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JLeslie's avatar

If you grew up in a very safe environment with trusting reliable parents, do you feel it left you naive about how awful people can be?

Asked by JLeslie (47551 points ) July 9th, 2012

I saw a show regarding women who were abused in their marriages where the woman all grew up without abuse in their families. The common thinking is people who have abuse growing up repeat it in their relationships. These women who did not have abuse said they had no idea how it happened to them? They told no one, because it was so embarrassing or so confusing to them.

I dated a guy in high school who was a cheater and a liar and so were all the men in his family. I never knew anything Like that even existed until I dated him. Now I know the signs, symptoms, and feeling associated with lying in general and cheating. I am tuned into it in a way I would not have been without that experience.

I don’t only pose the question regarding SO’s, bit dealing with people in general. It’s annoying when a family memebr or friend makes up a stupid lie, because they feel it will be easier than telling the truth, most of the time other people know what is going on. I know your kid isn’t sick, I know you aren’t with who you say you are with, I know you are just unable to simply say no and need to make up some ridiculous excuse.

My parents didn’t/don’t lie, my world as a youngster was predictable, relatively safe, and honest.

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15 Answers

DigitalBlue's avatar

I think that this relates to my response to your previous question.
I wouldn’t necessarily say that I was raised in a “very safe environment,” however, my parents were always extremely honest when we were growing up. The overwhelming majority of the time I felt comfortable telling my parents the truth (even when it was incriminating), and I do think that had a huge impact on my difficulty understanding why many other people seem so very dishonest.
On the other hand, it also gave me an interesting perspective in how I believe lying and dishonesty becomes a conditioned response, and can also be avoided in relationships. I don’t exactly have a control to compare it to, but, I have managed to forge many relationships in my life where people who normally will not honestly open up feel comfortable doing so with me.

athenasgriffin's avatar

I grew up in a safe environment with a unreliable but honest and trustworthy mother. I feel I am a bit naive about the things that are unavoidable in relationships. I’m a bit idealistic about them and it would have been nice to see the inner workings of good relationships as a child. As a teenager, I kind of went in blind with high expectations to relationships.

Perhaps if my idealism had been combined with an understanding of the reality, I would have been a little bit less demanding, and a little bit more understanding. I honestly thought that if you loved someone relationships would be easy as pie and everything would fall into place. Nothing would be uncomfortable or awkward, and my partner would never expect me to do anything I didn’t really fancy doing (Ahem, football games and many lunches with his whole family which really classifies as a clan it is so huge). Imagine my dismay when I realized it wasn’t so.

Coloma's avatar

Absolutely! I was in a marriage like that once upon a time, and, because I am a VERY open, friendly, cheerful and non-suspicious type I tend to project my good intentions on others as well.
Something I continue to try and temper within myself, learning to be more observant and healthily discerning, modifying of my natural transparency early in relationships.

Sunny2's avatar

Indeed. I’m still shocked at people who, for the sake of a lively conversation, will lie about things; actually make up stories about things that never happened. Makes me feel cheated.

Bill1939's avatar

What one expects in life is a reflection of what they have experienced. However, a person is likely to be more naive having grown up in a household that is abusive than those raised in one that is not. In a safe secure home where love and respect are dominant features, one might be surprised by discovering later in life that some people are not like your family members. However, one is not likely to be drawn to such people. Those who were abused and/or witnessed abuse on a regular basis, unfortunately, are drawn to abusive people because they unconsciously seek to find the love that was not demonstrated in their family from people like those in their family.

bookish1's avatar

People who grow up being abused can also end up in abusive relationships. I am living proof. :-/
I think it made me so desperate for intimacy that for a while I was not able to see that… intimacy with bad people is bad! Or, what @Bill1939 said…
Trying to be smarter about it now.

Paradox25's avatar

I have thought about this alot actually throughout my life, but not the relationship part since what you’re implying veers out into many other facets of our lives as well. My parents were somewhat protective of me, but they were dysfunctional as well. I still had to go to school, work, etc so even from a young age where alot was concealed from me, I still knew the truth of how awful people can be. Personally I never wanted to perpetuate endless family cycles of certain behaviors, but rather be the first generation in my family to end them, and that I have accomplished. I’m not sure if I have answered this question correctly in reference to what the OP was stating.

bookish1's avatar

@Paradox25 : Mad props!

YARNLADY's avatar

The only time I can say I notice it was when I attended a religious college. I was shocked to find that many students who were brought up in the same religion as I was did not practice what we were taught.

In general, my extended family was very different from the people I met in school and so it wasn’t a big surprise to me.

snapdragon24's avatar

Ohhh yes my friend oh yes…. As a matter of fact I kind of blame my parents for overprotection…and if you really think about it…we are not protected at all. Schools never taught us how to deal with real life and parents dont really teach us about how to deal with external evils… Worst part is, when you are naive, those with difficult lives and insecurities will most of the time try to bring you down and wake you up to a sad reality…

Bill1939's avatar

What is the best age to end childhood? How much human horror should parents share then? I don’t think people have ever known how to deal with life, they mostly stumble through their difficulties, playing it by ear and gut, playing out shared insecurities.

Does a three-year-old’s knowledge, that their mother may soon die, increase or decrease naiveté? Is ignorance, of the level of economic and/or intellectual poverty you are growing up under, more harmful than beneficial?

So the strategy many parents adopt is to try to keep their children children as long as possible. Life will teach the children what they need to know soon enough, as it did for us.

YARNLADY's avatar

I wonder if there are millions of parents who raised their children to be criminals? Did they say “I want you to grow up to be a thief, rapist and murderer, so you can be shot in the streets or spend most of your life in jail”?

bookish1's avatar

@Bill1939 : “Keeping children children as long as possible” is also handy if you want to grievously manipulate and/or abuse them.

Bill1939's avatar

While few parents want to abuse their children, most fall into the unconscious trap of associating their grandiose fantasies with their children’s ambitions. Even those parents who are happy in life will consciously direct their child’s daily experiences to those that teach how to be a communal person like they are.

Up to a point, such manipulation would not be considered grievous. It becomes grievous when one is manipulated into subservience well beyond a reasonable time for childhood’s end.

Then there are the few demon-possessed souls that prey with dark intent. Each a twisted life that casts waves of suffering in its wake.

bookish1's avatar

Yes, I know.

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