When adult children confront their parents, they are often met with blame and excuses. The sad irony is that most adult children with the consciousness to reconcile only want an apology so they can move on.
The reality is that most people need to learn to accept and let go of the past in spite of the ongoing poor relationship with parents. This is not easy, but can be done if you identify what happened, accept the truth, see your parent as a person and prove that the awful parenting ends with you.
In the spirit of this challenge, I seek to help with the first step, identifying the truth that most bad parents will never admit. If something in this list hits home for you, allow it to be a truth that sets you free.
I didn’t really want children, so I tried to ignore you as much as possible and stay focused on my own life.
I really wanted a boy and you were a girl, so I lost interest.
Here’s the deal: I need to appear a certain way, socially. So, I forced you to act how I needed you to act and do what I needed you to do. You were a reflection of me and I wasn’t about to let you ruin my reputation!
I was jealous of you. When you were born, your mother paid more attention to you than to me, so I started to see you as competition.
I had you to keep your father around. It didn’t work, so I hated you.
I was abused as a child, so I abused you. I needed to be the one in the position of power, at last. It felt like I was finally getting some justice.
My career was more important than you.
My love life was more important than you.
I liked your older brother more than I liked you.
You reminded me too much of your jerk father, so I punished you to get back at him.
Men are pigs. You were a boy trying to become a man. I tried to turn you into a girl to prevent you from becoming a pig.
When you became a teenager and started to develop, I distanced myself from you because I was not comfortable seeing you as a woman.
I knew what was best for you, so you didn’t need to contribute any ideas.
I didn’t need to tell you what the rules of the house were. There was only one rule: Don’t piss me off!
You were supposed to know what I wanted you to do without my needing to tell you.
You were supposed to know how to do things without my needing to teach you.
You weren’t a real person to me. Honestly, I never really thought about you much.
If you made mistakes, I withheld my love. My child doesn’t make mistakes!
My ego is so fragile that if you challenge me, you become my enemy.
I’m right. You’re wrong. As long as we understand that, we can have a relationship.
The real trick is to NOT become like the parent that made your life so difficult. If you do, you prolong your own misery and pass it along to others as well.
To reject your parents’ poor treatment of you, you must turn from their ways. This requires being honest with yourself about who you’ve become.
The good news is, there is hope! You can absolutely identify what went wrong and emotionally digest it, taking out what is valuable and discarding the rest.
It’s a tall order that begins with the truth.
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Last reviewed: 31 Jan 2013