“You’re just like your father/mother!” “Why can’t you ever do anything right?” “What is wrong with you?” are some examples of what an unaware parent might keep telling their child(ren) out of their addiction to emotional patterns.
When we think of the word addiction, many of us tend to list alcohol, sex, drugs, and gambling as the most ‘obvious’ ones while at the same time probably defending our position saying things like, “Others have addictions! Not me!”
How do I know that?
Because I used to be the sort of parent who claimed ‘Not me!’ when the word addiction was mentioned; I had a very narrow perception of what an addiction actually is.
‘So what is an addiction?’ you might be wondering.
I believe the answer is, an addiction is anything that is consistently detrimental to the human spirit.
If that is true…
What are some addictions a parent may (un)knowingly be passing to their child(ren)?
Addiction to shaming
Shaming is about making a whole person wrong instead of a specific behaviour. It usually aims at making a person feel small, inadequate, or non-existent. Examples: “You’re just like your father/mother!” “Why can’t you ever do anything right?!” “After everything I’ve done for you!!!” “Who the hell do you think you are?”
Addiction to blaming
Blaming is about making someone or something responsible for another person’s lack of self-accountability. It usually aims at making the blame receiver falsely believe they are responsible for the blamer’s happiness. Examples: “It’s all your fault!” “Things would be different if I hadn’t had you, lost that job, divorced, gotten physically sick …”
Addiction to guilt-tripping
Guilt-tripping is about controlling the odds of a desired result by crippling another’s mental health. It usually aims at negatively manipulating someone’s feelings and emotions towards achieving a personally directed outcome. Examples: “Why can’t you be more like your brother/sister?!” “Say you’ll love me forever and will never leave me!”
Addiction to disempowerment
Disempowerment is about making a person believe they have zero control or choice over their own life. It usually aims at making a person an emotional/physical slave to people, situations, and things. Examples: “You owe me!” “It’s life!” “You’re nothing without me!” “You’re my everything!” “I’m nothing without you! Stay!”
Addiction to non-trust
Non-trust is often sold as ‘self-preservation common sense.’ It usually aims at isolating a person by dividing and conquering (controlling) them through their fears. Examples: “The world’s a bad place!” “Can’t rely on anyone!” “Never show weakness!” “It’s everyone for themselves!”
Addiction to rage
Rage is about feeling a deep-seated unprocessed anger over a long period of time. It usually aims at blaming, shaming, and guilt tripping (among many other negative behaviours) in order to destroy a person’s sense of self-worth and self-love. Examples: “You can go f**k yourself!” “Who gives a sh** about you!” “Who do you think you are?” “I’m gonna make you/them pay!” “Someone’s gonna get it!”
Addiction to feeling Not good enough / feeling inferior
Low self-worth is about shaming a person’s existence for who they are, what they need and want, and how they behave. It usually aims at proving ‘right’ the old saying ‘Misery loves company.’ People with low self-worth tend to falsely bond others to them so they might feel ‘less’ rejected by self and others. Examples: “How could you ever do/think that?!” “Why can’t you figure it out?!” “I’ll never be able to!” “That’s just not me!” “There’s something wrong with you/me!”
Addiction to wanting to be right / feeling superior
Wanting to be right is about falsely believing we have all the right answers and we know with 100% certainty the ‘right’ course of action. It usually aims at making another person believe we know exactly what is ‘best’ and are ‘100%’ aware of our thoughts, feelings and emotions as well as the ‘exact’ thoughts, feelings, and emotions of others. Examples: “Of course I’m right!” “I’m always right!” “I’m older than you! I know better!” “Do as I say!” “My house, my rules!” “I’m your mother/father!” “My way or the highway!”
Addiction to wanting approval / validation from others
Constantly wanting approval or validation from others is about lacking discernment (lack of deeply knowing what we need and really want), which means we are mainly full of judgments towards self and others in that moment. It’s about avoiding looking within ourselves to figure out who we are beyond the influence of others. Examples: “You love me, right?” “You’re so much better than me!” “Tell me what to do/say/think/feel!” “I’ll have what he/she’s having.”
Addiction to not-speaking-up / non-assertiveness
Lack of assertiveness is about behaving like a doormat because we might be afraid to offend or displease another. It’s usually about trading healthy emotional boundaries for a perceived fleeting moment of approval from others. Examples: “I’m fine with whatever you guys decide.” “I don’t mind either way.” “It doesn’t matter what I want/need.” “I’m fine!!!”
Addiction to being nice (as opposed to being real, being authentic)
Being nice is about falsely believing we are ‘honoring’ others while dishonoring our self. It’s usually about wanting to gain the approval of others above who we are and what we need. Examples: “Don’t rock the boat!” “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” “Why can’t you ever be nice?!” “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything!”
Addiction to deep sadness / depression
Deep sadness or depression is about missing our self in our own life. It’s usually about the lack of having an honoring relationship with our own self. Examples: “There’s nothing to do!” “What’s the point!” “I really don’t care!” “I’m doomed.” “I just wanna die.” “I’m so bored!!!!”
Addiction to non-accountability
Non-accountability is about avoiding self-responsibility. It’s usually about trying to pass cop-outs as ‘valid’ excuses to get out of an uncomfortable situation. Examples: “There’s nothing I can do.” “My hands are tied.” “I’m sorry (without addressing specifically what they did, why they did it, what they should have done instead, what they will now do moving forward, and expressing genuine remorse while asking how they may make amends to the person they hurt.)”
If you are a parent reading this article, what do you believe might be happening to a child being taught the above-mentioned addictions to emotional patterns?
If you are a child reading this article, what do you believe might be happening to you right now?
To know more about how to heal from a parent unaware of their addictions, GO TO PART 2 HERE where I share with you thirteen strategies to heal yourself and become the leading example of what you wish to see around you.
Your Emotional Intelligence Coach, Anne.
Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on my website www.walkinginside.com.
About the Author: Anne BEAULIEU is one of Your Monthly Mentors, an international speaker, empowering coach, and thought leader in the field of Emotional Intelligence and the Founder of Walking Inside Resources Inc. based in Vancouver, British Columbia. As an accomplished author and community builder, Anne is a powerful catalyst for positive change and embodies successful life strategies that keep empowering men and women across the globe. Read More…