During my whole therapy I came across a term parentification. What does it really mean? And how does it affect adult life of these who have been through such a trauma?
Parentification is simply quickly becoming a parent once you’re still a child. Sounds terrible, doesn’t it? There are two types of parentification, one is a physical one meaning you need to take care of a sick parent, for example a handicapped one; the second is an emotional one and happens when you take care of, in an emotional way, a parent who is incapable of handling their emotions. I am sure many of us have been through such situations, yet we do not realise it. However it has an incredible affection on our adult lives and the way we build relationships with others. I noticed, and it also concerns my example, that people who lived through parentification always know everything best, always have the best solution, always try to predict consequences of somebody else’s actions, most of the time feel insecure, and the worst is that they think they have the power to make somebody else’s life better by giving good advice. At least now I am aware of me not being able to have the best solution to every problem and I just don’t give my opinion when I am not asked. Everyone has their own way of living their lives and it is not possible to make anyone happy if they do not want to feel so.
The parentification that happened in my life was an emotional one. As my mother abandoned me emotionally when I was a child, I instinctively got closer to my father, and everything would be totally fine if not the fact that I became his partner while still being a kid. My mother was not able to handle her own emotions, be right next to him and create a partnership marriage. For me it is incredible how subconsciously we, as people, create toxic relation within the same family. Handling my father emotionally, while being a kid and later on a teenager, was too much. Listening to his complaints, to what he’s been through at work, comforting him, cheering him up while he was in a bad mood, in my opinion was really too much for a young girl. I think when people get married, both of them a man and a woman, are looking for partners in their lives. If it happens they do not find a partner relation with the one they married, they are looking for it somewhere else. That is probably why people cheat. In my family case my father could’ve cheated on my mother and find another woman who would fulfil his emotional needs, yet he didn’t do so. In return he found in his daughter, that is me, a potential to become his life partner and unconsciously continued it for about 20 years. That was the amount of time for me to realize it and change dependency between us. Amazing, isn’t it?
Another hard example from my life showing parentification, and the one I still remember, is paying the bills when being a seven-year-old girl. The technology was not that well-developed as it is now. Today what I do is just several online bank account money transfers and within a few seconds all of my bills are paid 🙂 However in 1990s in Poland, and probably in other countries too, to pay the bills you had to go to the post office. As everyone was getting their salaries by the 10th every month, you can imagine the queues there! My duty, as a kid, beginning of each month and after school going to the post office and stand there for about two hours to pay all of the monthly bills. Was that really a task for a seven-year-old? Now I know it was not. Now I know they shouldn’t have done that. What is more, during the time I was standing in the queue paying all of my parents bills, my father was sitting in front of TV smoking cigarettes and drinking tea. At least he was not an alcoholic 🙂 Thank you the universe he usually was drinking tea after work! 🙂
From one hand I know it was too much for me to handle, as managing a grown-up while still being a kid is not really a task to fulfill in the childhood. On the other hand it taught me incredible responsibility, but now when I observe myself I would even say too much of it as I keep demanding a lot from myself as well as I can be quite hard on me too. Anyway I am on a good path in changing that 🙂 I start being less responsible, give myself permission to make mistakes and not being perfect all of the time.
How was it in other people’s’ lives? How much parents demanded from them? How much of their unsolved emotional problems were put on kids? Are there people who had a great childhood with parents who knew what love is all about? In my case and in my childhood life everything was all about my parents, it was never about their kids. However now, when I am myself an adult, and try to live consciously, I am able not to repeat my parents’ mistakes. Becoming self-aware is the best thing that ever happened to me! 🙂
Why did I decide to go to a therapy and what is its result? There were three reasons for me to do so. The first one was the toxic relationship I was involved in with in and out for the past 20 years, the second was my friend who encouraged for me to do so by revealing his life story and a nasty divorce, and the third one was a new manager at work I couldn’t completely get along with.
So I searched the Internet for a good psychologist. At the beginning I did not know if she was good or not, yet I decided to give it a try. It’s been around three years I am going to the therapy and now I know it was the best decision I have ever made. Quite an expensive one though. The whole therapy and revealing the biggest subconscious secrets from your life to a stranger, and in the same time realising them yourself, made me more self-aware, more conscious, and more intelligent. I do admit at the beginning it was painful and I remembered many evenings after the sessions that ended up in tears. Anyway the pain was worth it. Now I am able to lead a very conscious life and the relationships I am building with others are more honest, sincere and real.
In my opinion not everyone had toxic parents, yet there are always things in our minds we are not aware of and in some cases they may lead our subconscious resulting in making decisions that hurt us. And later on we keep asking ourselves why did we do that to us?
I knew that I was always doing a lot of analysing and I loved thinking why things happen and what was the reason for them to happen, and the psychoanalysis helped me in putting all of my thoughts together and getting a result out of it. It also gave me knowledge how to analyse my dreams. Previously when there was a person in my dream I knew like a friend, or a parent, or an aunt, or somebody else, I always thought the dream was about them. Now I know it was always about me. These people were only symbols reflecting my subconscious. Once I learnt how to read them, I know what my subconscious wants to tell me. And I listen to it as it has an incredible power.
I was always interested in psychology, so thanks to the therapy I got to know how my brain works, read a lot of interesting books that helped me to understand the emotional part of human being that I was never really able to show because of my toxic mother and became smarter. I have also learned what my parents were through in their childhood. That made me realise the way they treated me wasn’t because they wanted to hurt me deliberately, but it was the result of their unsolved emotions along with their childhood issues. As a small kid I was an easy target to suck all of their toxic emotions as I did not know how to protect myself from these. Now I do and now I do not allow others to cross my boundaries. I do feel sorry for what my parents have been put throughout their early lives, yet I think they were not allowed to hurt me the way they did. On the other hand I’m grateful for what happened because it made me an amazing, strong and independent woman who knows how to enjoy life and is not afraid of living 🙂 It only proves the relationships we have with our parents are always difficult to judge and to be in. Now I’m trying to rebuild and learn how to create a healthy relationship with my father. I am aware I’ll never have a normal one with my mother, because it’s just not possible, and it will never be as she ended up mentally sick.
Coming back to the clue, in my opinion it is worth going to the therapy. The only factor that may stop you is the fear of getting to know the truth with the whole pain that goes with it. Once you deal with the pain, in return you get consciousness, honesty, self-awareness and then you can do whatever you want with that knowledge. I chose to be happy, to enjoy every day life and being grateful that even though my childhood was not a perfect one and my parents occurred to be weak human beings, I managed to grow up a wonderful person who loves to live, loves people and appreciates small things that every day life bring 🙂 Thanks to the therapy I am able not to hurt people the way I was probably doing subconsciously. And not to hurt the person I love the most – that is myself 🙂
When I travel it is usually abroad. The reason is simple – there is always a challenge awaiting when you travel to a foreign country. You need to find yourself in a new environment, sometimes there will be misunderstanding issues to deal with or you will get a meal in a restaurant with a taste you would not expect to have. I love these emotions traveling abroad gives me. In my opinion traveling within the country I live in does not give me much of an adventure. Anyway I find Poland very interesting with amazing places to see.
So I went to Zakopane, in the south, with a friend, one Thursday afternoon. It is a spot where you easily reach beautiful Tatra mountains. The trip from the capital – Warsaw, took 5 hours, to my surprise. A few years ago it would take whole night by train. So I am impressed by the transportation, especially railway, that changed in Poland and became faster. My and my friend took a train to Krakow from Warsaw, and then a bus from Krakow to Zakopane. The whole trip took 5 hours. In my opinion it is bearable.
The next day we woke up at 6am to get to the mountains and see the famous Morskie Oko. It is a lake surrounded by hills where you can get only by 9 km walking. There are some horses going there, but I am not going to encourage anyone to use this kind of transportation, as the walk is a very simple one. There is a straight asphalt path going to the lake. Some people even say it is the most boring path in Tatra mountains. I am not into using horses to go to Morskie Oko. The walk is only about 2 hours – that is what took me and my friend to get there.
Now from the beginning – we had to take a bus from Zakopane to Palenica. That is the spot where you can start your walk to Morskie Oko. Palenica is around 30km from Zakopane and buses go there every 15 minutes. Probably during the summer season there is some traffic on the road, but as we were in the end of September, kind of summer season ending, we got there within 30 minutes. It is easier to take the bus as if you decide to go by car, there might be a problem parking. Especially if you go quite late. And for the spot, quite late for me, is midday. That time you can even forget about a parking spot near the Palenica.
2 hours walking starting at 8 in the morning, a break in a shelter at 10 am, then walking around the lake, a quick-lunch in a shelter again, and then walking down made our trip around 20 km long. By 4 pm we were heading back to Zakopane. The weather was just perfect – warm and sunny. It was my third time visiting the spot and I truly recommend it 🙂
However the weather the next day was not that great. Me and my friend decided to take a cable railway to get to very high mountains, that is Kasprowy Wierch. And imagine by the time we got there, and it was around 10 am – it started snowing! 🙂 Already, in September! 🙂 It was my first time there and unfortunately I did not get to see much of the views, however I will get back there one day to see what I was not able to catch this time! The cable railway takes you within 15 minutes to very high mountains where from you can either go down or head to other spots. If you take it early in the morning, you can spend the whole day in the mountains admiring their amazing views.
We did not want to hang around in the snow, so we took the cable railway down and decided to have some rest in the Aquapark in Zakopane. That was fun! 🙂 Jacuzzi, swimming, sliding and resting 🙂 For me 2 hours there was enough. After our swimming pool rest we went to Gubalowka – a hill with a view of whole Zakopane. You can either walk there or take a cable railway which takes you there within 3 minutes. Walking is around 2 km only as far as I recall, a it up the hill.
The weekend break in Zakopane was a good idea. Poland is a beautiful country and from time to time I like traveling around it. When it comes to prices – I would not say it was very expensive, even though the spot is very touristic and prices can be high. Accommodation was around 20 Euros per night in a center of Zakopane and in a B&B. Bus tickets to Palenica (Morskie Oko) and back – 5 Euros, Aquapark 2,5h entrance 10 Euros, cable railway to Kasprowy Wierch both ways – 25 Euros and the one to Gubalowka both ways 5 Euros. When it comes to food it was not expensive at all. This weekend break was definitely worth it! 🙂
I have been thinking lately how my way of travelling changed during the past few years. I am not counting the time when I was 19 and left Poland for 3 years to live in France, but the time when I came back, started my professional career at the age of 22 and started travelling. At the beginning it was just for holiday once a year, later on a few times per year. I remember my first holiday – it was Rodos, a Greek island. And an organized trip Crap, did I really do that?! Did I really buy an organized trip by a travel agency? Was I that lazy? Yeah, I did it I do not blame myself for that, it was just easy. I was young, did not have much experience in travelling, not mentioning traveling on my own, and wanted to go abroad. But ss they say – there always has to be the first time for everything. It came, a bit later on when I made some observations about traveling and decided how I really want to travel.
Travelling with an agency is simple – they organize everything for you and you do not need to worry about anything. My opinion now is that even though it is that simple, you might miss a lot. First of all – if you buy an all-inclusive trip you will not eat outside and taste local cuisine as you are provided with the food in the hotels’ restaurants, so what is the point of spending more money to try local cuisine? You have already paid quite a lot for you trip, haven’t you? Second of all – you will probably not move from the hotel. And again – you have paid already for accommodation, so what is the point of going to and exploring another place as you already have what you need. Third of all – you are so lazy to make an effort to organize a trip on your own that you make it the easiest way possible and just stay in one place the whole holiday. My question is – so what is the point of traveling if you want to stay only in one place, eat and drink just because you paid for it? You can eat and drink at home too, can’t you? 😉 These are the observations based mostly on myself. I used to travel like that a bit, luckily only a few times. It happened I went to all-inclusive trip 3 times in my life. I visited already 20 counties so far and some of them more than once. That means most of my trips were prepared by myself and for myself 🙂 In Greece I was 8 times already and I know it is not the end 🙂 So in general out of around 50 times I flew abroad, only 3 were all-inclusive. However my way of travelling changed so much over these past few years.
These all-inclusive trips are not such a bad idea if you know how to make most of them. However in my opinion these are usually used to go abroad, especially to a warm country, stay in a hotel for a week, get drunk every night, eat a few times a day, go to a beach, and have fun. And there is nothing wrong with that. Just it is not my style of travelling at all! I want to explore the place I am in, meet new people, either locals of foreigners; try local food; get on a local bus and admire the views; organize everything on my own – book the hotel I want to stay in, Airbnb or a much better option – Couchsurfing; eat in local restaurants, see how local people live and work there. Yet that way of traveling took a bit of time for me to learn. Now I mostly travel on my own. To be free. To feel free. To get the emotions travels give me – like getting lost and finding the way out, or making my brain work quickly in finding a solution no matter what might happen. And adventures always happen when you travel 🙂 People I meet on my way are always helpful and amazing. Those I met through Couchsurfing will stay in my heart forever as they teach me and show me that all of us, around the world are good, warm, and open-hearted 🙂 If I was only traveling through all-inclusive trips I would never experience such incredible places and meet such great people. It required a bit of courage for a lonely, young girl to pack one day and say to herself – ok, I am doing it on my own, I do not need a companion, we will see what world has for me to offer and hell yeah, I am going on my solo trip! 🙂 I do not even member now what country I chose for my first lonely trip, yet I gave myself a chance to do so and knew I could make it on my own. No regrets at all! The best decision I ever made! Now, when I want to travel I just buy a fight ticket, make a plan for my trip and off I go. I do not search for people to keep me company, the best company I am already in , and that is myself 🙂
I do remember, at the beginning, that I felt a bit ashamed to sit in a restaurant and have dinner on my own. As if I needed company, either male or female, does not matter who, but there had to be someone with me. As if I was not allowing myself to have a meal on my own, as if I would be judged by the society that I am a single girl nobody wanted to go on holiday with. So, I felt, there had to be something wrong with me, right? Now I know the only thing that was wrong, was my way of thinking. Everything is totally ok with me. I have right to sit in a restaurant and eat on my own. I have right to travel on my own. I have right to see all of the places I want to see on my own. I have right to be on my own! 🙂 I do not need others to make me feel good, because my mood depends only on myself. If I do not feel good with myself, no one will make me feel better, not even a traveling companion. Another thing I have learnt – how I manage my emotions is the key to my happiness. The truth is I never feel lonely while travelling – there is always nature right next to me, there are always amazing views surrounding me, there are always people around even though they are strangers, there are always thing happening 🙂 And I love walking around in a foreign country, admiring life happening there, enjoying every single moment, tasting coffee and food, seeing how people rush to work or relax by the beach. I think life is amazing, and the only thing you need to do is wanting to see it that way. Not being afraid of being on your own with your own thoughts is another succesful key if you want to travel alone 🙂 I stick to that. No more all-inclusive trips in such case 🙂 Just experiencing beautiful life happening around every single day!
Why I am travelling alone? Is it still such a strange thing to see a girl who travels on her own? Lots of my friends tend to admire me for doing such a thing. And for me it is not a big thing. I just want to do it, and I am doing it!
From the beginning now 🙂 I think it was my dad who subconsciously encouraged me to travel. I remember when I was young he was reading me to sleep “Gulliver’s travels”. It might have been that time my mind started getting used to the idea of traveling. When I was 19 I left Poland and went living as an au-pair girl in Paris for a few years. I need to mention I did not speak French at all then. I spoke English, yet those who know a bit of French culture will immediately figure out knowing English was not much of a help 🙂 I leant French there. Brave, isn’t it? As some may claim that going to a foreign country may be risky for such a young girl, I think it was just an adventure for a 19-year-old girl. It taught her how to manage in such a cosmopolitan city like Paris. It was 2002. In Poland capitalism was only 13 years old, and even though the capital and the country itself was quickly developing, it was nothing in comparaison to a 12 million Ile-de-France region. My 3 years adventure of living in France taught me only amazing skills, like: becoming very independent and more tolerant, counting only on myself, managing in all kinds of situations and finding out what freedom means to me. I am now not afraid of buying flight tickets and going abroad alone. I would even say I love it! What I love about traveling alone is that I do not need to compromise on anything. I go to places I want to see and visit. I do not need to ask anyone for their opinion or plans for the trip or for the day. It may sound egoist, and yes I am aware of it. Yet I prefer to travel alone than in a bad company. Most of us know how hard it is to find a good companion, especially when it comes to traveling. People have different needs and expectations. In my life there are only 2 people I am willing to travel with – my father and one of my girlfriends. The reason I can fly with them is that they know some unpredictable things and situations will happen and they do not panic then. They are both chilled out and relaxed, they love enjoying life, so if we feel like sitting in a café and drinking some, we just do so. Both of them do not care about money that much, so we are not counting penny for each meal in a restaurant or each souvenir that we buy to know how much we have left. Of course we are being reasonable and not wasting money on stupid things, just enjoying every single moment of our journey. Rest of my friends do not travel the same way I do, so there is no point going anywhere with them, as it would be only waste of my energy.
What does the travelling alone give me? Lots of positive emotions. Facing challenges. Proving myself I am invincible. Crossing my boundaries. Realizing I am amazing. I love the feeling of getting on a plane, then landing in a foreign country and the story begins – finding myself, asking for direction, searching for places I want to visit, tasting different food, enjoying sunsets and sunrises, admiring landscapes, listening to the sound of sea, ocean and wind. Feeling the universe, understanding it, being grateful for such an opportunity of being where I happen to be. This is what I get when I travel. All range of positive emotions. And people I meet on my way are amazing too: couchsurfers, pedestrians, other tourists. They are always helpful and always making me smile.
Many times, here in Poland, I heard my friends saying that traveling alone is not such a common thing, especially for a girl. I keep wondering why? Are women afraid of doing so and being alone? Are we still thinking only by having with someone around our life has a meaning? Are Polish women still brought up the way they need a man to take care of them, as they are a weaker sex and need protection? Really, are they? If so in my opinion they are missing a lot. Especially their freedom, as they have resigned from it in order to get a false sense of security provided by men. I am aware I am a grown up, does not matter a girl or a boy, as an adult human being I know I am responsible for myself. No one else! At least that is the philosophy of life of a Polish girl who travels alone 🙂 And loves doing it! There are so many amazing places for me to see and I cannot wait to buy another ticket after my 8th Greek holiday this year I am starting soon 🙂 I am sure the moment I come back I will be googling some other flights to places I have never been before. In my opinion we are living in such amazing times and the world is so open to any of those who are willing to take the most of it. And I am one of them 🙂 I want 100% of this world! I know the opportunity is there, just waiting for me to take it. So why would I be like most of Polish girls waiting for their price charm to arrive, when I have millions of flight routes to choose from and still at least 100 countries to visit! I may be egoist, I may not be adapting to society by not having a family and kids, yet I am happy in every single day of my life as thanks to my travels I am such and my open-minded person that has so and many plans for the future! Not only these concerning traveling of course 🙂
It was just 3 days. Me and my friend left on a Thursday early morning to arrive to Naples at 10 am. We heard there was no point staying in the city and the best is to leave it immediately. We listened to the advice and went to Sorrento straight away, from the airport. Connection was perfect and the city is lovely. Small, touristic, safe. And if we stayed longer there we would spend a lot of money on sea cruises, beaches, and other attractions this area has to offer 🙂
What is the most surprising is that the public beaches almost do not exist there. In Sorrento there is just a space by the sea with a platform on which you can stay, rent a sunbed and relax, only if you pay for it. And it is not really cheap as about 15 euros for the whole day. If there are 2 of you it makes 30. In my opinion that is quite a lot. You will not find a proper beach open to public for free. That was a bit sad. Anyway I was staying there only 2 nights, so it was not such a big issue. And our schedule was tight. Only 3 days and lots of things to see! We wanted to make the most of our trip! The next day we took a bus that goes from Sorrento to Positano and from there we had a 7h cruise booked 🙂
The views are below:
On a boat there were about 12 people, so the cruise was quite small and seems a bit private one. I could lie on the boat’s hull, enjoy the views and sunbathe. The captain had for us some Prosecco, some Limoncello and some champagne 😉 A perfect way to spend a day on an Italian coast. And it was worth every penny 🙂 We had a 3h stop in Amalfi – another lovely city on this coast line.
I do admire these bus drivers as the road even from Naples to Sorrento or from Sorrento to Positano is incredibly dangerous in my opinion. My imagination was immediately seeing the bus tumbling into the sea. Well… nothing like that happened, the road seems safe, but when you are on a bus and look through the window just to see a steep slope, your mind can build many strange scenarios of the nearest future 😉 Mine does, fortunately I know it is just my imagination. So really a huge “thank you” for the Italian bus drivers that each day make sure tourists have an opportunity to admire lovely Positano-Amalfi coast 🙂
Naples however disappointed me. Dirty, unsafe city. We did a good job leaving it immediately the moment we arrived. However before our flight back we decided to spend at least half a day there. So we took a train from Sorrento Saturday afternoon and got within 1h to Naples. Hanging out in the center area was nothing special. Another city in an Italian style. Observations we had were two – laundry hanging everywhere and trash crumbling on every corner. It is surprising the city did not stink. And lots of, in my opinion, dangerous men, on the streets. I do not know if these were immigrants or some gang members, however I did not want to stay outside after dark in the city. By 10pm me and my friend went back to our B&B safe and sound.
It is good that finally I saw what the difference is between poor south and rich north of the country. It was not my first time in Italy, but the first one so south. And there is really a big difference. Probably I will never visit Naples again, and if so only to treat it as a quick stop before going further. Or maybe I just do not like crowded places and feel much better in touristic spots like Sorrento, Positano or Amafli? What always makes me wonder in such small towns where each day there are tons of tourists, is locals’ life. What do they do for a living? Where do they work? Is really each of them working either in a hotel, a restaurant or on a boat? What about winter season? How do they manage then? How do they like their life by the coast? Are they happier than people working in big corporations in big European capitals or they want to escape their lives as it is boring and looks the same every day?
I left the south coast of Italy full of positive emotions, lots of thoughts and still a need to come back there to check Vesuvius! I had no time in my schedule to climb it The good news is Italy is quite close to my country, so another weekend break might be just right to come back there and see the Pompeii part as well as the volcano 🙂 That is the plan for the future 🙂
And the food is something I would not want to miss again 😀