It’s hard growing up with two parents who have struggled to love each other for as long as you can remember. It’s even harder growing up with both a mother and a father who believe staying together will do you less harm than them getting a divorce. It makes you feel as if you should be blessed, but it guilts yourself into feeling the opposite.
The truth is, when you’re a child raised by parents who struggle with loving one another for the entirety of your life, you adopt their pain and their struggle becomes yours too.
Love becomes a losing battle when you’ve watched the two people who have created your existence destroy each other’s. Despite our parents choosing to not get a divorce, it doesn’t change the fact they had given up on one another a long time ago. But what it does change is your perception of love and what a healthy relationship should consist of.
The act of vulnerability becomes accustomed with weakness, and love becomes associated with the belief that pain must be endured in order to receive it. Trust becomes a foreign concept, and doubt and insecurity become the foundation of every relationship. The saddest part of broken marriages that stay long past their expiration date is that we unexpectedly find remnants of our parents’ marriage within every doubt, every mistake, and every fight we have ever had in our own relationships and in ourselves.
From a young age, we are conditioned on how to accept and give the love we think we deserved. But it takes years to heal from the backlash of our parent’s broken marriage. And realistically, it takes longer if we have loved and encountered people who have reinforced the toxic expectations we have experienced our whole lives.
We may be a product of our parent’s imperfect love and lack thereof, but the truth is, it was never supposed to be this way and it is never meant to stay this way. Love was never meant to hurt us. Our parents never meant to hurt us.
So here’s to all of us that are still healing. We have a long way to go as we try to confront years of pain and struggle that have been engrained so deep within us. All we know is that healing is both the destination and the journey, and we will get there eventually.