Once we hit Adulthood it’s Time to Stop Blaming our Parents

Judging by the title of the post, I’m sure you can assume this post is going to be a little heavier than normal and for adults who blame their parents, you will want to keep reading.  For daughters who blame their moms for everything, or sons who do the same, there’s help out there to move past the pain.

I believe that by sharing our stories of things we have been through that it gives strength to those who are going through similar struggles and may need encouragement that they are not alone. Today I want to share why I believe we need to stop blaming our parents.  Anger at parents in adulthood for childhood trauma  is understandable, but there is healing.

stop blaming your parents

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You know what we all have? Some sort of baggage. I’ve yet to meet someone who didn’t carry any. The older you get, the more life experience you have, and the more opportunity you have to have gone through a deep trial.

I’m no exception. I’m guessing you aren’t either.

For years I carried deep wounds from things that happened in my childhood. When I became an adult I struggled with knowing how to “adult” properly. Actually, I even wrote a post about it over on Scary Mommy.

Along with struggling with the normal things that come along with being an adult, I struggled with the baggage I carried. I didn’t deal with it. I just cried a lot of tears, and then other moments I tried to ignore the issues and not work through it.

In my late teens and early twenties I carried a lot of anger because of the pain of my childhood. I watched my friends have close relationships with their families and yet just maintaining contact with mine was a struggle.  I cried out to God, “THIS ISN’T FAIR!!”

And so, I cried. A lot.

And don’t get me wrong, we all need to cry sometimes. We need to let our hearts feel the brokenness of what we’ve been through. We need to cry for the loss of what could have been but never was. If we don’t cry, we can’t heal.

But, if we just keep crying, and crying, and crying, and don’t stop, well, sometimes we just need a good kick in the pants.

Now, before you get the wrong impression, please know that I am not talking about those who are newly grieving, or suffering clinical depression, or something like that. Those are entirely different issues.

What I’m talking about is when we get in a position where we continually feel sorry for ourselves because of what our parents, or someone else did, to the point that we let it affect our day to day lives, or our future. We are grown adults yet we still point the finger and say, “If only I had a better upbringing, I could have made better choices.”  We pass on the responsibility of our poor choices onto someone else.

*Need more resources on dealing with resentment towards parents?  Try one of these books to help with healing:


I’ll never forget one day when I was around 19 years old, and I was chatting with a friend on the internet. This was back in the day of ICQ. If you remember chatting on ICQ then you are old like me. 🙂

I was telling my friend how upset I was about something going on with my parents.

He replied, “Do you enjoy being miserable?”

I was taken aback, and very offended.

It wasn’t until a few years later after finally getting to the point that I was tired of being miserable that I understood what he meant. I even thanked him years later for calling me out on the fact that I had become comfortable wallowing in misery.

He saw what I couldn’t. That by dwelling on the past, focusing on what I DIDN’T have, and not dealing with it effectively, I was making myself miserable and limiting myself from moving forward. It wasn’t my parents making me miserable. It was ME making myself that way.

There are many of us who have scars from childhood. There were things that were done to us that were unfair. I don’t suggest you ignore what happened to you and pretend it never happened. However, there comes a point where we become adults and no longer can we blame what our parents did to us as the reason we can’t move forward in our lives, whether it be in our careers, our finances, our relationships, or whatever other area.

Do you know how freeing that actually is? To know that the choices we make in life are our own and not controlled by those who hurt us? To know that whatever happened to us in the past doesn’t have the power to dictate to us where we go in life? To believe that we can work towards dreams and goals we as children probably never thought was possible?


Your mom was supposed to be your biggest fan.  She was supposed to cheer you on, and hold you when you were sad.  She was supposed to be there supporting you in major milestones.  But she wasn’t.  And now you are a broken adult, wondering why in the world you still feel the abandonment and rejection of your mom.

Your pain is valid.  Your pain is raw, and it’s real.  Your anger may be justified.  However, blaming your mom for everything won’t fix the past.  It won’t turn her into the mother you’ve always wanted.  It won’t improve your life.  It will only add to the pain you are feeling.

If you stop blaming your parents you will start to find healing.  You will live your own life the way you want to, without dwelling on the fact that you didn’t have the mother you should have had.  You can’t fix the past, but you can choose the future you will have.  Will it be full of joy?  Will it be one that you are proud of?  Will it be one of freedom, and not one of anger?


Too many times I’ve heard someone say, “I’m like this because of my parents.”

Guess what? You have the choice to break cycles. You have the choice to decide you are not going to let your past dictate your future. You have the choice to decide that you are going to use what you went through for GOOD.

Your parents don’t choose that. YOU DO.

You don’t have to look far to see stories of people who have been resilient and used their struggles from their childhood to push them even harder. Look at Oprah, who was beyond poor, along with other childhood trauma and she became one of the most successful women in America. Or what about Charlize Theron, a famous movie actress who as a child witnessed her mother shoot her father in self-defense? Rachel Hollis, who suffered a difficult childhood as well as the suicide of her brother is now a popular author and speaker.

These are just a few examples of people who didn’t let their pasts hold them back. What they had been through only made them more determined to fight for their goals and reach for the stars. They decided they wanted a different life than that of their parents and they made a choice to make it happen.

No matter what you went through in your childhood, it doesn’t need to hold you back. And if you find you are constantly failing to get ahead in your life, it isn’t your parent’s fault.

I’ll never forget talking to someone I knew who had parents who were struggling with alcohol and drug addictions and were not very involved in his life. This person was 16 and he had dropped out of high school, much like his parents had when they were his age. While I encouraged him to make different choices, he said to me, “I’m just going to end up like my Dad. It’s my destiny.”

My heart broke. He truly believed he had no choice but to live the same way his parents did. He didn’t even think it was worth the effort to try and live a different life. In other conversations I had with him over the years it was clear that he blamed his parents for his struggles as an adult. The truth is, he wasn’t willing to put in the work to overcome those obstacles.

Let me be clear. I believe that the cards we are dealt with in life play a role in the opportunities presented to us. It would be foolish for me to say no matter what cards you are dealt you can do whatever you want to. Just look at a child living in poverty in Africa. Depending on the circumstances, they could try their hardest to fight their way out of poverty but the opportunities just aren’t there and so they aren’t able to escape it.

I don’t want to diminish the role that plays. The friend up above who told me his destiny was to follow the family cycle definitely would have to work harder to succeed than a person with stability at home along with financial resources. However, you have to take what cards you are dealt with and you work with what you got instead of placing blame. It might not be fair that you have to work harder than someone else to get ahead but the truth is life isn’t fair.

I’m never going to be as successful as Oprah. Most of us aren’t. However, I can be successful in other ways. I can be present for my children. I can work at making my marriage a priority. I can work hard on my at-home business of blogging.  I can remember to not take the blessings I have in this life for granted. I can keep God at the center of my life.

I can work harder every day to love those around me and let go of the pain of the past, deciding it doesn’t define me, and that there has been purpose in every struggle I’ve walked through, even if the only purpose is so that I can tell someone else walking through a similar struggle that they will be okay, and that they can feel whole again one day.

If I am failing in various areas of my life, it isn’t my parents fault at this point. It’s mine. I am 35 years old and putting the blame on my parents would not only be an excuse, it would hold me back from living my best life.  I refuse to give my past that much control.  God can take all things, no matter how painful and dark, and turn it into something beautiful.

Related:  How to Help Kids From Low-Income Homes

9 thoughts on “Once we hit Adulthood it’s Time to Stop Blaming our Parents”

  1. Oh wow! Great insight. We have a daughter blaming us for who knows what but she has a counselor who tells her every time she sees her that everything is our fault so unless she walks away from this person who tells her what she wants to hear the situation will never change. We went with her to said counselor where we were told what we had to do to regain the relationship which was against everything we believe in so the relationship remains severed after over 3 years. We were treated like naughty children even though we were in our late 50’s. The counselor even told us things about our daughter’s childhood that were outright lies but I think she has convinced our daughter that they are true. I called her on some of them and she did not know what to say. I am afraid that we are going to see more and more of this in our society as the present generation grows up. This daughter knows she can come home anytime and we will welcome her back into our lives.

    It is sad to say that I am seeing adult homeschool kids blaming their parents for homeschooling them. Apparently this has ruined their lives. Some are quite outspoken about it but how do they know what it would have been like to have gone to school elsewhere? Two of ours including the above daughter claim that their lives can never be right since they did not go to school outside our home. The other one does not realize that he would have been so bored anywhere else that he would have hated it. He finished school in two hours most days because he is so extremely smart.

    My husband and I both had hard things happen to us when we were children but at our age we have long ago forgiven and forgotten. It gets weary carrying it around and is freeing to just let it go. I have a good friend who was adopted by parents who were both alcoholics. How they got approved to adopt her is something she has never figured out but she does not blame anyone even though her life was truly horrible and one of even looking for food in garbage cans because her parents did not feed her. She forgave them decades ago lest it destroy her. But, I see people our age who just wallow in self pity for what they have gone through. They are destroying themselves and the rest of their family by doing this but they cannot see it. One thing that needs to be realized that there will be huge regrets if that parent dies and they have not made peace with them.

    Okay, enough said! Thanks for bringing this up. It needs to be said!

    1. Such a hard situation with your children. I am so sorry to hear. That is too bad that they believe they don’t have control over their own lives now. I have many friends who were home schooled who live happy, successful lives as adults. I think it doesn’t matter if you were homeschooled or in public school, there are people who have good memories of it and there are people who have had memories of it. I pray your daughter will come around. What a dedicated parent you must be to have gone to see her counsellor with her. Not all parents would do that and would prefer to just ignore the issues. You can only do what you can do and it sounds like you have.

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