broken heart: the danger of loving your children more than you love your husband

Trying to heal my childhood is requiring me to be who my parents failed to be for me. Living in a warm and loving home is a big prerequisite for raising holistic and happy children. Unfortunately, this kind of parenting is not possible in all homes. This is especially the case for the older generation that never had alternatives outside of traditional parenting.

My caregivers followed that very parenting regimen where, if my physical wellbeing was taken care of, then nothing else mattered. It was a home where I was disciplined through fear and was never allowed to express my emotions without “being given a reason to cry.”

Now, this generation of parents were caught in a cycle of parenting they deemed to be effective because they knew nothing else. Being your child’s disciplinarian was the primary goal for this mom, dad, or grandparent. Children were seen as wild animals that need to be tamed. If I were a wild animal, I would be completely tamed.

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I lived the best of my childhood feeling unloved and unseen. That kind of trauma catches up with you even in your later days. In fact, it grabbed me by my hand when I became a mother. I saw myself in my daughter and swore to be for her who my parents failed to be for me.

Choosing to do things differently

I cannot stand anything or anyone hurting my daughter. It feels like it is being done to me. My unconditional love for her, which is corrective love for me, has taken my daughter to the top of my priority list. Her well-being, especially her emotional well-being, is my biggest responsibility. But this kind of attachment can make one lose sight of their other big babies.

I have been with my husband for a large part of my life – since I was 18 years old – and he has formed a big part of who I am as a human being. And the truth of where we are right now is that we will still be with each other when I am 80 years old. Chances are, my kids will be adults in their own homes by that time, and I will be longing for a response to the text I sent them 30 minutes ago.

Is it normal to love your children more than you love your husband?

The danger of loving our children more than we do our partners is that if I keep it up (paying far more attention to my kids), the person next to me when I’m an empty-nester mom will be a complete stranger.

It is perfectly normal to feel for our children what we don’t feel for our partners. My husband is someone else’s child with a mom that probably loves him how I do my children. With my childhood wounds, giving love to a child unconditionally is a big part of how I heal.

The healing journey, however, will not be a perfect one. My daughter is getting the love that she deserves from me, but cannot witness the love between her parents. I have no point of reference for this either. Growing up in the absence of both my parents has left a big gap in how two adults should be for their children. What unconditional love between the two of them should look like, and what it can teach the child about intimate relationships.

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Our childhoods play a big role in determining the kinds of adults we become, and the parents we are for our little ones. I love my husband and I love my children. The nature of my love will not look – nor feel – the same for them. This requires a conscious awareness of who I am for them, and loving them how they need to be loved.