Forgiving Your Parents: Adult Children Laying The Ghosts Of The Past To Rest
Many adults blame their parents for mistakes those parents made when the child was growing up. Unable to forgive these children live with destructive anger that affects their entire lives. Learning to forgive helps adult children get on with their lives.
Oscar Wildeonce said that “Children begin by loving their parents, then they judge them and rarely if ever do they forgive them.” Many parents in today’s society know just how true those words spoken so long ago are today. With the world becoming more and more complicated each year parents often find themselves facing situations where they are forced in making decisions that are not to their liking but, are the lesser of two evils. Children too young to understand or comprehend the situation that lead to these decisions often find themselves angry with their parents for what they consider to be the “Wrong choice.”
Many times this anger stays with a child and follows them into adulthood. They cannot seem to get past their anger to their parent nor can they forgive their parent for what they consider to be serious mistakes. While this can completely damage the parent child relationship as the child seeks subconsciously to punish the parent, it is far more damaging to the adult child themselves, as this anger will eat away at them affecting their adult relationshipsand their entire lives if they don’t learn to understand or at least forgive the mistakes of their parents.
Children perceive situations differently than do adults
It is wise to keep in mind that children will perceive any given situation differently than an adult does. Not only are their outlooks different to begin with but parents sometimes, out of desire to protect their children do not always tell them exactly what is taking place in certain situations. Therefore, the child does not have all the facts that the parent had to take in consideration when making a decision.
Most children when they grow up are able to look at these situations from an adult viewpoint and can then gain insight into that past situation. Other children, while maturing in other ways, never seem to be able to get past that childhood hurt and look at a situation from and adult point of view. A 23 year old who is still seeing things from the perspective of a 13 or 14 year old will never get past the hurt that they felt they suffered as a child.
Parents Do Make Mistakes
Added to this problem is the fact that parents do make mistakes. Even with the best of intentions a parent can make a decision that ends up hurting their child no matter how much they love them or how hard they try to make all the right decisions. A child often sees a parent as invincible so when they do make a mistake, the child feels betrayed and hurt. As children grow older most learn to accept that their parents are human and learn to forgive them for the errors they made. At least most children do. Some never come to accept that a parent can make a mistake despite the best of intentions and instead carry their hurt into adulthood.
Talking to an Adult Child About the Past
A parent can never really talk to a child about the past unless the child seeks an explanation of what happened. Try as you might if your adult child is unwilling to listen there is little you can do but wait and hope that sometime in the future they are willing to ask the questions they need to relieve the pain they are carrying inside.
If your child does decide to come and talk to you to clear the air or to have their say. Try to remain calm when confronted. Accept the blame if you indeed make a mistake and explain without excuses the events that lead up to your decision. Whether or not you feel you were in the wrong apologize to your child for the hurt he has suffered. Many times adult children only need to hear that their parents are sorry for their pain to begin the healing process.
Steps Adult Children can Take to Forgive their Parents and Move on With Their Lives
If you are an adult child who still blames your parents for the mistakes they made in the past and find yourself unable to forgive that parent. You will carry a burden around with you for the rest of your life that will only get heavier over time. The anger you feel will eventually harm your relationship with others and make you miserable. No one says you have to forget the past, but being able to forgive your parent is essential to being able to live a full and happy life.
Here are a few things you can do to begin to forgive your parent for past hurts.
Think of the mistakes you have made since becoming an adult. Realize that no adult is free of error and everyone makes mistakes. Accepting that a parent can sometimes make mistakes that hurt you is the first step to forgiveness.
Start focusing on the good things in your childhood. Did that parent spent time with you? Did they cheer you on in sports? Did they tuck you in when you were little? Focusing on the good parts of childhood can not only help you to overcome the bad memories but it will help to see your parent in a more rounded way. Being able to see the good as well as the bad will help you to make peace with your past.
Write your parent a letter expressing your feelings and why you feel the way you do. If you can’t bring yourself to confront your parent openly at least let them know exactly why you are angry and unable to forgive them. This may offer them a chance to give you an apology that might help you to begin to heal.
If all else fails seek some kind of counseling.
Remember, that being able to forgive someone who has hurt you will help you to heal.
Always keep in mind that all kinds of people in your life will make mistakes, having the ability to forgive those mistakes will allow you to live a healthier happier life and free you from the ghosts of the past once and for all.