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If your Childhood Sucked – It’s Time to Stop Blaming Your Parents!

If your Childhood Sucked – It’s Time to Stop Blaming Your Parents!

Dear Parent Blamer,

Firstly let me say, stop it.

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    It’s pathetic and pointless. And for the rest of us innocent bystanders… very annoying.

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    To be completely honest, we’re sick of your whining, your complaining, your anger, your victim mentality and your inability to see that your current attitude (not some historical event) is your biggest problem. We’re also sick of you blaming your (current) bad behaviour on your parents. What’s standing between you and success right now is YOU. Not your folks, not your history… you. And the fact that you think THEY have sabotaged your life and are somehow responsible for your (current) stupid behaviours and less-than-desirable outcomes, wreaks of denial, immaturity and delusion.

    Yes, we all get that your childhood, or parts thereof, sucked – welcome to the world’s largest club.

    We also get that your old man was periodically a completely insensitive, uncommunicative *%#@* at times. Sadly, that’s what (many) fathers do. And yep, we know that your mother was a selfish cow that time when you were in the eighth (and ninth and tenth) grade; it happens.

    Okay, let’s be honest and blunt… some parents are crap. And yes, many of us have been hurt – physically, emotionally and/or psychologically – by our parents. I am not suggesting that you deny your past, but I am suggesting that you don’t live there. It’ll kill you. In ten different ways. Some people have been inhabiting the seventies and eighties and re-visiting their childhood for the last few decades.

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    No matter how much you think your parents deserve your anger, vitriol and resentment, I’m telling you (1) it serves no positive purpose (2) it will hurt you more than them (3) stop being a big, immature, stupid baby and (4) you and only you, are responsible for your current reality – no matter what your parents have or haven’t done to you, or for you.

    Even though you may have a very good ‘reason’ to be eternally pissed at your folks, I’m saying let it go anyway. Move on. And it’s not about what they do or don’t deserve; it’s about what you deserve. If you want to destroy your potential, your enthusiasm, your optimism and your hope, then become a chronic Parent Blamer. Hang on to that hurt, no matter what!

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      Or you could let me save you some serious time and pain and just believe me when I tell you that being a Parent Blamer is a pointless, destructive, pathetic waste of your potential and emotional energy. And if you’re not careful, a waste of your life. It will destroy you from the inside out. It’s true; some people will die angry, bitter, resentful and tortured souls because they never found a way to let go of the self-perpetuated – yep, read that clearly, self-perpetuated – misery. When you’re still desperately holding on to emotional crap from years ago, it’s YOU that’s the problem. When you’re twenty five, thirty five or fifty five and you’re still thinking, talking and behaving like a teenager who’s mad at their parents, you need a big reality check.

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      The only thing you can change about the past, is how you let it affect you now.

      You may wanna read that again.

      Over the years I have worked with people who have blamed their parents for everything from their poor communication skills, dysfunctional relationships, destructive habits and violent behaviours, to their fat body and poor eating habits. What!!! Do you not have a brain in your head? Are you incapable of independent thought? Can you not make your own decisions, choose your own behaviours and be responsible for your own existence? Surely you feed yourself these days? Surely you have some control over what comes out of your mouth? And surely you can choose to do, be and create different in your world.

      Perhaps your parents taught you how not to be?

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      Let me say that I totally understand that your parents weren’t always what they should or could have been for you as a child (caring, supportive, forgiving, understanding, loving, available, guiding, honest). You have my sympathy and understanding but you’re not alone. You’re in a very large majority. The problem with parents is that they’re flawed and that whole ‘being human’ thing kind of gets in the way of parental perfection. If only parents were cyborgs.

      Today’s article is the result of an inordinate amount of recent conversations I’ve had with people who are hell-bent on blaming their parents for every aspect of their own miserable and dysfunctional existence. Sometimes the vitriol, the anger, the resentment and dare I say, the absolute hatred, that people hang on to (for decades) amazes and saddens me.

      The parental blame game is a slippery slope of self-pity, self-destruction and futility that’s played by far too many people to their own detriment. It’s a game you’re advised to avoid.

      Hope this letter finds you well,

      Craig.

      More by this author

      Craig Harper

      Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

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      Last Updated on November 9, 2020

      10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

      10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

      Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

      Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

      Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

      If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

      Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

      1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

      Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

      Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

      Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

      2. No Motivation

      Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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      This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

      If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

      3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

      Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

      A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

      A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

      The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

      4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

      One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

      We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

      Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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      You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

      5. Upward Comparisons

      Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

      The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

      These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

      Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

      6. No Alternative

      This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

      Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

      Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

      Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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      7. Stress

      As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

      When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

      We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

      If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

      8. Sense of Failure

      People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

      Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

      Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

      If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

      9. The Need to Be All-New

      People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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      These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

      10. Force of Habit

      Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

      Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

      These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

      Final Thoughts

      These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

      There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

      More on Breaking Bad Habits

      Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
      [2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
      [3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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