My Parents Screwed Up My Life!

December 9, 2020 by No Comments

Sara looked upset when she finally showed up at the gym.

“What’s with you?”

“Ugh,” she said in disgust. “It’s not me. It’s my sister.”

Sara’s sister, four years older, is one of those people who always has some sort of drama going on — a breakup, financial ruin, an illness, a fight with her BFF, DUIs, a surgery, a job loss.

“What now?”

“She and Greg split up.”

“Oh, I though they already were split.”

“No, they got back together in February, but now he’s moved out, for good he says. He just can’t deal with her passive-aggressive crap anymore.”

“I don’t blame him; you hate it, too.”   

“I know. But now she’s on a rampage again about the affair and the divorce and blah, blah, blah.”

“She’s still blaming your Dad’s affair and your parents’ divorce when you were kids for her problems?”


“She’s how old again?”


“I thought you guys have the same parents …”

Sara rolled her eyes and shrugged as she popped her iPod earphones in and stepped on the treadmill.

I know affairs and divorce can often be devastating to kids — Trent has made it very clear to his dad and me how he feels about some of the stuff that’s gone down in our family. But he’s a teen; when you’re 53, shouldn’t you be past it? At some point, shouldn’t you have figured things out, or at least spent some serious time on a shrink’s couch, bought an Amazon-like warehouse of self-help books, been an audience member of the Dr. Phil show, hired a life coach, adjusted your chakras, consulted a psychic, sat zazen, found Jesus — something, anything, to help you get over your past?

You can’t blame your parents forever.

OK, some parents are pretty crappy — they abandon, they cheat and lie, they manipulate, they scream and smack; you know, the Mommy Dearest kinds. Then there are the ones who make the perv in “Silence of the Lambs” look like Mother Teresa in comparison — the abusers, the raging alcoholics, the ones who lock their kids in basements and feed them scraps.

We all can bitch about our parents, and we do. Just watch Oprah; wasn’t supermodel Naomi Campbell the latest one, blaming her mom for her anger, addictions and general infantile behavior?

But, what’s the point?  We can’t undo the past and the more we obsess about how we didn’t get all that we wanted — and, yeah, maybe deserved — the more we hurt ourselves, and everything we’re trying to do and everyone we’re trying to love now.

When are we responsible for our own behaviors?

We may become legal when we’re 21; I say we become adults when we stop blaming our parents for screwing up our life.

My parents were far from perfect; they said and did hurtful things. I can still hear a lot of their fear messages — “you can’t …” “you shouldn’t …” — and even after they stopped saying those things, I started telling them to myself! Still, my folks gave me a lot. They were once kids who didn’t get everything they wanted for their parents, either. And, I know they meant well, even if they didn’t always deliver. I’m gonna cut them some slack for that.

We’re all walking around a little wounded.

The only thing we can change about the past is how we allow it to mess with us now. (Not to get all Buddhist on you … although I am from Northern California, and you know how we are).

And you know when I “got” it? When I became a mom myself.

Thank goodness my parents are still around and it wasn’t too late for me to thank them — yes, I have and still do — and to have compassion and forgiveness for them.

Which, by the way, The Kid will never have to stress about because I have done no wrong! (His dad? Hmm …) But, if I have (or, if he thinks I have, perception being reality and whatnot), well, at least I’m helping to keep a few shrinks in business; they can thank me later.

  • Do you still blame your parents?
  • What do you think about adults who can’t stop blaming their parents?
  • How have you moved on from childhood hurts?

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