Generational Cycle

A lot of times our parents pass on wonderful family traditions that we also pass on to our own children. That’s one of the ways to keep our family bond tight–at least during holidays! But we, as children, also inherit character traits, behavior patterns, habits, and even addictions that are not so wonderful (even if they seem ok at first) and can inhibit our growth as individuals and can negatively affect many aspects of our lives as adults, if we don’t actually take a closer look at these patterns and discover what we can do better.

I have been on my self-discovery journey for several years now, and there is always something else that comes up and blows my mind a little (or a lot haha!). There are a lot of good things that my mom and grandma passed on to me, and I will write about that in my next post, but today I will write about 3 things that stood out recently that I had no idea were a part of how I was raised. So here it is:

Need to people please. I was always taught to take care of others’ needs first. Always be nice, right? Make sure to behave so that people don’t think you are not disciplined. Always be polite and obedient to your teachers. If someone offends you, offer another cheek, suck it up and be a bigger person. Welllll, and an obedient girl I was–always praised for being such a good girl by all my mom’s friends, neighbors, teachers, and then bosses. Being praised as a child felt good, so I took it to the next level when I became an adult–always tried to please everyone else and waited to be thanked and emotionally awarded for it. I was always the one people turned to for help, and that made me feel worthy. And if I didn’t get an expected praise?… That’s when I would start thinking that I did something wrong, that I wasn’t enough, that I should have tried harder. I would be constantly beating myself up and blaming myself for not being perfect.

Now I know! I have been a lot better with recognizing this pattern that still comes up once in a while, setting boundaries and saying NO when something doesn’t line up with my needs, my time, or my energy. And let me tell you…life actually got a lot better since then. Now I feel more like my own person, instead of being blended in and dissolved in others.

Scarcity mentality. Do you ever think, Why is it that I can never save money? Why is it that as soon as I have some money, I find something to spend it on or give it away? Why is it that I feel guilty about buying something new that I really like that is a little more expensive, rather than going for the cheapest option? Why do I feel judgmental towards people who have more money than me? The list goes on and on. What I have discovered not that long ago was that my whole life I was telling myself the same story about money that my mom and grandma taught me when I was growing up. And that story was–money is scarce, we were not born into money and will never have it, we have to save money by buying the most essential and cheapest items, we need to save for grandmother’s funeral and our own in the future. And the verse in the BIble that says that a rich man will never go to heaven I took very literally and rejected money or spent it all right away when I got any extra money in my hands. I was also very judgmental towards wealthy people. About 6 years ago, I learned about “scarcity mentality”, how it’s developed, and how it can keep you in the vicious cycle of sabotaging your financial growth. I also learned about God blessing people with all kinds of riches, and that it was not money itself that was bad, but the love of money that one can put above all. Then I learned that when we invest money in our own development, like courses, coaching sessions, college classes, or professional training, it actually opens up opportunities to be earning more in the future and have less financial stress, and being able to not only provide for our families, but also teach our children about healthier money habits. Instead of looking at it as unnecessary spending, I look at it as an investment and expect a nice ROI (Return on Investment).

Alcohol as means to emotional relief. I won’t write in detail about this one because it can take multiple pages, but instead I am including The Laundry List of ACA below (Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families). The List has 14 main traits, and I have them ALL. I was overwhelmed when I first ran into this information, but excited at the same time because I finally knew why I was the way I was my whole life and what I needed to do to heal and grow, and now I also know what I DON’T WANT TO PASS ON TO MY OWN CHILDREN!

You don’t have to have alcoholic parents to relate to this list. Soon I will write about different types of family dysfunction that you might not even know might have been running in your family for generations. Please take a look below and let me know what traits from The List speak to you the most. If you can relate to at least 3 of them, it is worth taking a further look!

Please Comment and Follow my blog for further discussions on this life-changing and sometimes even life-saving subject! What are the 3 traits that you can relate to?


Author of Rocky Road to Recovery self-help memoir. Integrative Nutrition Health Coach.

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