As I have written about I came from a challenging childhood. While many kids have had it worse or faced similar issues, my dad left when I was around 13. Anyone who came from a difficult childhood, and in particular had challenging parents or difficulty with them (or lacked parents for that matter), should read the book Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents.
Or frankly if you are struggling as an adult, it may be that your parents were difficult and caused some of your current struggles…but you may not even realize they played a part in your current challenges.
More about the book and the topics covered, in the books own words: If you grew up with an emotionally immature, unavailable, or selfish parent, you may have lingering feelings of anger, loneliness, betrayal, or abandonment. You may recall your childhood as a time when your emotional needs were not met, when your feelings were dismissed, or when you took on adult levels of responsibility in an effort to compensate for your parent’s behavior. These wounds can be healed, and you can move forward in your life.
The four types of parents defined by the book include: The emotional parent instills feelings of instability and anxiety; The driven parent stays busy trying to perfect everything and everyone; The passive parent avoids dealing with anything upsetting; The rejecting parent is withdrawn, dismissive, and derogatory.
Some of my development and background
My dad left at 13, but even before then he was “checked out”. He was a “rejecting parent”. I never heard from him again, until his funeral in the NYC area a few years ago. I actually think he was buried in a cemetery in Queens NY, but honestly I can’t recall the name as I only flew into the city for the day/night at Sofitel.
Ironic that when in the city, my brothers and I went to early dinner at Nobo after the service. My brothers screamed and yelled at each other, then fought and almost flipped the dinner table. I of course was not involved, as I am anti-drama to the core. Anyhow, as soon as they started to fight I throw the dinner money on the table, got up and left. I walked up to central park area for some peace. I think my brothers are also impacted by the effects of being from Emotionally Immature Parents…but they just don’t know it.
When he walked out on his family, on a total of 6 kids (even though a few were in college at that time), he rejected us, and I was abandoned. Then my mom went back to work so we could pay the bills. She worked nights, days, whenever she could. She was focused on “survival” for her family, and she held us together. She had to be driven.
I took on adult responsibilities when my dad left…helped raise my sister, worked, helped me mom find jobs, etc. I was “forced” to be an adult in my early teen years. Heck I was probably a 30 year old in a 15 year old body! I was lonely, was bullied and had many other challenges as the result of these childhood issues, no to mention no ways to develop emotionally…and I suppressed my emotions and have over the years as I never knew any better as I was also trying to survive when I was a kid. I also had no role models…no one to help me navigate those times.
My dad in effect abandoned his family and me. My mom did her best to heal from him leaving, worked so we could eat and have a roof over our heads, tried to keep things together. So my parents had many challenges, and that effects kids. It impacted me in some ways I probably knew about at the time, but I was also impacted in many other ways that I am only now beginning to understand.
The book Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents was eye-opening to me. Combine that with therapy, self-reflection, and other steps I have been taken, I have been trying to understand and come to terms with both my present life and childhood, and how those years caused me to be the person (and challenges) I have today including separation, distance from family, lack of close friends, divorce paperwork and attorneys and others. After all, people do form their personalities when they are younger, and issues from childhood carry over to adulthood, especially when parenting was not there or was not “healthy” parenting.
I do not want to write too much about this, as it is sort of off topic for this website. But I wanted to call the book out as it is powerful. Over the years we have received countless emails from struggling adults on this site…who are struggling to pay the bills. We are talking, as an estimate from a couple years ago, we received almost 100,000 emails over the last 10 years from struggling people.
There were probably hundreds of them in which people were talking about turning to substance abuse, violence, robbery, prostitution or sex work, stealing, welfare fraud, crime, gambling, selling drugs, etc. to get money to pay the bills. Many talked about maybe needing to move in with parents due to a financial hardship and the living conditions are terrible due to relationship issues or conflict with parents.
We have even had, over the years, some people talk about how their parents did not prepare them for adulthood, and we even wrote a blog post on parents should be teaching kids about money. Anyhow, this is one book (Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents) that may be valuable to many readers. While there are probably tens of thousands of self-help books, and of course I or people I know, contractors work with etc. have not read them so we are sure there are many other good ones, on a personal note I recommend this one.