Parental influences affect our behaviour and married couples need to be aware of this fact.
There were several problems between them. That was plain to see. He did things the only way he thought was right. And so did his wife. They were both convinced that it was the other who was to blame for the rift between them. Surprisingly, neither of them was really at fault.
Their problems did not start after marriage. They had their roots in early childhood and grew and morphed as they grew old. The way this couple thought and behaved was influenced by their parents, immediate relatives and the environment in which they were raised.
The only way to get around issues that stem from childhood hurts and familial influences is to get to the root cause. Remember, the intention is not to find fault with either his parents or hers. The sole purpose is to identify the type of childhood influences that impact their life after marriage.
1) As children some of us grow up in an environment where achievement and independence are sacrosanct. Such families discourage expressions of need, emotion and love. In such an environment children receive little or no support and help. Such children grow up without experiencing love and bonding. And as adults they continue to be independent and aloof.
2) Then there are children who grow up in an environment where they do only those things that will please their parents. They dislike things that will upset or worry their parents.
As adults, such children continue to please those around them only to avoid displeasure and conflict. As a consequence, they suppress their own feelings and expect their spouse to do the same. Problems ensue when this does not happen.
3) Some children grow up in an atmosphere of uncertainty: they are uncertain of the mood of their parents. They long for affection. However, they are not sure if their parents will give them affection or want to stay aloof. They become used to an environment of uncertainty.
As adults, these people become possessive and demanding. They expect their spouse to show only affection all the while. At the same time, they themselves remain unpredictable. The usual complaint of spouses of such partners is that the relationship is one that vacillates between affection and indifference.
4) Children of a domineering parent grow up convinced that life is either about being dominant or submissive. Invariably such parents are paranoid and have some addiction or the other. Such a household is chaotic and such parents are a source of stress.
Children from such households grow up to be domineering adults. They never again want to be in a situation where they are put down and have to accept abuse.
Children with less courage grow into submissive adults. They accept a domineering partner and tolerate abuse. Such submissive adults eventually lose all their confidence and become vulnerable.
Marriages may be made in heaven. However, so are thunder and lightning. And hence little hiccups should not come as a surprise to any couple. Some issues are so minor that a little time – a week or so – will resolve them. It’s the more prolonged issues that are a concern.
When such marital problems begin to rear their head both spouses must agree to sit together with the intention of resolving these issues. It should be amply clear to both spouses that the purpose of such an exercise is not to find fault.
One does not have to be a psychologist to know that most of individual’s behavioural issues are somehow related to his/her past. As such couples are encouraged to first identify the issues that are the source of their unhappiness. They should then objectively analyse their respective background and see if any of these issues have arisen because of childhood problems. To their surprise they will find that most of their issues are somehow related to their background. With mutual trust, help and support many of these issues can be resolved by the couples themselves.
Despite their best efforts, if couples are not able to resolve harming issues, they should seek professional help.