I recently wrote about how I had been binge watching the Parenthood TV series via Netflix. As I have navigated my way through the latter seasons, something occurred to me which caused me to connect a character in the show to my personal life. Actually, not so much my personal life as the personal life of a good friend.
To catch you up, if you’re unfamiliar, there’s a point when Zeke (Craig T. Nelson) introduces his oldest granddaughter, Amber (Mae Whitman), to a young veteran of the war in Afghanistan. They fall in love and eventually get engaged, much to the dismay of Amber’s mother, Sarah (Lauren Graham). She expresses her disapproval of Amber’s impending nuptials, which, of course, drives her daughter away.
Later, as Sarah discusses the situation with her own parents, they advise her to back off. They mean for Sarah to learn from their mistake. When Sarah, herself, wanted to leave home and marry Amber’s father, they expressed their own disapproval and tired to stop her from marrying him. She married him anyway, then refused to contact them for several years. Camille (Bonnie Bedelia) shares that, had they not tried to stop her, they would not have lost her for the years that they did.
A few years ago, a friend of mine found herself going through a nasty divorce. After a number of years of marriage, she had decided not to continue living under the boot of an abusive narcissist with sociopathic tendencies. It was at this time that many friends and family members began letting her know that they had seen all along what kind of man her husband had been. Naturally, her question to them was, “Why didn’t you say something before I married him?” My question becomes, would she have listened?
When you’re young and in love, or, at the very least, think you’re in love, you don’t want to hear what others have to say. It doesn’t matter what others have to say. You’ve got the whole world figured out. Besides, the heart wants what the heart wants, right?
After many years in an abusive relationship and being unable to see what was right in front of her, she had the benefit of hindsight. At the start of the relationship, she couldn’t see the negatives. Maybe, she didn’t want to see the negatives. It’s possible that it wouldn’t have mattered who saw the negatives or who pointed them out to her. With relationship goggles on, she only saw the perceived good and an escape into the adulthood and married life that she so desperately desired.
It’s hard to say how people will react when you give them advice. Sometimes, they’ll flat out rebel. Occasionally, they’ll listen to reason. Whatever the case, they’re going to do whatever they decide they want to do. It’s best to just let them decide. Even if it’s a mistake. Even if it’s the wrong choice. Just be sure to love them through it and help them to learn not to make the same mistakes again.