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Mental Health And Parental Programming

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree...from folk wisdom to scientific study, all agree that conditions and character are passed down from generation to generation, whether by nature or nurture.  Though most generational physical diseases have a genetic (nature) element, many behavioral conditions seem to be generational mostly by nurture, or parental programming.  Since Mom and Dad didn't set out to mess us up, it's important we understand their roles in our mental health and find a way to get beyond our programming and become who we want to be.  That's what this article is about...

Patterns Of Anxiety, Anger, Addiction, Depression, Etc:

My father has been dead over 30 years, but I often find myself leaning on my porch rail exactly as he did.  I first discovered his subconscious influence on my life when I began verbally abusing my wife for no reason.  That sparked what has become a 20-year study in human behavior.  The patterns exist in every family, for good and bad, alike.  With a few exceptions, traits of kindness and decency, addiction, cruelty, even odd tilts of the head and other quirks are found throughout every family.  I believe these things could even be mapped if you had enough generational information. 

Family behavioral traits are so reliable that many have tried to prove a genetic cause.  While it's convenient to pin our bad behavior or mental health issues on our genes, that kind of thinking may duck very real causes and prevent us from embracing possible solutions to our problems.  After all, if it's in your genes, you are helpless, right?  Wrong!   Even if there is a genetic predisposition for your anxiety, depression or addiction, just like cancer, it doesn't mean you can't avoid or recover from the condition.  

Mental Health Isn't Always In The Genes:

While researchers have found some suspected physical causes of a few mental health issues, most are considered to be psychological in nature. This is why, for anxiety, depression, anger, addiction, pedophilia, anorexia, bulimia and all phobias, the preferred therapy is psychological counseling.  Although the more severe of these conditions may also require medicine, it's usually just to ease discomfort.  In many cases, over time, a therapist can get back to one or two "root causes" and greatly ease the condition.  In most cases, this isn't possible because the root cause is a lifetime of experience rather than a single traumatic event.  This is what many refer to as programming.  Some call it a "cache" of experiences, just like your computer cache stores copies of pages visited.  Unfortunately, we can't just tell our brains to clear the cache, or selectively remove the "bad" experiences.  We are "programmed" by these experiences because they form the basis of our actions and reactions from now on. 

Programming...Understanding Normal:

For most of us, even before we could speak, we learned how to be "normal" parents, spouses, employees, neighbors and citizens from our parents.  These were sometimes very dysfunctional lessons because they didn't know they were teaching us...they thought they were just living.   You parents, please re-read the previous two sentences until you realize the importance of your every thought, word and action in the lives of your children and theirs.   For most of us, despite how we hated the behavior of our parents, we became them. We became addicts, abusers, liars, complainers, cowards...whatever their chief characteristics, we acquired them.  Why not?  So far as we knew, that was normal.  A few thousand years ago, a guy named Solomon wrote that we tend to become like those we hang around.  Well, we hung around our parents for the first couple decades of our lives.  Like it or not, unless we go to great effort to change our programming, the apple will not fall far from the tree.  I've known a precious few who changed that initial programming and decided for themselves who they wanted to be.

Concluded at Mental Health And Parental Programming-2

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