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Do You Treat Yourself Like Your Parents Treated Themselves?

By Dr. Margaret Paul
July 01, 2019

Learn how you might be treating yourself that is like your parents, siblings, or other caregivers treated themselves.

Authoritarian behaviorThe ego wounded self is generally patterned after parents and other caregivers, as well as after siblings, relatives, teachers, friends, authorities, and the media. When you think about how the people in your life were with themselves, how many role-modeled loving behavior toward themselves? Instead, they likely role-modeled authoritarian or permissive behavior toward themselves.


  • Judging themselves
  • Not allowing themselves time for relaxation, fun, or creativity - always having to be busy
  • Following others' rules
  • Always having to do things "right"
  • Worried about "What will the neighbors think?" or "What will 'they' think?"
  • Rigid about money
  • Rigid about cleanliness

And so on...


  • Acting out addictively with substances such as food, drugs, alcohol
  • Self-indulgent with TV
  • Reckless with money, spending addicted, accumulating "stuff"
  • Always late
  • Allowing themselves to lose themselves to others
  • Allowing themselves to be anxious or depressed without doing anything about it
  • Sloppy, cluttering, dirty
  • Self-indulgent regarding yelling, blaming, criticizing others
  • Self-indulgent regarding inflicting negative energy on others
  • Self-indulgent regarding physical harm to others
  • Self-indulgent regarding lying
  • Self-indulgent regarding self-care: not making sure they got enough exercise, sleep, healthy food

And so on...


How Are You With Yourself?

Take a moment now to think about how you, when you are operating from your wounded self, are authoritarian or permissive with yourself in the above ways.

Your inner child cannot feel loved by you when you are authoritarian or permissive with yourself.

Because you learned these patterns so young, they are deeply programmed into you, and you will automatically go to these patterns when there is any stress if you do not consciously choose to open to learning and do an Inner Bonding process instead.

When you think about the consequences to your parents or other childhood role models, what was the results of their authoritarian or permissive behavior with themselves?

  • Did it ever bring them inner peace and joy?
  • Did it ever create an inner sense of safety?
  • Did it ever fill them with love so they could share their love with others?

Their wounded selves came from the false belief that authoritarian or permissive behaviors would protect them from the things they feared - loss of self, loss of other, judgment, mistakes, failure. But, as you look back, you can see that it brought about the very things they feared.

What about you? Are you still operating on autopilot and allowing your authoritarian and permissive ego wounded self to be in charge of you? Are you still creating the same or similar consequences in your life as your parents or others did in theirs? When are you rigid or judgmental with yourself? When are you indulgent toward yourself with behavior that is harmful to you or others? You might want to take a few minutes to look over the above list and see what you are doing with yourself that is similar to what one or both of your parents, other caregivers, or siblings did. 


Beyond Authoritarian and Permissive

Just as authoritarian and permissive parenting is not loving to children, likewise it is unloving inner parenting. We are being loving inner parents only when we are focused on what is in our highest good, not when we are focused on trying to feel safe by attempting to have control over getting love and attention from others, and avoiding responsibility for our painful feelings.

Today, open to becoming more aware of your authoritarian and permissive wounded self, and explore, with gentleness and compassion, the false beliefs that lead to these choices.

Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."

Join IBVillage to connect with others and receive compassionate help and support for learning to love yourself.


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