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Thread: Parentification; did you have to be an adult very early?

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    Parentification; did you have to be an adult very early?

    Parentification is a concept where the child-parent relationship is reversed forcing the child to take on adult emotional and/or instrumental roles for their mother, father, and/or siblings. Parentified children often are more able externally/mentally in the world but more disabled internally/emotionally as the relational environment that caused them to become more responsible/mature was inherently dysfunctional. The flipside of this is Infantilization where you are coddled too much emotionally or instrumentally, making you dependent on the help/support of others. Were you, are you, a parentified and/or infantilized child? How are you coping and/or how did you get over it?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parentification
    http://www.wmeades.com/id211.htm
    http://theviewspaper.net/when-the-ch...es-the-parent/
    http://www.hugoschwyzer.net/2009/10/...tional-incest/
    http://research.similarminds.com/par...-dynamics/1080

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    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    (deleted experience because I think parentification starts earlier than the teen years)
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

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    Senior Member Starjots's Avatar
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    No. I've heard that parentification is an issue of kids of alcoholics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Madrigal View Post
    (deleted experience because I think parentification starts earlier than the teen years)
    well, if it arrested your development, i think it would still qualify. in a healthy adult/parent-child relationship, you should be able to develop from child to adult without having to take on adult/parent roles. but if you were not raised by adult/mature parents, it makes sense that you might get stuck at whatever point of development your parent(s) are stuck at.

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    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meta View Post
    well, if it arrested your development, i think it would still qualify. in a healthy adult/parent-child relationship, you should be able to develop from child to adult without having to take on adult/parent roles. but if you were not raised by adult/mature parents, it makes sense that you might get stuck at whatever point of development your parent(s) are stuck at.
    No, I had to start taking care of a teenager when I was a teenager, but I think that doesn't really count, since my psychic structure was already formed. My parents didn't fail - sometimes shit just happens.
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

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    Quote Originally Posted by Madrigal View Post
    No, I had to start taking care of a teenager when I was a teenager, but I think that doesn't really count, since my psychic structure was already formed. My parents didn't fail - sometimes shit just happens.
    your frontal lobes don't finish wiring until your early twenties. you are not fully an adult until you are able to function on your own, instrumentally and emotionally, in the world. poverty, sickness, accidents/tragedy, etc. can cause people to have to take on adult roles before they are ready developmentally, it's not always because the parents did something wrong.

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    Tawaci ki a Gnaska ki Osito Polar's Avatar
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    Parentified child here. I have a younger sister who is profoundly autistic and I had to take care of her. My parents weren't divorced, but my father was largely absent. My mother was around, but an emotional trainwreck. I often found myself in the role of being her emotional caregiver, and she has more than once commented to me that "Sometimes it almost felt like you were my husband."

    That sounds really fucked up when I type it like that. It wasn't awful or anything, though. And I feel like I came out of that environment okay.
    "I don't have psychological problems." --Madrigal

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    Six centuries ago, the pre-Colombian natives who settled here named this region with a word which in their language means "the Mouth of Shadow". Later, the Iroquois who showed up and inexplicably slaughtered every man, woman and child renamed it "Seriously, Fuck that Place". When French explorer Jacques Marquette passed through the area he marked his map with a drawing of a brownish blob emerging from between the Devil's buttocks.

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    Member Mxx's Avatar
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    In my case, the roles were never reversed - I just took on a self-parenting role. Starting around the age of 5 onwards, I didn't look to them for anything other than food, clothing and shelter, and the occasional negotiation for something I wanted. My school environment and teachers was what set the boundaries I had to learn to contend with, in terms of behavior and discipline. Intellectual fulfillment and curiosity were self-nurtured. No idea what happened to my needs for emotional fulfillment or support. I probably just channeled those into sexuality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Osito Polar View Post
    Parentified child here. I have a younger sister who is profoundly autistic and I had to take care of her. My parents weren't divorced, but my father was largely absent. My mother was around, but an emotional trainwreck. I often found myself in the role of being her emotional caregiver, and she has more than once commented to me that "Sometimes it almost felt like you were my husband."

    That sounds really fucked up when I type it like that. It wasn't awful or anything, though. And I feel like I came out of that environment okay.
    have you been attracted to / drawn to women who were emotional train wrecks (overtly or covertly)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mxx View Post
    In my case, the roles were never reversed - I just took on a self-parenting role. Starting around the age of 5 onwards, I didn't look to them for anything other than food, clothing and shelter, and the occasional negotiation for something I wanted. My school environment and teachers was what set the boundaries I had to learn to contend with, in terms of behavior and discipline. Intellectual fulfillment and curiosity were self-nurtured. No idea what happened to my needs for emotional fulfillment or support. I probably just channeled those into sexuality.
    do you associate with people who were more self parenting as well?

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