How to know if you have a good parent

. 2 min read

I recently talked with an adult person who, considering their account of the events, had a psychologically abusive parent. The parent pressured them to do as ordered by the parent. The parent wasn't willing to hear or understand the person's view of things. The parent, while knowing the person had history with mild depression and other health problems, only accused the person of laziness and unwillingness to take control.

While I personally think that all people, regardless of their situation, can control their lives at least up to a point, I still cannot fully understand anyone else's life, situation, or perspective - and it's perfectly possible that even if a solution existed for a person, they couldn't see it, or even be helped to see it. People only learn if they want to learn, and only accept advice if they ask for it. So I couldn't say if the person was just lazy or unwilling to take control. All I knew what the person told me of the parent.

One thing that quickly became clear when listening to the person's account of events throughout their life was that the parent didn't see the person as an end in themselves, but a means to an end; specifically, that the parent had only produced their child to make the child owe their life to the parent so that when the parent would become old and sick, the child would have to take care of them out of duty and the debt of life.

You don't have to be a genius to see how wrong this is. The thought of people making children so the children would be forever in debt to them is sickening.

So how do you know if you have a good parent? You know you have a good parent if your parent treats and respects you as an end in itself. The parent doesn't expect anything from you. They aren't trying to trigger you into giving a specific reaction. They don't blame you having a life of your own, one separate from them. They won't get mad if you can't make it for Thanksgiving - or if you want to have your own Thanksgiving - nor will they try to make you feel bad about yourself. They simply don't treat you wrong.

Don't let your parents treat you wrong. Cut ties if they do. Even if you're grateful to be alive, you didn't ask to be born or raised; you owe them nothing.


P.S. I asked the person if they had ever wondered if the problem was with them, not with the parent; that perhaps the person was an ungrateful child who deliberately wanted to make their parent's life misery. They answered that they thought they were a good person who didn't deserve to be treated in a way that made them feel so terrible and anxious. And that may be true. But you're treated badly by multiple people in your life - not just your parents - there could be something out of order in you, like your sense of self worth. You should consider working on it.