One of the hardest things for people to admit to me on the air is that their parents screwed them up. Part of the problem is that you still want to have them as parents, so you spend a lot of time blaming yourself. It’s the ultimate denial.
Whether your parents were mean, suffocating, hypercritical, cruel, demanding, drunk, philandering, or unloving, you generally turn out with the same problems. Here are some of the signs that your parents screwed you up:
You find trusting relationships difficult. If you believe that you’re going to be treated like your parents treated you, you’re always going to be on edge, suspicious, needy, and destructive in relationships.
You take rejection and failure very hard. Children of crappy parents tend to have a really horrendous reaction to anything that isn’t incredible success because if you fail, you’re proving your parents right.
You are a people-pleaser. You kiss everybody’s butt in order to push down your own hurt and make yourself feel more secure.
You are incredibly critical of yourself. Maybe your parents told you that you were responsible for why Mommy drinks or why Daddy is violent. However, parents don’t even have to use the words “stupid”, “worthless”, or “trash” to make you feel unworthy. Simply being an over-controlling helicopter parent can convince a child that they’re not good enough and can’t do anything by themselves.
So, what can you do about it if your parents have screwed you up? Call my show at 1-800-DR LAURA (1-800-375-2872), see a therapist, or read my book, Bad Childhood, Good Life.