Perhaps the single most common question I get from people who are using the Lefkoe Belief Process to eliminate beliefs is: “Why do you say that all of our self-esteem beliefs were formed in early interactions with our parents?  I had great parents.  My beliefs about myself weren’t formed until later in life.”

I wrote a post last year explaining why parents are almost always the source of our self-esteem beliefs.  But there are additional reasons why people might think their parents’ behavior has nothing to do with their beliefs that I didn’t cover in that post.

To begin with, the beliefs you form in childhood as a result of interactions with your parents are not always the result of “bad” or abusive behavior.  Negative self-esteem beliefs can be formed just as easily when parents withdraw from their children as when they yell at or punish their children.  And withdrawing is not as obviously “bad” as punishment.

Other parental behavior that causes negative self-esteem beliefs is anything that results in you feeling guilty—because you think you’ve treated your parents badly.  What type of person must you be to treat your parents badly? …  I’m not good enough. I’m bad.  I’m not deserving.

Imagine that you don’t do what your parents want you to do and their response makes you feel guilty, because they do so many wonderful things for you and you won’t do what they want you to do for them.  If you then get yelled at, spanked, or punished, you might well experience your parents’ behavior as appropriate—not as “negative behavior.”

I remember one client who told me early on that his parents were wonderful people who never did anything that could have led to negative beliefs.  Shortly afterwards he mentioned that he was spanked on a regular basis.  When I said that the spanking might well have been the source of several of his beliefs, he protested and replied: “But I was bad.  I deserved to be spanked. My parents didn’t do anything wrong.”

In cultures where parents aren’t around a lot, where fathers have little to do with child rearing, where physical punishment is common, and where comparisons with others and negative criticism are the norm, you might well think that your childhood was “normal,” and could not possibly be the source of negative beliefs.

Although your childhood might have been “typical,” it certainly was not “normal.”

To learn several other reasons why 99% of our self-esteem beliefs are formed in childhood as a result of interactions with our parents, see my earlier blog post if you haven’t already read it.  And if you are a parent, read it again to learn what not to do to keep your children from forming the negative beliefs you probably formed in your childhood.

I’d love to hear from you with your thoughts about the source of your beliefs. Please write your comments below.

For information about Shelly Lefkoe’s excellent course on parenting, which is based upon her 20 years of experience as a Certified Lefkoe Method Facilitator, and that helps parents raise children with a minimum of negative limiting beliefs, please go to:

If you haven’t yet eliminated at least one of your limiting self-esteem beliefs using the Lefkoe Belief Process, go to htp:// where you can eliminate one negative belief free.

For information about eliminating 23 of the most common limiting beliefs and conditionings, which cause eight of the most common problems in our lives, please check out:

These weekly blog posts also exist as podcasts.  Sign up for the RSS feed or at iTunes to get the podcasts sent to you weekly.

Copyright © 2011 Morty Lefkoe


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  2. Myra October 28, 2012 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    In mine and my sister’s cases, while our parents were influences, the primary source of many negative beliefs was our grandmother. She was not a bad woman, we loved her and she us. However, her methods were definitely tough love (shaped by growing up in the Great Depression). Your program has worked well for me, but not so for my sister, for one main reason:

    She is hearing impaired and struggles with audio programs like yours. What do you suggest in this case? She definitely wants to gain the benefits you offer.

  3. Ingrid June 7, 2011 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    Hello Morty,
    I had a wonderful father (R.I.P) whom I will always cherish. He was generous, protective, sensitive and always made sure I had the best of the best even after their divorce.
    My problem is with my mom. One minute, she’s nice to me and trying to give me good advice, the other minute, she is blaming me for her divorce (I was 9 years old when they divorced). She also thinks that I am her prized posession and tries to sabotage my relationship with any potential partner, my activities, my children.
    I know deep down the problems come from her but I feel there is something that is still preventing me from moving on with my life and being the successful person I want to become. That is frustrating.
    Although I moved away from her, I am still struggling to find myself and not get her approval for everything. When I was living close to her, she told one of my children that I was crazy. So I decided to move on my own and buy my own house at the age of 29. Morty you should have her face of disappointment and jealousy when I told her I had purchased a brand new house. She even tried to keep my brother away from me and my children. I have two children and I remember each time I would announce her about my pregnancy, she asked me if I was going to get an abortion. ( I felt lik I was not good enough and not important).
    I tried to block her by not listening to her advice and to keep my children away from her. The last straw was she tried to frame my son who was staying with her after I moved to another country.
    As you can see, I have a lot of baggage due to her and I am trying to rely on my own opinion (in the past, if she gave me the sad face, i would give up my project). Those bad memories had left me to believe that I’m nothing and I am not even good enough to have a good husband.
    I feel there are two parts of me, one that has all the tools to be successful and another one who is full of guilt and fear.
    This year I set my mind to become a millionaire but I feel stuck. There is a limiting belief that is still suppressed in my subconscious mind and I can’t put a find on it. When I make little a progress, it is because I “see” the successful image of my father and his “fat” wallet in my mind. But when I talk on the phone with my mom, she has some ways of putting my energy down and everything crashes.
    I just don’t know what else to do. (I tried EFT for betrayal and rejection) I could not finish it because I cried for a good 45 minutes.
    Any suggestions?
    I am in Florida

    • Morty Lefkoe June 7, 2011 at 3:29 pm - Reply

      Hi Ingrid,

      I can see where a lot of your negative beliefs originated.

      We have a DVD package that will help you eliminate 19 of the most common negative beliefs from childhood. Take a look at it and see if you think this covers what you are looking for:

      If it doesn’t, we have phone and Skype one-on-one sessions with people all over the world. We could help you identify exactly what beliefs you have that are getting in the way and then help you get rid of them.

      For more information about these sessions, please call us at (415) 506-4472.

      I look forward to helping you in some way.

      Love, Morty

  4. Shlomit May 28, 2011 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    Good for you, Christina. There’s something to learn from your inner strength in overcoming. And at least you became aware of what was really going on and tried to work on yourself. That’s the first step.

    I want to also share that last night I was at a dinner where I met a woman who’s 38. She told me that she’s been living on her own only since the past year, and she’s still struggling to get used to it. Her parents were very protective. This is not the first person I’ve met who’s grown up with very protective and strict parents and is taking a bit longer to get settled in various areas. I think it’s important for people to recognize that even when parents may “appear” to love and care about their kids there’s a thin line to when that becomes abusive. Parents who are overly protective and strict with their children do not realize just how much they are affecting the kids.

    Many kids grow up having much difficulty figuring out who they are and what they really want for themselves, and they become so attached and dependent on the parents along with what their parents think and are afraid and unsure of how to move forward. As they face new experiences on their own, it can get very stressful as they learn to trust themselves and also allow themselves to make mistakes sometimes and learn.

    So having a balance in parenting in terms of being loving but also being positive examples for kids and teaching and supporting them in becoming healthy adults is important. I’d be interested in hearing more about this from Morty.

  5. Christina May 28, 2011 at 3:48 am - Reply

    Morty, You are right on. We are products of our environment. I grew up in a COMPLETELY dysfunctional environment, and took on horribly self destructive, anti- social behaviors as a teen ager and young adult. It was not until about age 18 that I began to change things for myself (with the strength of God) but it has been a constant, uphill battle for me. Even though I got clean, I have been plagued with depression, anger, anxiety, control issues which have disrupted all of my relationships. To everyone here, YES, we have the choice to make always how we are going to handle the situations in our life. But it is our PARENTS who equip us with the tools to handle life… Parents provide the environment for the child to feel safe enough to be who they are going to be, and loved enough to truly always know you have a safe, stable home … I take responsibility for my actions, but when I look at my life, I see why I made the decisions I did as a child/ very young adult. Why my self esteem was so low. Why I was always looking for the attention of any man who would give it. Why I was always so angry and felt so unloved. I was unloved. Not being judgmental of my parents, That’s just the way it is. They did not have a class on parenting either :) Not that my father was ever even part of the picture. And now I am a parent, and I have tried to do a much better job of loving my kids, but am making my share of mistakes… As long as they know they are loved. I wish I had known about Love an Logic when my oldest was little :) Thanks for letting my share, Morty.

  6. Shlomit May 27, 2011 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    I am really not sure what to think anymore about the law of attraction, and I think it’s really doing a disservice when it’s being used to completely take away responsibility from perpetrators and puts it all on the victims. I believe that things happen to people for different reasons, only God knows them all. There may even be some karma involved even from a past life, and yes there is something to staying positive and learning to be assertive and such things. But anyway, I think children should be raised with the belief and knowledge that they have the right to live with safety and love. There are many parents who are not even willing to acknowledge or are not able to see that they have issues that need to be worked on, and many kids suffer as a result. Some kids even suffer beyond what may seem to some as “simple” spanking or verbal abuse to serious sexual or physical abuse. Parents need to be there for the children in ways that they need parents to be as they grow up.

    I don’t see how it would help anyone who went through a dysfunctional upbringing to go through his whole life thinking he was fully responsible for others’ thoughts and actions. Every person needs to work on himself and learn to control his thoughts and actions. And no, kids aren’t able to fully learn everything and care for themselves.

    It’s true that to fully move on from experiences you have to forgive and let go. However, much healing in life also begins with letting go of shame and guilt. Moreover, it is said that the main free will people have in life is how they respond to their experiences, and life is a journey of learning and growth. However, that doesn’t mean that some actors in the play do not also have to consider how they are acting and work on positive personal growth, too.

  7. Andrew May 27, 2011 at 5:26 am - Reply

    Sorry… Properly? ;)
    Cheers Morty

  8. Andrew May 27, 2011 at 5:25 am - Reply

    Hi Morty,
    I bought the Public Speaking DVDs about 6 months ago and went through them twice but to be honest I couldn’t get the process to work for me. To be honest I had alot of disbelief that it could work on an unconscious level and rewire all that conditioning, surely those neuronal circuits don’t just vanish? My problem though is that I can’t make it clear what I saw and felt and thought in those first 6 years or so, my memory isn’t that good! I was thinking of getting a refund but hung onto it because I still think it has big potential. Any ideas on how I can get a better understanding of what I need to know to do it roperly

  9. Becks May 27, 2011 at 5:14 am - Reply

    There is no blame to be apportioned here at all, merely responsibility. By that I mean we are not to blame our parents for causing our beliefs rather something they said or did and they way we interpreted that word or deed was responsible for us forming the belief. Now we have the belief we are responsible for changing it, no blame, no bitterness just empowered ownership and thus the ability to move forward with power and purpose.
    Thank you for posting/replying/posting……… :)

  10. Rachel May 27, 2011 at 4:41 am - Reply

    I worry about my 8 year old son whose father (my ex husband) tells him he will ” fall out of love with him” if he is naughty – or that he will “get a new son”. Needless to say he rarely sees him because I feel this is abusive.

    I try so hard to help instill the beliefs in my son to help combat this, but I do worry for him for the future.

    Any advice out there?

    Many thanks as always Morty for your interesting posts.


    • Morty Lefkoe May 27, 2011 at 11:29 am - Reply

      Hi Rachel,

      For the best parenting advice around, check out Shelly’s 7 CD parenting course:

      It is unlike anything out there and it is brilliant. Promise it will help.

      Love, Morty

  11. Teresa May 27, 2011 at 1:59 am - Reply

    Morty, do you believe you can repair the children psyche when they are at school age if the negative beliefs were formed before 7 years of age?

    If yes how?

    Many thanks for your interesting blog as usual – I follow your ideas with great interest.

    Best wishes,

    • Morty Lefkoe May 27, 2011 at 11:21 am - Reply

      Hi Teresa,

      We’ve worked with kids as young as 12. They need to be able to follow the abstract steps of the Lefkoe belief Process.

      We do phone and Skype sessions with kids to help them eliminate the negative beliefs.

      It is important for the parents of children still living at home to work on themselves at the same time.

      Love, morty

  12. Melody | Deliberate Receiving May 25, 2011 at 11:30 am - Reply

    Hey Morty,

    While I agree that most of our beliefs were formed in childhood, particularly the ones about ourselves, I don’t think you can really blame the parents. By doing so, we give away all our power. We are powerful, energetic beings and when we’re born into an environment, we pick up the vibrations that are already present (from each other, from the environment around us, from the world in general), just as our parents did. Each generation does the best with that and evolves, leaving a slightly higher vibration for their children to be born into. The children of the most loving, supportive parents will have picked up limiting beliefs.

    I’m not saying that parents can’t make a difference, but they are not the cause of our limiting beliefs. We are. We come to conclusions about ourselves, with our parents often having little or no knowledge of it. Even when adults attempt to explain things to kids and give them perspective, children can reject the explanation because no logical, adult view would make sense to them. That’s what often makes our beliefs so illogical and twisted.

    Also, we assume that children have no power to create their own reality, which is untrue IMHO). They are just as powerful as their parents are, often more so (because they’re still more connected). They are creating their reality and then interpreting it further using the perspective they’ve gained so far. And yes, they will come to some weird conclusions, but none of that’s an issue as long as we remember that we have the power to change our beliefs. I actually explored this topic in a blog post a while back: Stop Blaming The Parents.

    It’s a very interesting subject and I’m sure will foster a great deal of debate. :)


    • Morty Lefkoe May 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm - Reply

      Hi Melody,

      I agree completely that parent don’t cause our beliefs. But they do provide the “evidence” that children give meaning to that then become their beliefs. If parents parented differently, children would form different beliefs.

      Parental behavior doesn’t “cause” the beliefs, but it is the source of the beliefs. How do I know? Because over 14,000 clients have told me that the source of their self-esteem beliefs came from specific childhood situations. And using these events, they were able to get rid of the beliefs using the Lefkoe Belief Process.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Love, Morty

      • Melody | Deliberate Receiving May 27, 2011 at 7:36 am - Reply

        Hi Morty,
        Thanks for taking the time to reply. One thing though: Do you not think that children, who are just as powerful at creating as we are, elicit certain behaviors from their parents? We always think of children as blank slates, and everything that happens to them is done to them, but I don’t believe this to be the case. If the Law of Attraction applies to kids, too, then what they experience from their parents must be a match to the vibration they’re offering. Again, I’m not saying that conscious parents can’t give their kids a huge leg up, but the children of those parents would also have to be a match to them. Of course, parents who raise their vibration can also help their children raise their vibration and they’ll both be a match to a different relationship and I support any method that helps them do this, as well as methods for clearing beliefs. Just debating a philosophical point. :)

        • Fran May 27, 2011 at 8:31 am - Reply

          Hi Melody,

          The parents may not be the sole cause, but they are part of the problem.

          Babies come here as pure positive energy. Their vibration is not yet tainted. It is not until they have contact with beings of lower vibration that things will change for them, usually as a mechanism for survival.

          Babies change from pure high vibration to a lower vibration as they do not have the tools to combat it.

          So yes, by the age of 1 they are a vibrational match with their lower vibrational parents and will continue to receive the treatment they are receiving unless they get the tools to change the beliefs.

          The same thing happens in pet ownership. Pets are pure positive energy. It isn’t until they come in contact with beings of lower vibrations that they tend to lose that higher vibration.

          Compassion comes in by understanding that the parents went through the same process when they were children. But at some point the cycle needs to stop.


        • Justin | Mazzastick May 27, 2011 at 9:02 am - Reply

          Hi Morty/Melody
          Great points here from both angles and I believe that both are true.

          Being older and reflecting back on my childhood I can see how I helped to create my experience and reality and thus was able to attach a negative belief about myself to the experience.

          As parents we can teach our kids about the LOA and also how not to give ourselves a negative label by what we caused.

          It is about empowering ourselves and accepting full responsibility for our actions without blaming anyone.

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