Originally Posted by immaterial
I mentioned in another thread how my mom used to say "I don't love the bad Peter. I love good Peter!" It sounds so...I don't know. Nakedly dysfunctional? Or does it sound reasonable? Because for a long time I bought hook, line and sinker that I had a good self constituted by a set of behaviors that were lovable and I had a bad self constituted by a set of behaviors that were not lovable. If you've read _A Little Book on the Human Shadow_ by Robert Bly you know what I'm talking about. Even if you haven't you know what I mean. We put away huge parts of ourselves to get the love we need, the love without which we are convinced we will die. (Alice Miller's books are huge on this idea). My skewed idea of monogamy comes out of the belief that monogamy is lovable and non-monogamy isn't. For example.
This is the realization when talking with my mother as we were cleaning out dad's house after his death.
Parents aren't perfect. Frequently, they have no clue what they are doing long term. They are exhausted, malnourished, frustrated and angry when they are dealing with children. They lash out, or say the wrong thing, or repeat what they heard.
Some parents are abusive, some children are so sensitive that everything seems like abuse. Depending on the day, the circumstances, a parent wants their love to be unconditional. However, if a child is throwing a tantrum in front of the parent's boss, it is hard to be loving.
Parents can be very poor communicators. I'm helping a friend with her grandchildren. She tells them to be "good." But frankly, no one has taught this 7 & 8 year old what "good" is. They talk back, roughhouse, tear up furniture, are inappropriately loud, etc. To be heard, they have to shout; to be noticed, they have to misbehave. So they are yelled at, put in time out, and allowed to run amok.
Parents want what is best for their children. They want to raise happy, healthy adults. From a child's perspective much of this is crap. Parents are abusive when they force children to brush their teeth, or take a bath, or come in from playing, or lay down to take a nap. We hate those things as children. But the structure is good for us.
The Good Peter/Bad Peter comment. Dysfunctional? I can imagine scenarios that are either dysfunctional or "normal." Did she mean it maliciously? Or was she using the (then) current child rearing notions... of separating the behavior from the child? (as in, "I love you, but I don't like your temper tantrum." ) I don't think philosophically it is two separate entities, but a two sides of the same coin, or yin/yang.
All people have good and bad. Ideally, we encourage the good and discourage the bad. Just remember that everyone has different definitions of good and bad.
At a very basic level, it is a way for a mother to remind herself that she loves this child.... even though they sometimes misbehave. In conversations with my daughter, she's explained what she thought I meant with some issues.
And some info mothers program into their child, knowing it is wrong, and will be changed when they are an adult. Years ago, several mothers were talking and Joanne said she was teaching her girls to never trust boys, and NEVER have sex before marriage. Then it was pointed out that she got married because she was pregnant 16 years before. That was the message in her family. Don't. But when you get knocked up, you get married. When she started questioning her mother, she started trusting boys.
Sorry for rambling. This topic is more fun when sitting around the Starbucks, hearing each person's parent's blunder, and sharing the growth as adults from that childhood learning.