Stupid Things That Parents Teach
THE Relationship Blog
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I will never say I’m perfect. I think I have a great family but no family is without their faults. In my case, I think having my parents made my life better in so many ways. For one, I learned to be a risk taker from them. That has served me throughout my life. However, there are a myriad of things that sent me to the couch that were passed on from my parents. Some of which I will share now.
1. Communication: My parents have the worst communication habit I have ever seen (which is scary since I have worked with couples, domestic violence and pedophiles). They break every single rule for fair fighting I have ever read. They name call, they dredge up old stuff and if they feel they are losing, they exaggerate. This pattern cemented the idea that it would be so stupid of me to continue this behavior so I can honestly say, I haven’t. Now, I will admit there have been times when I am not at my best and I become irritated where that well trained, dirty fighter wants to come out. Usually, I put her in time out for a few minutes before letting her out again.
2. Loyalty: I come from a tight family. I am proud to say that we all get along like friends. However, blind loyalty can get you in trouble. I can say that I am supportive but I don’t have to put my life on the line, right? Loyalty is so important to me but I must always take priority. Being ‘me first’ is not selfish, it’s healthy if you need to have your needs met. This lesson took me a while to learn and not without a few bruises (metaphorical).
3. Guilt: Guilt is a useless emotion. Guilt is hardly ever felt post felony but usually felt when you perceive that you were not enough in a relationship. For example: I work to hard so I feel guilty that I am not playing with my kids. Here’s an idea, stop working and play with your kids! Guilt is a hole in the ground that we dug out ourselves and filled it with sharks, alligators and chum. Don’t do it. I watched my Dad feel guilty about his Dad’s death for decades. It complicated his grief and he has been feeling the sharp sting of the loss for over 30 years. It’s stupid and very sad.
4. My family first: This is a hard one to learn. This goes against everything you are taught in your family. However, when you have your own family, ie. a spouse/partner, children, they come first. Everyone else can take a number and a seat and wait their turn. The happiness, welfare and general well-being of my husband and children come before anything else in my life after I have taken care of my needs. My parents were notorious for forgetting their priorities sometimes and spread themselves too thin. I know they regretted that but that’s just retro guilt and also very stupid.
I love my parents and respect them. They have always been an unwavering source of support and I truly appreciate that from them. They have also been supportive of therapy and my profession in general. They tell me they are proud. Do they understand everything? No. But they figure I do, so they just go along with it and agree. I like that about them.