Why We Sometimes Ask, What Was Your Relationship with Your Father And Mother Like?

CASE STUDY (Fictitious example)

Clare is 42 years old and is seeing a counsellor, she has had a few romantic relationships although she struggles to make them work and ends up ending them. After she is supported in examining what went wrong in each relationship the counsellor asks what her relationship with her parents were like? What was they’re relationship like? Clare is confused and doesn’t see how this issue matters.

The reason for this is your parent(s)/guardian(s), are your first socialisation. Everything built upon your understanding of relationships stems from these first interactions. Yes secondary socialisation can overwrite this, in some cases, however they may be overwritten but they are often still present but may be unconscious and not easily accessible.

Back to case Study

Clare explains that her parents didn’t always get on with one another and she remembers although only young her father leaving for a while and coming back. She remembers being very confused about what was happening and it took a while for her to accept her father wasn’t going away again.

Parental relationships are viewed by a child as the main example (due to primary socialisation), of what a meaningful relationship was. Also dealing with one of her main parents), abandonment has in this case caused a disturbance for Clare.  

Further exploration revealed that she was never talked to about what was going on, until in her teens when she found out her father had had an affair.  

It is possible that Clare struggles with relationships because the first experience of a difficult relationship was that of her parents.

Clare can be supported through counselling to explore the first experience, including how she felt at abandoned at the time by her father and her frustration she experienced. In doing this is a strong step forward and will enable Clare to be able to understand her fear about her partners leaving (abandoning) her causing relationships to fail.

NOTE: This is only an example to illustrate the point Why we sometimes ask, what was your relationship with your father and mother like? There are other factors which would need exploring at a deeper depth such attachment between father and daughter, mother and daughter.

Do you think your relationship with your parents affects your relationship with your partner / spouse? Or do you think there are other factors may influence your relationship? Do share your opinions below:

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