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parent child relationship problems

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It’s nearly impossible for a parent not to project on her kids to some degree. The generation above yours will always project onto you—someone a few decades older than you will always feel as if, in some way, you’re walking in her footsteps—whether or not they’re related to you. Add the fact that, when that person is your parent, you probably look so much like her and have so many of her same attributes and interests, and you can see why your parents see so much of themselves in you. Though, that experience can stir up a lot of mixed feelings for your parents. We’d like to think that parents would just be proud and supportive of us—that they wouldn’t hang any particular hopes on us related to their own egos or narcissism. But, your parents are only human, after all. If you truly follow their footsteps, doing many of the same things they did, particularly in the career field, they can feel…proud…worried…embarrassed…overjoyed. It really all depends on how they lived their lives and how they feel about it. If one of your parents had a major dream that she never quite saw come to fruition, and then you become an ambitious go-getter yourself—in the same field even—then witnessing that can be confusing and even painful for a parent. She wants to protect you. She may feel competition towards you. She might want to coach you, since she’s been there herself. Of course your parents want you to succeed, but remember, they see a bit of themselves in you. They can’t just disconnect from what you’re doing and be purely proud. It’s not just your path to them—it’s theirs, too. If your parents gave up on their dreams, here’s how they may project onto you.


Bringing up the competition

Your parent might see you put on a great performance, give a great speech, or do what you do very well. But then, she just brings up the competition—everyone else going after the same thing you’re doing, what they’re doing better, what they’re doing more of, and why they may win out. She’s looking at this as if she’s the one competing, all over again. Perhaps, when she did, she compared herself to others too much, and it’s what ultimately held her back. Maybe she drove herself crazy thinking about everyone else who was better or stronger than her. She stayed up at night, fixating on the fact that someone out there might be working harder than her, and it drove her over the edge. But it’s hard for her to stop thinking that way. Naturally, it can feel painful to listen to your parent obsess over how everyone else did, rather than how well you did.

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