My father passed away on December 19, 2023. During the months leading up to his passing, I struggled with conflicting emotions including very painful memories of my father leaving my mother when I was six and my family moving into a smaller house and suddenly everything became more difficult. Those early years set a platform for my life and my feelings about relationships, and my lack of what I might consider a quality education impacted many parts of my life for years.
I tried to maintain a relationship with my father but he was more focused on his relationship with his new wife and ensuring she would remain happy. I can understand that while at the same time dealing with extreme feelings of abandonment, no guidance and frustration that lead to depression and anxiety for many years.
I’m sitting here still processing the conflicting emotions. My father was the type of person who tried to act very cool and reserved while at the same time criticizing others for not doing enough. I might go to him and tell him I was having difficulty and he would not offer suggestions, he would just raise the pitch of his voice and call me names or make me feel like an idiot. No guidance. In most cases, I didn’t feel like he was rooting for me to win and was more happy when I failed because he could laugh and say I told you so and then move on, leaving me in a metaphorical ditch to pick myself out of.
I asked AI to help me work through it. I am keeping an open mind with AI because I know it is a computer but the material it is trained on is presumably reputable material from professionals and not just random self-help websites.
“Me (Gary) Are there terms when someone wants you to fail?
Yes, there are several terms that describe the phenomenon of wanting someone to fail:
- Schadenfreude: This is a German term that refers to the pleasure or satisfaction one feels from seeing someone else’s misfortune.
- Envy: Envy is the feeling of resentment or bitterness toward someone who has something that you want but don’t have.
- Crab mentality: This is a term that refers to the tendency for people to pull others down to their level rather than lifting themselves up.
- Tall poppy syndrome: This is a term used in Australia and New Zealand that refers to the tendency to cut down successful people to make them more equal with everyone…
Me (Gary) How might someone being targeted deal with that criticism or “cut downs?”
Dealing with criticism or “cut downs” can be challenging, but there are some strategies that can help:
- Reframe the criticism: Try to see the criticism as an opportunity for growth and improvement rather than an attack on your character.
- Practice self-compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and compassion, just as you would a friend.
- Set boundaries: If someone is repeatedly criticizing or cutting you down, consider setting boundaries and letting them know that their behavior is not acceptable.
- Seek support: Talk to a trusted friend or family member, or seek professional help from a therapist if needed.
- Focus on your own goals: Remember that your success is not dependent on the opinions of others and focus on your own goals and values.
- Stay positive: Practice gratitude and focus on the positive things in your life to maintain a positive outlook.
Remember that criticism and “cut downs” are often a reflection of the person doing the criticizing rather than a true reflection of your worth.
Me (Gary) Many parents might be hard on their kids thinking that it will stimulate their kids to be better and do more. But, when the parent is negative and cuts down on the child, that might have the negative effect. Any suggestions?
You’re absolutely right! Constant criticism and negativity from parents can actually have a detrimental effect on a child’s development and well-being. Here are a few reasons why:
- It can damage self-esteem: Constant criticism and negativity can make a child feel like they are not good enough, which can damage their self-esteem and lead to low self-confidence.
- It can lead to anxiety and depression: A child who is constantly criticized may internalize the criticism and begin to believe that they are inherently flawed or unworthy, which can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression.
- It can hinder motivation: Constant criticism can make a child feel defeated and discouraged, which can hinder their motivation to try new things or take risks.
- It can damage the parent-child relationship: Constant negativity and criticism can damage the bond between parent and child, making it difficult for the child to confide in or rely on their parent.
It’s important for parents to provide a balanced approach that includes both constructive feedback and positive reinforcement to help their children reach their full potential.
Me (Gary) Why might a parent continue to treat their child like that?
There are a number of reasons why a parent might continue to treat their child in a negative or critical manner, including:
- Unconscious bias: Parents may have unconscious biases or beliefs about what their child should be like or how they should behave, and may struggle to see their child for who they truly are.
- Stress or anxiety: Parents may be dealing with their own stress or anxiety and may take it out on their child without realizing it.
- Cultural norms: In some cultures, being critical of children is considered a normal or even necessary part of parenting.
- Lack of awareness: Some parents may not realize how their words and actions are impacting their child.
- Personal history: Parents may have been raised in a household where criticism was the norm, and may not realize that there are healthier ways to communicate with their children.
It’s important for parents to be aware of the impact their words and actions can have on their children and to seek help if they find themselves struggling to provide a positive and supportive environment.
Me (Gary) – How might a child dealing with the above issues continue to have a relationship with the abuser even when the behavior continues?
For many children who are dealing with criticism and negativity from a parent, maintaining a relationship with that parent can be a complex and difficult issue. Here are a few reasons why a child might continue to have a relationship with the abuser:
- The need for love and acceptance: Children have a deep need for love and acceptance from their parents, and may be willing to overlook or rationalize the abuse in order to maintain the relationship.
- Fear of abandonment: Children may fear that if they speak out against the abuse or distance themselves from the parent, they will be abandoned or rejected.
- Family dynamics: In some families, there may be pressure to keep the abuse hidden or to maintain a facade of normalcy, which can make it difficult for a child to seek help or distance themselves from the abuser.
- Lack of support: If a child does not have support from other family members or friends, they may feel like they have no choice but to maintain the relationship with the abuser.
It’s important for children to know that they are not alone and that there are resources available to help them.
Me (Gary) Now, consider the child was struggling with feelings of abandonment, damaged self-esteem, anxiety and depression stemming from the actions of the parent and that person is feeling damaged, rejected and defeated, how might that child overcome those feelings? Assume the child feels that the cut-downs and emotionally damaging statements made by the parent were the cause of many failures, but the parent feels validated when the child fails in a kind of see-I-told you-so way. Now, assume the parent passed away and the child is now seeking ways to work through the emotional trauma of the relationship and is now struggling with how to get closure and move forward with life in a positive way.
That’s a really difficult situation, and I’m sorry to hear that the child is struggling with these issues. Here are some suggestions that might help:
- Seek professional help: A therapist or counselor who specializes in childhood trauma and grief can help the child process their emotions and work through the complex feelings they are experiencing.
- Practice self-compassion: The child should focus on treating themselves with kindness and understanding, just as they would a friend going through a similar situation.
- Seek support: Joining a support group or talking to others who have experienced similar issues can help the child feel less alone and more empowered.
- Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, can help the child stay grounded and present in the moment, which can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
- Reframe the narrative: The child can work to reframe the narrative of their relationship with their parent, focusing on the positive aspects of the relationship and the ways they have grown and learned from the experience.
- Focus on the future: The child can focus on the future and the possibilities for growth and healing, rather than dwelling on the past and the pain they have experienced.
Me (Gary) I am not sure of the psychological term for when people are abused or damaged and feel the need to damage other people. How might people deal with those emotions so they are not unkind to other people? The work I feel the need to use is hypocracy, when someone is abused emotionally and then abuses other people in the same way. How can the cycle be stopped?
You’re referring to a psychological phenomenon called the “cycle of abuse.” It’s a pattern of behavior where people who have been abused or traumatized themselves can become abusive towards others in turn.
Here are a few ways that people can break the cycle and avoid perpetuating abuse towards others:
- Seek professional help: Working with a therapist can help individuals understand their own trauma and heal from it, reducing the likelihood of perpetuating the cycle of abuse.
- Develop empathy: Practicing empathy can help individuals understand the impact of their actions on others and help them avoid repeating the same patterns of abuse.
- Build healthy relationships: Surrounding oneself with positive and healthy relationships can help individuals develop a sense of self-worth and security, reducing the likelihood of resorting to abusive behavior.
- Practice self-awareness: Being mindful of one’s own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors can help individuals identify potential abusive tendencies and take steps to prevent them.
- Advocate for others: Standing up for others who may be experiencing abuse or discrimination can help break the cycle of abuse and promote a more supportive and inclusive environment.