Samantha De Bono Counselling Bromley

Bromley & Harley Street

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Forgiving our Parents

By Samantha De Bono

If you have had a difficult or traumatic childhood due to bad or abusive parenting, you will no doubt feel resentment or even hatred towards your parents. Even when only one parent is the guilty party, most people will find it difficult to let the innocent parent off the hook because they either stayed in a toxic environment, thus forcing you to be exposed to the trauma, or they may have turned a blind eye to what you were going through.

Forgiving your parents can seem like a monumental task, an ask that you do not believe they deserve. Perhaps your hurt runs too deeply to make it possible to forgive.

However, not forgiving our parents brings with it complications in adulthood.  Relationships with friends, children, colleagues will be effected. These important relationships in our adult life will, at some point, tap into our unhealed wounds and unless you are aware on a conscious level how this is taking effect, you are likely to find that your unhappiness continues.

You deserve better than that! You deserve to be happy and free from the binds of your childhood.

Holding onto your pain and resentment is a way you have found to protect yourself from further hurt. It’s a way to keep your parents in your bad books. Unfortunately, it is also keeping you stuck in your childhood, keeping you the victim, the undeserving hurt child.

Ironically, as much as you are trying to remove your emotional-self from your parents, this grudge or hatred for them is an unconscious way of clinging to them and the part of them that hurt you most. You are, without realising, refusing to allow yourself to move on or become the grown-up.

Understandably, when a parent has caused us pain, we want them to see what they did wrong. We want them to own all the shit they put us through, to apologise and tell us that we are good and that we are loved and we often hold out hope for this for ever more. The sad thing is, we are usually not even aware that this is what’s going on, it usually manifests in sadness and troubled relationships. Sadly this is often an expectation of our parents that they are likely to be incapable of fulfilling.

The best case scenario of bad parenting, is if we were fortunate enough to know our parents did love us, they just didn’t know how to show it. And in reality, most of us do have childhood wounds because parents aren’t perfect. So is it possible to hold on to the things they did do right or better than the things they messed up?

Forgiveness is not about saying what they did was okay or right. It’s not about denying any of their wrong-doing.  Forgiveness is about refusing to hold on to those failings and carry them around like a rucksack or a sash across our chest and make them what defines us today. Forgiveness is about freeing ourselves of the stuckness and not clinging rigidly to our past pain.

Separate from your parents by stepping out of your child-self. Stop seeing yourself as a child who depends on them for validation. Recognise that you are your own person, an adult with the capability to control your own life.

It is not a quick or easy journey to Forgiveness. Depending on the depth of your wounds will effect the length and the difficulty of your process. You may have to dig deep and you will definitely need to be ready and want to forgive!  However try to remember that the resentment you harbour is not only holding your parents at bay, but it’s also holding your future happiness at bay too. 

Maybe it’s now time to embrace today as an adult who can make decisions and choices that influence your life.  Let the healing begin!

If you are stuck and would like help with the process, then counselling is the perfect place to start.

Counselling in Bromley and Harley Street.

07588 931401