Some of the coping skills are a superpower and others are not great.  Knowing what my kids experienced helped me know what they have been trying to help me understand. I marked in my book the patterns and tendencies I could see in myself, my ex, my parents, my spouse, and my children.  I love it when I find the lost puzzle pieces to a favorite puzzle.  Through this, pieces I didn’t know were missing came together. 

 If you are a Gen-Xer like me and are confused as to what went wrong? Why are your relationships not fulfilling, especially with your kids? It’s because you may be missing something.  Here’s the reality, we are the bridge. We are the bridge from the old way of suck it up, buttercup, get it done. And that grit that you had to have and prepare you for the world because the world’s not nice. And this new world with the internet.  This new generation has got something different. And It’s refreshing.

Emotional intimacy is when you’ve got a relationship where you can tell that person anything at any time, and they can tell you anything at any time. You feel safe and trust that you’re going to be accepted and heard.  It doesn’t mean they agree with you, but you’re going to be safe.

I’m committed to bridging this gap between emotional loneliness and emotional intimacy.  If you are too then this book is a great place to start.