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The title of this particular Blog is “Making Peace with Parents”. This blog is about Relationship hardships and Relationship Challenges. Personally, I say isn’t it about time for peace and prosperity and great relationships to happen. But, we also know this is not always entirely possible to work on a relationship frankly. If you’ve been following my articles then you know my personal challenges as it relates to making peace with parents.
For instance, those challenges relate to my childhood abuse and trauma. In particular, my challenging relationship with my mother. The good news is I help my clients in many ways but I draw upon these experiences and relationship challenges in therapy for example. Fortunately, the experience in learning how to heal my own traumas has really benefited my clients too. I suffer from Complex PTSD among other things.
You see letting go of the past and forgiving my parents and getting through all the various relationship challenges has been an ongoing journey that continues every day for me. In this article, I’m sharing some of the tips that help me and my clients live happier and more peaceful lives. This is all while attempting to have a cordial relationship with our parents.
Looking back, unfortunately, my mom in particular was emotionally, mentally, verbally, and physically abusive to me. While on the other hand, my father was submissive and unfortunately never protected me from her rages. If you stop and think about this. This is possibly the worst situation there can be for a child growing up.
My father died over 20 years ago in a hiking accident. This is when I had just arrived in the US. Unfortunately, I was not even able to be present at his funeral. He was only 52 years old and as I am writing this I’m approaching my own 52nd birthday.
Just a few months ago I had an unpleasant phone conversation with my mother. She was her usual negative, critical self. Maybe you can relate to what I mean? Frankly, at times like this, what works best for me is to take care of myself and detach from my mom until I feel stronger. You need to do this where possible too.
I started better understanding the family dynamic when I entered graduate school. I attended the University of Miami to pursue my Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. After having started my own therapy and healing process, I finally understood “my purpose” for being here. While healing myself, it became evident that my joy and passion is to help others find love, peace, and harmony. As well as also learning how to let go of the past and the “victim role”.
I think forgiving your parents is more about YOU than your parents. As Harold H Bloomfield says in his book “Making Peace with Your Parents”, p. 9, “there are emotional wounds and even health burdens that we suffer from the unfinished business with our parents.” We all have a deep desire to be loved by our parents who for the most part fall short of our expectations and this is the reason that we suffer.”
Until I truly understood that my mother did the best that she could under the circumstances (her father, my grandfather was a violent alcoholic who suffered from untreated PTSD related to the 2nd World War) I was not able to start healing the relationship.
While we have a cordial relationship, I still struggle with her negative thinking. She hasn’t changed, but I have because I didn’t want to be miserable all the time and worry constantly. I understand now far better that her way of showing love to me is by expressing worries and concern. She shows me love also by sending me gifts including money in the past when I lost my job.
1. Heal your resentments
Make a list of your resentments in detail. Let any feelings come up and do not be afraid to release and cry. You can also write a letter and not send it. It’s for the purpose of your healing. Remember, it’s never too late to forgive and let go.
2. Learn to express difficult emotions in a more neutral way and set healthy limits
Use active listening skills and “I” statements. For example, I felt hurt when you did this…instead of blame and defensiveness. Make conscious efforts to stay relaxed, attentive, and receptive. Also, learn to let go of your feelings of anger or even rage safely and privately. I use breathing techniques, journaling, or going for a walk.
3. Avoid getting caught in melodrama.
Dr. Bloomfield says, p. 113 “If you conscientiously work through your resentments, learn to express love and constructive anger, and defuse the guilt and intimidation, what your parent does or says will no longer have the power to control your health and well-being.”
In some cases, you will need to detach from your family to provide the time and distance necessary to heal yourself and the relationship with your parents. Also, before a visit, set a definite time limit, set some ground rules (such as what topics you will not discuss in my case pretty much anything related to finances, my love life, or legal issues), and stay healthy and fit during the visit.
4. Communicate your needs and desires clearly.
You can choose to replace irrational beliefs and beliefs that are different from what your parents had taught you. You are the creator of your own life.
5. Become your own “best parent”.
Dr. Bloomfield says (p. 194) “crucial to making peace with your parents is discovering that you are responsible for your own health and happiness. Do what makes you happy and don’t stay with people that are toxic out of obligation. Find ways to nurture yourself and have fun. You deserve it!
For more information about Harold H Bloomfield
Fortunately, utilizing therapy techniques I’ve seen peace obtained when Parents attend Therapy Sessions and Counseling. Thank you for taking the time to read my Making Peace with Parents blog! Be safe & be well! Hopefully, after reading this blog you can finds tools and a way to have better success with your challenging relationships. ❤️