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Stop Parenting Yourself the Way you were Parented

    Some of us are fortunate to come into this world with healthy parents who can meet our emotional and physical needs. However, sometimes that is not the case, and this article is written for those less fortunate.

    When we grow up in an environment that does not provide the necessary emotional support, we often struggle as adults to both realize we deserve this, and we also lack the skills on how to provide it to ourselves. You can work on changing this by validating your own feelings, understanding you are entitled to feel even if you were given the faulty message as a child that it is not OK to show emotion.

    If you learned in childhood that it was not acceptable to make a mistake you can challenge this as well. Remind yourself that you are human and therefore mistakes are inevitable and not a reflection of your overall worth, and in no way make you inadequate as a person.

    Perhaps you were held responsible for other’s behaviors, such as being blamed for the behaviors of your siblings or parents. Recognize that this was never something you had control over and was just a way for others to not take accountability for their own actions. You only have control over your own behavior, and others need to learn to be responsible for themselves. If people try to blame you for their unacceptable behaviors, recognize that this is not your burden to carry.

    Lastly, some people grow up where there are no boundaries set in relationships. Your unhealthy parents may see you as an extension of themselves. Therefore, not respecting your right to be an individual with your own unique thoughts and opinions, no regard for your right to privacy, or they may feel they have ownership over you as well as your own children. As challenging as it may be, you must set up boundaries. Likely, unhealthy people will try to violate your boundaries, but you must hold firm and send the message that you will not tolerate their behaviors.

    The unfair truth remains that in the absence of secure, loving, and nurturing parental figures, one must learn to parent themselves differently than they were parented. It is a process of “unlearning” old habits and learning another way of being. Be patient with yourself. It is a very challenging journey and can feel very uncomfortable adjusting to the changes warranted, but a very rewarding outcome of a happier version of yourself awaits.