Chip Off The Old Block

I don’t know what’s worth fighting for
Or why I have to scream
I don’t know why I instigate
And say what I don’t mean
I don’t know how I got this way
I’ll never be alright
So I’m breaking the habit
I’m breaking the habit tonight

—Linkin Park, Breaking The Habit

Studies have shown that kids with divorced parents are much more likely to end up being divorced themselves. As role models, we take the way their parents treat each other and use this as a model for our own relationships. And eventually, our kids end up treating their kids the same way because that’s all they know1.

I used to take my girlfriends for granted. It could have been a way for me to distance myself to prevent getting hurt (as therapy has shown), or it may have just been what I thought relationships were like.

I can recall my parents doing the same thing to each other. They didn’t marry out of love, they married because it was the thing to do when you reached a certain age. Eventually, they merely inhabited the same house, not even sleeping in the same bed or room.

It’s a cycle, a trap. But that’s not an excuse for me.

I refuse to be like them. I refuse to end up like they did. I’m going to do my best to change that about myself.

And I will break the cycle.

  1. At least, that’s the excuse my mom uses. []

9 comments

  1. I always try to be cognizant of what characteristics in my parents’ habits and parenting techniques caused me pain, and fashion myself away from those emotionally and mentally.

    While i am a lot like my parents in many ways, I know my fundamental beliefs and ideological differences will make me a very different parent than they were. (They taught and ruled through the cloud of over-bearing Christian principles, and I doubt I will parent my children the same heavy-handed way.)

    • Hmmmm…I used to think that I was nothing like my parents, and now I’m feeling more and more like them in certain ways. I guess I just never realized how much influence they had. That’s probably why I try to be conscious now of the bad influences.

  2. Some people see parents as a lesson of how not to be. One or two options of infinite scratched off the list.

    Relationship behaviors seem more in the realm of choice, than say, suicidalness, that’s leans more neurochemically.

    It’s good practice to touch base with who you want to become and do course corrections en route.

    • That’s exactly how I used to see my parents.

      I have to disagree about suicidalness though. There are some perfectly sane, healthy, and logical people who choose suicide. I used to believe what you thought about the subject until I read about the acclaimed writer Eric Hoffer, and how he decided to kill himself at a very young age when he took a year off work and his life savings ran out.

      • that’s a good point. it’s oversimplified to say that it’s progressive or predictable outcome of imbalance. it can be an impulse not checked by anyone at any starting point.

        depressive people are more likely to dwell in the thoughts but perhaps no more likely to act. the pulling back is practiced, with strategies more than someone who is broadsided and less prepared for the idea of self-killing. it becomes an art form to pull oneself back and to make nice and hide the guilty habit since depression is such a taboo subject.

        Greg’s creating an alliance for artists for mental health association. http://www.ritallin.com/mhealth.htm

  3. Studies have also shown that kids with well-educated parents do better academically than those with wealthy parents.

    People do take after their parents without knowing it themselves. You really are like your parents in certain ways. I guess if nothing goes drastically wrong, we will go on behaving like our parents. It’s only when disasters occur that they lead us to change our course (consciously or sub-consciously depending on whether we have made peace with our failure).

    • Studies have also shown that kids with divorced parents have a higher divorce rate themselves.

      I find I’m not like my parents at all in most ways, probably the result of a conscious effort. But subconsciously, I have no idea. I think it takes a 3rd party like you to point out the similarities.

      • On similarities, how about industrious, hedonistic, adventurous (willing to try new things), emotional, gregarious, single-minded? Both of your parents are like that. Your artistic sense could have come from the maternal side (you should have seen her Chinese calligraphy, practised only recently). But your parents are not as studious as you.

      • Hmmm…I agree with your list, but only one of my parents fall under each of your adjectives, not both (aside from “hedonistic”). Maybe I’m more like my parents than I realize.

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