Adult children of neglect and other forms of abuse present with different personalities depending on the degree to which certain skills develop. Friendships and close relationships of any kind can be a very big challenge for people who experienced inconsistent or manipulative nurture as a young person. Thankfully, we humans are a creative species with capabilities that exist even when we don't understand them. I'm a big believer in meditation and sitting with stillness. Along with many forms of therapy (talk, art, individual, group, couples); alternative forms of healthcare (yay, various massage modalities!); different emotion balance techniques (yay, EMDR, EFT, and DBT!); and numerous relationships of various depths, the sense of oneness teaches compassion. Compassion makes life rich.
I have this one friend around whom I feel agitated most of the time. He's an adult child of neglect who talks a lot and without much skill with emotion boundaries. I met him about a year ago, and I've gotten to know about his kids and wife and the sorts of things he says as both "jokes" and rationale for some of his family and work decisions. Mostly, I'm finding that I don't like his parental practices or emotion regulation skills. His kids are around six and eight years old. He tells me about punishments that I find more punitive than helpful and discussions that seem too intellectual to address an emotion. I protested at his disciplinary choices and he told me he thought I was projecting my own childhood with my words to him. Naturally, I felt offended that he dismissed my observations. I also felt weary as he continued to bring up essentially the same stories about his role as father -- his kids have an issue, he rushes in to save the day with long talks about feelings. What I heard him say is that his kids keep feeling the same emotion (hopelessness, insecurity). So I reminded him about methods that help people manage their own feelings (EFT, DBT). Then that's when this friend said he appreciated my input but that if my reactions became too much, he'd need to put a stop to hearing them. So I told him let's not talk about his parenting role or his kids anymore because I'm finding it's too much to hear about their troubles and not offer assistance. I said, if I hear of something that's off to me, I'm going to say something. So that's one answer to is it possible to be a friend who likes the person and also heavily disagrees with his/her parenting skills: Yes and no. In this case, I can be an occasional friend who won't discuss parenting practices. We're not going to hang out a lot, and we can chit chat in the hallways sometimes.
We are each of us our own parents and conduits of oneness. Each of us chooses a focus for the moment; how to care for ourselves; when and whether to speak. Our emotions are not wrong. They are not to be punished or belittled. We take responsibility for them, honor them, and learn how to exist in harmony with respect for ourselves, our relationships, and our world.
Well hello there.