So that poor, emotionally whole adult you raised? She’s going to be forming (or attempting to form) long-term relationships with said Freudian case studies. Because, thanks to you and your extremely rare happy marriage, she had a perfect childhood and now she’s wired to believe in such ‘unrealistic’ things as lasting love.
Everybody’s into emotional wholeness these days. It’s the new it-thing that women’s magazines are insisting every girl must have. Along with a little black dress and copious amounts of concealer, of course. About a decade ago, cynicism was kind of cool. Everybody I knew was claiming to be one—a cynic, that is. But this is the post Eat-Pray-Love era and having faith is hot. Suddenly, nobody wants to bitch about their exes and plot revenge like they used to because after two thousand years, forgiveness has made a comeback. And this is all great and I cannot be happier that cynicism is no longer cool (though some people still haven’t got the memo) but it does come with its own can of worms.
For starters—how do I say this—being emotionally whole kind of sucks. It all begins with happy parents and a drama-free childhood. You know how they say the way you relate to your parents forms the basis for all future relationships and a happy childhood means an emotionally whole adult capable of sustaining healthy, long-term relationships? Yes, that stuff is true. Except, here’s the part they don’t tell you. Most people are raised by:
—unhappy parents ‘stuck’ in dead-end marriages
—nannies or other care-providers who don’t really care
—divorcing parents dragging kids through custody battles
—and N number of other dysfunctional or less-than-ideal parents
This means that children raised by aforementioned parents often come with a gamut of psychological conditions such as mommy issues, daddy issues, fear of rejection, commitment phobia, passive aggression, abandonment issues, boundary issues, addictions, you name it. So that poor, emotionally whole adult you raised? She’s going to be forming (or attempting to form) long-term relationships with said Freudian case studies. Because, thanks to you and your extremely rare happy marriage, she had a perfect childhood and now she’s wired to believe in such ‘unrealistic’ things as lasting love.
If you think one solid heartbreak should sort her out, you would be surprised at how quickly she heals, pulls herself together and is ready to love the next douchebag again. It’s like Eat-Pray-Love but every three years. And she will keep setting herself up for disaster after disaster till (if at all) she meets someone whose parents were as happy as you were. No way, she would give up after a few, you say? Nope, she can’t. Because along with emotional wholeness comes the one thing that guarantees her prolonged unhappiness in the relationship department: hope.
So, while I am happy for this era of spiritual awareness, positivity and obsessively-nurturing parents, I have something to tell happy-parents-married-to-the-love-of-their-lives-raising-happy-kids: For your child’s sake, cool it. Be happy by all means, but don’t be afraid to be real every once in a while. I would even go as far as to say, let them see you fight, get disappointed and stressed out as often as you do. You don’t have to be a Pears Soap commercial to ensure your child’s emotional wholeness. That would in no way prepare her for reality. In fact, it’s kind of cruel. You are basically sending your young adult into a world where she will be mocked and have her heart pounded for believing—nay, knowing—that lasting love and happiness don’t just belong in fairytales.
How do I know this? I am a happy childhood survivor.