Why am i so angry at my mother
Anger at Parents In Adulthood
Anger at parents in adulthood can hold us back in multiple ways. If we carry unprocessed anger and resentment, these materials of our psyche can make us sick physically and emotionally. We may blame ourselves for not being able to move forward in life, forgetting that we are angry because we were once hurt. Here are four steps we can take to release our anger at our parents in adulthood.
This post is on a tremendously difficult, sensitive, but important topic: How we can release, let go of our anger at our parents in adulthood.
This is about the pain of having a childhood where our needs are not met, the anger we hold towards our parents, and what we can do about it.
It is particularly relevant if you have been through childhood trauma— caused either by neglect, abuse, or other toxic family dynamics.
This is important if you were born as an emotionally sensitive and intense child, into a family that did not understand you.
You will need this work if you are struggling with the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder, personality disintegration, or Complex Trauma.
There is no comprehensive list of the possible ways in which a child can be left bottling resentment toward their parents. The causes of life-long anger that some of us hold against our parents could be due to any of the following:
• Physical or emotional neglect. Your parents may not be intentionally abusive but were affected by their own vulnerabilities or limited emotional capacity.
• Physical, mental, or sexual abuse.
• Failure of our parent to protect/ defend you from the bully, abuse or anger from another parent.
• Your parents did not attend to you emotionally. They may be physically there but emotionally neglectful.
• Your parent is controlling and deprives you of the opportunity to learn and grow at your own pace.
• Your family scapegoated you as the problematic person.
• They are constantly critical of you.
For those of us who experience such pain and carry it into our adult life, the consequences can be devastating. Consciously or unconsciously, we may –
• Be unable to move on from our past and fail to build a happy present reality for ourselves
• Be emotionally unavailable as adults and therefore are unable to sustain intimate relationships.
• Harbour insecurities into adulthood about whether we deserve to be loved or nurtured, and sabotage opportunities we get.
• Find ourselves at times responding similarly as parents to our children and therefore perpetuate the cycle of emotional pain.
How can we break free from the shackles of a troubling emotional past, especially when the triggers (the parents) are still part of our present life?
The strategies listed below are aimed at helping us let go of resentment and reclaim our lives.
However, there is no one-size-fits-all prescribed way. Each relationship is different and involves a myriad of complex factors. Please take away what might be useful and discard the rest
The goal here is not for us to harbour self-pity or to blame anyone, but simply to validate some of the painful experiences, and to look at what we can do now to release some of these emotional poisons that you may have carried for far too long.
Times spent with our close family members, especially parents, are often the worst triggers for our intense negative emotions. Sometimes we wonder why we are triggered by them even when they now live far away from us, and can no longer influence our lives. Even when we have successfully walked away and built a life outside of our home when in contact we can immediately revert back to feeling powerless and frustrated like we are five-year-old again, or that we start behaving like a raging, uncontrollable teenager.
Even when we are living in independent adult bodies, we can feel caged by these strong emotional turmoils. Releasing anger at parents in adulthood is a different task to if we were a child.
Not everyone is blessed with patient, loving, and attentive parents. Yes, some parents are abusive and neglectful, yet there are many parents who even with the best intention, fail to meet the needs of naturally emotionally intense and sensitive children. Often, our parents did the best out of what they knew. Their limited capacity often finds its root in the limited parenting that they had.
In cases where our upbringing had been abusive, neglectful, or lacking in some ways, we may experience unease and even disgust when we interact with our parents. If there had not been a history of real emotional closeness, the interests that they now show in our lives can feel phoney. Blocked by their defences and our frustration, there can be little authenticity. Even if we love each other enormously deep down, real closeness may seem inaccessible.
Intellectually, we know that our parents cannot change who they are; Rationally, we know that the past is in the past. On many levels, we have forgiven them. However, these do not change the emotional reality that is raw, heavy, reactive, uncontrollable and full of rage. Although we cannot go back in time to alter the actual reality, we do have the power to change our inner reality. This involves not just an intellectual shift but an emotional soul shift.
And this is not an easy or obvious process. Here are the steps we can take to release anger at our parents in adulthood.
Releasing Anger Step 1: Grieving
It may come as a surprise, but the first and the most important step towards emotional freedom is actually to get in touch with our grief.
Because grieving involves pain, our default position is to run away. This is usually unconscious, but we would do anything just to avoid the deep pain of not having the childhood that we have always wanted. Rather, we use things like comfort eating, excessive drinking, self-medicating, and all sorts of sensation seeking and emotional- numbing behaviours to mask our deep longing for love, safety and belongingness.
This mourning process involves allowing ourselves to feel very sorry, and sad, for not having the ‘what might have been’. Often, people confuse this with self-pity or as a passive acceptance of defeat. Yet the opposite is true, for nothing is more heroic than facing reality head-on.
Even with what they knew best, our parents’ limited capacities mean that they were not able to protect us from the abrasion of bullies, celebrate our gifts, honour our intuition, or cherish our sensitivities.
Grieving is also not about blaming but simply acknowledging the tragic nature of events. If anger comes up in this process of releasing our anger at parents, we shall honour that too. Such anger is a healthy, appropriate response to an unjust situation — no children should have to go through such pain and loneliness.
Our pains and insults were real, but these wounds are only toxic if they remain invisible. Once we have exposed them, acknowledged them, and call them for what they are, they gradually cease to have power over us.
Although we can never completely stop feeling sad for our lost childhood, the intensity of our pain and anger will gradually cease. The whole point of releasing your anger at parents in adulthood is not so that everything will be perfect, but that we will feel lighter, more congruent to our truths, and more at peace. In truth, grief is the best medicine for our pain; It is a poignant and sacred process that offers true liberation in the end.
‘ In mindful grief, we become the landing strip that allows any feelings to arrive. Some crash, some land softly. Some harm is, but none harm us in a lasting way. We remain as they taxi away. We can trust that we will survive.’ – David Richo2. Releasing Anger Step 2: Taking the Matter Into Your Own Hands
Alongside grieving, to truly release our anger towards our parents, we ought to embrace, nurse, and comfort the lost child that is inside of all of us. Love may not come naturally, especially if we had limited experience of it in our childhood. However, it is in our human potential to learn to take care of ourselves in a way that we have never been cared for before.
We may seek wisdom and guidance from therapists and spiritual teachers, from having loving adult friends and partners in our lives, and from loving others and gradually transferring that love onto ourselves.
Ultimately, we must learn to be our own best parents. This means we love ourselves fully – embracing both the good and the bad, not just our kindness but also our rage.
Remember, you are a survivor for being here today. You deserve to live without heavy emotional baggage.
Perhaps you can take the hand of the little ones inside of you, and love her with all your heart. You can be that parent she never had, and tell her how much you see, hear, and love her. You may say to her: ‘I know that things are really difficult, and I am sorry.’
When you first get a glimpse of this ultimate and all-encompassing love, it is so compelling that it can bring tears to your eyes. And because you know what it is like to live without love, you do not take it for granted but cherish each and every single moment of it. Although the old insults and loneliness had left a scar, you no longer need to walk around with an open wound.3. Releasing Anger Step 3: Seeing Reality as it is
At some point on this path to release our anger at our parents, we will notice a subtle but profound internal shift: We start to see the reality as it is now, and our parents as they are now. The more we grieve and let go of our version of the idealised parents, the more we can be open to the present.
When you are at this juncture of your journey to release your anger at your parents, you begin to see your parents’ vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and humanness. This insight may bring about a temporary wave of sadness, as you must now fully acknowledge their limitations and their impact on you. However, this sadness and grief no longer feel threatening. This time, the sadness has a poignant but serene quality; you are grieving not just for yourself, but for the impermanent and imperfect nature of humanity itself.
Once you have fully grieved and have learned to take care of your inner wounds, you are now able to relate to your parents as they are now with no unconscious agenda. You can stay open to the experience itself. When such a shift happens, you feel free. Like a heavyweight being lifted off your shoulders, you are no longer trapped by the unexplainable compulsion to alter the past or present reality. You can finally stop looking for, asking, and tirelessly seeking the perfection that never existed.Releasing Anger Step 4: Relating To Them With New Strength
With the strength of a self-assured adult, you now have the power to change the way you react to and interact with your parents.
If we continue to interact with our family members with the psyche of a wounded child, we inadvertently engineer the situation so that we are treated like one. In contrast, we can be grounded in our reality as a self-sustained adults, break away from the negative communication cycle and start an adult-to-adult conversation.
As a child, you could not escape the family home, but as an adult, you have the ability to speak up, walk away, and minimise contact.
At first, doing so feels uncomfortable. Your parents are likely to resist the change by criticizing or guilt-tripping you. But you can find a way to tell them you need to be treated with respect, and they can no longer influence important decisions in your life. More importantly, you need to believe in your ability to stand on your own two feet.
Sometimes, when you interrupt the longstanding and dysfunctional cycle of communication, change inevitably happens within the family system. For example, when you start being assertive about what you can and cannot give, others will have to find a way to renegotiate boundaries with us and to respect your basic rights.
Whilst your family members may or may not react in the way you have wished for, at least, you know that you have done your part. And that is all you can do.
In grieving, we allow our fantasies and idealisations to die off, just like the butterfly that sheds its cocoon. When we choose to face reality head-on and stay present to what is, we are ready to perceive the goodness that is right in front of us.
“To hold, you must first open your hand. Let go.” –Tao Te Ching
Now is the Time to Release Your Anger at Parents in Adulthood
Intellectually, we knew that our parents would never be the loving, attentive and sensitive people that we had needed them to be.
Emotionally, we have been hurt and let down again and again.
And yet we keep trying. We compulsively seek what we would not get, and then we blame ourselves for the pain that occurs afterwards.
To grieve for what we never had can drive us into a deep depression.
For a while, we are plunged into the deep end of disbelief.
Even after all these years, we cannot believe that we still had not given up.
One day, we reach a point of desolate sadness.
It might be a particularly painful interaction or something that they said or do, that finally break us open.
This is the moment at which we are being initiated to walk the bridge of grief.
This is a bridge of inner mourning, full of mini-deaths and letting-go.
As we step onto the bridge, we drop- one after another— false expectations, fantasy, and hopes.
We watch them sink into the water and get splintered into pieces by the rapid river beneath our feet.
As we watch them go, we let them go.
As we walk on the bridge of grief,
one layer after another we shed our skin.
We feel ourselves becoming lighter and lighter.
As all shedding goes, this walk is not without pain.
This shedding pain is our growing pain.
Our instinctive reaction is to be afraid of it—
We may feel an urge to run back to the haven of our own shore.
If we do, however, we fall back into the inferno of disappointment and resentment.
Therefore, the task now, my dear friend, is to walk on.
One step after each other, tenderly, tenderly, but stoically and courageously.
Keep your heart open, even in hell.
The temptation is to close your heart and to run back to the false haven of numbness, emptiness, repression and denial.
The instruction is not to keep your heart open- allow the grief, the resentment, and the despair to enter you. Let them come into your heart fully and completely.
Let them wash through you.
You may feel disorientated, empty, depressed- but these feelings will pass.
And when they do, liberation is waiting for you, alongside bursts of life energy.
All that you have longed for, but are afraid of owning- emotional freedom, spiritual maturity, the capacity to love and be in the world, emotional resilience- are waiting for you on the other side of this bridge.
Painful as it might be, it is a worthy endeavour.
When it comes to true forgiveness and liberation,
there is no other journey more worthy than the bridge of grief.
So walk on, soldier, walk on.
Once we are able to integrate our past into the present, we will mature from a child-like mind to having a much more full and realistic vision of reality.
We can embrace both the good and the bad.
We can be both the anger and the compassion.
So walk on, soldier, walk on.
4 Ways to Release Anger Towards Your Parents
The relationship between a child and a parent is one of the most instinctively protective, loving, and nurturing things humans experience. But for some, the connection with parents is marred by feelings of deep hurt and resentment. Such psychological wounds often follow people beyond childhood and adolescence into adulthood.
There is no comprehensive list of the possible ways in which a child can be left emotionally scarred. The causes of lifelong anger that some hold against a parent could be due to any of the following:
- Physical or emotional neglect from parents. They may not be intentionally abusive but were affected by their own vulnerabilities or limited emotional capacity.
- Physical, mental, or sexual abuse
- Failure of a parent to protect/defend a child from bullying or abuse
- The lack of attention, affirmation, and reassurance to make a child feel worthy or even wanted
- Parents expected too much from a child or were excessively controlling.
- The family scapegoated a child—the emotionally sensitive child—as the "problematic one."
- Parents were continually critical of a child.
- Lack of support from parents for the pursuit of a romantic relationship or for a lifestyle or career choice
For those who experience such pain and carry it into their adult life, the consequences can be devastating. Consciously or unconsciously, they may:
- Be unable to move on from the past and fail to build a happy present for themselves
- Be emotionally unavailable as adults and therefore unable to sustain intimate relationships
- Harbor insecurities into adulthood about whether they deserve to be loved or nurtured, and sabotage opportunities they get
- Find themselves at times responding similarly as parents to their own children, and therefore perpetuating the cycle of emotional pain
- Feel suicidal regardless of how much they have achieved in adult life
How can you break free from the shackles of a troubling emotional past, especially when the triggers (the parents) are still part of your present life?
The following strategies are aimed at helping you let go of resentment and reclaim your lives. However, there is no one-size-fits-all, prescribed way. Each relationship is different and involves myriad complex factors. Please take away what might be useful and discard the rest.
1. Acknowledge your anger.
“I need to move on; it’s been too long.”
“Remembering the past doesn’t make me feel any better.”
“Nothing can be gained confronting them.”
Does any of this sound familiar? Perhaps at some point in life, denial and minimizing were the only ways for you. Perhaps without hiding your pain—both to the outside world and to yourself—you couldn’t have moved forward with your daily life.
Ultimately, we need to reconcile with the deep disappointment of not having our desired relationship with a parent. However, the first step to liberate oneself from the past is to acknowledge the tragic nature of events and understand that there is a place for legitimate anger. Just because we recognize we have been failed and have a natural emotional reaction does not mean we unproductively point the finger or blame anyone.
In most cases, what happened was a result of trans-generational trauma. Perhaps our parents faced similar conditions themselves as kids, and for them, the behavior was the only thing they know.
You are releasing the past for your own good, not for anyone’s sake. You own your story. You have the right to tell it. The more you are able to share your story—including your anger and resentment—with trusted family members and friends, or therapists and spiritual teachers, the more you will be able to let go, release, and move on.
2. Talk about the hurt
Jeannine Mai, co-host of the popular talk show The Real Daytime, recently posted a YouTube video about sexual abuse at a young age by a trusted member of her extended family. As a result of the recurring abuse, Jeannine did not speak to her mother for eight years. She was wounded by her mother’s failure to defend her child or even acknowledge what had happened. In the YouTube video, when Jeannine’s mother reveals that she had in fact confronted the assailant, Jeannine had an emotional breakdown, as she realized (for the first time) that her mother had believed her about the abuse.
Talking to your parents about aspects of your childhood that have caused lingering emotional hurt can prove to be one of the most powerful and healing conversations to have. Perhaps as adults, you can begin to see the children inside your parents and see that they were once young and helpless.
This strategy is not always possible. Some parents are more defensive and might never acknowledge what they have done. On some level, they know they had failed you and that the feeling of guilt probably makes them more defensive.
There is no point in trying to find explanations for their behavior, nor in convincing them that they have done wrong. Sometimes, justice can never be sought, and you need to find other ways to reconcile your past. You may have to grieve the childhood you never have, and stop comparing what you had with other people’s childhoods.
3. Set boundaries with your parents.
You can exercise assertiveness and set firm boundaries with your parents. As a child, you could not escape the family home or build a wall to defend yourself. But as an independent adult, you have the ability to say no, walk away, and minimize contact.
At first, doing so feels uncomfortable. Your parents are likely to resist the change by criticizing or guilt-tripping you. But you can find a way to tell them you need to be treated with respect, and they can no longer influence important decisions in your life.
More importantly, you need to believe in your ability to stand on your own two feet. Once you have set boundaries, you must keep all parties accountable. When others cross the line, you say no. If they cannot respect your need for space and autonomy, you can limit interaction with them.
While this seems harsh at first, it is for the greater good. It also does not have to be forever; sometimes, just by limiting contact for a period of time, you give yourself the time and space to regain clarity and confidence.
4. Love yourself and believe in your worthiness.
At the end of the day, you want to be able to cross over the bridge of resentment and move to a place of peace. But however cliche this sounds, you need first to love yourself, embracing both the good and the bad, your ability to love and your rage towards others. You must forgive yourself for your inability to forgive. You are a survivor for being here today. You deserve to live without emotional baggage.
When you open your heart to the possibilities of tomorrow, you will gradually find that you are no longer weighed down by experiences of the past. With a conscious approach to handling the anger you feel towards your parents, you can finally start to repair your relationship with them and hopefully build the foundation for mutual respect and understanding.
If what you do grows into a deep sense of love for your parents, then the journey would have been worth it. If not, you know that you tried, and you will have no regrets.
I'm angry with my mother.Article. Psychology of development. Self-knowledge.ru
I'm angry with my mother... A feeling that baffles clients who come to a psychologist.
Is it good, but is it possible to be angry? It is difficult to talk about it to another person, it is not right, it is embarrassing, etc.
So what to do with the sudden realization: "You see, I'm angry with my own mother. It's terrible. What should I do to not be angry?"
It is unequivocally difficult to answer this question, since the relationship with the mother is the most important in the life of any person. Feelings that arise in these relationships? sometimes contradictory, it is difficult to understand them with the help of a simple "getting rid" of unwanted and "wrong" ones.
To change myself means to reject, to ignore those parts of myself that I do not accept in myself, that bring me dissatisfaction, disappointment, etc.
To change oneself, forbidding oneself to be angry, is an unpromising business, as a rule, often leading to neurotic states.
But to understand ourselves, our desires, needs, how we build relationships with our closest and dearest person is an important task.
Let's try to understand a little?
Of course, it is hard to feel angry towards a loved one, but we are human beings and have the right to different feelings. And it is pointless to deny the fact of their presence.
This is where a lot of questions arise, here are just a few of them:
- What do our feelings tell us, what lies behind them?
- What to do with them?
- How to express them and whether to express them at all?
I answer the first - I am sure that behind this irritation lies a warm attachment to the mother, otherwise the client would not have come to the consultation with a request to rid him of his feeling of anger towards his mother.
But you still have to get to warmth, love. We are designed in such a way that some feelings can block others.
But what to do with the arising, like it or not, feeling of anger?
First of all, the important thing is that it becomes conscious. I note that it is useful to explore this feeling, but it is possible to do this directly by working with a psychologist. So to speak, live this feeling.
For example, a feeling of anger that often arises can indicate a desire to separate from a parent, move away, become more independent, etc.
But other needs may be hidden behind it, it is important to find them.
Avoidance of anger blocks our ability to better understand ourselves. It does not give an opportunity to get an answer to the question: "What do we want at the present moment of life?".
As for the third question... Do you try to talk to your mother and tell her about your irritation?
Each of us has his own choice. Especially if you take into account the subtleties and diversity of family relationships. If, nevertheless, you decide to talk with your mother on such a sensitive topic, and carefully open your not-so-pleasant feelings, it is important to create a trusting atmosphere.
Take your time and try to understand how your boundaries with your mother are built?
Irritation and anger often appear in us when our boundaries are violated. Mom should know exactly what can be done in relation to you, and what is not acceptable or impossible for you for one reason or another. At the same time, respect its boundaries too.
There is a variant of a letter to mother. Where possible, in a free form, he will express not only irritation, but together with it, relieve the tension that has accumulated in you.
Only when you get rid of irritation can you take a fresh look at the situation. You don't have to give the letter to your mother, it's more for you.
And here's another one: "I can't do without my mother; I'm afraid that suddenly, one fine moment, she will be offended by me, and I will be left alone" .
The age of psychological separation from parents is adolescence, it is very important to live it, and at any age. Otherwise, loneliness in life is guaranteed.
How rarely do we tell our mother about our love for her! Often we think that this is obvious by itself, avoiding manifestations of not only irritation, but also love.
Love and warmth to you ...
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- From visitors of the portal 1
Stop being angry... at your parents
Know yourself Older generation
- They are imperfect: parents are ordinary people who gave us as much love as they could.
- We don't have to fulfill all of their expectations... just as they won't fulfill all of our desires.
- By accepting our parents, we get the opportunity to live in peace with ourselves.
It would seem that we have grown up a long time ago, built an adult life and even became parents ourselves. But have we managed to fully deal with long-standing childhood grievances that sometimes so violate our relationships with the people closest to us?
“I have a wonderful mother,” says 37-year-old Yuliya. She loves me, she worries about making me happy. And I don’t understand why I am offended, and sometimes really hurt, even by trifling criticism on her part. Seems like a common concern: "straighten your back, you're slouching!" or “It’s time for you to cut your hair!” — and I can't resist. I break down, yell at her ... I want to be left alone, given the opportunity to live as I want. But as a result, it turns out that it is I who offend her and because of this I constantly feel guilty ... "0003
Any, even the most ordinary gesture, casual look or word of parents has a special meaning for us. And many are familiar with resentment, disappointment, anger ... These feelings are the stronger, the deeper our affection and love.
“Pain is the other side of love,” explains family psychotherapist Varvara Sidorova. - And in relations with parents, this duality of feelings manifests itself especially strongly. No matter how old we are, it is from them that we expect attention, support, we hope that they will accept us as we are.”
For the first time, we are “disappointed” with our parents very early. Already at the age of 3-4, each child begins an unconscious "count" of what adults did not give him, what they missed, what they could not. Child psychoanalysts even believe that the child pays more attention to what (as it seems to him) he was deprived of than to what was given to him. Why do we fixate on what we lack?
“It's about existential doubt,” says family therapist Nicole Prieur. - All children are unconsciously looking for an answer to the question: is my existence important to you, mom and dad? After all, in order to grow, you need to know whether you can trust your parents, whether you can rely on them.
This question arises especially sharply at every significant event in the life of a family: the birth of a brother or sister, the divorce of parents, the appearance of a stepfather or stepmother... Nicole Prieur emphasizes. “They will never be able to meet absolutely all of our needs.”
Hence this unconscious resentment: they did not give us what we desired so much. “And this feeling affects the rest of my life,” explains family psychotherapist Inna Khamitova. “Having not received love, care, affection, we can feel our lack in the world, self-doubt and, most likely, we will blame our parents for this and try to change them.”
But there are those who say that there is no bitterness in their relationship with their parents, only joy and warmth of communication. What is the secret of such families?
“If parents have managed to give the child a sense of security in the world, a clear understanding of the boundaries — what is good, what is bad, what is possible, what is impossible, what is already within his power and what is not, and let him go to an independent life, then the claims and insults from he is gone,” says Inna Khamitova. - And their relationship, as they grow older, will gradually develop into partnership, friendship. This does not mean that such parents do not make mistakes at all (this does not happen, no one is perfect), it is important that in such a family the general vector of relations is positive, and parents see an independent person in the child, and not their continuation.
“My father doesn't have to admire only me”
“I've always been proud of my dad: smart, talented, charming,” says 43-year-old Ksenia. - He is a mathematician, so in high school, my parents transferred me to a boarding school for physics and mathematics. I left to study, then easily entered the university, defended my PhD, got married ... I “dedicated” every height I took in my life to my dad: I really hoped that he would be proud of me.
All these years we saw each other infrequently, and two years ago my husband and children decided to return to my hometown. Parents by this time retired, moved to live in the country. And we became very good friends with our neighbors - a young couple, graduate students from my father's institute.
And all of a sudden I started catching myself... that it just pisses me off, how dad smiles at this neighbor Katya, jokes with her, compliments her. I was tormented by annoyance, irritation, anger ... I did not understand where such feelings came from. Is it possible that I, a mother of two children, an adult woman, was seized by blind childish jealousy? It was terribly stupid, but I felt betrayed. It's not my fault that I left home so early! Mom and dad themselves sent me to study, and now they are friends with Vanya and Katya, they drink tea with them in the evenings - with them, not with me . ..
I must have been chewing on my grievances for a whole month. Until one day she asked herself: do you want to remain an offended little girl who didn’t get sweets at the holiday? This image somehow calmed me down. My father doesn't have to admire me exclusively. I myself have something to praise myself for.
Lay down your arms and stop conflicts
“We must defend our positions,” says 42-year-old Inna. - Mother was not very interested in me, now I see the same indifference to my daughter. Why should I endure this? Unleashing her anger on her parents, Inna tries to achieve her goal, to change her imperfect mother.
Varvara Sidorova says that in such cases she answers the client: “You are trying to get love from your mother, which she did not give you in your 30 (40, 50) years. Why do you think it will suddenly happen now? It is important for you to learn to do without your mother's love.
Parents, like all of us, find it difficult to admit their imperfection, Inna Khamitova agrees: “It is unlikely that in response to the claims of their adult child, a mother or father will say: I understand everything, forgive me. After all, by admitting guilt, they thereby devalue their lives, and by justifying themselves, they can maintain self-esteem.
Does this mean that mutual understanding will never be achieved? Not at all, say our experts. “The only way is to lay down your arms, stop fighting and accept the fact that your parents are not perfect,” says Inna Khamitova. - That a mother or father is not an omnipotent deity, but not villains either, but ordinary people with their own shortcomings and problems. They gave us as much love as they could. Mother worked hard and didn't tell bedtime stories? Did you think that the main thing is to feed-shoe-clothe? Well, it means that she had such a love language! Parents themselves were inexperienced (as we are now) and lived as best they could. Nobody is to blame for anything."
We also need to accept that the parental family will never be able to give us absolutely everything we need: happiness, satisfaction, well-being. “Growing up, we are looking for other people who will satisfy these needs - friends, partners, colleagues, like-minded people,” emphasizes Varvara Sidorova. “We must come to the conclusion that I can give myself what I lack.”
The world doesn't owe us anything
But why is it so difficult to accept this idea? “Because it’s much easier to blame your parents for their mistakes than to take responsibility for your life,” explains Varvara Sidorova. On the way to adulthood, we go through three stages.
The first is the childish attitude, where we live in the passive expectation that we will get something from others.
The second is the position of a teenager who makes claims to his parents, settles scores, demands what is due to him. And many get stuck at this stage. Remaining dependent on others for years, they demand from friends and loved ones what their parents did not give them. And they are wrong, because the partner will never be able to love them like a father, a beloved cannot be exactly the same caring as a mother. These are different people and different relationships.
“A person who is dependent on others has nothing to rely on inside himself, he does not feel a core in himself, does not feel his identity, selfhood,” says Inna Khamitova. “Dependence on the opinions and actions of other people speaks of the infantility of a person.”
In order to grow, we have to admit that we will never be able to "get the bills."
The third stage on the path of growing up is to accept the fact that what you haven’t received will never be received, to stop being offended by your parents and to say to yourself: “Well, no matter what I do, I won’t see this affectionate look, don’t feel the support and recognition that I dreamed of. If we manage to manage our feelings at this moment, we will feel real liberation.
Find your way
But even this is not enough to really become an adult. The unconscious not only retained the memory of grievances, but also absorbed parental expectations, these “impossible missions”, whether they were spoken out loud or not: “Mom could not become a pianist, now I must make her dream come true!”, “I must be in everything the first to make dad proud of me!
“Rare parents do not project their expectations onto their child, assuming that they know what is best for him,” confirms Irina Khamitova. But this is, of course, an illusion. Each person must find his own way."
We grow up under the burden of these parental expectations, and even if we protest against them in adolescence, we still lack the strength to free ourselves from them. And only by the age of 25–30 do we feel that it will not work to pass all the parental “exams” for five. So, we will not fulfill their desires, we will disobey them. It's hard to admit it and allow yourself to move on. But this is the last stage on the path that allows you to become yourself. Those who make their own decisions and take responsibility for their lives.
“For those who grew up in Russia, this is especially difficult,” says Varvara Sidorova. “Our children often receive two conflicting messages: “you are the center of the world” and “you are full of flaws.” And because I, the almighty, do not reach the required heights, a strong sense of guilt arises.
But our parents did not bring us into this world to meet their expectations. If, as adults, we still continue to prove something to them, it means that we are not living our own life, we are not achieving our goals. “It is worth listening to your convictions,” advises Inna Khamitova. “I don’t trust people—isn’t it because my father said so?” I'm afraid of men who "only need one thing" - aren't these my mother's words? It is important to understand whose voices are in our heads, what we ourselves want, where our path is.”
And make no mistake: if we act against our parents just to prove them wrong, we are still dependent on them. This is the same relationship, only with the opposite sign. “Only when there is no protest, resentment, anger, guilt in the soul, then we were able to separate from our parents and really become adults,” says Inna Khamitova.
Find out family history
“Interest in family history helps to understand and, therefore, forgive one's parents,” says Inna Khamitova. - It is worth finding out: in what conditions did the mother grow up? How was she brought up, how was she treated in childhood? It's not about "turning the arrows" on grandparents, but about justifying the mother. It is important to see and understand the whole family context. Think: why such women, such men, such marriages were in the family?
The next step is to look at family history in the context of the country's history. Maybe the ancestors were dispossessed or exiled, and all their strength was spent only to survive? From here, for example, rigidity and severity could arise, which were passed on to the next generations. Or maybe when the mother was born, the grandmother received a funeral for her grandfather - and the girl lacked attention, joy and warmth.
When we learn and analyze such details, the picture of life acquires volume, ambiguity. And black-and-white assessments are no longer possible: bad - good, good - evil. We will see difficult people, with their own difficult fate, whom it is pointless to blame.”
Accept their choice
Yet we have received much from them and feel we owe them. To what extent can we afford to be disloyal? “It takes time to admit: this person is not perfect - but I love him,” notes Varvara Sidorova. - And it is even more difficult to accept that we have both love and anger in us at the same time (everyone, of course, in different proportions). It’s easier for us to see only one color: I love him or I hate him.
When we discover the vulnerability of our parents, we often get frightened and feel more guilty. Sometimes adult children reach a dead end trying to save their parents - to get their mother out of depression, to cure their alcoholic father ... even against their wishes. And they suffer when none of this works.
“You need to help when parents are ready to accept this help,” says Varvara Sidorova. - After all, not only I am an adult independent person, but my mother is an adult independent person. And has the right to make choices that I don't like. Including, no matter how scary it sounds, and destroy yourself. Love is not omnipotent: we cannot “drive them into happiness” by force. Respecting your parents means accepting their conscious and unconscious choices.