Thursday, February 21, 2008

How to Completely Forgive Your Parents (and everyone else)

If you think your parents did a wonderful job of rearing you, if you think they helped you to have a strong sense of self and that they avoided doing things that made you grow into a fearful, neurotic or insecure adult; if you would be delighted to be just like your mother and your father--you are a lucky person indeed.

Most of us believe that our parents messed us up, that they gave us problems--even if we love them dearly. At some level, we still hold them responsible for our vulnerabilities, although we tell ourselves that we've forgiven them. This sure applies to you if you wince whenever someone says, "You're just like your mother (or father)."

At some point in the journey toward wholeness, we need to forgive our parents completely for the mistakes they made and the hurts they caused us. Otherwise, we can never fully grow up: we're still like children victimized by the big people. And because, like children, we have underlying resentment of our parents, we can't be wise in rearing our own kids. We relate to our own children in reaction to our parents. For instance, if your mother was too critical and controlling, you might react by praising your child nonstop and setting no limits--but then your child develops an unrealistic sense of self and feels undirected, and so she grows up resenting you for being spineless. She reacts by imposing strict limits on her own kids, who resent her for it, and so they over-indulge their kids. In this way, family devils get passed on down the line. The pattern may take a different form in your family, but unless you're one of the lucky few, you can bet that some of your attitudes and life-challenges have roots that originated generations ago.

At some point, the pattern has to stop--and why not have it stop with you? To forgive your parents completely is the first step. Then, you need to also forgive all the people who shaped your parents, and then the people who shaped your grandparents and so on. Whatever problems or issues or neuroses your parents passed onto you were no doubt passed on to them. If you could trace the geneology of your issues you would probably find that whatever problems you're grappling with today started 20 or 30 or 40 generations ago, passed from parent to child down the line.

Here's a link to some wonderful, powerful prayers for forgiving all of your ancestors. The language is a bit religious for some people, and if that bothers you, stick with "The Gift of Life Prayer 1." But if you don't mind the references to a Creator, scroll down until you come to "Prayer IV--The Prayer Of Generational Forgiveness." Just give it a try and feel the weight lifting from your chest. I hope you find that in forgiving your lineage all the way to its ancient origins, you experience a great release and a heightened sense of freedom.

Many blessings,


Anonymous said...

It's the how that has me stymied. I could say I forgive them, but I really don't. I want to forget it all and move forward now that they're gone, but what's the point of being insincere? The anger and hurt sits in the centre of my chest like a rock and I would love to dissolve it and let it go as I move forward into the life they denied me, but I can intellectualise it all I want - if I can't feel it, then what's the point?

Hiyaguha said...

Yes,intention alone rarely works. I find a few things that help. To get beneath the surface to the core of what keeps you stuck, energy-meridian work is great. It clears the energy associated with anger and trauma. I do TAT (Tapas Acupressure Technique) with my clients to help them clear stuck energy, but there are other systems, like EFT and EMDR. I suggest you find a coach or therapist who can offer these things if you really want to be free of that baggage. YOu can also contact me for a phone consult. Once you get to that point, another helpful thing is really "getting" that forgiving doesn't mean allowing. It's easier to forgive knowing they did the best they were capable of, but it wasn't healthy for you and you would never allow it again.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Hiyaguha -
Have realised too that I learned to treat myself the way that they treated me, which is probably why the hurt just continues. I need to look at how I abuse myself now and deal with that rather than focus on how others treated me. Ho hum - live and learn!

roger said...

is the link down? the contents were still good however. Thanks for discussing something that is in the background of a lot of us.