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When you say, “It’s all my fault”

If there’s one universal thing I hear clients say, it’s, “It’s all my fault,” as they list all the ways they think they have failed their child. It’s not helpful to think this way and thinking this way doesn’t lead you to any resolution, it just keeps you stuck right where you are. This episode will address this thinking pattern and show you ways to begin questioning the thoughts you are having as you begin to get unstuck and move forward.

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Podcast Transcript

You’re listening to parenting through the detour, Episode 26. When you say, This is all my fault. Howard W Hunter said, Your detours and disappointments are the straight and narrow way back to him. And we know that men and women are that they might have joy. But when you get taken on a parenting detour, it feels like joy is something that other people get to feel. But not you. It doesn’t have to be this way. Join me on this podcast. And let’s find some joy through your detours. And I’ll give you some help along the way. I’m your host, Tina Gosney. And I’m a life and relationship coach, and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.


Welcome back to the podcast on this cold December day is a cold where you are. It’s kind of cold where I am. How is December going for you? How are you getting ready for Christmas? Is it feel overwhelming yet? I know so many years, I got really overwhelmed in December, and just couldn’t wait for it to be over. I was just so grateful when Christmas came. And then it was like, Okay, now life could get back to normal. I don’t have so many things that I’m doing. And like I just can relax again. After a few years of doing that, I realized I don’t want to spend December, wishing that it was over with I want to just spend December, really celebrating the birth of the Savior and enjoying the things that I was doing. And that meant that there was some times that I had to say no. And sometimes I had to question about what I wanted to have in my life. And be very intentional about the things that I put in my life in December.

And being intentional about, about things that you put in your life is really what I’m talking about today, we just let our thoughts kind of go crazy. And we tell ourselves that the situations that we find ourselves in the situations that we’ve find our family in women especially will say this is all my fault, I did things wrong.

And I can remember a really specific instance, when I did this, my oldest child was she was just beginning her senior year of high school. We were school shopping at Target. And I remember leaving the Target parking lot with some things for her senior year. And just having like a little panic attack, we’re walking through the parking lot. And I all of a sudden I thought we only have one more year, next year, she’s gonna be going off to college. I haven’t taught her enough, she’s not ready. I haven’t had enough time with her. Like, there’s so many more things that that I haven’t done that I was supposed to do. She’s not ready. And I thought if she succeeded or failed, once she left my house, it was all riding on me. It was all my failure or my success in preparing her. And I spent so much of that senior year thinking that I had not done a good job of preparing her for the world.

And there’s so many times since then that I have thought this is all my fault, the way the things that are happening right now, if I had been a better mother, we wouldn’t be here right now. And I lived in that space for a long time, I blamed myself for not being better. For not knowing more for not paying more attention. I spent a lot of time wishing that my kids had a different mother. Because they were so awesome. They deserved a mother that was better than me. And I was failing. And I was taking all this responsibility for everything on my own shoulders. Because somehow someway, it was my fault.

And women especially tend to do this. And it’s not just something that we put on ourselves. It’s actually like a societal and cultural thing. If you see a child that’s making mistakes, you think, Oh, well, their mother didn’t pay attention. And we we blame it on the mother like what did that mom do to that kid? We blame it on the mother and we will take that on ourselves too. We blame ourselves for anything, and just about everything. This is not an effective way to think. And it’s not an effective way to form connections and strong relationships in your family. When you’re thinking things like this is my fault.

Things like just for instance, these are some pretty common ones that I hear. I should have paid more attention to what was going on for them when they were younger. but I didn’t. And now, this is all my fault. Or I shouldn’t have worked outside of our home, I worked too much, I was away too much. If I had stayed home and I hadn’t worked, I could have spent more time with them, and everything would be different now. So this is all my fault. Or I should have gone to work, and then they would have learned to be more self reliant, it’s all my fault. Why did I think I had to stay home and do everything for them. They’re so not independent now. And things will be different, they will be able to make better choices and be more rely on themselves. Now, this is just all my fault. And another one that I hear quite often is, well, I didn’t love them the way that they needed to be loved. And that’s why we have such a terrible relationship. Now. This is all my fault, I should have paid more attention, I should have seen that, that they needed something different from me, and I didn’t. So it’s all my fault.


Those are just very common thought patterns that I hear from others. I’ve had many of them myself. I know from so many conversations that I’ve had with people, that these are super common ways that we blame ourselves for many, many things. But I want to tell you, you really don’t have that much power. We think that we do, we really don’t.

There was a time a few years ago, that I was really struggling with this thinking like this is all my fault, I should have been better. I am such a failure. And I was doing some research online. And I found this article from an LDS therapist, it was a blog post, and I have tried to find it since then I cannot find it. I don’t know if the blog post was taken down. Or if I’m just not looking in the right place. But I have not been able to find it since then. But I won’t ever forget what was in that blog post. Because this therapist was talking about what determines the course of a person’s life. What determines the choices that somebody makes in their life, and which way they decide to go. And it wasn’t just from his own experience with he had come together with many other therapists, and they had brainstormed these ideas and and asked them, you know, explored this question of what is it that makes one person go one way and another person go another way. And they have done a lot of research behind this.

And, you know, you can you can see examples of kids who had parents that just gave them an ideal life that did that were there and they were present. And they they did all the things that you know, we think that we’re supposed to be doing, and gave them all the love that they thought this child needed. But this child still turns out to be a drug addict who kill someone in a car accident from a DUI. And then you have examples, you can look at examples from a kid who grew up with a single mother. In the projects, the mother was never home, she worked three jobs. And that kid became a brain surgeon or discovers the cure to a disease.

So is it nature? Is it nurture? What determines the choices that a person makes? This is what the these therapists is they determined through their years of experience in research and study. This is what they came up with. And I don’t know if this is entirely accurate. I think there’s a lot of truth in it. Probably also some some factors that would alter this model. But for the sake of this podcast, we’re just gonna go with this. So if you look at it as a pie chart, 50% of the choices that a person makes, are because of the way that they came to this earth. We had this opportunity to prepare before we came to this earth. And we brought certain characteristics with us to help us work out the things that we need to work out on this earth. And we all came different 50% of that is who you came as. And you can see this really clearly if you have just like really even one child, you know that that child came with a personality. They came with certain characteristics that make them who they are. You see it very clearly, even more clearly. If you have two children or more because you know that each one of those children come with inborn characteristics and a personality. That’s not something that you put in them. That is something that they came with. That’s 50% That is huge. 25% They said is the time and place that you were born.

So consider the difference between growing up, being born in 30, AD, Jerusalem, and 1990, Utah, in the United States, two completely different times, two completely different places, but the time and the place that you were born, his affects about 25% of the choices that you make in your life. That leaves 25% more, right. And that 25% is where you can find yourself. It’s the environment that this person grows up in. So 25% his environment, if you consider the influence that you have on a child,
as to where the choices that they make in their life, and that they have two parents, let’s say to both parents were present in the home, being very generous 12.5 % to each parent. But we all know that parents are not the only influence in a child’s life. And you can’t even take 12.5%. And it’s going to be somewhere below that. The parents, especially mothers, consider themselves to have much more influence in their child’s life, than 12.5%. And I believe that’s why they’re so eager to grab on to taking the responsibility when they don’t like the choices that child is making. But you actually don’t have enough power to take complete responsibility for anyone else’s choices, even your child. And when you do, it keeps you sitting in blame. It keeps you stuck in having so much judgment on yourself and beating yourself up. Because it feels like somebody has to be someone has to be at fault, right? Because things are not going according to plan. So somebody must have been at fault. And it’s really painful to blame that on your child. It’s much easier to blame that on yourself. But it doesn’t help you create anything positive in the future. When you sit there, and you’re stuck in judgment of yourself. It keeps you focused on the past and not on the future. You don’t have the power to change any circumstance in the past.

But you do have the power to change how you show up now, today, and how you show up tomorrow. And the day after that. And the day after that into the future, you do have power there. And I talk a lot about questioning your thoughts. Because, as I said before our brains tell us stories, we have a limited number of facts. And then our brains fill in the rest of the gaps with a story that makes sense as to why those facts exist in the world. So I talk a lot about questioning the story that your brain is telling you. And I know that some people if they haven’t heard this concept before, they can be really confused by what do you mean the stories that my brain is telling me? So I’m going to show you what it looks like to question a story and question, the thoughts that your brain is having.

And let’s just take this thought that I hear quite often is that I shouldn’t have worked outside of our home, I should have been home more, I should have been seeing what was happening. It was because I was gone that I couldn’t see what was happening. And I could have stopped all this. So this is all my fault. So let’s just take this thought pattern, this pretty common thought pattern that I hear. And let’s begin to question it. So what if the situation still would have happened? If you had been home? How many hours do you think it would have been okay to be at home? When to be at work for things to not be the way that they are right now? What should you have done when you were at home that you didn’t do? How would it if you did those things? How would it be different now? What if this situation was going to happen? Whether you worked outside of your home, you worked inside of your home? Or you didn’t work at all? And you spent all your hours focused on this child trying to do the best for them? What if it had still happened? Then what? When you think this is all your fault, what does that like for you in your life? What does that create for you in your life? What does it create for you? What does it create for your child’s life? When you blame yourself? Just thinking that way allow you to really see your child with eternal eyes like heavenly father does. Does it allow you to see yourself with eternalize like heavenly father does. If he was standing in front of you right now what do you think he would say to you What if this situation that you’re in and that your child is in? Is the exact situation and the exact circumstances that both of you need to become the person that you are supposed to become on this earth?
And what blessings can you find in this situation right now? What blessings do you see for you? What blessings do you see for your child? So these are just some of the questions that you could ask yourself, and maybe adapt if you have a different way that you’re blaming yourself. For a situation that’s happening right now, in your life, adapt those questions, come up with some different ones, question the thoughts that your brain is offering you? And even question like what that thought process. And that thought path does for you, when you continue down that path? What does it create for you in your life.

And to realize that your brain, when you start questioning things, your brain is going to come up with a lot of reasons why the way it’s thinking is true. And there’s no other way to think it’s going to have lots and lots of reasons why you are where you are, and why your child is where they are right now, and how it’s all your fault. But realize, when you focus on things like that, what you focus on becomes bigger. So when you focus on all the things that you think you fail, that you’re going to see more things, that you think that you fail, that you’re going to see more ways, in more areas of your life that you think you have failed. But when you focus on moving forward in finding blessings, and showing love, you’re going to see more of that too. And you get to decide what you put your focus on.

This is part of your agency, you decide how to think, what to focus on, and what you want to create in your life going forward. So if every child was supposed to have a perfect parent, he would never have let you be a parent, he wouldn’t have let me be a parent, he wouldn’t have let any of us be parents, we would not have the opportunity to be parents, he would have found Heavenly Father would have found a different way to bring children into this world. And to bring them up, he would have not have given us the opportunity to be parents. But he did give us that opportunity, didn’t he? He doesn’t expect you to be perfect. Why do you expect yourself to be perfect? Give yourself some grace. Your child does not need a perfect parent. They need you. With all your mistakes, with all of the things that you do that are great with all the things that you don’t do that are great your child needs you. And they need to see examples of not being perfect all the time, because they aren’t either. And when you try to be perfect all the time, you’re setting an unrealistic bar for them going forward. But here are ways that you are perfect.

You are a perfect parent, for your child with all of your mistakes, with all the things that you’ve done wrong and the things that you’ve done right, with all the things that you missed, and that you didn’t notice, and all the things that you did notice, in all the ways that you taught them, and in the ways that you think you should have taught them better. In all the opportunities that you provided for them, and the opportunities you think you should have provided for them. You are the perfect parent for your child. When you think this way, it allows you to give yourself grace, for not being perfect. It allows you to give yourself some space to learn from the things that you need to learn from, and to allow your child to learn the things that they need to learn from without you taking responsibility, and you taking that learning opportunity away from them. And then you show up, you find ways that you can show up and love them better, and help them through their struggles. And you can see the ways that they’re hurting because you have heard that way too. So you know how to help them better. You can give yourself grace, you can give your child grace. And when you can stay stuck in thinking this is all my fault. You can’t find that grace. And it’s very very difficult to find the love for yourself and the love for your child. So ask yourself what thought patterns what thought roads Am I going down and is this is this road leading me To have more love and connection with my child, and in all my relationships, or is it keeping me stuck where I am.

And if you’re not feeling like you know how to relate to your child anymore, that that relationship is strained or damaged, and you’re not sure what to do, you’re, you’re stuck and you don’t know. Like, I don’t know what to do next. Everything I try is like making things worse, I’d really don’t know how to get out of this place that I am right now that I want you to come to my relationship reset workshop in January. This workshop isn’t just for a parent child relationship, the things that I’m going to teach you and the tools that I’m going to give you can be used in any relationship with a spouse, with a friend, with your parent with maybe even a co worker, the things that I’m going to teach you are universal to any relationship. So give this as a gift to yourself or to someone else. There are a few very few gifts that have the opportunity and the possibility to affect your life as much as a gift like this.

Did you know The biggest predictor of happiness and overall life satisfaction? Is the quality of your closest relationships. Consider the quality of your closest relationships right now. Do they need some work? Do they need some repair? Do they need a reset? Coming to this workshop is going to be a great start to strengthen those relationships. And to start off the new year, in a really great positive way, with some new tools to take into the new year. This relationship reset workshop takes place January 13. through February 3, it’s on the on Thursdays from 10 to 11am. Mountain Time. Don’t worry if you can’t come live, you’ll receive the replays.

And if you have any specific questions that you want me to address, you’re always welcome to email those to me. And I will answer those on the call so that you can get the answers that you need for your specific situation. So I’m going to put a link to this workshop in the show notes along with a coupon code that you can use to get a discount this holiday season. This discount code expires on December 25. So it’ll be available to you to purchase Claire up until Christmas Day. Want to give it to yourself or to our friend or maybe your parents who do you know that needs this relationship reset workshop. I’m looking forward to seeing you on that call.

Thank you for being with me today and I’ll see you next week.