Forgiving Your ParentsBy Dr. Margaret Paul
November 15, 2007
Do you feel that you want to forgive your parents yet your resentment keeps surfacing? Discover the Inner Bonding path to true forgiveness.
"My mother was crazy - nice one minute and the next a screaming maniac. My father was sweet but he was never around, and he never did anything to stop my mother from the emotional abuse."
"My father was an angry violent man and my mother was weak and pathetic. He often beat us and my mother did nothing to protect us."
"My mother didn't believe me when I told her that my father was molesting me. She is still with him, and still doesn't believe me."
Many people grew up with parents who didn't know how to love them in the ways they needed to be loved. Others grew up with parents who not only did not love them, but who were physically, emotionally and/or sexually abusive. Unloving and abusive parenting has far reaching affects on our lives.
Many people spend years trying to heal from their childhoods. Often, at some point in their healing process they ask, "Should I forgive my parents? Would it be healthy for me to forgive them? How would I go about feeling forgiveness toward them?"
Forgiveness is not a feeling that you can just decide to have. Many of my clients who decide that they want to forgive their parents find that the forgiveness doesn't last. Something happens and they find themselves once again angry with one or both of their parents.
In my Inner Bonding work with my clients and with myself, I have discovered an important thing about forgiveness:
AS LONG AS WE ARE TREATING OURSELVES THE WAY OUR PARENTS TREATED US, WE CANNOT REACH TRUE FORGIVENESS.
- If your parents ignored you and you didn't feel important to them, as long as you continue to ignore your own feelings and needs, you will not be able to forgive your parents.
- If your parents were judgmental toward you, as long as you continue to judge yourself, you will not be able to forgive your parents.
- If your parents were physically or sexually abusive to you, as long as you abuse your own body or allow others to abuse you, you will not be able to forgive your parents.
When you decide to embark on a healing journey, it is this part of you - your wounded self - that needs healing. Healing occurs as you compassionately open to learning about the false beliefs of your wounded self - the beliefs you absorbed as you were growing up. The more you understand the fears and beliefs of your wounded self and learn to live from truth rather than from these fears and limiting beliefs, the more loving and compassionate you feel toward yourself and others.
You will find that your anger and resentment toward your parents gradually fades away as you practice Inner Bonding and learn to treat yourself in the ways you always wished your parents would have treated you. As you learn to feel compassion for the wounded parts of you, you will naturally feel compassion for the wounded parts of them. Forgiveness is the natural outcome of doing your own Inner Bonding healing work.
However, just because you forgive your parents, doesn't mean that you want to spend time with them. If they continue to be unloving or abusive people, you might decide to forgive them from afar. It is wonderful for your wellbeing to let go of anger and blame and feel forgiveness in your heart, and it is also wonderful to give yourself permission to not be around your parents if it is not in your highest good to do so.
If your parents have mellowed over the years, you might find that you enjoy spending time with them, regardless of what happened in the past.
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Today, notice what is more important to you - trying to get others to like you or loving yourself. If you are devoted to having control over how others' feel about you, notice how much energy this takes!
By Dr. Margaret Paul