After the holiday season, I thought that a post on family would be very fitting…
You don’t choose your family, you are born into one.
No matter how hard they try and even by doing the best they can, your parents are very likely to f**k you up (see also the book ‘They f*** you up’ by Oliver James). Some of us realise this sooner, some later. And it isn’t until we realise this, that we are able to distance ourselves from them as adults, to become our own standalone selves.
When we become a parent ourselves, we become a little wiser. We also start to understand a few things about our own parents. Because: being a parent is not easy. It is hard because the moment the offspring is born and you start to love them to pieces, you also have to start letting them go.
And I guess parents can never entirely let their children go. My Dad is the best example of that. Even though I am a grown woman with two kids, he still likes to ‘meddle’ with our lives. Not in a bad way – he always means well – but it feels a bit invasive at times 🙂 He is very much a DIY kind of guy. He can make something out of nothing, repair everything and if you ask him for a certain tool or item you can be sure he has it in his workshop (he keeps and stores EVERYTHING). That’s why we like him.
What we like less is when he comes to our house unannounced to take away our garden furniture in order to sand and paint it.
What we do not appreciate is when he goes into the garden and puts all the pieces of the to be mounted swing-set on top of each other in a corner so that the grass does not go yellow underneath. For the record: these items had all been spread out neatly by number and in the order they were supposed to be mounted and we had to spread them out all over again…

What we find annoying is when we notice after he left that he has moved things in the garage – just because he thinks it is better to put them there instead of here.

What bothers us is the fact that he just does these things without asking our permission. We would probably have said yes to the sanding and painting of the garden furniture. But him doing this without ‘permission’, just ruins the whole idea.

What irritates us is that by doing things a certain way, HIS way, he indirectly tells us that OUR way is wrong.

I do not come from a family that talks much – I mean, we talk, but not about the really important things like problems, feelings etc. So telling my dad that these gestures were not appreciated and why, was a major step for me back then. I first called my Mom to let off some steam. Then I let a few days pass. Finally, I confronted my Dad.

What can I say…? It’s like he shuts down to this kind of conversation. Yes, he heard me. Yes, he will ask in the future. But did he understand why? No. And will he stop doing the things he does? Probably not.

I know he is probably not going to change – not until he understands our point of view. And he is just a stubborn kind of guy that won’t admit he can be wrong. It runs in the family 🙂

But I was glad and a bit proud that at I stood my adult woman ground and can talk to him about these things.

Who are you struggling with in your family? In which way? Which boundaries do you need to set so that you are able to maintain a healthy relationship?

In my coaching practice these ‘nuts’ come up quite often and I’d be happy to help you deal with them. Simply send me an email and we’ll take it from there.