Today I’d like to talk about why I believe you can’t blame your parents forever for your problems.
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?
Important Note – I am not a trained medical professional, so if you are struggling with depression, dealing with sexual, physical or emotional abuse or suspect you may be struggling with a mental illness, please seek help from a trained medical professional.
This post is written for an adult audience.
Please also 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’re worthless’ – you may have some sort of emotional scarring. People who have suffered through these terrible ordeals should seek out professional help when they need it.
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.
Related content – The One Shocking Truth About Your Parents You May Need to Know
Drop the 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 labeled 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 you 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.
Related content –
- How to Break Out of a Victim Mentality – Part 1
- How to Break Out of a Victim Mentality – Part 2
- How to Break Out of a Victim Mentality – Part 3
If you need counseling 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 wellbeing is not about other people, it’s 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, the good, the bad and all the parts in between.
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 whine 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 parent’s negative influence and their own negative view of themselves.
You can’t blame your parents forever
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 myself.
Thankfully, I have let go of that now.
Sometimes my old insecurities raise their ugly head and I deal with them head-on.
Ultimately you can’t 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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Read Next – 10 Behaviors That Stop You Growing as a Person
I totally agree. One of my main bugbears is people who have managed to pass 35 and still refuse to take responsibility for their lives. Great post.
Great to see you here. Thanks so much for the comment.
Hi Thea. You give such excellent advice in a clear, succinct, passionate manner. Thanks! I find it is so much easier to blame the people closest to you – the ones who (you hope) will love you anyway, than to blame yourself or simply assume responsibility. I think there are plenty of things you can be (justifiably) angry at parents for, but the bottom line is that it is your life, admit the anger, express it appropriately, if you can, and move on. Life is just too short. Carpe dium!
Great post. I’ll be back for more.
Thanks for the great comment. Sorry for the delay in replying.
Thank you for the lovely comments on my writing style. I really appreciate it.
Yes you are right – there are plenty of things we can justifiably be angry at our parents for but as you stated, it is how we deal with them that is really important.
I look forward to seeing you here again soon.
to the author aka writer of this …do you think a person can blame their parents or not blame them?
you are not talking about people that suffered emotional abuse, they should get help. many people i’ve known with parents that fit the definition of emotional abuser have trouble finding a professional that wants to help them work through those scars. they make much more money seeing them for 15min and asking how the meds are numbing them.
many of these people have tried talking to relatives or family friends even while they were kids and just got the same line you are giving “you cant blame them they try there best”
the thing that causes the scars is the cronic invalidation of their own ideas…one of those ideas is that their parents were harmful to them. they often know they have to move on but some external validation of their pain helps enormously. part of normal development from child to adult is building that self worth so they can validate their own feelings and realities. missing that step they are stuck and wounded some will “snap out of it” others require a supportive validating environment; they usually know that blaming the parents isnt going to solve their issues but they need it to validate that harm has been done to them…otherwise its all them and they were a failure from the start;everything mom or dad said is true. see the vicious cycle you are encouraging?
you don’t help them by telling them they cant blame the parents.
society as a whole has adopted this “cant blame the parents” contrary to the psychological community.
its harmful to push the message you are broadcasting. if you were to talk more about how parents can harm a child or common things parents do that can harm a child’s development you would be doing more good.
that way the knowledge of what is wrong would out weigh the message of its not the parents fault.
I keep running into mothers who wont let the father get involved because they are the “natural nurtures”, often neglect or belittle their child and defend themselves with “a child will turn out how they were meant to, you cant blame the parents” i’m sure fathers are guilty of it too but the balance is tipped because of the old fashion belief that women are better at caring for children in all ways (granted most men cant produce breast milk but thats a different type of care)
“Perhaps in this case, it is a matter of accepting them for who they are, good, bad or otherwise.”
I take issue with this, because there is no reason to accept someone else, ever. Society tells us we “should” love our parents, but eff that noise. You feel what you feel. Everyone gets guilted about how, “well parents always love their kids and kids always love their parents even if they don’t like them”. Hogwash. You can’t love someone if you don’t like them first. Once you’ve grown up you can get away from them, and if you don’t like them as people then don’t look back. Choose them like you would your friends. If you have nothing in common then there’s no reason to stick around. Nobody deserves a reward just for popping someone out. They knew what they were getting into.
Thank you for your comment, it was good to hear your feedback. Before I continue I also want to apologize for taking so long to get back to you. I got behind on responding to comments, so sorry about that.
When I mentioned accepting your parents for who they are I definitely didn’t mean that they had to be part of your life. Acceptance can mean understanding that you need to cut them loose too. Let’s face it there are some terrible, terrible parents out there (who clearly don’t have their children’s best interests at heart) and I completely understand that walking away from a destructive, toxic relationship and shutting them out of your life is the right thing to do for some people. I definitely don’t think we need to ‘love them no matter what’ just because they are our parents.
I think the point I was trying to make is carrying baggage from our parents around with us all of your adult life doesn’t do us any good either. I hope that makes sense.
Thanks again for your feedback and for taking the time to comment.
I hope to see you here again soon.
All the best