Perhaps your young mind automatically blamed yourself when you saw them in distress, convinced that you must have done something wrong or failed to do enough to help. So you studied harder, did more housework, counseled them, became their emotional clutch, and even punching bag. You did everything possible to be an even more obedient and diligent child than you already were, but your parents’ difficulties persisted despite your best efforts. The resulting feelings of guilt (from thinking “I did not do enough”) or shame (from thinking “I am not enough/defective”) can have lasting consequences. If you felt that you weren’t worthy of happiness as a child, this unconscious belief could lead you to sabotage your personal and professional life as an adult.