Internalized Parents

QA132 QUESTION: Regarding your comment about the parents or a parent that you admire or idealize – what if it’s just the contrary? If you just don’t like your parent or dislike them very much, how could it be that you become like her or him? I don’t quite understand.

ANSWER: In other words, you mean, in the course of this work you discover that a parent you may have despised or disliked or feared or hated, that you suddenly find deeply hidden trends and attitudes and aspects in yourself of that very parent? {Yes}

There are several answers to this and I will try to discuss them all. In the first place, when a child dislikes a parent, there is always fear connected with it – either the child is consciously aware of this fear, or the fear is hidden and repressed. But nevertheless a disliked parent or even a despised parent, in one way or another, generates fear.

When the child fears a much stronger authority, its striving unconsciously as a rule must be, “In order not to be afraid when I am grown up, I must be the same way. Then other people will fear me; then I will be strong.” So there is an unconscious desire to become that way as a protection, as a protective mechanism, so as not to be vulnerable and helpless.

Another aspect and another very important part of this whole question is the following: every child internalizes both parents, whether both parents are liked, loved or admired, or both parents are feared or hated or despised, or if one parent is liked and the other disliked. It does not matter. But both parents are internalized in the human soul.

Superficially speaking, one may say one inherits the trend of the parents, but this is much too oversimplified an explanation for this process. The process is that the unwritten leaf of the human psyche of the child is very impressionable. And the parents are the life, the entire universe, of the child. Everything that the child experiences has its imprint on this malleable psyche. It soaks up what it perceives, not only consciously but much more important than that, unconsciously.

Now, the more problematic the relationship from the child to the parent is, the more unconscious it is. There is a combination of the child fearing and feeling guilty for this element, and therefore it must be unconscious – or the child thinks it is eliminated by repressing it. All the problematic elements about these emotional reactions to that parent make it even more receptive, even more exposed to these elements it does not like – because it has such a strong impression.

This is not easy to explain, but let me try to put it this way. If you are very much impressed and upset by something, it is very easy for you to ascertain that this creates a certain turmoil in you. Now, it is the mechanism of the child – or the adult for that matter – when it has negative feelings, to look away from these negative feelings, to disregard their existence. But that does not eliminate the turmoil. And where there is turmoil, there is a receptivity for what the turmoil is all about.

In other words, if you have strong reactions to a certain trend, it is this very trend that impregnates itself into the soul substance – just because you do not know how to properly cope with your response to the trend.

Now, in the course of self-liberation, as you work on this Path, it is exceedingly important to discover this. Because when you find elements in yourself that you dislike in your parent, you automatically understand the reason for self-dislike. You must dislike yourself to the extent you dislike the parent who has or had the same trend.

The self-dislike is as unconscious as the fact that you have these trends. The next step in the chain reaction is to ascertain what the self-dislike makes you do – how you sabotage fulfillment; how you embrace negativity; how you prohibit a positive, joyful expectancy toward life because you dislike yourself. And you dislike yourself in the same way and for the same reason that you dislike your parent.

Therefore, it is as important to examine the negative feelings toward a parent, which may be utterly unconscious and perhaps hidden behind an outer, very positive reaction. But by the same token, the opposite may exist. There may be outwardly and consciously a great negative reaction toward a parent – fear, dislike, contempt, what have you.

When you look deeply enough, you may find that you have very good feelings toward that parent, which you felt necessary to keep a secret from your conscious mind, as you did the negative feelings of the other parent, for many different reasons. And one is as important as the other.

It is extremely important to find your internalized parent within yourself. Not because these parents in themselves are responsible for what you now go through in self-rejection and in difficulties and in disturbance. But you continue destructive patterns because of repressed reactions of misunderstood and misinterpreted happenings in your early childhood and later childhood and adolescence.

QUESTION: How is that then connected with guilt feelings?

ANSWER: Well, of course, when you dislike a parent, that in itself must create a guilt. But when you dislike someone else for something you practice and have yourself, even though you are not aware of this – but deep inside there’s always something that knows all this – the guilt must be even greater.

More than that, this destructiveness makes you react in very often dishonest ways toward others – in subtle inner ways, psychologically speaking, regardless of how honest you may be outwardly. All this creates further guilt. So there is a whole chain reaction of guilt that can only disappear when you change these patterns, and you can only change them when you thoroughly understand them.

QUESTION: Is there an automatic reaction in this of not liking oneself?

ANSWER: Of course. For you personally, your not liking yourself is partly a misinterpreted, misunderstood message of your real self, which tries to convey to you, “Do not go about it in this way; you go about it in the wrong way. This is a destructive way.” Now, in your fearfulness and in your inability to understand the message, you feel that this means you are wrong, bad, a bad girl, and you dislike yourself.

Then partly you dislike yourself out of the wrong reasons for rebelling against the self-imposed tie to your mother, which your mother strengthens by not wanting to let you go, as so many mothers do. They cannot let their children grow up and be free. The two come together.

If you free yourself, you will help doubly, because then she will learn she has not lost a daughter by losing a child. She must allow to lose a child and you must help that. Then she will have gained a mature daughter, which is infinitely better.

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