How My Parents’ Relationship Taught Me How to Love

We grow up wondering how and where on earth we learned how to love. We run into new emotional “hiccups” with our friendships, intimate relationships, etc. we settle in and wonder how could this possibly affect future relationships both positively and negatively? 

We realize that perhaps our idea of “loving” isn’t as far out as it seems. Our way of “loving” as we’ve all been shown by our parents comes into play when dealing with our personal relationships. Sometimes, this feels like it is working for us AND against us. And no, I haven’t fully figured that one out yet! In the last year, I’ve gotten clear about how I’ve been shown how to love and how this has transmuted into all my relationships.

It’s clear to me what I must shift/heal and what I proudly, thankfully choose as my own 

It’s been this extraordinarily, constant unfolding of myself. Sometimes difficult to adjust and work with, but I’m one step closer each time to my truth. Now, this isn’t a way to diffuse any part of my parent’s relationship. And, NO WAY in hell is this taking away from how cherished their relationship is either.

But, rather, a pathway in acknowledging the learned behavior I’ve taken as my own (both negative & positive) and accepting what is and isn’t for me. In this, I unravel the challenges, what I’m doing to shift and heal and more importantly, celebrating my parent’s relationship and how it’s served as a gift to me and everyone they’ve touched throughout their journey together.

 How my parent’s relationship taught me how to love

Challenges: what I’m healing & shifting

Can we talk about my insecure-avoidant attachment style?

According to Depression Alliance, insecure-avoidant attachment is better known as, “Someone who avoids getting attached emotionally to other people or situations.” What does that look like exactly? It looks like spending more time on my hobbies, interests, career endeavors, etc. and maintaining distance than allowing someone to get “too” close to me. The subconscious belief is that if someone gets “too” close then they’ll neglect me physically or emotionally and discover that I’m not enough. This is where it gets tricky: where’s the boundary stand? What’s healthy distance and too distant? The best I can do is examine when the avoidant part of myself (that is fearful of neglect) steps forward and when I physically NEED to recharge. 

WHAT I’M SHIFTING:

  • Leaning in even when it’s uncomfortable
  • Asking myself if it is my avoidant attachment style speaking or if I need healthy distance?
  • Changing “I” into “we” in my communication
  • Allowing for vulnerability to step forward, voicing what needs to be said especially with friends
  • Creating more space for the unhealed parts of myself to rise
  • Welcoming the rise of unhealed parts by fully seeing/loving them in the moment

Communicating my wants and needs in my personal relationships? Yeah, I’ll pass.

Growing up, my parents weren’t the most vocally expressive with one another. I can’t blame them, it wasn’t something clearly taught to them growing up?! Definitetly not a thing of our Filipino culture to prioritize “effective communication” either. The subconscious belief is that “My feelings take too much space and I’m better off avoiding conflict” I’ve found this most challenging to balance throughout my personal relationships. In past experiences, instead of voicing my wants and needs, I’d turn cold, passive, defensive, needing to be in control of myself and the situation surrounding it. The heavy walls that I’d built around myself, I realized, were no longer protecting me but tearing me from the inside out. You see, our family’s most prized traits didn’t stem around expression or open communication and I’m learning the hard way, this is the center of my growth and healing.

WHAT IM SHIFTING:

  • Voicing when I’m depleted of energy and need to take care of myself
  • Learning that it’s more than OKAY to take up space in my relationships
  • Speaking up when I catch an emotional trigger arise, sooner rather than later 
  • Gaining clarity on specific needs, (preferred communication style, healthy distance to recharge)
  • Releasing guilt around feeling like I’m responsible for other’s experiences & emotions

 

Advantages I’ve learned:

I naturally seek longevity in relationships 

My parents met in their earlier years. My mom was a rebellious dancer while my dad played in a band. Their paths crossed in Guam in the 1970s. They’ve been together ever since. I find myself valuing, long term depth in all areas of my life. The process it takes to create something you love, the journey of life, the “deaths and “rebirths” relationships go through. Holding on amongst the chaos and continuing to ride the waves no matter how strong the tides are together: a beautiful thing to witness.

I cherish this deeply. And for that, I’m grateful.

My father’s love for music taught me about expression and openness

The blend of soft guitar strings and “The Bee Gees” on replay growing up drifts through my mind from to time. I remember watching my father, a young rock-star, headphones in with a guitar at hand, singing 1980s tunes one after the other. And, a curious 5-year-old me quietly entering the room, tugging on his shirt until he would finally let me sing along with him. Since then, I’ve learned expression and openness as most important to me in this lifetime (in my personal relationships especially). Always remembering to remain open, remain courageous in my expression, brave enough to explore the unseen and wild enough to unapologetically seek what I love.

For my expression and openness, I’m grateful.  

My mother’s devotion to family taught me about loyalty in my relationships

My mother, a guiding light for my family of five. Her groundedness, a blend of drive and grace that could make anyone feel as if the sun rightfully shined down upon them, reminding each of their saving light. My mom was born a fighter. Not one to cause conflict or brawls but one that fights with grace and beauty. The kind of fight that teaches you more about grace amidst destruction and the kind of unraveling grace that inspires you to love harder than you’d ever expect to love, to remain patient with those you care deeply for and knowing that loyalty is putting your best foot forward for those you love even through uncertainty.

For my loyalty and grace, I’m grateful.

— About The Author —

Mya Constantino

Curator of Searchingformya

Hey! Welcome to Searchingformya. This space is for a community dedicated to healing, evolvement, and transformation.

Expression through words | Words & Stories for healing.

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