How long can we blame our parents?

boss1When Nikki wrote this post, it got me to thinking about letting go of things “we” felt were wrong with our childhood.  Of course I’m not talking about her story or stories of abuse or horrific situations.  I’m talking about what I would consider “silly things.”

I know people who for example, are still mad at their parents for things that happened in high school, or worse, further back than that.  I know one guy who is still, to this day, mad that his parents bought his youngest sister a car for graduation and he didn’t get one.  He doesn’t take into account that when he graduated, they didn’t have the money to do that.  They gave him what they could.

Then I know a brother and sister who still fight about the fact that the brother got controlling interest in the store their parents left them.  Well, it would have helped the sister if she would have had a “business” head but that girl couldn’t keep her check book organized.  How could she run the business?  The sad part is, she wasn’t left out, he was just in charge.  It’s not like he tells her what to do or anything either.  She just can’t let go of it.

We’ve all had things that bother us from our childhood I’m sure. Whether we think one of our siblings were favored or whether we feel like we were treated unfairly.  How much of that baggage should we carry around with us in anger and hold over our parents head FOREVER and result in a bad relationship with them?  Rob our children of grandparents?

I really do wonder how much of this goes on.  I do know many people, who I feel, are holding on to things that just aren’t important in the grand scheme of life.  It kind of stunts them and they dwell on unhappiness instead of moving forward to happiness. Whether or not your parents went to your brother’s hockey game and missed your gymnastics meet doesn’t mean they loved him more than you.

Parenting doesn’t come with a handbook.  Funny isn’t it, all the things that do, but the most important thing in the world,  raising a child, doesn’t.  I look at it this way.  I know my parents did the best they could.  The best they knew at the time.  Did they do things they might do differently now?  I’m sure there are.  I know I wish I could go back and UNdo things I did but there again, I did the best I knew how and no matter what I do, as long as I’m moving forward, it’s got to be okay and forgiven.  We need to keep moving forward and not blaming the past.

What about you?  Do you blame your parents for everything that goes wrong with your life?  Are there things you wish you got a do-over for?

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14 Responses to How long can we blame our parents?

  1. SKL says:

    When I was very young (up to college), I used to compare and complain a lot. I was a quiet person and kept most of it to myself, which was probably why it lasted as long as it did, because nobody was able to tell me how stupid I was being.

    In a working-class family of 6 kids, I was the oldest girl. I was one of the easiest (if not “the” easiest) according to my mom. Well, what do you think the result was – I did far more housework than everyone else, and didn’t get some of the stuff others got because I didn’t ask very enthusiastically (not wanting to hear the usual “no”). At the time, things seemed like a big deal, but in retrospect, there wasn’t that much difference other than in the housework. And for that, I eventually came to thank my parents, because it is really good experience to have.

    I probably hit a turning point the day I realized (shock) that parents are just as human as everyone. Up to a certain age, we have a tendency to see our parents as “superhuman” and hold them to a very high standard. I guess this is natural considering how the relationship forms in the first place. But, I’m not sure why some people never seem to grow out of that – or take a lot longer to do so. Maybe today’s popular culture of “blame transfer” psychology is to blame, or maybe things have always been this way.

    My sister is one who has held childhood grudges for decades. I’m not sure if she is still doing it, but it wasn’t that long ago that she was still complaining. For example, my mom sold my sister her Camaro, which was not very old. Some time later, my dad allowed me to trade my junker (a beater for my brother to learn driving in) for his old, paint-stripped Camaro, at no extra cost. My sister had a hissy because I wasn’t being made to pay the same as she had, so to shut her up, my dad gave her the stereo in the car (which may have been the most valuable component at that point). The car my dad gave me was one of those that required me to stop periodically to pour water into it as it overheated, etc. Once I had to take a ride from a stranger in a bad neighborhood at night, after the car broke down. Within a year, it was totaled in a freeway accident, while my sister’s Camaro was still going strong. Well, anyhoo, my sister never got over that “injustice.” Never mind all the other ways in which she “got more” over the years – she doesn’t remember those things at all. I can’t imagine how much negative energy she created in her own body over things like this. That may be why she has a lot of health problems, I don’t know. But at some point, you need to just thank God you weren’t born a destitute orphan and move forward with whatever God gave you.

  2. nikki says:

    Wow, tough one for me. I can’t get into the blaming game when it comes to the bad stuff that happened to me. There is no point anymore. My Mom and I are actually talking about that stuff and coming to terms with all of it. I hope it will bring us closer.
    I always felt, and sometimes still do, like my brother was always my moms favorite. A few reasons come in to play for that. One being my brothers father never hurt my mom, she was completely in love with him. My dad hurt my mom really bad, emotionally. At times I felt I was being punished for that. My brother got away with murder when it came to my mom. He was an angel to her. I was the cracked egg. Growing up with him was hell. He didn’t like me one bit. I know now, he feels horrible for that. He had no clue what I was going through behind closed doors so to speak. I don’t blame him anymore and I’m slowly letting go of my feeling of resentment and blame with my mom.
    My brother and I have a good brother-sister relationship now.
    There was never really any possessions that he got that I was jealous of. We never had any money anyway, it was more that he just never got in trouble and I was always on restriction for some made up reason. I don’t hold that against my mom or him anymore. When I start to think he’s still her favorite, I look at my life and all I’ve done and how far I’ve come. I’m proud of myself and that feeling goes away! It does sneak up on me once in a while though.
    I know Joy, you are talking about the things that are silly…that just wasn’t the case for me.

  3. Doraz says:

    You bring up several good points, Joy. Parents do the best they can, I believe without being purposely malicious about it! They sometimes just “do.” I do not think they have time to sit down and review in great detail what the consequences might be when the child is an adult! They go with what they have! This, of course does not apply to parents who are “hurting and abusing” the child. For them, that’s another story! The other stuff you talk about is what I am referring to. I say you just need to come to terms with your parents by working things out, over the years of your lifetime!

  4. megan says:

    Overall, my folks did a pretty good job with me. I was their first, so I consider myself their Guinea pig. I’m quite proud of them for not screwing me up.

    Most of the stuff I got mad at them for was silly stuff. Except one time…

    I desperately wanted to see Billy Joel and Elton John when they came to our town. My parents said no. I don’t remember why. But a year later, they let my younger brother see a concert he wanted to see…on a school night!

    For the most part, my parents were pretty fair when deciding things between my brother and me. But that incident is burned in my memory as the one inequity of my teendom.

    I guess if that’s all I have to complain about, I had it pretty good.

  5. kweenmama says:

    Joy, this is an awesome post, one that should be read by a few people I know.

  6. Joy says:

    Thanks Kween. I just feel some things are downright silly that people are still hung up on. Sometimes you just have to let some of these things go.

  7. Morocco says:

    I agree Joy, I feel my mother did the best she could for me with the resources she had at that time. She actually did a better job with her last 2 children than she did with her first 4. It doesn’t bother me and I am glad that she learned from her mistakes.

    Not too many parents set out to intentionally destroy/ruin the lives of their offspring.

  8. i love to tease my parents about their experimental parenting. they were flying blind and were so young! i continually remind them of how they ‘tortured’ me by shipping me to summer camp or about how they tried to build my character by forcing me to have a paper route.

    from my vantage point now (as an adult), i can see that the mistakes they made were because they loved me and didn’t want me to get hurt…i think.

    ps. megan: i WENT to the billy joel/elton john show at madison square garden in ’98….is that the show you’re talking about? hahahahah.

  9. Sue says:

    Yes, parents do the best they can with what they have and you do learn as you go. My oldest sister by far had to do more and jump through more hoops than my youngest brother. He got away with murder!!! I think my parents did a good job and I don’t feel “cheated” out of anything by them. Some other relatives on the other hand…I don’t really care what happened anymore, but I had cousins who got a little bit more than me and my siblings did when we were all together. They didn’t get into trouble or yelled at like we did, they were dotted on and my relatives were just more sensitive with them. Live and learn I guess because I’m sure all families have that.

  10. Just a Mom says:

    Very good post!
    I have tons of things I would like to have a do over on. Both as a daughter and as a mother. Hindsight is always 20/20!

  11. mssc54 says:

    I think when you are young and imature you can blame your parents.

    When you get older and more mature you just give them credit.

    However, in the end we are who and what we are based solely on the personal choices me make day in and day out.

  12. Tosha says:

    There are a few things I hold against my mother and I have every right and reason to hold them against her. My father and family really do agree. My mother did some things I can’t comprehend as a parent. She ignored some things in my life that no parent should ignore or do nothing about. Those things changed who I am/was and are majorly responsible for how I am today. Sounds stupid but the reasons are legit and should i share im sure you’d agree. I don’t dwell on petty things. I’m sure im going to screw up with my kids at some point there is just no reason to dwell on the petty stuff.

  13. Gary says:

    My childhood wasn’t perfect but I never have and never will blame my parents for any of it. My parents did the best they could with what they had. I learned A LOT of good values from my parents and pass those same values to my kids.

  14. Amy Hunter says:

    The older I get, the less I care about anything negative from the past–whether connected to parents or just the speedbumps of life in general. It’s just not worth the energy to hang on to things like that. Life is short, and once I became an adult, the responsibility for how to live was my own. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

    Everyone has stuff they wish hadn’t happened to them or to people close to them, or things they would like to be different. You can either let it weigh you down, or you can do the best you can with what you’ve got.

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