The Impact Parents have on a Child’s Self-Worth

A mother of three children dropped them of at her brother’s house, saying to the children: “I do not want to see you anymore, I hate you.” She “disappeared” and did not make any contact with the children in three years, but when she came to visit once in a six year span, she pushed them away, saying: “You are still the same, I hate you!” Such harsh, heartless rejection by the children’s mother continued throughout their mother’s lifetime.

The roots of rejection are not always easily uncovered, especially when their tentacles reach deep into childhood. Those who are rejected from conception can have a lifelong experience of never feeling loved and accepted, of never knowing the comfort of a mother’s warm, reassuring embrace or the security of a father’s strong, protecting arms.

When rejection is all that has been known, identifying its origins can feel overwhelming and frightening. But if rejection is to be removed from your life, it must be fearlessly faced and dug up by the roots with the help of the Lord and replaced with His loving acceptance. “This is what the Lord says—he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid” (Isaiah 44:2). The Lord gave many Christian counsellors the skills and therapies, which can help to remove this rejection and trauma with the Lord.

The actions and attitudes of parents toward their children send clear messages to children about their value and worth – not just their value to their parents, but their value and worth as human beings. These messages “stick like glue” and carry lifelong implications.

When you grew up with parents addicted (to any substance, being perfectionistic, compulsive spending, and workaholics) or having had abusive parents, the scars of rejection and codependency can send some messages to you and stick your whole life long.

Addictive Parents:

  • They are chemically dependent, and that sends the message to the kids: “My alcohol/drugs are more important than you.”
  • Parents, who are workaholics, send the message to the kids: “My work is more important than you.”
  • Compulsive spender parents send the message to the kids: “My money and things are more important than you.”
  • Perfectionistic parents send the message to the kids: “Their demand for perfection is more important than I am.”

Abusive Parents:

  • Emotionally abusive parents send the message to the kids: “You are a nobody.”
  • Verbally abusive parents send the message to the kids: “You deserve the put-downs.”
  • Physically abusive parents send the message to the kids: “You are meant to be a punishing bag.”
  • Sexually abusive parents send the message to the kids: You are nothing but just a sex object.”

Some people believe that they will never overcome their painful pasts, because they think it is impossible to do something about it and become whole. This is absolutely not true. In my psychotherapy practice I have seen many people (even in their old age) recovered from a severe traumatic past. No matter what your past was like or the pain inflicted on you by others, healing and wholeness are possible through Christ. “With God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)