This one is an obvious one but one we all choose to ignore from time to time. Our surroundings. In struggles with emotional issues, mental issues or mood issues we often neglect to look at our environment. It’s funny as the old saying goes in defense we are all great lawyers but in attack we are all great judges. When we don’t want to take responsibility in life we often blame the people around us, the dog, the fish, the weather, our parents etc. Yet when it comes to our mental health we often just look at our own personal weaknesses.
Growing up with a mother who had her own issues was difficult. It meant being the butt of a lot of anger, aggression and emotional outlashes such as being put down, ignored, roared at and made to feel like a sack of shit so she could feel better. Through therapy I accepted what I already knew all these years, I was not ONE of the things my mother ever said or called me. I wasn’t lacking ambition, I wasn’t lazy, I wasn’t a moan, I wasn’t an angry or defensive person, I wasn’t any of it! I always knew this and that angered me, even at a young age that really bothered me. I couldn’t understand how my mother could think things about me that simply weren’t true. I failed to grasp how it is possible to love someone so much and yet know not a drop about them.
The answer was because she herself is mentally ill and has far more issues than me and unlike me chose to destroy the people around her rather than look at herself. But this environment of my parents home is still difficult. Even though I’m not a weak child anymore and I’ve come to accept my mother and understand my mother for the way she is I still will eventually become mentally sick by staying in the house too long. Having understanding and contentment only go so far. Eventually your surroundings will start breaking down your walls of understanding.
I’m going to interject here and say that everyone on Earth has issues and we all cause damage to other people from time to time. Our parents mess us up, it’s what they do, they are humans, but I can’t stand grown men and women blaming their parents or anyone for that matter for being in turmoil, emotionally or mentally. The reason is although our parents can cause great damage to us it is up to you to fix yourself. And often that has to be done without your parents help. It’s not easy but to grow as a person you have to accept and take sole responsibility for your problems. This is especially true the older you get, we live in a society of blame games and pissing contests. My mother was a damn good mother, she loved me infinitely but she also caused me a great deal of damage. But it is up to me to fix that damage. She has her own damage from her parents and that is solely up to her to fix.
You must surround yourself with people and places that make you more you. People that make you a better person. People who challenge you. People from different cultures, religions, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientation, gender etc. But always with people who make you love yourself a bit more. There’s so much negativity in the world and in modern society that it’s ridiculous to choose to associate with assholes. If your friends or even just one friend makes you feel worthless or even slightly less than what you are worth than dump them. Drop them by the wayside. You don’t need that shit in your life. Why do it to yourself?
I understand if you are young and live at home it can be impossible. I get that and you probably do as I did, hide in your room or at friends houses. That’s the best you can do until you can move out. It’s awful! Believe me, I know! I know so bloody well and I wish I didn’t know so well. What you need to do is sit down and in a non childish or selfish manner try and think, you probably won’t have to think so hard about it but try and think about why your parents or parent is the way they are. Why are they abusive, manipulative, cruel etc? Why are they making your life a living hell? Why do you feel that you feel that they are doing this to you? Perhaps you are the problem and not them? This part is more for young people/teenagers as for those people living away from home it makes it easier. End of the day, nobody likes living at home, we all like our freedom and independence. It is because of this that you must ensure that you aren’t the problem and not everyone at home. Just be careful and calm.
Write down your hypotheses if it helps, write down supporting evidence for what you predict and then at the end pick what makes the most sense. This understanding of why your parents are this way won’t cure you or make you forgive them but it will help you heal and that’s all that matters. It will help you understand what they do or say to you isn’t about you, it’s about them. Any time another person screams at, abuses or hits another person, it isn’t about that person, it’s about themselves. Now on saying that there are a limited number of times in your life where raising your voice and physical violence may be necessary but if we are being honest with ourselves most humans will never be in any of those circumstances. Your beliefs, politics and relationship issues are not reason for raising your voice or physical violence. Perhaps being a frontline soldier is, but not you being offended at a different opinion.
Your surroundings are so important for your mental health it’s insane and yet people ignore it! Think about it this way, you wouldn’t surround yourself with rapists because you’d fear they’d rape you. You wouldn’t surround yourself with homophobes if you were gay because you’d fear they’d beat you. You wouldn’t associate with KKK members if you are black because you’d fear they’d harm you. You wouldn’t jump into a lions exhibit at the zoo incase it eats you. So if you have such common sense regarding your surroundings when it comes to your physical health why are you ignoring them when it comes to your mental health?
To ignore your surroundings is madness. Control your external environment as much as you can and you will notice an improvement in your self worth and mood.