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How much do you think our parents relationships and our upbringings influence the relationship choices we make?

(60 Posts)
YoJesse Thu 22-Sep-16 09:31:56

I've always thought I'm nothing like my mum and I'd never put up with a broken shitty relationship for years on end. I used to hate it when my Dad was home (he worked away a lot) because they'd try and pretend to be a happy couple then he'd get drunker and drunker and she'd get more and more passive aggressive and they'd have low, whispered arguments about anything till he passed out on the couch. I used to wish so badly they'd just divorce which they eventually did when I was a teenager. It was infidelity why they split not alcoholism or having a dead relationship. Somewhere along the line I think I learnt that you stay married unless one of you cheats even though I always resented their decision and I possibly learnt that you stay married with an addict and just 'put up'.

I separated from my STBXH earlier this year but not for infidelity reasons (he had addiction issues) and it felt wrong despite rationally knowing it had to be done as he was unsafe with our ds and I was getting dragged down with him. Instead of being a martyr an putting up I ended up using substances too which made his actions in our family life normal.

So.... Am I just looking for a reason I'm a fuck up and married a twat and should own my actions or can they be linked back to how I and other people saw relationships growing up?

MsStricty Thu 22-Sep-16 10:54:38

Hugely, imo. The single biggest influencing factor - and mostly unconscious, so it has a tendency to drive behaviours, unknown, until root causes are identified.

I'm a counsellor, btw.

Bobochic Thu 22-Sep-16 10:57:15

I think that awareness of human interaction and the underlying values that govern it is a skill that is largely learned (or not learned) in the family. If your family isn't very skilled, the chances are you won't be either.

YoJesse Thu 22-Sep-16 11:45:27

How do you change the pattern then? I've had therapy and it made me see why I've made mistakes but not really how to stop making them.I still feel like I've done the wrong thing sometimes because I gave up on someone who was ill and who i loved.
What's to say that I won't keep forming co dependent relationships with addicts and make a mess of my life again? What about ds? Two parents with drug and alcohol problems, what chance has he got. It's so depressing sad

AnyFucker Thu 22-Sep-16 11:50:26

I believe that the relationship modelled by your parents is the single most influential factor in how you conduct your own

There are other factors too of course, but this is the most important one

YoJesse Thu 22-Sep-16 12:32:35

Then how are people not forever in a pre determined rut then? How do I know if ds will be ok?

keepingonrunning Thu 22-Sep-16 14:27:23

Because you will teach him to be aware of the pitfalls you have seen. You will also tell him that if he is really, really unhappy in a relationship, even after trying his very best to make it work, that it's ok to end it and preferably before he goes looking for a new partner.

keepingonrunning Thu 22-Sep-16 14:32:11

Two other points:
1. there are no guarantees any relationship will last a lifetime
2. try to prioritise your own happiness and well-being as an example to him.

YoJesse Thu 22-Sep-16 16:11:18

I want to be a good role model for ds and I'm still holding out hope that my ex might get his shit together, stop using and we live happily ever after and be a good role model too. Ds was so wary around him before we split and still doesn't like seeing his Dad at the centre. What if he's damaged by his upbringing already? He's only 3! How can you turn that around? It's not too late to teach him good healthy relationships is it?

I think that's really important. Teach him that if you're not happy then just leave. No one ever taught me that.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 22-Sep-16 16:15:29

"It's not too late to teach him good healthy relationships is it?"

No it is not and those lessons are ongoing as well.

"I think that's really important. Teach him that if you're not happy then just leave. No one ever taught me that".

Show your son decent and importantly as well emotionally healthy role models, both male and female.

Mybeardeddragonjustdied2016 Thu 22-Sep-16 16:18:53

My mother dumped my df when i was a baby and actively encouraged me to dump my dd df also! She taught me men were bastards and marriage was a pointless exercise. I never learned to forgive human mistakes and chose the wrong men (a married one just like she did) I have learned the hard way a good path at last and am now married to dh number 4.i have been nc with her for many years now.

YoJesse Thu 22-Sep-16 16:28:02

I want to show him decent role models of both sexes but its all women he sees regularly apart from my arse of a brother who isn't an addict but he's really nasty to his wife and calls her names in front of people and smashes things up (just like his Dad).
I've started liking this bloke I met but I'm cautious because he seems really nice and doesn't do any hard drugs and has a dd of his own who he has a great relationship with but he's a real stoner and I don't want to get sucked into thinking that's normal again in every day life.

Improvisingnow Thu 22-Sep-16 16:29:20

I consciously tried to choose a partner who want nothing like my cheating, wanting to be the centre of attention, unempathetic dad. Oh hang on, step forward my exH...

Big part of the reason why I will not ever have another relationship. It makes you despair, it really does.

YoJesse Thu 22-Sep-16 16:33:40

So I'll just be celibate then shockgrin

It does make you despair

ChardonnayKnickertonSmythe Thu 22-Sep-16 16:37:23

They do, more than we realise.
It's scary when you just sit down and analyse things once you're older and then the penny drops why you did what you did and how you fucked up because you were, I don't know, pre programmed?

mrsclooneytoyou Thu 22-Sep-16 16:40:01

I am one of 6 and non of us are married.
We all agree it is due to our parents horrific divorce.

dimots Thu 22-Sep-16 16:45:50

Although I've seen many people repeat their parents mistakes with bad relationships, I've also seen many who's parents had good, lasting marriages go on to have bad relationships and vice versa. So I'm not sure it's a given that modelling a good relationship will ensure your children have good relationships. It's a factor among many and I wouldn't beat myself up over it.

YoJesse Thu 22-Sep-16 16:47:12

But doesn't that just sound too bleak and shit. What about about happy endings where everyone learns a lesson and you come out of it all a better person?
I know that sounds childish but it's what I want. And I want to know ds won't be affected by his life so far and his child therapist never gave me a straight answer.
I don't want to be programmed because of my upbringing. My brothers an arse but he's normal and my sister is really successful with a lovely man. Why have I been programmed about relationships and not them?

nicenewdusters Thu 22-Sep-16 16:47:42

I agree it's one of the greatest influences on our future relationships.

OP. Why oh why would you even be considering a relationship with somebody who's "a real stoner"? Are you going to try and rescue him too?

YoJesse Thu 22-Sep-16 16:49:46

Because he's lovely and fit and caring and seems like a good dad to his dd and he's nothing like my ex. I could go on but I'm blushing blush

queenoftheknight Thu 22-Sep-16 16:50:08

I have been in therapy for many years now. In that time I have learned a lot. I have learned about attachment theory, self concept, boundaries, etc.

Knowing what's going on, what is your stuff, your triggers, is really helpful.

Interesting that on the surface, my two husbands appeared profoundly different, but underneath the appearances, they came from remarkably similar families, not only to myself, but to each other too.

Once you are aware of this stuff, and take ownership of your own patterns, you really can make deep changes.

I am no contact with my family of origin. That helps.

user1471439240 Thu 22-Sep-16 16:55:31

Some people make the connection quite early on and become self aware to that. They put the pieces together themselves and actively break the repeat cycle.
Others need help to realise, often blame others for the cycle repeating, so repeat over and over.
The realisation needs to happen, and crucially be acted upon.

nicenewdusters Thu 22-Sep-16 16:58:15

OP. But don't you think you can find those qualities in a man who doesn't use drugs, of whatever kind? You've said yourself you began using to make your family life seem normal.

You seem to have a fair amount of self awareness and the ability to reflect upon things. However, in just a few short posts its looks like you're going to be crashing in the same car?

ChardonnayKnickertonSmythe Thu 22-Sep-16 16:59:08

What really scares me though is that I, by repeating my paren't mistakes, have myself set up the DCs to do the same later.

RiceCrispieTreats Thu 22-Sep-16 16:59:13

"I don't want to be programmed because of my upbringing. My brothers an arse but he's normal and my sister is really successful with a lovely man. Why have I been programmed about relationships and not them?"

Well, your brother certainly has been: as you say he behaves in his marriage just like your dad did. There are likely things in your sister's relationships that she learned from your parents too -- if only in past relationships; perhaps she has learned how to adjust some of her beliefs and behaviours in order to have a healthy relationship today.

That's the course that's open to you now, too: first learn to identify the dysfunctional things you learned (you're doing that), and then find ways to alter the underlying beliefs, and/or choose different behaviours.

Every single member of my family is, or has been, in a relationship that involves one partner dominating the other. I don't know for how many generations this has been going on, clearly a long time. One couple alive now has bucked the trend, after disastrous prior relationships made them open their eyes and take the time to get lots of therapy before they even met each other. Their kids now seem well-adjusted, with happy marriages of their own.

So I know that it's possible to undo unconscious conditioning. Just that it takes a lot of really conscious effort.

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