Arlen’s parents were not the best – far from the best, they might have been among the worst. Both his father and mother were drug users, shooting up on heroin several times a day. Of course they did not have steady jobs and financed their drug use through various crimes. His father did smash-and-grab, garage break-ins, and muggings. His mother did shoplifting, pick pocketing, and street corner prostitution.
At 15, both of Arlen’s parents were in jail and there was no food in the house. Hungry and desperate, one of his friends told him about a chop shop that was paying cash for stolen cars. This started Arlen on his own crime career, and it started his own police record of arrests.
His parents went to prison when he was only 18, and with no way to fend for himself, he went back to stealing cars. One day, as the police car was taking Arlen in for his latest car theft attempt, the police officer asked him why someone smart and capable was sinking into a life of crime.
“It’s my parents” Arlen complained. “With loser parents like mine, what can I do?”
“Stop blaming your parents!” said the cop driving the squad car. “That’s just an excuse. All the psychology sites say you gotta start by blaming yourself.”
“But I need to blame my parents,” said Arlen. “Otherwise I just have to admit I’m a bad person and this is just the way I am.”
“Hmmm,” saidf the cop. “An interesting way to look at it.”
But there is a lot of truth in this. Pop psychology says to not blame your parents and put it all on yourself, but that’s a heavy burden to carry. It starts you off as a bad and defective person. It may actually be better to say to yourself “It wasn’t me – it was my parents. And if I can just shrug off my parents’ bad influence, I can see that I’m not defective in any way and totally capable of earning an honest living from now on.”
It’s perfectly logical. The philosophy of “don’t blame your parents” puts all the guilt on your own shoulders. It starts you out as a less-than-normal person and logically you will always see yourself as less than equal when going head-to-head in competition with others who did not have terrible parents. In times of stress you will always see yourself as being not as good as other people.
Let’s look at it the other way. It was your parents’ fault. They were terrible influences who put you at the disadvantage from the beginning. Your faults and crimes are not part of who you are – it’s something very separate that you can toss aside. With this philosophy, when you face challenges there is no disadvantage. When you come head-to-head in competition with someone who has had a wonderful childhood, you both have equal advantage. In times of stress there is nothing on your shoulders holding you down. Once you come to the realization that all the bad decisions you have previously made were your parents’ fault, you now have a clean slate. You can make your future as good as you want it to be.
Of course I am the only one who could ever think this way … or maybe not. Time Magazine does also. Check out http://time.com/3639171/parenting-blame-parents . Or maybe Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-power-prime/201204/personal-growth-blame-your-parents-your-problems . Or the University of Alabama http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/life-strategies/job-career/work-style-parents and on and on and on … the general consensus about blaming your parents are changing. But you don’t have to be angry or disrespectful of your parents or take it to a level where you refuse to talk to them anymore – just realize their flaws and eliminate those flaws from yourself.
It’s time to put fault where it belongs – and then step away and create new successes without the burden of self-blame for things for which you were not responsible.
It can be a tremendous boon to your life. Blame your parents for the awful eating habits while growing up – and then change them to healthy eating habits. Blame them for awful manners – and develop good ones. Blame them for lack of ambition – and pursue your lofty goals.
If you have found yourself in a quagmire in your life, unable to shrug off your flaws and find success, unable to go on to the next level – examine your own flaws and see if they are really your own flaws or if you are just copying your parents’ flaws from habit. Shrug off your parents bad habits and flaws and give yourself a clean slate to develop positive habits.
This doesn’t mean hate your parents and stop loving them (although in our example, Arlen has reason to do just that.) It’s about putting fault for bad decisions where they belong and rethinking decisions to come up with your own (hopefully correct) decisions. Feel no guilt in blaming your parents if they are genuinely at fault. Remember, as a child, your parents were making decisions for you.
If you can release all the undeserved burdens of guilt from your own shoulders and realize what things were no fault of your own, there is little doubt you will find increased success in everything you do.
Why not blame your parents if they deserve the blame? Free yourself of their decisions and start making your own. Wipe away the past and start fresh. Today and tomorrow will then be totally up to you – clear and clean from where you have been and thinking only of where you want to go. When you make new decisions, totally free of any influence from your parents, then you are clear to sink or swim based solely on your own abilities and decision-making.
Go forward and think free.