Self Worth and Parenting Flaws

Do you struggle with low self-worth today because of poor parenting from your past? Are you floundering now because you had faulty authority figures?

A child’s parents neglected her. Her dad disappeared and her mom left her without food or care for days. When the mom was charged of neglect, she hardly wanted to admit that this child was her daughter. The mother said to the judge: “Yes … but I’d have gotten rid of her before she was born if I could have!” and as they left the courtroom, her mother muttered to the child, “If I ever see you again, I’ll kill you!” Who can blame the child for having the right to have bitter unforgiveness? This child later said that her mother’s rejection was total and final and all hope was quenched. “Am I that awful?” she asked herself. As she walked home alone, she prayed aloud that God would help her to understand why her mother had abandoned her, and she prayed that she wouldn’t hate her mother. The child said, “In that moment God let me forgive her.… I felt sorry for her. I had no hatred.… That day God performed a healing work in my life and prevented a permanent scar.” She was able to …“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Ephesians 4:31)

If you can remember the wrongs your parents and other authority figures did to you in the past, admit that it happened and that it is the truth, address the present truth, and appropriate God’s truth “Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” (Psalm 25:4–5)

Using the list below, identify the parenting style by which you were raised. Then take the 3 appropriate steps to leave your feelings of worthlessness behind. And if you have difficulty working through this, contact a good Christian therapist to help you.

1. Overly critical parents/authority figures:

  • Admit the past truth: “My parents were impossible to please.”
  • Address the present truth: “My worth is not based on pleasing people.”
  • Appropriate God’s truth: “I am fully accepted by God.”

“God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.” (Acts 15:8)

2. Overly protective parents/authority figures

  • Admit the past truth: “I was smothered by my parents.”
  • Address the present truth: “Though it is important to protect myself, my worth is not based on my ability to protect myself.”
  • Appropriate God’s truth: “The Lord is my help in times of trouble.”

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

3. Overly controlling parents/authority figures

  • Admit the past truth: “I was not allowed to make my own decisions.”
  • Address the present truth: “Though I have to make decisions, my worth is not based on my decision making.”
  • Appropriate God’s truth: “The Lord is my guide.”

“God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.” (Psalm 48:14)

4. Overly permissive parents/authority figures

  • Admit the past truth: “My parents did not set firm boundaries for me.”
  • Address the present truth: “Though I have to set boundaries, my worth is not based on my ability to set boundaries in my life.”
  • Appropriate God’s truth: “The Lord has established my boundaries.”

“You hem me in – behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.” (Psalm 139:5)