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5 Ways Growing Up in a Broken Home Screws Your Love Life

#2. Raising Children Is a Confused Mess

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You Either Use What You've Learned ...

Raising children after living through a broken home is scary because even if you know you don't want them to go through the hell that you did, you could still very easily fall into your parents' old cycles. If it's all you've ever known, it's the only thing that feels natural. Hell, you were raised that way, and you didn't turn out to be a serial killer, right? (Murderers, please ignore that last part.)

You probably won't even do those bad things as a conscious decision. Being around those actions all your life is enough to embed them into you like an accent in your voice. You're not trying to sound like Forrest Gump ... you just happened to live around an absurd amount of idiots. And no, you're not trying to scream like a psychopath every time a kid spills juice on the carpet ... you just happened to live with people who did that for the first 18 years of your life.

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"You've turned her into a monstrous freak with your juice rules!"

... Or You Do the Polar Opposite:

On the other side of that coin, it's just as easy to completely eliminate punishments from your parental arsenal. It sounds crazy to "normal" people, and perfectly logical to us fucked-up freaks. The really bad shit was always associated with punishments when you were growing up. Even if they weren't, they felt like it. So why inflict that on your own kids? And while we're at it, you never had cool stuff when you were young, so let's make sure your kids have everything they ever ask for.

Of course, those extremes hardly ever work out. There's a pretty good chance you're going to raise a bunch of assholes and dickheads, and the rest of the world has quite enough of those already, thank you. That middle ground I talked about earlier is so extremely important for a healthy relationship, but it's so hard to learn when you've never really experienced it. I have quite a few friends who have never had kids because they know how they fall into those extremes, and they don't want to fuck up innocent little people.

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Honestly, some of them are probably right.

Let me tell you this much: If your logic is along those lines, you are already much more normal than you think. It means you're putting other people's welfare above your own, and that's how the rest of the sane world works. You may be more ready than you imagined. Don't take my word for it and immediately throw away all your condoms; introspection makes for great foreplay in the long run.

#1. Compromise Is an Alien Idea

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You Either Use What You've Learned ...

Everything has to be your way, no matter what. This is your house and your rules. "You paid how much? For fucking curtains? Take them back. You don't spend anything without running it by me first!" Any relationship you have must conform to your personal commandments, or they simply aren't the person for you. They can just fuck right exactly off. No discussion.

If there are kids involved, they have no choice in the matter. Your word is the law, and they will abide by it without protest. You are the parent, not them, and you know what's best, even if you actually have no goddamn clue what you're doing and are just kind of winging it like the rest of the world.

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"Thou shalt not kill ... thou shalt not kill ... thou shalt not kill ..."

... Or You Do the Polar Opposite:

No matter what type of dysfunctional family you come from, compromise was likely never an option for any decision. By the time you get into your own relationship, you've had virtually no hands-on practice with the concept. As far as you're concerned, compromise is something they do in Disney sitcoms and sappy family movies. And you don't even own a sweater vest.

The way you always compromised was by giving in to the aggressor. It got them off of your ass, and it's just as easy to continue doing that now. Unfortunately, that means that many of your needs aren't being met. But here's the part that many of us "damaged" people don't get: Many of our wants aren't being met, and we're totally entitled to that.

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"I'm kind of fond of the Knight Rider one for the living room."

We never consider that it's an option because we're still in the frame of mind that "It's not important enough to argue over. Just let her have the hot pink bedspread instead of the cool one I want with skulls and flames on it." If we're in a healthy relationship with a normal, sane person, we forget that they want awesome things for us as much as we want awesome things for them. Learning to compromise is hard for us. It's scary. So many of us just cut it out of the equation to prevent those old feelings of stress from ever coming back.

None of this stuff is insurmountable. You learned the behaviors -- you can learn new ones. It just takes practice, an open mind, and good people around you to tell you when you're starting to sprout douchefangs. Nobody likes a weredouche, man.


John is an editor and columnist right here at Cracked, with a new article every Thursday. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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