10 bad habits you probably inherited from your parents

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Every religion and spiritual path teaches us to respect and cherish our parents: they gave us life and raised us.

But in addition to that love and nurturing some of us are so lucky to receive from our parents, many of us also inherit some less desirable traits. 

Here are the bad habits you may be struggling with as a result of inheriting them from your mom and dad. 

1) Worrying excessively 

If you find that you overthink and worry about everything, it’s often a habit you picked up from your parents. 

The tendency to over worry has genetic and environmental roots, meaning that it can be in your nature but also in how you were raised. 

This makes sense if you think about it, because if your parents tended to be worrywarts growing up it was also like a result of their genetic predisposition and their environment. 

This then combines together into the situation in which you grow up, picking up many of these high-anxiety traits. 

2) Playing the victim 

Many parents are overwhelmed and stressed when raising kids. 

Frankly, it’s no wonder considering how much modern economies are obsessed about GDP and place almost no value on family wellbeing. 

As a child when you feel neglected or that your parents are stressed, you may often learn to play the victim to get attention. 

This is especially common when you see one of your parents do this to get attention or get their way as well. 

You have memories of your dad saying “why should I always have to do everything?” and before you know it you’re married and saying the same thing to your wife!

3) Complaining about problems 

As part of this stressful situation that many parents find themselves in, complaints are common. 

Even if you had very positive parents, we tend to have traumatic and upsetting experiences imprinted more strongly on our memory and nervous system than positive experiences. 

This is because our biological survival system is keyed to keep closer track of potential threats or problems to survive: 

That’s why when we grew up with a parent or parents who sometimes complained a lot around us (or to us) we can often pick up the same habit and continue it until later in our lives. 

4) Eating an unhealthy diet 

Growing up with a single mom who was very focused on healthy eating and organic foods, I didn’t experience this. 

But many kids growing up in busy and chaotic homes often don’t get all the quality and nutritious food they need for their young bodies. 

It’s not only income level, oftentimes it’s simply a parent or parents who just don’t have time to cook a delicious, nutritious dinner every night or pack healthy lunches for their kids. 

This habit of putting food last and just kind of “winging it” or fitting in meals whenever you can is definitely something that can stick around into adulthood, unfortunately! 

5) Repressing and denying emotions 

When you become a parent you sacrifice a lot of who you are and what you want for the good of your children. 

That’s just a fact. 

But on the emotional level this can get quite toxic in some cases if a parent pretends to be happy or doing fine when they’re actually struggling enormously. 

“Are you OK, daddy?” you would ask, and your dad fighting back tears and a deep sigh would say “just fine kiddo.”

This habit of repressing emotions can be passed on to you as you grow up, as you absorb the idea that showing your emotions or how you feel is a weakness or “bad.” 

The results are often a lot of mental and physical health issues later in life. 

6) Having toxic beliefs around money 

From our earliest age growing up we are introduced to the idea of “money” and “earning a living.”

We form ideas about the fact that our parents need to perform tasks and do what somebody says in order to give us food!

This definitely must be an important thing, this money! 

Well, it is…

But unfortunately many highly positive or negative emotions get attached to money because of the way we see it bringing our parents joy or sorrow, anxiety or calm. 

We may come to see money as dirty and shameful, or as sacred and of the highest value. 

Both this pedestalizing and demonization of money create an imbalance of how we relate to our finances and saddle us with irregular beliefs as we go on in our life. 

“Some examples include feeling guilty about spending money (even when you have enough), feeling like having or saving money is “bad,” feeling like you’ll never be “good” with money, etc.,” notes Carolyn Steber

This ties into the next point… 

7) Feeling you need to play a ‘role’

We first meet our parents in a role: that of parents, of course. 

They may also become our friends, people we fear, those we laugh with or even our life coaches. 

But they start as a figure of basic authority and provision, giving us what we need to survive. 

It’s normal that we first meet our parents in a set role, but as we grow we begin to see them as full humans, not just our parents: we see their career, their interests, their flaws, their peculiarities. 

But the perception that we need to play a role can stick around in life and lead to a sense that unless we’re the “good” worker, “good” son, “good” friend, and so on, we won’t be worthy. 

This sense of conditional love can become a very bad habit and trouble our relationships down the road, especially if you felt your parents were mainly in their guardian role out of duty rather than love. 

This relates to the next point… 

8) Buying into codependent ideas of love

When our parents have a troubled or codependent relationship it’s almost inevitable that our earliest perceptions of caring for someone are flawed and disempowering. 

This is also possible if we were raised by a single parent, where we feel that we are a burden to them, or feel that they don’t appreciate us and we’re making their life worse. 

This often translates into a belief down the road that we are only worthy for love if we “prove” our worth, or that we can only experience deep connection by saving someone else or having them save us. 

This is, fundamentally, a self-abandonment. It never ends well, because even when the other person reciprocates it ends up leaving them feeling empty as well, since it plays out their own codependent cycle of unworthiness! 

Be careful out there! 

9) Expecting others to fix our problems 

The general issue of expecting others to fix our problems is something we can inherit from very protective parents. 

When we are overly sheltered and treated as a prince or princess for many years, we may grow accustomed to being the lord of the castle. 

Then you get out into the real world and nobody seems to care!

People break your heart, cheat you at work and laugh in your face and your parents aren’t always there to pick up the pieces, creating a major fall from grace. 

It’s wonderful to have loving parents, but if they raise us too much inside a rose garden we may be terrified to get outside the gates and find a field of spiky thistles and wild beasts chasing us.

On the flip side, overly demanding parents can leave us… 

10) Believing that we’re fundamentally unworthy

When we are put under enormous pressure and special treatment growing up, or treated as a golden child, we may grow up to believe that we have to “earn” the love and respect of others. 

This can create a strange inferiority-superiority complex where you may feel like you’re different and special but you also have to live up to the roles and ideals your parents set out for you. 

Thus you keep chasing your own tail and feeling unworthy no matter how much you accomplish. 

Tell them that you love them

All of us have parents who are flawed and we all inherited some traits and behaviors from them that aren’t ideal. 

But it’s important to accept where we came from and, if possible, also sincerely love those who made us. 

Reconciling both the positives and negatives of our roots is a crucial foundation of beginning to truly own who we are and find our own power. 

Tell your parents that you love them if you can. 

If not, think of these defects and problems they saddled you with as emotional and spiritual weight training: this burden is making you a stronger, more compassionate person. 

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