You’re An Adult, Stop Blaming Your Parents

I think everyone goes through a phase where they blame their parents for the negative aspects of who they are  and where they currently are (or are not) in their life. That is probably normal and perhaps good in one sense. It is useful to reflect on the past to gain insight for our present and future.

However, you are an adult, right?

If you are over 27 years old, you need to grow up and stop blaming your upbringing for the negative aspects of your life and ways of thinking. You are old enough now to know better. You probably learned many life lessons the hard way, so it is your responsibility to retain those lessons and apply what you learned to other areas of your life.

You are inevitably a product of your parents and siblings; however, you are not an exact replica. You do have a choice to be different than your parents and people of major influence during your upbringing if you want to be different.

But, I encourage you to think: Are your parents really that bad? Did they really wrong you that much to create such resentment in your heart and mind?

If you came from an abusive home or from serious neglect, that is tough. I totally get how it would take a lot more mental energy to let go of resentment and not fall into similar patterns. Therefore, this article may not be for you.

However, I think many Americans can look back and their childhoods and say they had a decent upbringing. There was food, education, and love – perhaps varying degrees of such, but it was all there.

So, why dissect every moment that your parents screwed up? Why assume that you are trapped in a fate that is dictated by someone else’s life choices? Why hold onto grudges, judgements, and childhood pain throughout your whole life?

Your parents are people. They did what they could with what they knew. You can not blame them for that.

You are hopefully smarter than your parents. (I say “hopefully” because it is always the desire to provide better for your children and enhance the human species with each generation.) Being smarter, you may see things differently. Seeing things differently does not imply that all previous ways of thinking are wrong.

How narcissistic.

People once thought the world was flat. Of course, we know now that it is round. But just because people did not have the technology or capability to know the true shape of the earth, does not mean that they were wrong for thinking that or stupid or incompetent. People made decisions based on what they knew. You can not blame them for that.

You are like the people that figured out the earth is round, where your parents thought it flat. Your parents will be dumbfounded (not dumb) and very proud of your discovery. Do not patronize your parents because they did not have the capability you have to think otherwise.

One day, you may be a parent, too, and you will see how hard it is to raise a person. Even if you are not a parent, at some point in your life you will realize that your parents were humans susceptible to making mistakes, just like you.

So, give your parents some slack. Learn from the past, but do not forget all the wonderful memories of your childhood. The laughter and love. Be grateful for who your parents are exactly as they are, and thank them for giving you life and an opportunity to live.

Your parents love you more than they even realize. Give back to them by returning that love and enriching their lives.

REFLECT

Make a quick mental list of all the things you love or admire about your parents. Your parents undoubtedly have character traits that you like and learn from. Keep those characteristics in your mind at all times. When you feel the urge to blame your parents for something silly, just pull out your list and focus on the good stuff. Take ownership over your own flaws and see them as independent of your upbringing. Each day you have the choice to be whoever and whatever you want. Your past is past, so get over it. Move into the future with gratitude for lessons learned and dedication to continual improvement.

17 comments

    • Rachael says:

      Thank you, Mom. And I am very grateful to be your daughter. (Okay, it’s out now…Linda is my mother. I’m sure it all makes sense now why Linda is the top-commenter on this site :) Thanks for your continuous support, Little Mamma!)

  1. Y says:

    This part made me really sad:
    “You are like the people that figured out the earth is round, where your parents thought it flat. Your parents will be dumbfounded (not dumb) and very proud of your discovery. Do not patronize your parents because they did not have the capability you have to think otherwise.”
    Because in this scenario my parents would not be proud. They would say that I’m wrong and that Earth is flat. If I would provide them with proof, they would dismiss it saying that they live longer and know better, and who am I to tell them that the Earth is round. They would question everything, including my mental state, because to them it would be crazy to even think that the Earth is round.
    Yeah, it is hard to not blame parents like that, they never listened to me and always dismissed everything I said, they judged me based on what they did when they were my age and always patronized me and still do to this day. To them, I’m crazy and will always be. I cannot talk to them I’m so angry for everything they did, and there was barely any physical violence so it’s extra easy for them to deny that they did anything wrong. I have no idea how to ever forgive them, because when I think of my mother I’m so angry that I can’t help but imagine breaking her stupid face and the mouth that spouted so many mean things about me throughout my childhood. Also my childhood was a time of perpetual loneliness and I’m so happy that it’s over, what a sad thing to never want to go back to your childhood.

    • Beautiful says:

      I can’t even imagine what it must’ve been like to deal with constant reminders of how “imperfect” you are and not having parents fully invested in you the way all parents should be. From personal experience, I have seen firsthand the trauma clueless and misguided parenting can cause on young children, specifically regarding mothers. You might feel like your parents or parent undermine you on purpose, and to be frank, that sometimes ends up being the case. However, I truly believe most parents raise their kids the best way they know how, and although this might be hard to swallow, every time they hurl insults your way or disregard your achievements, its a reflection of themselves not you. Deep down, they don’t mean any of the things they say but have real difficulties expressing their true feelings, whether it be from their upbringing or other factors. But I can tell you with certainty your parents think you’re the smartest one in the household and love you with all their heart. This might pertain more to one of them than both, but the fact remains that they love you more than they can fathom. Nothing can make up for how they treated you in the past, but holding that resentment in leads to intense anger that worsens over the years, no matter what distractions preoccupy you. All i can say is until you question your parents to understand their ways, you’ll never be able to forgive them and move on. Forgiveness is a virtue that many people have trouble with, me included, but once you relive the pain you went through and better understand why your parents did what they did, you’ll become stronger for it and realize that forgiveness is the only true way to mend your unique heart.

  2. Papasan says:

    ‘When they hurl insults and disregard your achievements’.. Understood. Let me ask you this: “Would you ever even think that let alone do the same to them { or anyone}”?
    Never. You can mitigate all you want however, each of us are responsible for our own behavior and how it may affect others, especially those we ‘love’. Respect, empathy, and a solid plank of trust is always in style, no matter how old we are. Love and be loved but never hurt to be loved by those you cannot ever {dozens of horrid examples} trust… Self respect will also never go out of style and feels best when safe with the ones you love most.

    ‘Don’t mean the things they say/difficulties expressing true feelings’..
    Understood even more. Words are like nails to a healthy tree in that if you stab that tree with a single nail and then take it out, the scar will remain long after that tree falls. The true measure of love is trust. With trust being void, what differentiates them from a criminal on the street that only enjoys stealing from you the only thing {self respect} you have left? . However, if trust is without question, {a true and special priveleged relationship/one built on confidence and trust} and trust is always present, you can still be able to find time to laugh with those same people instead of ‘one-upping’ or being passive-aggressive and shattering the trust you’re both {hopefully} seeking from each other…Be honest with those you share DNA with, if you cannot, well, safe journey into the abyss finding it with those you don’t.

    Just two-cents from the peanut gallery. Great article, a lot of solid points!
    p.s. I love my boys, maybe one day I can trust them too…Truth and honesty vacated our love long long ago. However, we get the last laugh! Simple, me and their mom created two guys that are beautiful and amazing in ‘our’ eyes.. how could we see any different…we are parents! I play the ‘mean one’, mom plays ‘nice one’ and they play us both! Haha (love em, with all your heart; but be sure to love yourself too)

  3. Karen Kinsey says:

    God Bless You! My oldest daughter will soon be 40. She’s never been married and has no children. She explodes every few months and blames everything wrong with her life is my fault. It upsets me for days, I can’t eat or sleep wondering what I did that was so wrong except love her beyond measure and provide she and her sister with the best possible life I could when their father and I divorced. She always feels bad after such an explosion, but I don’t understand why she does it.

    • Yeseye Haveone says:

      I’ve got one of those. A couple of years younger, but the scenario is very similar…except mine shows no remorse and blames me, exclusively for anything and everything negative in her life. What an amazing and refreshing article this is, and thank you author for writing this. I feel uplifted.

    • DyedinRed says:

      Maybe instead of just thinking her explosions are fit of misdirected anger you should really ask her to explain her feelings and talk with her calmly. Be gentle and remain calm- even if she says things you don’t agree with. It will take both of you to work this out, if you shut her down when she explodes, she only has fuel to add to the fire. Someone who’s fragile like that is clearly hiding some very deep-rooted pain. A divorce itself can greatly damage a child- and no one should be blaming one another- but let’s not pretend that everyone’s innocent- grown child, or parent.
      You may have inadvertently caused her some pain that you’re not aware of- (or are in deep denial of). It’s hard to view our own behaviors objectively- what an adult sees is rarely what a child sees.
      I really hate these ignorant articles titled with “stop blaming your parents (you’re an adult, grow up)” or “Blame your parents!”
      both are negating of one parties’ feelings. You can’t dismiss an adult who feels the pain and has the awareness of having a bad past- they feel bitter, and want closure yet often times do not get it- it’s not something to snide at. You can’t entirely blame parents- often times they too are a result of their own parents’ teachings. It’s a circle, but someone has to stop it. It’s better if the parent and child decide to talk it through and work it out together- but sometimes it’s just not possible. Don’t negate your child’s feelings by using their age to deter your responsibility towards building a better relationship. And those hurt children, hiding inside of adults- please do not give up the chance to make things right with your parents- or with and for yourself. If you weren’t happy as a kid, you greatly deserve to be happy now.

      FYI adults who have a tendency to explode like that, often do so because of poor coping skills- unsteady emotions, and not knowing how to handle stress. Parents play a huge role in teaching their children how to cope with life and pain, those who do don’t grow up with such teachings or endure many arguments as a child (saw parents fighting or fought with their parents) are more prone to explode.
      -B.S. Psychology, study in Philosophy

  4. Soly says:

    We have also problems with our 29 year-old son. Blames us parents for the break up of his girlfriend which he feels was the love of his life and we messed it up because we would not accept their relationship. She is a single mother of 3 kids. Since we did not accept her she broke up with him and this is where the blame comes in to the point that he is cutting ties with us.
    We tried to convince him to end the relationship, said to us no, you will not break us apart. He is now heart broken. We don’t know what to do. We do not want to have anything to do with her, but would like our son back in our lives. We acted in his best interests but he does not see it. We visioned that he would be heart broken in life and his age is advancing and would have less chances to meet someone with good family values to have children of his own.

    • wowza says:

      You need to apologize to your son. Did you seriously think what you said was okay? It’s his life, and to not accept someone he cares about already has children and therefore doesn’t fit your standards is childish and judgemental. 29 is not old. Her already having kids shouldn’t be a deal breaker or the end of the world. How sad of you to be this way. I hope he found love since this post and cuts you out of his life.

  5. DyedinRed says:

    I think it rather ignorant to tell the pained adults to “grow up”. As if their age negates their feelings. You can grow ‘past’ pain, but not from it. If that doesn’t make sense, I’d advise you to think about it. A bitter apple never made a good pie.

    I don’t find your article to be rather deep or helpful- instead it allows for the gap to widen between parents and children. It’s a nice start, but you’re not really digging deep enough. The healing process is never one-sided. For the grown adult, or for the parent- ideally, both need to assume a degree of responsibility. But if that’s not possible, not giving a grown adult who had a painful past, a way to find closure with such pain, will only further continue the problem.

    It’s funny that you said that parents were not responsible for their poor teachings because they “did what they knew”. Isn’t that a rather circular train of thought? Because these pained adults you’re trying to preach to, will also have kids one day.

    So if you’re technically blaming grown adults for being narcissistic wallowers, then contradicting yourself and taking the blame off parents (and inherently all future parents who screw up) are you ever really solving the problem? Have you really broke new ground here? Or are you just contributing to the continuation of this circle (that is, because it ultimately ‘doesn’t matter’)?

    Or is this really an article about being more grateful? Because if that’s it, you shouldn’t title it with the intent to give advice to pained adults with childhood issues.
    ‘Be grateful even if you had a painful childhood’ would be a better title.

  6. DyedinRed says:

    *I do however, admire your positivity and determination in this article – but be aware those you may be reaching out to will require help beyond such sentiments. Especially if a child who experienced very real trauma and angst is trying to work through all of the junk handed down to them. Not everyone was lucky enough to have a ‘moderately happy, sometimes difficult childhood’.

  7. Brittney says:

    First off as I reach my 30th Birthday I do blame my parents for how I turned out. I recently came to my own understanding on why I could never say nice things about myself, and why negative thoughts came so easily. My mother never said I love you but instead your stupid I should of given you up and the body shaming threw my childhood. While my dad tried to make up for the lack of affection from my mother. Always coming with excuses why my mother was the way she was. Well her mother never said I love you to her that’s why she doesn’t say it to you. There has been since I can remember a disconnect in mother daughter relationship. To this day she still insults me. Still says she should of gave me away. I have absolutely no connection with my parents. My father I never noticed as a child but now as a adult I do my own father was controlling. He would get mad even me being an adult not doing what he said. Or yelling and getting mad if I disproved him. So yes I blame them they undermined my parenting they do the complete opposite of what I say with my own daughter as a person almost 30 they still treat me as if I don’t know anything can’t do nothing but when I show I’m smart and well capable of doing just about anything it’s disregarded. They shit talk me. They have their noses in the air. Oh yeah they buy buy buy new stuff expensive stuff and look at me cause I’m thrifty and save my money or as much as I can. Raising a family isn’t cheap. I’m looked down on because I sport less than new stuff clothes vehicles electronics. But due to thrifty shopping I took my husband and daughter to Florida Disney world sea world and what not not to mention the multiple trips to sturgis motorcycle rally for almost the whole week. So I don’t know I do blame them for how I respond to situations and how I talk to myself. Considering they are still doing it.

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