Parental Inversion: Loss of Childhood

Part 2 of the narrative of the young lady I have been working with.

One of the major issues of the young woman that I am featuring in this mini-series, is Parental Inversion.  “PI” is something that occurs when a child becomes a parent to a parent, sibling or other for whatever reason that they cannot care for themselves.  

In this scenario, addiction was one of the major issues causing the parents to not be able to function as adults… our subject then took on that role.

Here is the next part of her story.

“The start of the recovery and healing came with forgiveness. I had to forgive my mom and dad. I had to let myself experience the anger, resentment, and judgement I had towards them. I had always been the mediator, and had codependently taken on the role of parent.

 And then I gave it to God and forgave them. Then I had to forgive myself. Bill walked me through forgiveness and how to pray. I asked God to unburden my heart, and the healing began.

Once I forgave there was now room for reconciliation. Moving forward I needed to rewire how I thought because my original thought process brought so many judgments on my family and would increase my codependent thoughts and actions. When Bill showed me REBT forms I finally had a scaffolding on how to think. My melancholy temperment in control needed a way to analyze my thoughts so that I could understand what was wrong with my old thoughts, and how to think and act on situations in a healthy way moving forward. In the past my mind was filled with dogmatic beliefs from what my family did “How dare they hurt me. They shouldn’t be drinking. They shouldn’t be doing this and shouldn’t be doing that.”

Bill pinpointed that all my anxiety stemmed from what people did and what they didn’t do.

If my dad drank, I would be anxious. If my mom didn’t wish me a happy birthday, I would be anxious. By exercising REBT as cognitive therapy, I could control my thought process and therefore how I responded to things. This was hard for me because my emotions would get wildly out of control and I could not control my crying, breathing, or even keep food down. As I identified all the judgements and dogmatic beliefs in my mind as situations occurred, I was able to dissect the bad thoughts and replace them with heathy ones. I was allowed to be disappointed in their actions, but not let the judgments and the “they should/shouldn’t do xy and z” ignite my anxiety. I had to learn to give it to God and stop trying to fix their lives and let their actions determine my emotions, as that was what I was so used to doing.”

What struck me the most with this story was the integration of several modes of care that we use to help people in the process of transformation.

Recognizing Parental Inversion
Recognizing Codependency
Exercising Forgiveness
Releasing Judgements
Learning taking her thoughts captive through REBT

Tomorrow we will see the additional elements that also needed to be addressed to help her in her recovery.  Stay tuned!

BH

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