Monday, September 5, 2016

Quit blaming your parents!

I've been reading a good book, Rules for Aging, and one of his rules is

After 30, quit blaming your parents

This chapter only has one sentence. "Better make that 25".

I was amused reading this chapter but not in a completely happy way. Recently, I have run into four people who really really need to take that chapter to heart. Two were in their 30s, one in his 40s and the fourth in his 50s! All of them were blaming their parents for how their lives had turned out. Three of them had done a lot of drugs to the point where I was a bit surprised they weren't dead. All of them had done time in jail for minor offenses and had a hard time keeping a job.

The description I just gave makes them sound like complete losers but all of them had times in their lives when they looked pretty much like everyone else. They all had periods where they were sober, employed and in relationships. I can't tell you what went wrong because I don't know. What I do know is this, a big part of their problem is a failure to take responsibility for their own mistakes.

Two of them blamed their fathers and the odd coincidence here is that I had met both of their fathers at different points. Their complaints were that their dads were gone too much working and that they were never the type of people to talk about their feelings or tell their sons that they loved them.

I'm listening to this shaking my head and thinking,

Seriously? That's all you've got? Your dad wasn't warm and fuzzy enough so you're going to shoot up heroin?

No, don't even! Don't tell me how tough it was not having a dad to tuck you in at night and tell you he loved you and give you a kiss on the fore head because I don't fucking want to hear it! Your problem is that you don't realize it's YOUR problem. Your father was raised in the time that he was when men didn't do that sort of thing. He did the best he could and better than most. The fact that you didn't find it good enough for you when you were growing up is unfortunate but in no way makes it your father's fault if you decide to be a complete fuck up now. The best you could do is go into rehab. I mean that very very seriously. I presume that your father is very hurt by your drug abuse and other problems but guess what, he's older than you and will be dead eventually and you'll still have all these problems.

The other two, older people blame their mothers. In one case I did know the mom and I'd say some of what her son said about her was accurate. She never made him suffer the consequences of his own actions. You know the type. If he failed an exam at school because he didn't study she was the mom yelling at the teacher for not making the class interesting enough. If he stole money from a friend, she was the one blaming society that her son had to "suffer" from seeing others his age who had more than him just because they were lucky enough to be born to richer parents.

I didn't know the other mom but she seemed to be just the same. Even though her son was in his 50s, she would call his employer and say that he was sick when he was actually hung over. She met with his parole officer and I don't know how many other people in his life that he should have been meeting with himself.

I actually understand those moms because I know as a mother myself that you always want to help your children – even if you don't always know the right way to go about it.

What I don't understand is those adults who constantly use their parents at as the "bad guy" either to excuse their own bad decisions or deliberately make bad decisions to show "she's not the boss of me".

Here's what I have to say – Man up! Or, not to be too gender specific, Woman up!

After a while, you need to take full responsibility for your own life. Some of you, pretend you are because you are doing the exact opposite of what your parents want you to do and you think that proves you're independent. Ha ha ha ha ha – excuse me, while I laugh with no amusement what so ever because I have been in exactly your shoes. Doing the opposite of what your parents want to show you are independent does nothing of the kind. You're still being controlled by trying to prove that you're not controlled.

Try to figure out the right thing to do and then do it.

Quit being a whiny spoiled brat and resenting that you didn't have the perfect parenting. No one did. Some people had good parents who tried their best. Some people had not very good parents who tried their best. Some of you were swimming in the shallow end of the gene pool.

Which ever it was, you have two choices now that you are an adult:

Make a life for yourself that doesn't suck.
Or continue blaming your parents.

 Feel smarter after reading this blog? Think how much smarter you would be after playing Forgotten Trail - runs on Mac, Windows and Chromebooks. 



Anonymous said...

Awesome, AnnMaria!! Love you, and your heart. Jim & Nancy

mandy said...

"Try to figure out the right thing to do and then do it."

There are way too many quotable things in this post that are fantastic advice, I can't even get to them all. I kept reading parts, thinking "I'm mentioning that in my comment!" but then it just kept being truthful, incisive, and I may as well quote the whole post. You can't fix what you don't own (I think Dr. Phil says that often). Many people are scared of things that aren't back-breakers. Feelings aren't, even bad ones. It may be devastating to you personally, but the world doesn't mind that, nor does it stop. As my mom says, everyone has tragedy in their lives, some just have it early. That helped me growing up. Sounds like the people you describe have a lack of coping skills, and on the surface, I think that is true. But the hard truth is one people won't face. It's up to you, and it always was. So what are you gonna do with your life?

plam said...

Kids these days... no, adults these days?

Yesterday I got a phone call from a prospective student parent asking how much tuition costs. I had a hard time with this question (it's not like faculty have a good idea about tuition rates) but managed "I'm sure your son can look that up on the University web page." Glad to know it's not just today's kids.

Anonymous said...

I love everything about what you wrote, it's the TRUTH. I grew up dirt poor. I come from a family of seven. I grew up
living in a small garage filled with roaches, mold, and leakages. Growing up we had little to eat and little to wear, my parents loved me and I knew it. They worked and worked to give us a better life, making sure we never missed a day of school and excelled at it too. At times I did blame my parents for things we didn't have, but I think its normal for a kid to whine. As I grew up I learned to appreciate their sacrifices and good intentions filled with their love for me and my siblings. I had a difficult up bringing and I do wish sometimes for a "normal" childhood, but we go through things for a reason. I wouldn't change one thing about my parents or what situations we've been through together, that love will always be there and our past is are past- permanently, its made me be the proud UCR college student that I am today. And I owe it to my parents for raising me, they did an awesome job. :)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

To my daughters who don't speak to me because I divorced your emotionally abusive and manipulative father, please read this post, then read it again and again until it sinks in. I pray that some day you will finally let go of the belief that I abandoned you despite the fact that I came to every life event (where I wasn't specifically asked to stay away) and gave you money every time you really needed it (like to get away from your abusive boyfriend). Yes, it hurts me that you aren't in my life but it hurts you more to hang on to ancient crap that you can never, ever change. Please let go of the blame and grab onto happiness. It's a choice. I hope you'll make it. Love, Mom