Bad Parental Role ModelsI recently read an article titled “20 Unstoppable Entrepreneurs Share Their Advice For Success.”  Four of the 20 credited one of their parents as their inspiration. I’ve heard that before from people of all walks of life in answer to questions like “who inspired you?” or “who was your role model?”  It brings to mind growing up in an idyllic household with loving and giving parents.  My household was very far from that and my parents were extremely flawed.  But they were amazing role models who led by example.

From my mother I learned to be strong, because she was weak. I learned not to complain because she always did. I learned to be calm because she lived in turmoil.  I learned to be independent because she was so needy.  I learned to be giving because she took the best of everything for herself.  I learned to be positive because she was negative.  I learned unconditional love because hers was always conditional.  I learned to be open minded about people, make my own decisions and not take sides because she stopped talking to them.  I learned to be patient because she was irritated.  I learned to ask because she demanded.  I learned to tell the truth because she lied.

From my Dad I learned to share my feelings and tell people I love them because he did not.  I learned to run my life and go for what I wanted because he allowed others to run his life. I learned to accomplish things for only myself because he did what others wanted him to do.  I learned to own my own business because he was always so unhappy working for someone else.  I learned to be fiscally responsible, pay my bills on time and live within my means because he did not.

From both my parents I learned to have happy relationships where there is mutual respect and love because they always fought and were nasty to each other.  I learned to leave a relationship when it no longer had those things because they were unhappily married for 56 years.  I learned to have individual relationships with family members because we always had to do things as a group.

There are so many people who suffer because they had “bad” parents.  I suffered too, for many, many years.  Along the way, I found people who modeled positive behaviors for me and therapists from who I could learn. In the end, I loved my parents and am grateful because they did the best job they were capable of.  There is a lesson in everything, good and bad, positive and negative.  Once you accept and learn the lessons put before you, you too will have the keys to success.


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