Still Blaming Others for Your Lot in Life?

Ask yourself, have you totally gotten on with your life and stopped blaming other people, your parents, for your problems?

Here’s the way I look at it. I’m not saying you should adopt my mind frame, but I’m offering it up to you because it’s helped me a lot. My parents were responsible for how they raised me, treated me, talked to me, etc. while I was in their care, until I left for college. At that point, once I left for college, I became my own charge, my own responsibility, and my own parent. I was the one responsible for me then. Once we leave home, we became the one single person responsible for figuring out who we are, who we want to be, how to be a good person, and how to acquire the tools to do all that. I think that to blame anyone else at this point is a decision to stop evolving; you’ll get stuck.

For sure, it’s unfortunate that we got a less than ideal foundation laid for us by our family. And it’s unfortunate that we don’t have the kind of support and encouragement from our family that we see other people receiving. But, there’s nothing we can do about that. There is nothing we can do about the childhood we had, it is what is was. Sure, you can complain and blame, but don’t spend too long doing that or you’ll lose out on creating a life you want to enjoy and participate in. (Far as I know get just one of these lives, so I want to make it count.)


How appropriate: As I write this, I’m sitting in a breakfast cafe in town. There’s a table of seven behind me (we just switched tables, because I’m just one person and they trump that with their mass). They are two mothers and five ten-ish year old boys. One of the young boys is being scolded by one of the moms, “Shhh. Settle down.” The kid protests, “But he grabbed all the sugars!” The way he sees it, the responsibility for his actions belongs not just to him but with the actions of the first kid, the one who grabbed the sugars.

It takes growing-up to take responsibility for your own reactions and actions.

We can’t change our parents or family. We have to accept them are as they are, and focus on our own growing-up. That’s the one thing we can influence. Us. That’s the only productive use of time.

At some point, I decided to take responsibility for what happens next in my life. I decided to accept the upbringing I’d had–it was what it was. I decided to move on and figure out how to make the life I wanted. That meant having to work harder than some people, and not feeling sorry about that necessity. (And that took practice!)

If you want to get on with your life, you’re going to have to form new habits. One at a time. You are going to need to form good habits, ones that propel you forward, habits that you form by deciding you want them rather than habits that form from inaction and unconsciousness.

I’ve noticed that when things are new for me, a new job in particular (where my commute has changed and my surroundings have changed), that I eat less and differently–I eat better. I snack less. I don’t eat candy because I’m not in a stupor of old, unstimulating routine. While it’s hard to keep this newness fresh over the course of months and months, still — I never fail to enjoy and take advantage of the fresh start a new job opens up.

Keep in mind that the only way out of habits that you don’t like is forming new ones. Don’t waste energy attempting to stop habits, that is not effective. Start new, happy-you habits. It’s a more fruitful, enjoyable method. You’re not looking back when you’re in the midst of forming new habits.

Do you have to do this alone? No!

Everything is harder alone. Involve your spouse, kid, kids, friends, coworkers, and new friends. It always helps when you involve others in your forming of new habits (walking with a walking buddy at lunch, for example) so that you have support and you get an opportunity to be reliable and accountable.

Be good to yourself!


  1. yuko says:

    Thank you always for your insightful post. It’s been taking a lot for me to drop the “it’s not fair!!” reaction, as well as wanting, at somewhere very deep, to repair the childhood somehow, but seems like the part of me who really really wants my very own life is winning out. I tell myself, and I think I’m right (wink), that, the tough start of the ACA kind did give me much good on my personality, character, creativity, etc.I remind myself of that everytime I feel a burning pain of “unfairness” in my gut.
    Thank you again, and wishing you and every one of you ACA’s a fabulous, fantastic life of your own!! :^)

  2. amyeden says:

    Yuko, thanks.
    I think it takes a lot of personal wisdom and an understanding of how life (and childhood) works to both comprehend how unfair life is (by nature) and yet still take the unfairness in stride.
    Part of grace, I think, is living one’s life how you want despite the natural unfairness we encounter (note to self!)
    Great that you’re setting yourself free bit by bit!
    amy eden

  3. I really liked this post and decided to quote from it for an article I wrote called “It Is What It Is – Just a Cliche?” I also linked back to this blog. I thought you might like to see it.


    Thanks for your post. So true. I especially needed to hear the thing about ‘new work environment can spur new habits.’
    Let me add: IF YOU’RE THE YOUNGEST CHILD, the family will do everything in its power to keep this maturation process from happening.
    They have so much invested in keeping the scapegoat/mascot/savior entrenched in his/her role.
    And we are powerless over our need to self-destruct for their benefit: as it saves/teaches them (the purpose for which many of us were born – d’apres them).
    I’ve found the only way to break this cycle is to annihilate (metaphorically) the watcher.
    Otherwise, the alcoholic rallyingcry “I’ll show you, I’ll screw me!” will take over.

  5. amy eden says:

    I wonder if its because the role of the youngest child tends to be fairly universal that youngest children get boxed-in more easily than other siblings? Im not the youngest, but I have observed many youngest children with their siblings and families and I see how they get very frustrated because their families talk to them as if theyre superior in various ways. Ive noticed youngest siblings face this by arguing their point harder, in order to prove that they are just as smart or well-informed as their older siblings and parents, but no matter how hard they push, their older siblings push even harder as if they have the energy to do so for many hours. Its hard to see that the older siblings just dont have equal respect for their younger brothers and sisters–even after their younger sibling is very much all grown up. The key, of course, is to stop fighting against it, and to find a way of existing and behaving in the world thats independent from sibling order. If you stop playing your role (not the role you chose, just the role that you happen to have by default), the battle ceases.

  6. gina says:

    thank you so much amy for this post. and thank you richard, so so much for that comment about being the youngest in the family. there’s almost an entire generation gap between me and my siblings (15 and 20 years!) and though I love them both very much I’ve really really struggled to free myself from this role. all i can say to you both is yes! yes! yes! no one ever believes you, you’re never taken seriously, their problems are always worse/bigger etc. than yours and just when you get to the standard they set for you in order to be considered an equal they raise it again, perpetually, so that you can never be an equal, never be a friend always you are the “baby” no matter how hard you work, no matter how much you overcome, no matter how much you succeed. nothing you do is acknowledged or recognized because after all you don’t know what real pain is, you don’t know what real life is, you don’t know what real problems are…and you can never shake the feeling like you’re somehow not a real person living an unreal life. to anyone out there in the same position I say this is what I have finally, finally discovered: love them to your hearts content, do your best to maintain a good relationship, just remember one thing. you don’t need their permission to live your life the way you know is right for you. it doesn’t matter if they approve, it doesn’t matter if they don’t understand it. never ever live by someone else’s standard or by someone else’s measure of what your life should be. it’s a jip and a copout and it steals years of hapiness only from your life, trust me…it’s always a loosing game.

  7. amyeden says:

    Gina – Well put!
    I am an oldest by 8 and 12 years of two sisters and a brother. These days I learn a lot from them, and am humbled by their ideas and smarts (though I shouldn’t be humbled nor should I be surprised by their wisdom!) Sometimes I think to myself, Well, I ought to know this or that (as they’re talking) – because I’m older. But that’s a misplaced self-judgement. But, that’s the beauty of it — older doesn’t equal wiser! It never did.

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