THE VICTIM AS A PARENT
“Love Styles and Valentines Day”
A quick review of the Victim:
Chaotic, confusing. Parent source of stress rather than reliever of stress. May be dangerous: abuse, neglect, violence, drugs, alcohol.
Adrenalin, chaos “normal.” Calm=anxiety…next storm is coming. Move towards controller (anger, rage) or victim (passive).
Addictions to numb pain.
Controller: My way, I’m right. Control or be controlled.
Victim: To survive: unworthy, unlovable, cannot survive on my own.
Maintain control or stay “under the radar”.
Controller: Any vulnerable feeling quickly submerged with display of anger. Victim: Fear, depression, hopeless, powerless. (May only feel anger with children.) Both styles have never grieved childhood pain.
Controller: Criticism, challenge of authority. Victim: Anger in others.
Responses: Controller: rage, intimidate, bully to regain control.
Victim: Dissociate, take abuse, try harder, self blame, it’s my fault.
The Victim as a Parent
Remember, victims survived a childhood of trauma by being quiet, staying under the
radar, and sometimes dissociating (mentally checking out and going someplace else in
Kids are little bundles of feelings and needs and the victim has learned to disavow their own feelings as needs when they were small.
Parenting is generally overwhelming as their own experiences growing up left them suspicious, hopeless and distrustful.
Since victims often marry controllers, they may be trying to manage their spouse’s
unpredictable (and perhaps dangerous) behavior.
Having been unprotected themselves as kids they have little know-how of how to protect their own children.
When the dominant parent is gone, and the victim is alone with the kids, anger may surface and frustration is taken out on their kids.
In the privacy of their own home, victims can become very angry and years of pent up anger may be unleashed on their kids.
Since victims are use to chaos, they tend to isolate in pain, not realizing how serious the
problems are and the alternatives that might come with healing.
Seeking help is often a big first step, and a very important beginning.
Like controllers they have minimized the seriousness or their own abuse and have never had a place of comfort or protection.
Remembering their own traumas and the feelings of being little will open up sensitivity to
their own children.
Parents from chaotic homes have the most risk of addiction to substances, gambling, sex,
There is so much pain to keep submerged and they have learned growing up people are sources of stress not relief.
So, they are at high risk to turn to “things” not people for relief.
When this happens a parent becomes preoccupies with getting the substance or doing the activity that brings relief and is more unavailable to the child.
Recovery groups can begin to reverse this as members listen to one another and care for one another in a group setting.
As we conclude this series, let me encourage you.
The best way you can grow as a parent is to address your own harmful love style.
Although this takes time, patience, and a lot of hard work, it promotes change at a deep level that spills over into parenting.
As you acknowledge and tend to the hurt little child inside you, you will see your own children in an entirely new way.
As, you allow blocked feelings surface and learn to manage them you will have new respect for your child’s feelings.
As you learn to comfort and seek relief in relationship you will better provide this for your children.
As you learn to manage and deal with difficult emotions, you can help your children do the same.
Love and blessings,
Milan & Kay