More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Why It's OK That Your Parents Are Jerks
by Andrea Scoretz, HuffPost Canada
August 9, 2017

About 10 years ago I got arrested for being drunk in public.

Long story short, I was in a really bad state. I was severely depressed, drinking heavily, and couldn't see past the bottle in front of me.

No one in my family was capable of helping during this time. They just didn't know how to deal with me. Neither did the psych nurse that came to see me in jail when I'd sobered up. She basically told me that if I did it again there would be charges pressed. No offers for counselling or help.

So it was all on my own shoulders ? to heal and get better. It was like, "You're ****ed up, and there is no reason why you should be ? none of us are. So it's on you to figure out your issues and get over them."

Do I think I deserved better treatment? If I was eager to jump on the self-pity train, I'd say yes. But I'll repeat what I said previously: no one in my life was capable of helping me; they didn't know how to deal with me. And I think I scared the **** out of them because I was like this volatile ****ing rocket that was ready to go off at any time.

I learned a lot from my experience. One being that generally as a society, we lack compassion for scenarios and people we don't understand. We get so scared, and default to simplifying and minimizing another person's struggle.

So we say "You loser drunk" instead of "You deeply troubled girl who doesn't know how to love herself."

And obviously, it takes less time and energy to call someone a loser, or a **** up, and wipe your hands of them. No one wants to take ownership of a shitty scenario so they just blame it away.

Parents do it too.
And egos don't like compassion or empathy. They are horny for power and control, and there's tons of that in the judgment process. So generally, our ego-dominated society digs judgment, because it boosts people up, albeit under dirty, false pretenses.

What am I saying? I'm saying I wouldn't change a thing. I got better on my own, and I'm proud of that fact. It didn't happen right away, not even after that night in jail. But it happened. And through the process of recovering and discovering some love for myself, I learned a lot of stuff, particularly about my family.

My hope for what I wanted my parents to be was so intense that I couldn't see who they actually were: flawed humans.

I learned it takes two to tango. That just because someone does something shitty doesn't mean it warrants a lifetime of judgment and ostracization. And I'm not talking about myself here, though of course, it is relatable to my scenario.

I've realized that the avoidance of any and all responsibility for one's actions causes great imbalance. I've long held one parent responsible for all the issues in our family, sheltering the other from any ownership. When in fact it takes two to create a shitty situation. To capitalize on the other's mistakes and use it as fuel, in order to dismiss ownership of the unsightly, and proclaim "I didn't do anything wrong; I am innocent" is to create an imbalance that causes much discontent ? for all parties involved.

Blame is high-grade procrastination ? it's like the THC in the weed that tweaks your brain. It keeps you from seeing your own contributions to the discontent you feel. For whatever reason, my journey has entailed blaming others and outside sources for all the shitty stuff that went on in my life. I was taught how to blame away my problems, and now I'm teaching myself how to release the need to do that.

Because I am hyper-cognizant of the fact that blame is a recipe for suffering.
Truth: if you find yourself in a shitty interaction, you had a hand in it. You are not innocent. This does not mean you are a piece of **** and unworthy of love. It means that to say you had no hand in the events surrounding your discontent is to avoid the lesson. And I don't know about you, but I WANT TO KNOW ALL THE LESSONS. I want to make sense of the struggle, and come out of it like a ****ing phoenix rising from the ashes.

My hope for what I wanted my parents to be was so intense that I couldn't see who they actually were: flawed humans.

That's not a slight, it just is what it is. Yes, they have talents and abilities and positive qualities ? but they are human, and to be human is to be flawed. Part of my journey has entailed realizing that they will not always be right, or kind, or compassionate, or loving.

My parents are capable of being jerks, just like every other person walking the planet.
And they weren't and will not be capable of being my saviors. They won't be able to fix me or teach me to appreciate myself, they won't be the ones leading me towards enlightenment, though, through their dysfunction and perceived failures, I have learned to love who I am, and function at a higher state.
So even though they aren't eager to issue apologies, even though they judged me and gossiped about me in the past, even though they may not consider the repercussions of their comments and behaviours ? each moment of disappointment I feel is actually an opportunity for me to just accept them, as is, for who they are.

Because when I do that, I open the door for them to be generous enough to do the same for me.
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