I am aware people have varying levels of self insight. And I believe there can be an unwillingness to look within, combined sometimes with a lower capacity, to look within and why.
An example of this is my in-laws, and my husband.
I know my in-laws parented their children, from a basic level of parenting, but missed some really important areas of parenting and there was also neglect. They are the type of parents who believe that as long as they fed their kids, made them go to school, and their kids didn’t annoy them, their parenting was enough. And it was not.
They neglected their kids in some really important areas of development. And they didn’t teach their kids crucial life skills, or how to handle own behaviours in a healthy way. They failed to teach their children to be honest. And instead just how to have a false image of who you are. They failed to teach them social skills, how to view women respectfully, empathy (as they have none), and many other areas of development.
One of the ways they failed to teach their sons how to respect women, was in allowing them as teenagers to have pornographic posters of women topless on their bedroom walls. Pornography affects teenagers brains and mindsets, in a really negative way. And they watched porn as teenagers. Another way, was in both of them referring continually about other women in disrespectful terms, such as ‘pieces’. As in ‘look at that piece’. There are many other examples, and this did not teach their boys to be respectful to women. And it made their boys, see women as sexual objects. They also refused to have conversations about sex, relationships and what is respectful in terms of intimacy.
These issues alone, have created big issues for their son, my husband. And they affected our marriage in serious ways. my counsellor knows about all this, and has confirmed that my husband has selfish, narcissistic issues, and he needs his own counselling.
Neither of his parents, think they have done anything wrong within their parenting. And I can guarantee, they will not have sat and thought about whether their parenting was healthy, or not. They have no self insight, and no willingness to either.
They also don’t know their daughter is a drug addict and has been smoking weed, since her own daughter was a baby, and probably before that. They ignore the fact that their daughter de-frauds benefits, by claiming to be a single mother, when she is living with her partner for many years. And she has no conscience, no remorse, no guilt, no shame about this. A complete sense of entitlement. And she also has no capacity for empathy.
My husband has had no choice but to face his issues, because I have told him his issues, all of which have been confirmed as relationship, disrespect, selfishness etc issues. And he has already been diagnosed with personality disorder issues. But, they do not render him incapable of being different, it is an unwillingness. He is also a compulsive liar.
Having watched recent interactions between him and his parents for a week, I can see clearly their shallow and unhealthy dynamic. My husband puts up a false image of who he is (as he did with me when we first met), and he never talks about his issues with his parents. And they choose only to see the ‘good’ stuff…. to make their lives easy. My husband never own his poor behaviours, unless he has to. No integrity and as a result, I was given a very false image of who he was. I only started to learn who he really is, by finding out from others about really shocking things he has done. Only then did he admit to them, defensively, by minimizing and having tantrums.
There are levels of denial, avoidance, blaming others about any issues, false mask wearing, with my husband and his parents.
They choose to wrongly believe their son is perfect, and he chooses to let them think that.
There is no honesty, no openness, no integrity to being real, at all.
I know there are intellectual level issues, with his parents. They are not intelligent, in any areas. They have no empathy capacity. And they fail to have any self insight, about their thinking, behaviours and issues. And my husband has followed suit.
The levels of selfishness, narcissism, cognitive distortions, are blatant, to anyone who knows anything about psychology. And their fragile egos are such, that if anyone brings up any of this, no matter how tactfully and carefully, they will react in a highly immature, defensive and dishonest way. As had happened with all three of them, no matter how selfish they are being. They refuse point blank, to see it from someone else’s point of view, and accept their behaviour is wrong, unhealthy, selfish and immature.
They basically acts like teenagers. And I see very clearly, that is exactly where they are at, in emotional development. They have never developed past that point of development. In fact, my son has shown greater maturity, than his father and grandparents. And that is only because he has learned this from me.
Due to discussions in counselling, I now refuse to tiptoe around my husbands fragile ego or trying to avoid his defensive tantrums, and I do speak up whenever I see him modelling poor behaviour to my children. And I do know my husbands unhealthy and toxic behaviours, are emotional abuse and neglect in relationships and his parenting. And my priority is my children. He chooses his behaviours, my children didn’t choose their parents. So I parent them in a way they know their father’s behaviour are wrong. If I don’t explain this, I am neglecting my children also. And I won’t do that. I have a conscience and a need to parent my children well, and I do.
I raise my boys, into men in a very different way to how I was raised, or how their father was raised. My boys will learn respect for women, empathy, seeing things from another persons point of view. They will learn selfishness, is not okay. They will learn integrity to personal growth, honesty and character traits and virtues.
My boys are already learning to have self insight and my 13 year old, already demonstrates his capacity for this. They already express empathy for others. And honesty about self.
I can clearly see how what might seem like a ‘normal’ childhood, to those with an unwillingness for self insight or honesty…… is not a ‘good enough’ childhood, and the impact that has on their lives and on others.
But, their lack of self insight, self honesty, being real, admitting when wrong etc….. are choices. They are not incapable of these. They choose not to have them. They choose to be weak and have the easy, yet unhealthy road.