All too often I hear people say, ‘I feel this way about myself, because my mother/father used to tell me (fill in the blank)’.
Which leads me to question, how many people are being held back by the way their parents treated them as children and young adults? And more importantly, why are these same people allowing themselves to be held back by this in their 30’s, 40’s or older?
Please note I am not talking about physical and sexual abuse in this post. Even severe emotional abuse in some cases. If you have constantly had your parents telling you – you are worthless – you’re going to have some sort of emotional scarring. People who have suffered through these terrible ordeals should seek out professional help.
Also I use the words Mum and Dad in this post, but I realize there are a lot of other configurations for modern family life. People are raised by grandparents, step parents, single parents, same sex parents and a host of others. Just to clarify, I use Mum and Dad or the word parents simply for convenience.
Everyone wants to be loved, nurtured and supported by their parents. Unfortunately in many cases, this is simply not the case. Parents put us down, smother us, try to shape us into what they want us to be (instead of who we want to be), ignore us, treat us like we are stupid, worthless or unimportant. They play favorites, they pass down their own insecurities – the list goes on. But the list is not my point.
What we do to help ourselves move past all of this is the point of this post. The fact is, if you are older and still blaming your parents for how your life isn’t turning out the way you want it to, YOU need to make some changes.
You have to take responsibility for yourself
Ultimately you have to take responsibility for yourself. You are not your parents. You are not the negative things they said about you.
They have their own lives and you have yours. Take back your own power. You are not a puppet with someone else pulling the strings.
You are an adult and you need to take control of your life, as an adult.
Drop the blame and excuses
Are your parents really the reason for your lack of success or are you simply too scared to try something new in case you fail? Is it your own fears and not your parents that are holding you back?
Fear is a normal human emotion. We all feel it. We all have to deal with it. How you deal with fear will be a defining aspect of your life. Smashing through fear and moving forward can change the trajectory of your future. Fear can actually be a great motivator, if used correctly.
Do you secretly hold onto the baggage with your parents, so that you have someone to blame if things don’t work out? Does it give you an excuse for not trying in the first place? Are you using your parents as an excuse to stay in your comfort zone? Comfort zones are comfortable but ultimately boring. Give yourself more excitement and challenge.
You deserve better and the sooner you realize this, you will move forward.
Drop the labels
Often when we say or think something enough, it begins to take shape in our heads. It takes on a life of its own. If our parents repeatedly said negative things to us growing up, labels can seriously stick. Not to mention hurt. Without realizing, we have labelled ourselves.
Shifting these labels can take a lot of work. Nothing strips away a label like growth and change. Positive, proactive change and a lot of self love and acceptance.
Avoid the victim trap
It is all too easy to fall into this trap. Don’t for a minute think this is brought about by just our parents either. Bad relationships with romantic partners can also allow us to fall into this pit.
The important part is getting out of the trap. More importantly in many cases, is realizing you are even in this situation in the first place and wanting to get yourself out. Some people simply don’t see that they are embracing a victim mentality. Don’t let yourself be one of them.
If you need counselling or professional help seek it out. Do not be embarrassed or ashamed. Many people see asking for help as a sign of weakness. They worry about what people will think of them. Throw such negative and useless thoughts in the rubbish where they belong. Your well being is not about other people, it is about YOU.
Asking for help and wanting to change your life for the better is a sign of strength. Embracing change takes real courage. Be strong; ask for help if and when you need it.
Understand your parents are people too
They are Mum and Dad but they are also people. People with their own insecurities, strengths, weaknesses, secrets, regrets and dreams. If you need to, take Mum and Dad off the parent pedestal and take a closer look at them as people.
If possible, get to know them as people not simply your parents. They had their own unique lives before you came along, before they even met each other for that matter.
Perhaps the problem is quite the opposite, you see them precisely for the people they are. In some cases we love our parents because well we are supposed to love our parents aren’t we, yet we don’t actually like them. We would not be friends with them if we had a choice. It’s like that old saying, ‘you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your relatives’. Perhaps in this case, it is a matter of accepting them for who they are, good, bad or otherwise.
I want to add an important point here, I certainly don’t want this post to seem like I am parent bashing. I personally believe being a parent has to be the toughest job around.
All too often you find that people whinge about their parents, yet do nothing about healing the pain they are carrying around or try to change or grow in any way. Instead they keep making the same mistakes over and over, often brought on by their parents negative influence and their own negative view of themselves.
Confession time. Years ago I sometimes used to feel this way about my own parents. I blamed them for my insecurities, instead of taking ownership and responsibility for them myself.
Thankfully, I have let go of that now. Sometimes my old insecurities raise their ugly head and I deal with them head on. Telling my Mum I was leaving a well paying job to pursue a career in writing, certainly bought out a few demons. I dealt with them, moved on and here I am happy, growing and learning each day.
Ultimately you cannot continue to blame your parents – not if you want to be a successful, happy, well adjusted adult.
You are your own person. Take charge of your own destiny. Be strong, confident and give yourself the love and the life you want and deserve.
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