As I sit here waiting for my monthly blood draw I find myself evaluating my life. Thinking about my kids, all of them, even the ones that aren’t in my life anymore because they’ve chosen not to be. It occurs to me that both my greatest victory and my biggest failure are in one of the same. I ask myself, “I wonder if all mothers feel this way?”
How do we make sense of our children’s nonsense? Why when two brothers are raised by the same parents, with the same values, and same philosophies, and yet they could easily tell you two complete different versions of their childhoods. What is the driving force behind each of us that causes us to act or react the way that we do, our attitudes, our personalities? How much can we really blame our parents for? If the values instilled upon us, and the way in which they were instilled has so much to do with how we turn out as adults, then how do you explain my sister and my opposing family views, or my four sons different attitudes about our family. Two giving zero value to our family unit and two putting the greatest value on our family units importance. If our upbringing is the prime determining factor for developing our values, attitudes and personality then I need a serious explanation. Two of my children have always acted like they were entitled. Sure, they had jobs as teenagers, but their money was always pilfered away quickly. My other two sons, have also had jobs as teenagers, and rarely ask for anything. As a matter of fact, often times I have to ask them what I can do for them because they won’t ask. Why is it that two people can be raised exactly the same, in the same house, by the same people, with the same education and one situation could effect them both differently. For example, one child sees or feels like they were raised well, so they then parent or adult just as their parents did them. While the other child, felt their needs were not met, therefore they parent or adult quite differently then how they were raised. My grandmother used to tell me that we parent our children the way we needed to be parented, meaning if we felt what we got worked for us, that is then what we will do as an adult ourself. However if we feel we did not get enough or get what we needed, we will then give more when we are adults. This stands true with so many relationships. While we are growing up, if we see that our parents relationship worked well, and we admired it, then that is the kind of adult relationship we will look for in our own lives, but if we were not impressed by our parents’ relationship for whatever reason, then we will choose not to have that same sort of relationship in our adult life and we will fix what we felt needed to be fixed or change what we feel should have been different.
No different I suppose, than treating our friends how we want and expect to be treated by them.
There is so much about the human mind, our emotions, actions and reactions that completely elude me. How is it that a person seems perfectly normal or fine for years, and then all of a sudden they are diagnosed with depression, bipolar, personality disorder, or any one of the many “labels” the medical community has come up with.
It appears as though everyone wants someone or something to blame for their miserable life, because it couldn’t possibly be as simple as “they are miserable people of their own making”.
For instance, my two oldest sons for twenty-five or more years proclaimed how much they appreciated their mom and how lucky they were to have her. Then BOOM, one day everything changed to her being a worthless mother, in fact a worthless human being. While at the same time all following the same story, the other two continue to appreciate and respect her, and are appalled by their brothers actions.
Those oldest two, have every excuse, complaint, and sad story to tell about how horrible their childhood was. When actually, the younger two had things much harder, yet they aren’t hateful or resentful and don’t waste time blaming people for their misfortunes. They simply live life the best they can and know to appreciate what and who they have now because it can all change in an instant.
So what is it that causes all of these different chaotic personalities? My opinion, A little bit of genetics, a little bit of learned or not, a little bit of life experiences or lack of, a little bit of luck or lack of it and a lot of “same generation influence”. When I say “same generation influence”, I am referring to their friends. I know what I taught my children. So once they were out there, on their own, they created relationships with more of their generation. Some of these relationships introduce new attitudes and we all know, “the grass is always greener on the other side”. This can be good, or it can be catastrophic.
BOOM. An attitude, a personality, is completely rerouted. If you’re lucky, rerouted to bigger and better. If you’re not so lucky, rerouted to substance abuse, physical abuse, endless types of addiction, parental estrangement, the list is long. All of the lessons and values that we worked so hard to instill into our children wavering each moment as they choose to remember what was taught to them and if they will follow the direction of the map we layed out, or make a new path. So what makes us tick? What causes us to fail our families? What causes is to fail ourselves? Are we toxic? Or are they toxic? Am I toxic? Or are you toxic?
My belief is everyone is toxic in one way or another. Keep the people close to you that know your toxic and try to help you be reasonable.
Don’t assume you’re the problem, and don’t be afraid to seek help.