As a marriage and family counselor, I had come across many clients with domestic issues in all my years.
For instance, there was a 26-year-old woman who resented her father for leaving the family when she was still young. She carried that feeling even when she was already an adult and could not find it in her heart to forgive her father when he returned and asked for forgiveness. Although the situation hardened her heart, it was evident that a part of that woman wanted to forgive the older man because she could not stop thinking about him. Hence, I advised her to think about burying the proverbial hatchet and moving towards reconciliation.
A young couple also asked for an appointment with me one day. They were barely adults, but they lived together right outside of their college campus without their parents’ knowledge. The woman was already pregnant, and they wanted to let their families know about their decision to get married. However, they were afraid of the backlash that their big revelation would result in. I had to remind them that their loved ones had a reason for getting angry (if they would get angry), so the couple would have to accept the consequences of what they did.
Then, another college student feared disappointing her parents to the extent that she was taking up a degree that she had no interest in. Because she was so bright, she could easily pass her subjects, but she was also miserable and wanted to quit studying altogether. Before that could happen, I encouraged her to be upfront with her parents regarding her feelings, especially when it came to studies. I helped the girl believe that most parents could only be a little pushy initially, but they would support what you want once they see that you are no longer happy.
Each of those clients returned to me at least a couple of months later. It was not to ask for their money back but to thank me for helping them renew their relationship with their loved ones. And each time, their question was:
How Did You Get So Good At Your Job?
The answer to this question does not entirely have something to do with my profession, frankly speaking. I got trained to handle various situations and assist people in overcoming mental and emotional turmoil – that’s a fact. However, what made me ideal for a counseling job was that I experienced many family issues back then and could relate to the ordeals that my clients dealt with before seeking counseling.
You see, I was not the most excellent kid to my parents. I always said they deserved a monument erected for them because they never gave up on me even when I rebelled earlier than everyone once my father ditched us for his mistress. I hated him for being weak; I also hated my mother for pushing him away. So to spite my parents, I decided to hang out with the low-life kids in my high school and paraded them in our house to see my mother fume in anger.
Things only changed when my father had a stroke, and we all thought he would not make it. I cried so hard when I visited him at the hospital and prayed for him to heal so that we could patch things up. I also apologized to my mother profusely for how much she had to put up with when acting up as a kid.
When my parents decided to get back together after that, I was already nearing my first anniversary as a counselor. To mark the event, I bought a new house for my mom and dad. However, I could still not help but cry every time I remembered how shocked they were when they stepped into the house and learned that it was already in their name. From then on, they would only have to tell me something they wanted once, and I would give it to them as soon as possible.
Once I reconciled with my parents and learned to do what I used to preach (to forgive and forget), I became a better counselor. Aside from understanding my clients more, I managed to explain their loved ones’ possible reactions to their revelations and help them see that letting the truth prevail is always the best.
From my little anecdote above, I talked about giving a house to my parents, but I am not saying that properties and money are the only things that will make your parents happy. It is nothing but a sweet bonus, and they can do without it, especially if they have work and ample savings. However, being on excellent terms with their kids and knowing that you respect each other can do wonders for their relationship.