Love 3 min read

How To Forgive Your Mom And Dad

Free yourself.

The connection between a parent and child is unlike any other.  From infancy, children are able to tell when their parents are upset or experiencing stress.  An American Psychological Association report found that when children witness their parents arguing and complaining they felt “sad and worried” themselves.  

Our parents are supposed to be our caretakers in this world.  The trust between parent and child should be unbreakable.  But what happens when this trust is broken? How do we move on when those that brought us into the world have sometimes caused us the most pain?  

Here are three things to keep in mind as we work to forgive our parents:

1. Know that it was not your fault.

It is never too late to remind yourself that it was not your fault.  Our parents might not have dealt with their internal pain before bringing us into the world.  If they’ve experienced trauma of their own, and did not heal it, the cycle will continue.

For over thirty years, doctors have studied the lasting consequences of trauma experienced in childhood.  Adults who’ve lived through difficult childhoods are susceptible to chronic low self esteem, anxiety and depression as a result of internalizing blame.  There was no way for us to control what our parents lived through and how that spilled over to our own childhood.  As adults we can work towards forgiving them when we acknowledge that they are still in pain.  We are certainly not responsible for all the ways their trauma manifests itself.  

 2. Honor your boundaries.

Every cell in our bodies is protected by its cell membrane--its boundary.  Like our cells, we must have solid emotional boundaries that keep us operating at our best.  When our parents have injured us in the past, or continue to push our buttons, it’s crucial to put up protective boundaries.

It’s OK to respectfully ask for the hurtful comments to stop.  Your parent(s) may bristle at your assertiveness, but your emotional honesty honors you all.  These boundaries give you the confidence to forgive and set up new parameters for your relationship with them.

 3. Fill your life with light.

Light pierces its way as far as one thousand meters down in the ocean.  The light cuts through the darkness.  In our lives, all things that bring us light aids in our ability to forgive.  Forgiveness is a complete letting go of all the things beyond your control.  It’s an acceptance of your story and finding a healthy way of moving forward. Designate time for actions that bring more light and joy to your days.  Once you feel better about yourself, you can work on meaningful forgiveness.  

You may never forget what your parents did, but cultivating a better you makes room for you to extend forgiveness.

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