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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.

27 Comments

  1. Dee

    May 26, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    I don’t resent mine. I didn’t grow up with either of them, I was molested by my biological father and various other men.we don’t talk about it. But I still think about it. A few family members know, but we don’t talk about it. When my dad came to take me abroad and my mum allowed it was when I signed off on her, because it had been happening and I told her and she still allowed it, because she had remarried and my grandmother wasn’t aware. As soon as I got abroad and it got worse, I called the police and got him arrested only 6 months after leaving Nigeria. Know one knows why I did. We always say it was the neighbours that called the police. I forgive them both but when they start acting like they’ve earned something from me, I let them know they haven’t and start remembering everything again. Just because they gave me life doesn’t mean I owe it all to them. At the end of the day, I had to fight for everything I own myself. I don’t hate them, but I don’t like them very much either, because they still aren’t good parents to my younger ones.

    • vanessa

      May 27, 2016 at 3:52 am

      Hello Dee, if you don’t mind you may send me a mail via [email protected]. I was really moved by your story and I think its deeper then you’ve expressed and I’ll love to help in anyway I can. You still sound hurt to me and I’m willing to walk through that hurt with you if you let me and I can share privately abit more of mine. You’ll be amazed at how much we have in common.

  2. Tosin

    May 26, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    an hour ago i was writing a list of the ways i am grateful for “person x that i have had great difficulty with over the years” … yeah the process of turning history into happiness is a continuous one. forgive one day, new layer of forgiveness another day.
    one of the reasons to be grateful…some tough experiences prepare you for life…

  3. angela

    May 26, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    Same thing happened to me got pregant @19 I hated my parents for everything,alws angry,frustrated,depress so many things on mind..bt thankGod I was able to pull through..thanks to my boo you brought out the best in me nd make me a better [email protected] I love that statement “one of the reason to be grateful..some tough experiences prepare you for life WORD

  4. Anonymous

    May 26, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    My parents knew better. They just chose to be very selfish and negligent. There’s a difference between not knowing better and refusing to make your child part of your priority. On a brighter note they take the younger siblings as priority so they wont ever have to go through what I did. Everyone says you end up being like your parents, or people who raised you. Makes sense because associations will always influence. There’s a fat chance I’ll end up being like them one way or the other or just destroy myself trying not to be like them (think Okonkwo in ‘Things fall apart’), so I’ve sworn of having kids or raising kids. I won’t be responsible for killing any child’s dreams, hopes, aspirations, esteem, persona or faith especially to one’s I was supposed to nurture.

    While I take responsibility for being a stupid gulllible chicken and fool, and played a major role to the many sufferings I have had to endure and to the failure that I am now, the fact remains as parents, mine failed me in every way possible. AND IT WAS NOT BECAUSE THEY DIDNT KNOW. They can’t at least lie to themselves about that.

    • Dee

      May 27, 2016 at 1:10 am

      You are not a failure. You can rise above this. You are not a case to be written off. I suffered more than I wrote above and I made it out. My husband doesn’t know what I went through, so each time I see him or any male putting my daughter on their laps, my alarm warnings goes off. Because of uncles that will put you on their laps and rubbing my being against their shlong. You can rise above it.

    • Mikun

      May 27, 2016 at 1:16 am

      You are not a stupid gullible chicken ☺. The bad choices you made due to bad parenting don’t make you a horrible, hopeless person. Even those with the best of parents and awesome upbringing have their own fatal errors and past mistakes that make them cringe when they remember. We are all work in progress. We all have our own peculiar journeys with lots of drama, down times, horrible experiences and beautiful moments. However,our attitude (negative or positive) towards handling whatever the experience is, even the ‘incurably bad ones’, is what helps us along our journey and ends up shaping us into who we become in the long run. You see, in the end, your parents would have lived their lives (however they lived it); You’ve got yours to live. Your life is your life… it’s personal to you. You can’t let some other person’s wrong choices or ignorance dictate how the course of your life should run. I know it can be very tough and shattering, this bad parenting thing. You’ll find it refreshing to let go of the hurt and let it be their mistake (it wasn’t your fault anyway) and START YOUR OWN LIFE. You are what you think and constantly say you are. Why not renew your opinion about yourself? You’re not a failure because someone didn’t know better how to raise or treat you. You’ll be fine, alright ☺
      P.S: last time I checked, chickens don’t operate mobile phones let alone use the internet

    • vanessa

      May 27, 2016 at 4:00 am

      Wow! This is tough. But you certainly are not a Failure and that’s not a motivtional speech. I can prove it to you if you can reach out to me privately on [email protected]. I look forward to reading more from you. I will share real stories of people at the lowest bad experiences of life you could possibly think of and somehow their story changed for the better

  5. BILL

    May 26, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    It’s good reading this here by Vanessa, I’ve missed listening to her talk show on DreamFM Enugu. I know she’s on Facebook.com/thetalkwithvanessa and Twitter: @thetalkwithvane. I look forward to reading more of her articles here.

  6. Sophia

    May 27, 2016 at 2:53 am

    It is sad knowing the impact of most of the things our parents do to our lives especially the bad things and knowing that some of our parents actually know better and just choose to do it all wrong. People are going through so much in their various families but most of them don’t speak out. Thank you Vanessa for this piece. It really goes a long way,i pray that God helps couples,families and parent-child relationships in this country because as far as I know,families are small communities and if all our families are good then our country will be better. God help us all.

  7. vanessa

    May 27, 2016 at 4:07 am

    Thanks to everyone who left a comment and shared their stories. Not knowing any better simply means “no one deliberately puts their hands in fire hoping it won’t burn them”. Trust me if their knew what should have been made priority in their lives or the outcome of their seeming selfishness,I’m sure they would’ve thought and acted differently

  8. Vandrome

    May 27, 2016 at 6:34 am

    Nice one Nessa…always nice reading your articles. I’m proud of you, proud of the way you took charge of your life even in the most dire of circumstances, and I’m sure you will go places. Keep it up

  9. Okwuone Nkechi

    May 27, 2016 at 7:49 am

    Wow!! Really hurtful stories here. Please everyone should read the forgiveness section again and again. There is something about forgiving and moving on. It’s like letting yourself out of a prison. Grudge is weighty, unforgiveness is a load. Learn from the mistakes and move on. I may not have experienced the intensity of your story but as a woman, I sure have endured and still enduring my own fair share of harassments. God bless you Mrs. Willie my dear friend.

  10. Obanimi

    May 27, 2016 at 8:34 am

    Good read Vanessa. Glad you caught thw right spirit and you’re sharing your experiences for the benefit of others.
    May God keep strengthening you. Amen

  11. Christ

    May 27, 2016 at 8:35 am

    Nice, not liking my father changed a lot about me, can’t forget how my mum ran the family business to the ground, can’t account for 7million she was given for business, at 16 I was tod my dad has another woman somewhere and a son abroad. . For once he never believed in me, crazy home. . Today am 20 am doing well but I see every girl like my mum ( squanders money) no trust In people afraid I may turn out like him, I hope not … Thank you for this nessa

    • Vanessa

      May 27, 2016 at 9:06 am

      You won’t turn out like him if you channel your energy positively. And No,all women are not squanders. Lol.

  12. Eno Michael

    May 27, 2016 at 8:40 am

    Nice one @vanessa. Unforgiveness is really a heavy load to carry around.. we should learn to forgive because it lifts the burden of the forgiver..

  13. Oma

    May 27, 2016 at 9:29 am

    I may not have a firsthand experience on having parents who didn’t perform their parental duties right (I guess I’m blessed) but I’m fully aware how badly the attitude of parents can affect their children.
    Honestly, the key is forgiveness and learning from their mistakes. It’s easier to tow the right part when u have already seen what the wrong part is and the consequences of it.
    Very nice article Vee. U always make me proud and I know u’ve just started. Kudos…

  14. Anonymous

    May 27, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Thanks for this article, am writing this with my heart filled with anger, am 25 years and have had my fair share of staying with an abusive father, who has numerous girl friends and even still sleeps around, despite the fact that he was earning good pay, we literally had to beg for our fees to be paid, My mom has suffered years on mental abuse nd so have I, you don’t even want to know what I went through in my teenage years, having to undress for him to see my breast, which to him will determine if I have ever been with a man, what about using us as labourers for his building sites when I was younger, or when I was still in uni, calling and accusing me of sleeping around, still I remained strong and passed with a good grade, not for him but for myself and for the sake of my mom, now a year after service with no job in sight is like 5 years to me, I can’t even go out within my neighborhood to visit my friends, when I get back it’s going to be a shout match between himself, my mom and me accusing me of going to a guy’s place, now is it that am not old enough to go to a guy’s house to visit or what(I don’t even have a boyfriend) , am fast going into depression, I really don’t want to end up like my sis who was pushed to marry out of shame, I really feel my dad is suffering from a behavioral disorder, and some people will wonder why children don’t take care of some parents at old age, the hatred I have for this man posing as my father is not in ds world.

    • Bill

      May 28, 2016 at 8:48 am

      Hi Anonymous, the hatred you have inside you for your father cannot produce anything positive. It’s to your own detriment. Please Send me an SMS or WhatsApp message on 0805 180 9855 as soon as you can.

  15. GraceOfGOD

    May 27, 2016 at 11:34 am

    @Vanessa Willie

    Good afternoon Madam, your article is EXCELLENT, THANK YOU for sharing your thoughts and may GOD bless you and the READERS as well 🙂 🙂 🙂

  16. Emmanuel

    May 27, 2016 at 11:43 am

    I am mostly concern about you all that have shared the painful experience you had with your parents. I can only tell you to sit up and you can still do a lot. Forget the past but not the experience…. Don’t let own kids suffer same parental problems.

    Lady Vanessa, I was here. ?

  17. Vanessa Willie

    May 27, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Please Anonymous I would love to speak with you personally. Please reach out to me via [email protected]. Thanks

  18. Sisi

    May 27, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    The beauty of it all, it’s a process. You won’t go from hatred and deep resentment to peace and appreciation overnight. I can relate and it took me a while to get over myself, realize the world owes me nothing including my parents and figure out how I was going to make my current situation work out for me by God’s grace. I’m having the best year ever, not the easiest (far from it) but the best in that I can see progress. Rather than spending my time lamenting and wishing, I’m acting and making the choices that will give me freedom tomorrow in the hope that I will be the best parent I can be and custodian of the children God will bless me with. Thanks for this reminder that I’m on my way to greater heights and forgiveness really isn’t about anyone else other than YOU!

  19. Daphne Marsters

    May 28, 2016 at 6:48 am

    ouch… Vannessa, thank you for your honesty. Your sharing will help many who have unfortunately gone through similar experiences to you. I was moved and saddened by what you wrote. Your tips would help many.
    I specialise in writing for single parents and their children. I have to share with you my honesty. I’m not sure why you write, “…maybe you were raised by a single parent who couldn’t teach you the most important things…” Because you went through your own experience with your parents which is not the ways of a single parent who loves, provides and cares for their children. Not all single parents abuse, neglect or put their children in harms way.
    Your article has come across on my Google News. I am alarmed that your use of the term “single parent” unfortunately continues the negative single parent stereotype and labels that is in society, which is a grave injustice to millions of single parents around the world who are successful at raising their children. That one line you wrote, stigmatises a group of human beings who are parenting alone. When you write the word single parent you separate them from other parents. Then you go on to write “who couldn’t teach you” making them to be inferior in knowledge compared to others.
    In your writing I am requesting that you please be mindful, that there are millions of single parents around the world who are affected by what people write. They and their children are isolated even more from society’s inability to read between the lines. Thank you again for your honesty and all the best in your parenting journey.

  20. Alex

    July 30, 2016 at 12:33 am

    Hmm, so at last, I found Lady V.and as she said earlier, to whom much is given, much is expected. I appreciate that speech. Just few words to say.the kind of parents we have in this part of the world have destroyed many. Many will give you anything you want as long as you do what they chose for you. Forgetting that talents differs. Majority will say my child must be a lawyer, doctor, engineer without finding out what the child actually needs in life. As for me, I must fulfill my promise, just four years remaining for me to graduate, after which I can end it all immediately after my final exam, knowing fully well that I have given them what they want.

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