I’ve always told my clients that if they have survived childhood, they can survive anything. And that’s true. Think of it this way: as a child, you are powerless and often feel like a victim. You can’t get your way too often if, at all, and you are often punished for things you didn’t feel you did wrong.
And these aren’t even the children who have suffered physical or sexual abuse, nor are they the children who have suffered emotional abuse or who were born with birth defects. Some of them are the children of alcoholic parents or substance abusers, but most of them are just the children of ordinary parents whose main complaint is that their children didn’t come with training manuals and they had to wing it, not knowing if their parenting would scar their children for life.
Yet many of these so-called “normal” children spend years going to therapists, trying to analyze their messed up childhood to find the cause of their unhappiness. And, it’s so easy to play the blame game. Parents are not perfect beings, nor are they supposed to be. Most of them do the best they can, with or without their own parental role models.
But, when do the children start to take responsibility for their own lives? When do they stop blaming their parents for being imperfect beings? In other words, when do they grow up?
It’s unrealistic to go through life blaming others for your unhappiness or for your hang-ups. At some point, you have to say to yourself that you are no longer a child and if you want to be treated like an adult, you have to act like an adult. In much the same way you put away your childhood toys when you started dating, you need to put away your childish attitudes and stop blaming others for your unhappiness.
Therapy can be wonderful for people who are ready to make the necessary changes in their life but I hate to see people going for therapy who just want to complain or to assign blame for their own failures. I hate to see people who are still using their parents as their excuse after twenty years of counseling. I just want to tell them that life is not a bowl of cherries and it’s time to grow up.