The Cycle Of Inevitability
Bad Habits Are Learnt Too.
As I am coming up on the age of 21, I have been reflecting on my bad habits and trying to understand where they came from. Although I have been working on them since I turned 18, I find it hard to shake them off completely. I’ll be going through the experiences I had with my parents and analysing where my bad habits formed and what could have been done to prevent them.
When you are a child the people you look up to the most are always your parents. In my experience, what my parents said was law and that was that. So, if your parents have bad habits and it comes through in your day-to-day life, is it so surprising for the child to inherit those same habits?
At the ages of 6 to 7, I witnessed the breakdown of my parents' marriage due to infidelity on both parts. My dad moved out and was with many women and my mum ended up being single. My dad would admit his wrong doings and speak with regret but would continue to do the same thing to other women. My mum, on the other hand, would never admit her part in it and blame the whole breakdown on my dad. When I eventually came around to developing relationships of my own it gave me unhealthy ideals of what a relationship was supposed to be and I formed the same bad habits I witnessed my parents doing at a young age. Infidelity. Even though I knew what I was doing was hurting people I found what I was doing to be normal because the one relationship I had witnessed and heard about made me feel what I was doing was not only normal but how it was supposed to be. To prevent this from happening my parents should have taught me the values of being in a relationship and instead of venting their frustrations, making excuses and lying,they should have taught me not to follow in their footsteps. Presently, I’m in a happy relationship of 3 years and my boyfriend has been very understanding and helped me to understand the different roles and expectations of being in a relationship.
After my parents' divorce, when I was 8, my mum moved in her new boyfriend and eventually remarried someone who was 20 years older than her. I was constantly taught ‘age is just a number’ which, I’m sure you can imagine, caused problems in my teen years. From my dad not being around as much and seeing my mum be happy in a relationship with a man who was only 2 years younger than my nan, I was always looking for affection in older males. All throughout my teen years, I constantly put myself in dangerous situations and at the young age of 13/14 I ended up being groomed and assaulted. This particular man put us all under the impression he was 18 and my parents would talk to him regularly on the phone, telling me I had to “be good to this one because he clearly cared about me.” I was hardly into my teens and in daily life the idea of age just being a number was constantly reinforced. By the age of 15 I was allowed and praised for jetting off to a foreign country with someone who was about to turn 20. Every relationship I had in my teen years, I look back on now and I realise a lot of the experiences which traumatizes me to this day easily could have been prevented if I was taught two things. Number one, I don’t have to constantly look for affection in other people to feel good about myself and two, Age isn’t just a number.
Lying, this is my worst habit I still struggle with to this day. I was always taught to never lie however every day, living with my mum, I was always accused of lying when I was telling the truth. After a while, I stopped telling the truth and would, instead, tell them what they wanted to hear. I would take blame for a lot of things I didn’t do and would always get praised for telling the truth and was always called “brave.” Trying to teach one thing but practice another is a sure-fire way to confuse and mess up a kid. When my mum and my step dad was arguing I would always hear my mum lie and never take responsibility for her own actions. I was always there to pick up the pieces. When social services were involved and I was going to therapy, I was always told not to tell the truth because I would be taken away to a family that doesn’t care about me. When I argue with my boyfriend, I hear my mum in my own words. I hear myself trying to push the blame onto others until I finally break free and admit my own wrong doings. Taking responsibility is a hard thing to do for anyone. After the last 3 years, I have come to realise that pushing the blame onto everyone else will never solve the problem at hand.
Addiction can be a problem to everyone. Admitting it is always the hardest step. From the ages of 13 to 17, I watched my mum go down to the pub like clockwork every night. Always telling me she doesn’t have a drinking problem in one breath and then say she is going for a drink in another. When I told her, I hated what she was doing and it was hurting me I was accused of trying to stop her from having fun. I didn’t see my dad for near enough 2 years because he got addicted to the synthetic drug, spice. I ended up smoking weed and doing drugs by the age of 14. I never listened when mum said she hated it because she never listened to me. I was turning into my mum and I hated every part of it. I hated not taking responsibility, I hated lying and I hated that I got addicted. I hated that I couldn’t be alone. I got severely depressed and felt like I had nobody to talk too. My mum would always say she was there for me but every time I attempted to take my life, I called her over 30 times and she wouldn’t answer because she was too busy at the pub. When I tried to talk to my dad he would say “what have you got to be depressed about” and when I explained he would flip the switch and say he was going to kill himself because he was a bad dad. My only friends were other drug addicts and I was stuck in a constant cycle of depression and bad habits learnt from my parents.
Now, this isn’t an article of someone who is trying to blame their parents for everything going wrong in her life. No. This is the opposite. I am my own person and I made many conscious decisions in life which caused a lot of pain, not only for me but the people around me. However, understanding what caused me to make those decisions and breaking through the cycle is the first step to a better life. Relying on other people to help I have found never works. You have to be your own saviour. Every example written in this article, I have needed a parent and they weren’t there or they did the wrong thing. Even though I don’t speak to them for my own sake of mind anymore, I appreciate them. I appreciate that they have taught me how not to parent a child and I appreciate that everything they did to me has made me into the kick-ass woman I am today. So, if you’re reading this with teary eyes, thinking I should have done better, yes you should have but thank you for teaching me how to live on my own.