Why do people like to assume that everyone does “the best they can”? I was on a website that said you should always assume that everyone “does the best that they can”, and you will be happier. Let’s face it, though: A lot of people AREN’T doing the best they can. I don’t do “the best I can” at work. Most people driving on the roads aren’t driving “the best they can”. Most parents don’t do “the best they can” when raising their children. Parents like to claim that they have “done the best they can”. That way they are able to sleep soundly at night, free from the guilt of knowing what they’ve done to their child.
I had a boss several months ago who mentioned one time that she was sure that my “parents did the best they could”. Really? You think so? I’m sure it gives everyone a nice squishy feeling to think that their parents did the best they could. People want to think that their parents loved them unconditionally, and that everything they did stemmed from that love, whether it turned out right or not.
It’s just not true, though. Most people just do not put forth their best effort in everything. Most people can’t. I imagine that would wear me out pretty quickly. Doing everything at 100% must be exhausting. Even doing the best you can as a parent 100% of the time seems impossible.
I don’t think my parents did the best they could. I don’t even think that every action came from the love they felt for me. Maybe the love they felt for themselves. Maybe the love they felt for my siblings. But definitely NOT from the love they felt for me. I think that a lot of people with personality disorders or other mood disorders would be able to say the same thing about their parents. I think that, most likely, if all the people with diagnosed personality disorders had parents who actually DID their best, then these people wouldn’t have personality disorders.
If, as a child, when you feel sad, your parent tells you to “snap out of it”, all you know is that sadness is a bad thing to feel. You just push it down. If, when you are angry or hurt, your parent tells you that is unacceptable, all you know is that anger and hurt are bad things to feel. More emotions pushed down. If the only way a parent interacts with you when you’re young is to tell you how you are lacking and need to do/be better, you start to question your worth. If you ask your parent to fulfill a need you have, only to be lectured and ridiculed, you learn it is better to do without than to make “stupid, unnecessary” requests. If you grow up in an environment that has your parents yelling at and demeaning each other, you learn that that is an acceptable way to interact with your partner. If you keep reaching out to your parents for love, only to be ignored or slapped down, you learn that you don’t matter. You also fail to learn how to properly show love.
We learn a lot of lessons from our parents. I know I did. Turns out I learned all the wrong things. I wish my parents really had done “the best they could”. Maybe I would be different.
Here’s a thought: Maybe they DID do the best they could. One more reason why people need to seriously consider the consequences of having children before they reproduce. Too bad there’s not a test one needs to pass in order to have children.