Debate and Discussion

"My parents didnt give a damn... I'm messed up..." Is this necessarily true?
kyupol at 7:38AM, June 4, 2011
posts: 3,718
joined: 1-12-2006
WARNING: May contain incoherent rambling that may sound self-righteous, arrogant, etc. to some…

I dont know if its just me but I have observed that in many cases, its the parents who screw up their children.

I know that every psychologist out there will point to bad parenting as the reason for destructive behaviors of people. The psychologist would love to blame the parent who is always drunk, always angry, or doesnt care one bit and who is too pre-occupied with stupid pointless things like chilling with the buds or the girls… that… or being too pre-occupied with business and constantly focused on building up wealth that they neglect the family that lives in the million dollar house.

Speaking from personal experience here. Without getting into details, the family I grew up in was very dysfunctional coupled with this toxic mixture of over-protectiveness and physical and mental abuse. That screwed me up for the most part until I was able to move out and be on my own… that is when I sort of regained my sanity back which built my self-esteem and led me to a path where I'm in a better position.

I'm not saddled with tons of debt. I have a job and I am partially self-employed. I'm not making truckloads of money but I'm doing fine. I have also learned to mature in my understanding of how the world really works and all that.

The point is, if I stayed with my parents up to this point, I'd remain in some form of mental retardation. I'd still be innocent and naive and have completely no clue of how the world really works. That AND I'd probably be on psychiatric drugs right now as I get more and more miserable. Also I can tell that if my parents left me to my own devices and allowed me to be independent at an earlier age, I'd be more successful by now and making more money.

Please understand that the Filipino culture is a culture in where you do not move out of your parents house unless you are married. Its a culture that tends to view you as a little child as long as you arent married yet. And if you're viewed as a child you will be treated as such. If you're treated as such, it creates a hypnotic state in where you believe you ARE a child even if you are already a MAN or a WOMAN. See the destructiveness of this?

Other individuals I have observed… like this one individual who is unmarried in his 50s and still lives with his mom as a result. I have observed the mom doesnt respect him. She'd yell and scream at him like he's some dog or something… as if she expects that she is ENTITLED to him taking care of her. And this man's mental state isnt any better. He still acts like a 17 year old and he himself told me that even though I'm the younger man, I seem to be more enlightened than he is. See the damage done?

And other individuals I just observed were very very very very very subservient to the parents.

Yes its good to respect the elders and all that. But respecting elders doesnt always mean allowing them to walk all over you and control your mind!!! By the time you hit 20 (some people would argue 18 but I think 18 is too young), you are no longer a child. You are a man or a woman. And you should be treated as such.

As a young man (17-20… at that age I was still treated like a 10 year old by the parents) I was jealous of the other kids whose parents didnt give a damn about them. Why? Because they were able to stay out as long as they wanted… therefore allowing them to develop social and other necessary survival skills. Yes some of them “screwed up” and turned to the gangster and drug life. But others grew up to be pretty decent individuals who have their act together.

So… does it really boil down to the person?

Are psychologists sometimes wrong when they make the assumption that parents dont care = messed up kid? And if this is the case, does that make psychology an INEXACT science that should be coupled in together with religion / spirituality?

Because I have heard many stories of people who the psychiatrists cannot fix and they got better through meditation (buddhist, yoga, taoist, whatever you wanna brand it) or “finding Jesus”.

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:27PM
Ally Haert at 6:18PM, June 8, 2011
posts: 279
joined: 2-16-2011
First, let me start this by saying this reply isn't directed at you specifically, kyupol. It's meant to be a general statement that reflects some of my beliefs about all people.

If you were interested in self-preservation, I believe you would become a student of grace. Negative emotions are ultimately self-destructive. Forgiving is healing.

It's with no small twinge of guilt that I can say “rise above” to people who come from hard backgrounds, mostly because I grew up in such a stable home. But I don't believe my personal lack of experience affects the external truth that we are who we choose to be. I understand nobody can change where they come from and certainly no one can choose what kind of hand life will deal them. Terrible things happen to some people, and it's even harder to accept when it happens to them as children.

However, I cannot accept the notion that we are only products of circumstance. I do think it's easier to be gracious and forgiving about circumstances in our lives than it is to be gracious and forgiving towards people in our lives. If my leg were to be cut off as a child, I imagine the wound would be easier to cope with than if my dad had sexually abused me. Circumstances tend to leave smaller emotional and psychological scars than people do.

Parents have…an incredible capacity to either build up or tear down their children. And unfortunately, it is much easier to hurt a child than it is to help him.

But blaming others for our own emotional issues (no matter how justified the blame is) robs ourselves of something we truly need: When we blame, we give away our power. And when we specifically blame others, we are specifically giving up the power to change.

Wayne Dyer
“All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you. The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration. You may succeed in making another feel guilty about something by blaming him, but you won't succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy.”

The line between blame and hurt is blurred when it comes to family. But where there is more strife for a person to overcome, there is also more opportunity for greatness. A man who has overcome more hardship is comes out a wiser, more commpassionate man than one who has coasted happily through life.

When a man climbs a mountain it is noteworthy. When a man climbs Mount Everest it is great.

On the off chance that huge rant was too vague, let me make a summarized value statement:

I do not believe a person can blame who he has become on the circumstances of his life. Ultimately the person we become is a result of the choices we make based upon the circumstances we are given. Ergo, I don't believe a person can directly blame their parents for “how screwed up they are”.

Let the mud flinging commence…
“No one can go back to start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending,” Maria Ross.
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:49AM
mlai at 6:38PM, June 8, 2011
posts: 3,035
joined: 12-28-2006
Wow Ally, you're like a guidance counselor!

I'm inspired to draw my comics now!

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:07PM
Ally Haert at 7:01PM, June 8, 2011
posts: 279
joined: 2-16-2011
I just got the most disturbing mental image of me as a counselor horribly scarring somebody for life…

“No one can go back to start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending,” Maria Ross.
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:49AM
theorah at 2:37AM, June 9, 2011
posts: 78
joined: 7-19-2006
I dont think Psychologists say that only kids who had parents who didnt care get screwed up.
In fact most cases of male psychopaths I've read about or my Mum (who is a psychotherapist) has told me about, they are people who have been completely overwhelmed/smothered by their parents (mothers in particular), and thus became frustrated by their lack of independence, which in turn, in extreme cases gives them power issues which can lead to them killing or berating woman.

So I think the truth of the matter for psychologists is more like "My parents are human beings…I'm messed up…' XD

It might sound that way, but psychologists dont blame everything on the parents, or say they are bad parents. Its more that environment and circumstances that happen to young children influence how they react to later situations. Any tiny little thing can make a difference, whether your parent was a nasty person or not. I think psychologists more hope to find that early source of how someone reacts to a problem, and then make the person aware of it, so that they can become more self aware and make better choices in the future (like what Ally Haert was saying). Of course as you've pointed with your experience of other people, this apparently doesnt always work 0_o

I agree with you that it does boil down to the person, I think psychologists would normally say the same too ^^

Two people could have the same nasty traumatic event happen during their childhood, but as I've been told at least, one person could come out of that completely fine, whilst the other come out a total mess, depending very simply on how their brain was wired at a very, very early age (as in ages 0-3).

Anyway, all that aside, I also totally agree with Ally Haert, she makes an interesting and good point, just about life in general, something I think anyone can benefit from =3

Also, so interesting hearing about Filipino culture, I didnt know that at all! It varies so much from place to place ^^; In my family, independence is considered to be what you should do at an early age, but I actually would've preferred to of been like other families that I know, that stick more together, 'cos I spent a horrible year thinking I couldnt go to my family for help ^^;
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:25PM
Corruption at 5:14AM, June 11, 2011
posts: 24
joined: 5-30-2007
Each of us makes our own choices in life. However, many of us are blinded by not being able to see all the options, or having our choices influences by our upbringing and culture. So, I would say it is a combination of both.

Only when a person can put the problems of their past behind them can they grow as a person.

You mentioned some people letting their parents walk all over them, and they accept it as they are taught to respect their parents. The way I see it is that one of the ways I respect my parents is by being the kind of person who can stand up for myself and has self respect.

I am actually thinking of making a comic that will deal with many issues as side notes, and one of them is a persons free will being confined and bound by outside factors such as society, tradition and their past, including upbringing.
We are all corrupt in our own ways
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:46AM
MadTarnsman at 7:46PM, June 13, 2011
posts: 53
joined: 5-23-2010
How you're impacted as an adult by your environment differs from person to person given psychological strengths and weaknesses.

My childhood was pretty much Ozzie ‘n Harriet, until I hit my early teens. My father was a rural country gent and long haired hippies didn’t appeal to him…it was his way….cuz he said so! Yep, pretty much every tenant of the Constitution was suspended in his house.

My mom was the most overprotective and hovering individual I think I've ever met. That didn't exactly lend itself to self reliance but it had to be learned.

I was out of the house the day I graduated…..BAM!! Straight from the high school ceremony to on the road with friends. It wasn't that I thought my parents were wrong, per se, but perhaps outdated and smothering. There was shit I had to find out for myself.

The year before I was eligible for the draft…..yes, they were drafting people during parts of the Viet Nam war….some thinking led me to believe that the Navy, against an enemy that didn't have one, would be the safe bet for service and the GI Bill. Well, when I got on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier I found out it was like being in combat everyday…..the people trying to kill you were a lot friendlier and it was inadvertent…..but dead is dead, right?

Military life back in the seventies was Work Hard/Play Hard….it was rash, uncouth, crass but funny as hell at times if you enjoyed dark humor. Injuries, both physical albeit they left me in one piece, and psychological landed me on VA disability for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and lower right back/hip damage that is not surgically viable. I eat prescribed vicodin faster than House!!

At the risk of sounding like a narcissistic boor, I'm far more skilled, worldly and educated than my parents…..but, they did their job, didn't they? Isn't it every parents' job to see that their children are better off than they are? I'm also certainly a lot more jaded than they were, and my old man was on the same beach Tom Hanks made immortal in Saving Private Ryan….he didn't talk about The Big War much.

I scuba dive…..I'm licensed to carry a concealed weapon….I've had fourteen years of kenpo karate…..I'm thinking of returning to college on a grant and get an art degree. A useable one, not the kind of degree where I can stand in a museum and be an arrogant, stuffy prick…..I can do that sitting here!

So….environment and parents? Tricky subject matter. Personally, I wish my parents had stood back a bit and let me fall on my ass once in a while. If they pooch screwed me at all, it was in the way I raised my own son…..watching….hovering….ready to intervene….but I never let him know it, I just watched and held my breath a few times. I had him certified to scuba dive….we dove together a lot….he's no stranger to firearms but didn't grow up with them like I did. The outbreak of AIDS really cramped his social life. Back in my day, the clap was an ass kickin' offense… you send the gal a thank you note!!

“Life comes at ya pretty fast, sometimes….double tap to the head if it does….”
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:50PM
Squishy_Frog at 3:56AM, July 24, 2011
posts: 22
joined: 11-12-2006
The old “nature versus nuture” has been something that people have debated for a very long time.  I like to think that it's combination.  My sister has a one year old daughter who has a very strong personality.  No matter who was raising her, she would probably have the same exact personality.  However, people change over the years, and how they make their decisions is usually based on what they've experienced or haven't experienced.  My sister and I have had the same upbringing albeit four years age difference.  We have completely different personalities and the only thing we really have in common is what jokes we like.  
Sometimes a person who has been abuse (mental/physical) can get over it and become a better person.  Sometimes they can't and become a complete mess.  I like to believe that it's more how you percieve your life's difficulties and pleasures.  
My parents divorced when I was younger and both of them are remarried now.  My sister is married, and my step-brother, whose fiance and himself have also dealt with their parents divorce are still getting married this year.  However I panic and run at any hint of commitment from my significant other.  The main question is, would I still be like this if my parents had never gotten divorced and loved each other throughout my lifetime.  Honestly, I don't know, but I'm happy with who I am and where I am.  I think it's unfair to blame a person's fault on just one situation.  Our lives are made up of many situations, and many of them can be seen as good or bad depending on the person.  
Random Fact nerd.
arteestx at 9:49AM, Aug. 5, 2011
posts: 285
joined: 6-1-2007
Ally Haert wrote:
But I don't believe my personal lack of experience affects the external truth that we are who we choose to be. …..I do not believe a person can blame who he has become on the circumstances of his life. Ultimately the person we become is a result of the choices we make based upon the circumstances we are given. Ergo, I don't believe a person can directly blame their parents for “how screwed up they are”.

 As others have pointed out, it's a mix. You can choose who you want to be to some extent, but your parents give you your first set of tools on how to do that. And if they give you a foundation that is dysfunctional, that child is going to have a disadvantage. It's not 100% determined that they will be messed up; after all, different children with different personalities will respond differently, plus the lessons you learn as an adult can help you overcome their upbringing. But a child from a functional family has a headstart advantage over a child from a dysfunctional family.

It's like money. Sure, we ultimately choose our lifestyle, our vocation, and with a little luck, how much we'll earn. But coming from a wealthy family gives you advantages over coming from a poor family. It's not 100% deterministic; rich people go bankrupt and poor kids grow up to become millionaires. But that doesn't change the fact that starting off with money in a wealthy family gives you a headstart advantage over those with no money.

So while I agree that overall a mature person must accept responsibility for their own actions and choose who they want to be, I don't want that to sound like it's foolish to blame parents for dysfunctional parenting. Dysfunctional parents are giving their children a disadvantage that may or may not be easy to overcome. 

Xolta is not intended for anyone under 18 years old.
last edited on Aug. 5, 2011 9:50AM
ozoneocean at 10:57AM, Aug. 9, 2011
posts: 26,046
joined: 1-2-2004
I've met quite a few people who've had horribly abusive, unloving childhoods who've grown into the most beautiful, caring adults- mainly because it taught them how not to be.
HappyLandings at 7:55PM, Sept. 1, 2011
posts: 8
joined: 8-30-2011
I had a family that completely supported everything I wanted to do, and I owe any success i have in life to that. Problem is, even though they supported me, they weren't as nice to one another, and also, they never really “GOT” the whole comic book/video game thing I do. So, i resent them a little for that. We all learn to distance ourselves from our folks as far as identity goes. That's a part of growing up.
Splack at 3:41PM, Sept. 8, 2011
posts: 4
joined: 7-27-2011
I don't think it has to do with, giving a damn vs. Not giving a damn.
More like, messed up parent = messed up kid.
Your parents hit, ignore, overprotect, abandon or torture you or let you have you way far too much, you become messed up. Wether or not you recover from this however is a personal thing.
I mean, my situation is basically the opposite of yours. I grew up being ignored and shoved to the side. The only time my parents took the time to notice me was when I was seriously ill. Or when my dad hit me. There was never any babying and I was expected to act and be like any grown up person before I could even walk.
As a result I can say I din't exactly grow up to be the most happy go lucky person in the world, and I'm still not fully over it. I get anxiety attacks and have a serious fear of being disliked, ignored and alone.
But this is common where I live and I've seen ppl turn out way worse than I and I don't get why anyone would want to express pain by inflicting more pain on oneself.
Then again I've also seen kids from seemingly perfect homes turn out to be minor drunkard smokers throwing up in the street, selling themselves and comitting suicide.
In the end I think no matter how messed up your childhood might have made you it shouldn't be made an excuse to not do something about it.
Lastly: of course phsycology is inexact! If it wasn't it would be proclaiming to know all the secret inner workings of the human mind after all. It's just a matter of more or less qualified guesses based on prior knowledge much like what we know about the universe. It ain't much and a lot of times we get it wrong.
Turning to religion sounds like finding the parent figure you never had and comforting yourself with the thought of belonging. But I've never liked religion in the first place, I think it has very little to do with the phenom we call faith.
I'd rather spend my life appreciating the beauty of the world around me than worrying about what kind of afterlife I'll have when I die.
Sorry if I pissed anyone off, I am a very opinionated person.

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