When parents let us down

When a parent or parents let their children down, it gives their children an insight in how not to do things.

On a child’s part, they can never make up for, or change their experiences. It doesn’t right a wrong or make their experiences right, nor does it change the status quo on their relationship with their parents. But when parents let their children down they are inadvertently giving their children the tools to change things for themselves.

That’s no excuse for us to get things wrong. Instead we must consciously work through each individual experience and make a mental note of any changes we need to make. It’s also important not to get caught up in the whys and wherefores of being let down, because those whys and wherefores that are continually being enforced, will keep us emotionally stuck and unable to move on.

Even though I had been let down through personal and long-term institutional failings around a disability I didn’t know I had, I innately knew it wasn’t right for me to let others down further into my own life.

But it’s not an excuse for anyone who experiences abuse, neglect and negativity to do nothing about changing their own responses. Accepting those experiences without change, means those experiences will go on to play out with our own children and other people. 

Mental health and mental health issues ‘become a thing’ when we continue to hone in on the injustice and it’s not something we can mentally or physically change. Even though others had let me down through personal and long-term institutional failings, it wasn’t right for me to let others down.

Letting people down even though we may have been let down ourselves shouldn’t be an option for us. As my story shows, life tends to work better and in our favour when we let our experiences go. 


18 Dec, 2018

4 thoughts on “When parents let us down

  1. I never wanted to be anything like my parents considering how they were, but as much as I wanted to do things differently, I ended up becoming just like them and so much worse.

    I have been stuck for such a long time by pretty much existing and repeating the same kind of day over and over again. It took me a long time to realize how much I had been torturing myself over things that were not my fault to begin with.

    Instead of being mired in the past and dwelling on it so much, I need to focus on today and the future, on the few things that I can change.

    I don’t want to be one of those people in a nursing home who is so miserable and will end up dying all alone.

    1. Randy, you’re in the driving seat. With your parents gone, you can choose your life, both in the present and how you want your life to go in the future.

      Start making mental notes on the things you want to change and begin to work through those changes. It doesn’t matter how slow you go.

      Small steps are significant because added together they go on to make bigger steps. Having been there myself I know how you feel, but it’s important you give yourself that chance. Having read all of your responses over the years, you’re nothing like your parents.

      Where your parents couldn’t admit their faults and didn’t change anything for you or your siblings, you admit to yours and you try to put things right.

  2. My parenting was non-existent as far as I can remember, so you might think I was let down but I was aware from a very young age that circumstances in my house were far from ‘normal.’

    I lived with a brother with emotional/mental issues, my grandmother and a generally corrosive atmosphere in the house. So I did my own thing, spent as much time as possible out of the house and as a result I wasn’t really parented.

    But that neglect was a good thing as my parents parenting of my siblings was pretty clueless. Instead, I grew up independent, self sufficient and confident, the opposite of my siblings.

    Parents really seem to get it right, but as long as we try our best then we shouldn’t have any remorse, even if our children don’t see it that way.

    1. Thank you. Yes, from your explanation of your childhood you did well. Although I would never condone neglect or abuse, you’re right. In your case your parents did you a favour.

      To have that kind of neglect happen and come out independent, self-sufficient and confident is excellent. It is clear that spending time away from your family had a positive impact and that it was the right thing for you to do.

      Neglect and abuse tends to leave its mark, if it is allowed to continue. But it’s not something we should continue for ourselves with our children.

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