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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 January 21, 2020

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

      your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

        Why You Need a Vision

        Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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        How to Create Your Life Vision

        Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

        What Do You Want?

        The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

        It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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        Some tips to guide you:

        • Remember to ask why you want certain things
        • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
        • Give yourself permission to dream.
        • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
        • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

        Some questions to start your exploration:

        • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
        • What would you like to have more of in your life?
        • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
        • What are your secret passions and dreams?
        • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
        • What do you want your relationships to be like?
        • What qualities would you like to develop?
        • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
        • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
        • What would you most like to accomplish?
        • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

        It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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        What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

        Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

        A few prompts to get you started:

        • What will you have accomplished already?
        • How will you feel about yourself?
        • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
        • What does your ideal day look like?
        • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
        • What would you be doing?
        • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
        • How are you dressed?
        • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
        • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
        • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

        It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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        Plan Backwards

        It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

        • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
        • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
        • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
        • What important actions would you have had to take?
        • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
        • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
        • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
        • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
        • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

        Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

        It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

        Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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