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Emotional struggle, is it fair to blame your parents?

Through the years, I’ve been told by many patients entering therapy, “I don’t want to blame my parents.” This is especially true with loving—however misguided—parents. What’s the truth? Is it fair to point a finger of blame for your struggles on your mother or father? Or is it a cop out?

A child grows up, in a sense, through the “eyes” of the parents. Parents dealing with their own neurotic issues will indirectly send an unsettling message to the young child that the world must not be such a safe place. After all, if mom or dad are struggling…. So, the question comes up as to just how significant an impact do parents have on whether or not their child will grow up with neuroticism?

In this Self-Coaching episode I explore the relativity of the parental influence, the non-parental environment, and the genetic influence of why we suffer. With notable exceptions (i.e., unloving parents; alcohol or drug addicted parents; etc.) it’s usually not fair to point a finger of blame. Doing so makes us victims of our childhood; a mature and honest understanding of our parents can be catalytic in helping us break the historical habits of insecurity that feed our emotional struggle in the present.

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