My mom was an awful mother most of the time. Riddled with her own personality issues, past trauma and baggage, and lack of resources and support she did a number on me and my siblings. She did and said things that, when I repeat back to my therapist, elicit raised eyebrows and a shocked, "wow". My social emotional formation and the issues therein are attributed to her and her choices. She has apologized and I accept it. This isn't a post about hatin' on our mommas. This is a post about movin' the hell on. Too many of us are stuck. We are stuck saying things like "my mom never did this" or "my dad never did that" . While I don't ignore the crazy amounts of trauma that many of us picked up along the way, the scrapes and bruises, it seems like there comes a point when we have to say, "Mom sucked, now it is time to move on." Because if we don't the loop that the tape players in our heads are set on keeps us locked in place, unable to move, until little Jasmine or Jimmy stops believing that everything will be okay when so and so changes. They might not change- but you can. Cliche, I know.
Part of confronting addiction and working our past traumas that effect maladaptive coping mechanisms is facing "fictional finalism"
What is this, you ask? Enter my classroom...
Fictional Finalism is a term, in Adlerian theory, that is used to describe (most commonly) "If/then" statements. These statements, according to Adler, are established through an individual's "mistaken beliefs". Adler believed that each person had an internally idealized vision of what their perfect selves would be like. And so enters phrases like: "if I were skinner then..." So too, our inner children have "fictional finalisms". Our inner children yearn for a perfect self where mom didn't date men to get self esteem and ignore children or daddy didn't abandon. Not all fictional finalisms are ill placed. They serve us, as a means of survival, for a time.
It is when we grow up and take the reigns of our life that we must stop allowing ourselves to hold false beliefs about the future. There is no idealized "us"... there is only the real us. And the real us has/had shitty parents, acne, and more weight around the mid-section than we'd like. Part of being responsible for our futures means letting go of that, not blaming it any longer, and moving on to own your issues. My friend Mitch used to slam his fist down on the countertop enraged over people who were still meme-ing over how bad the issues were that their parents left them with. He would rant, "Your Mom sucked! Now get over it!" He firmly believed that we all had awful parents in some part of our perception and we needed to own it, get therapy if needed, and move on. I would laugh... and applaud. "SO true," I thought, " I can't stand people that DO that!" Thing is I didn't realize that I was one of those people. I couldn't write about something or feel something or do something or accomplish this or that because of what family did or didn't or would do...
I am ready to move beyond that, even though I hate to lose that wonderful excuse for why I can't be who I want to be. We will call it an emotional graduation of sorts. I am gonna put on my big girl panties (metaphorically speaking since I am shrinking from this vegan/vegetarian lifestyle) and learn to move on.