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Vanessa Onoise-Willie: 4 Tips to Help Resolve Issues You Have in Your Relationship with Your Parents

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dreamstime_l_55115292The day I turned 25 was not a very happy one for me. While loved ones celebrated, I was taking stock of my life. All I saw were things that weren’t going well: the failed relationships, the stagnant career, the unpaid bills, financial responsibilities and so on. I sank into depression, and felt weighed down by the pressures of life. To be honest, the thought of taking my life crossed my mind more than once. That whole year turned out to be the worst year of my life.

I was always angry, especially when my parents phoned and demanded money for drugs and food. And I blamed them for almost everything that had gone wrong in my life. I felt they had disappointed me, and didn’t have any right to be expecting financial support from a young, jobless graduate like me.

I blamed them for breaking up our family. Had they tried to work out their differences and stayed together, they might have been able to weather the storms of life as a team. My siblings and I wouldn’t have suffered the kind of abuse we had endured. How could they be calling me from different homes and making various demands? What nonsense?
Have you ever felt this way? Or are you currently sinking under the weight of depression, anger and resentment? Have you ever resented your parents for abandoning you, not leaving you an inheritance or leaving your mother/father? Then you need to read this.

Trust me; I understand your fears perfectly. I resented my parents too.

But isn’t it amazing how consciously or unconsciously you seem to be towing the same line as they did? For instance, you hate your father for manhandling the women in his life, but you’ve turned your own wife into your punching bag. You hate yourself for hitting her, but you can’t control your anger. Or you’re a woman who resents your mother for leaving your father. Yet, you seem to be a serial polyandrist, jumping from one relationship to the other. Sometimes, you adopt a superstitious view. You believe you’re under a curse. Or that the witches in your village are thwarting your destiny and all that.

Let’s take one of Teebillz’s marriage-crisis statements, for instance. He said, “To you Mr Ibrahim Olatunji Balogun Snr………. I tried my best not to be like you but instead of focusing on being a Better person I was worried about not wanting to be like you. I reached out and cry to you as my father but all you care about was yourself and your money…….. I ended up having kids like you by multiple women and my first marriage and only marriage didn’t make it to 2 years just like the one you had with my mum. Why the f*ck did God Made you my father?

Are you getting my point now?

Now, I once sounded this angry, until I began to acquire a different kind of knowledge. I learned a few things that have made my story different from that of my parents. Here are some of them:

Make their mistake work for you
Hatred towards your parents will only leave you emotionally drained. Don’t be too busy complaining and nitpicking that you ignore your personal development. Else you’ll find that the very things you’re afraid of will happen to you. Your parents’ mistakes should be your life’s blueprint. Try being thankful to them; their mistakes can be an eye-opener. Experience is not always the best teacher, if that experience is yours. And you may not live long enough to experience everything, let alone correct them. Life is too short to live it making mistakes. Make your antecedents’ mistakes work for you.

Forgiveness sets you free
Nelson Mandela is celebrated all over the world today and his one secret to his greatness is FORGIVENESS. A grudge is too expensive a baggage to be carried around. It’s too much emotional load and you’re the only one feeling the burden. Forgiveness doesn’t mean weakness. On the contrary, it gives you tremendous power over the person you’ve chosen to forgive. Forgiveness puts you in charge of your emotions. If you run into your transgressor in a grocery store, your heart doesn’t start beating faster nor will you develop premature wrinkles on your face due to frowns.

Unforgiveness impairs your ability to make sound judgments. Ever noticed how emotional we are likely to be whenever we encounter anything that remotely resembles the negative parts of our background? A forgiving spirit can enable you to take a more objective and strategic approach to solving problems. Turn your pain into a motivation to press forward.

Get yourself a mentor
Much as I have learned from my background, I owe much of my success to my mentors. Yes, you heard right. Mentors! They make life’s journey easier by teaching you the ropes. And you’ll agree that the most successful people in life don’t stop learning.

Currently, my husband—who also happens to be my mentor—is teaching me to be a better lady, so that our daughter can emulate me. If your parents can’t teach you the things you ought to learn, get a mentor. Maybe you were raised by a single parent who couldn’t teach you the most important things, there’s a chance to get a mentor who understands your life’s purpose. Even perfect parents can’t teach you everything you need to know in life. Nobody knows it all.

To whom much is given, much more is expected
If your parents knew any better, they would have done better. You’ve seen firsthand the kind of decisions they made and the end results. If you ask me, that’s a gift life has given you on a platter. They failed because they didn’t know; they didn’t have access to the kind of information that is available to our generation. And so if you end up in the same quagmire….oh well, you can fill in the blanks.

In our time, we couldn’t say to our parents, “what were you doing when others your age were making money?” But in this generation your assertive children will ask you, and probably call you out on social media. Ensure that they won’t pose the kind of questions that will bring tears of regret to your eyes.

I choose to act wisely and live happy. How about you?
PS: I love my parents. I owe a lot of my successes in life to them.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

VANESSA WILLIE She is a certified Marriage and Relationship Coach from The Institute for Marriage and Family Affairs, USA. with more than 6 years’ experience. She is the founder of Janessa Foundation International and host of the radio talk show; TheTalk with Vanessa on Dream 92.5fm.

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