“I Will Never Forgive My Parents For My Childhood”. What To Do About This Feeling?

I Will Never Forgive My Parents For My Childhood

This is the second part of an article about how to deal with resentment towards parents. First, we told how this feeling is formed and why it interferes with life, even when the child has already become an adult.

When Liam was young, his father constantly broke promises he made to his son. Liam has grown up but still feels anger that prevents him from communicating with his father.

Olivia’s mother compared her to her older sister Emma throughout her childhood. The girl tries to communicate with her mother as little as possible, but the memories still hurt her.

How to Help Yourself Deal with Resentment

Write a Resentment Letter

Get a few sheets of paper and set a timer for 15 minutes. Start writing about everything that makes you angry or offended. You can remember how you felt as a child and talk about how you feel now. 

The letter will not be seen by anyone but you. This tech helps to express the emotions that are stuck inside and transfer the internal dialogue with mom or dad to paper.

After the timer rings, reread the letter. When the emotions are on paper, you will be able to look at the situation in a new way and notice what you did not notice before. Letters can be torn or burned. Repeat the exercise until the resentment towards the parents disappears. Practice it for five days to see if this tech Olivia is right for you. 

When you write about what hurts you, you relive that situation. To switch off and continue the day, you can do something pleasant at the end of the practice – for example, listen to your favorite song. Please find it in advance, so it is easier to get out of a problematic state and return to other things.

Olivia writes a letter to her mother. As a child, it seemed she was participating in a competition that could not be won: her mother would always love Emma more. Olivia tells her mother how upset she was at the words, “Look, Emma can do it, but what about you?” and “Emma catches on the fly – all in, dad. And who were you born into? Olivia writes that she is angry with her mother – because of her, she hated her older sister.

When the alarm goes off, Olivia rips up the letter and decides to go for a walk. It is unpleasant for her to remember her childhood, but she feels relieved: part of the anger at her mother remains on paper.

Forgive My Parents For My Childhood

Recognize Your Parents’ Traits

Divide a sheet of paper into two columns. First, write down all the negative qualities of mom or dad that you can remember. For example, your mother criticized you all the time as a child and still often notes that you live differently. In the second column, list the qualities you like in your parents. For example, mom is always ready to listen to you, even if she is busy. 

You don’t have to blame yourself for criticizing your parents. It won’t make you a wrong person. Parents will not know about the exercise, but it will help you to collect a more voluminous image of your mom or dad and sort out your relationship. You can see that you also have traits you do not accept from your parents. You often make remarks to colleagues or tell your partner that he could be more responsible.

The fact that your parents also have positive qualities, and you are somehow similar to them, does not justify their actions that hurt you as a child. But it shows that mom and dad are living people with their own characteristics, which you also have. You can also focus on positive qualities when interacting with your parents to make it easier for you to connect with them.

On the way home, Liam remembers that he forgot to send a critical presentation to a client. Liam feels guilty for breaking his promise like a father. 

Recently, Liam has had more work to do – he took on the tasks of a colleague who ended up in the hospital. No wonder he forgot about the presentation. Liam decides to write to the client in the morning and apologize. He remembers his father: dad hurt Liam, although he probably didn’t want it.

Emotional Challenges When Your Dad Has No Empath

Try to See Parents as Ordinary Adults

Everyone has an image of ideal parents – wise, kind, and loving. It can be challenging to admit that real mom and dad do not correspond to him.

When we grow up, we can look at the parent as an adult looks at an adult. He could be inexperienced or psychologically immature. Perhaps he did not have an example of a healthy relationship as a child. His actions were shaped by his environment.

Imagine you have adopted a kitten. You may not like that he scratched a chair or threw a flower off a shelf, but you will not be offended by him. You are ready to accept that he is an ordinary cat. You may move the flower to a higher shelf and buy a scratching post.

It’s the same with ordinary people like your parents. If you choose to stay in a relationship, you accept that there are traits in your parents that you cannot change. It is up to you to decide how to interact with mom and dad further. 

Olivia goes to visit her parents. She worries that her mother will ask how Olivia is doing at work and in her personal life. Olivia is afraid that her mother will not listen to her and will again set Emma as an example.

She is relieved when Olivia admits she is afraid to get upset. She can’t influence what mom says. But Olivia can take care of her mood. Olivia decides to stay with her parents for an hour, then go to her favorite pastry shop and eat cherry pie. 

conversation parents

Should You Talk to Your Parents About the Past

If you talk to your mom or dad about something that hurt you as a child, think about what you want to achieve by talking. It is important to remember that what happened in childhood cannot be corrected: accusations and complaints will allow you to throw out emotions but will not help resolve the conflict.

You can ask your mom or dad why they did what they did. Their view of the situation may be different from yours. Once you know what they think and feel, it may be easier for you to accept them and build a relationship.

Forgiving Your Parents Is a Choice

You have the right to have any feelings for your parents. When we grow up, we can choose what kind of relationship to build with them – and whether to make at all.

Accepting parents does not mean forgiving them. Dealing with resentment, sadness, and anger takes time. Suppose a person forces himself to forgive his parents, although he has not yet matured for this. In that case, he only succumbs to the pressure of the environment or society. He does not improve his well-being or relations with his mom and dad. 

Amelia, Liam’s girlfriend, convinces him that he needs to forgive his father. She says that Liam will then have an easier life. Liam gets mad at Amelia. He accepts that his father is not perfect, like Liam himself, but he finds it difficult to cope with resentment. Liam decides to go to a psychologist to deal with his feelings.

When Olivia tries to talk to her mother about her childhood, they fight: her mother accuses Olivia of always remembering only the wrong things. Mom says she wanted Olivia to achieve something – and believed she was helping her when she used her older sister as an example.

Olivia finds it difficult to forgive her mother, but she understands why her mother compared her to Emma. Perhaps, grandmother Olivia did the same, so mom needs to learn how to do it differently. It is no longer possible to correct childhood, but now Olivia can draw boundaries. She decides that next time she will calmly explain to her mother that she is hurt by the comparison with her older sister.

If you feel that it is difficult to cope with resentment towards your parents, try to find support from a psychotherapist. It can be picked up at Online-Therapy.

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