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How can I forgive my parents (especially my mum) so I can let go and move on. Life is too short!

(87 Posts)
cupcakesmakeyouhappy Mon 02-Oct-17 19:41:14

I have always struggled to understand why I felt the way I did, becoming a young adult, right up until my late 30's. I have done alot of soul searching and realise that the reason was, being raised (step dad) by a narcissist has given rise to a belief throughout my life that I am just not “good enough”!
I have mental scars of my emotional abuse and emotionally absent parents. I thought I had self healed but obviously not.
I no longer have contact with my step dad. My mum has always been very self absorbed and allowed this emotional abuse to continue (maybe without knowing it would have consequences on my mental health later on in life) as he gave her everything she needed (big house, luxury holidays, a job within his company, money) to be happy.
I could go on to tell you about the emotional abuse (quite disturbing) but understand this post is long already.....
I'm still in contact with my parents (mum left step dad a couple of years ago and although both parents mum and real dad have deep regrets for decisions they made as parents, they're both still inconsistent and self absorbed)
It's like I have this inner broken child that can't forgive. The more I see them and although the past is in the past, they still do and say things that make me feel unimportant, uncared for. How can I forgive my parents (especially my mum) so I can let go and move on and accept this is them?
Like I said, I thought I had moved on but it seems the older I become and the older my dc's become the worse it feels.

Justmuddlingalong Mon 02-Oct-17 19:45:20

Sometimes you have to accept that you have done as much as you can. If the other person in a relationship doesn't give anything, you can't fix things. Forgiving them is still you giving.

beesandknees Mon 02-Oct-17 19:53:39

Oh op. I'm so sorry.

Is there a way for you to stop seeing them. In my experience it really does not get better until you take, at least, a VERY long break from the person, so that you can heal and almost recreate yourself without them in your life (if that makes sense??).

And then in several years' time, if you want to, you can try to see them again. Or not, you can change your mind too.

In my experience as long as you're letting them in, you're basically keeping the wound raw because they keep ripping it open sad

It takes time and space to heal. I don't think forgiveness is actually a 'thing'... I think healing has to occur, and only then, do you feel a sense of forgiveness. I don't believe that you can forgive first in order to then move onto healing iyswim. I think people are wrong when they suggest that's how it works tbh.

One thing that can help healing is to discipline yourself not to dwell on thoughts of revenge. Sure that's a good idea. But to try to force yourself not to feel pain when someone has hurt you? Not sure that's possible and even if it were, not sure it's a good idea x

cupcakesmakeyouhappy Mon 02-Oct-17 20:23:40

Thanks for your replies smile
That's the thing, they're in and out of my life without actually being parents. When they're happy/busy I don't see them and when I'm convenient they 'pop' in. Never ever offer to do anything with my dc's. Never offer me over for tea (I have, in the past, cooked alot for them), if I have been to an appointment regarding my health, no call, so much more. I suppose everything that comes naturally to me as a mum, they do not do. I'm forever making sure dc's are happy, encoraged, empowered, safe, secure. Making memories. I then question how my parents would not want this for me growing up and expect me to be there for them in their times of need (usually when they're single or bored). So not sure how I can stay away from them to heal? I would advise someone to do exactly that but unsure how to do it myself.

rudbeckia Mon 02-Oct-17 20:35:11

A book that helped me is Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents
Nothing can change them, but it may help you (I saw the recommendation on here).

Justmuddlingalong Mon 02-Oct-17 20:40:22

I withdrew contact gradually. There was no big 'I'm going NC with you' announcement. I stopped involving my mother in my everyday life. No catching up visits or phone calls. If I bump into her I chat, she occasionally calls me. Now her lack of interest in me doesn't upset me anymore. I've stopped trying for the type of relationship I wanted and rejected the real relationship we have. Truly liberating. Try the Stately Homes thread. Lots of advice and support there. flowers

cupcakesmakeyouhappy Mon 02-Oct-17 20:43:10

Thankyou, I just googled it and will be definitely investing.

Offred Mon 02-Oct-17 20:48:43

I don’t think it is forgiveness that helps with moving on TBH.

It is acceptance (that they are the way they are) and moving on (getting them out of your life/not allowing them to continue to make your life negative) that helps.

I get confused about this ‘forgiveness sets you free’ stuff...

I am not entirely sure what it means for a start and whilst I think bitterness and continuing to allow toxic people to toxify your life can make you trapped I also think that there are some things which can’t be and shouldn’t be forgiven.

cupcakesmakeyouhappy Mon 02-Oct-17 20:49:03

Justmuddlingalong - im glad you longer feel upset. Yes, thats exactly what I'm trying to do. Part of me feels mean doing it. I hate feeling this dislike towards them. Especially because they dont know what they're doing. Christmas is on my mind. Both don't cook do bee. Both alone so I end up inviting them both (dislike eachother) and spend my day awkward and false, whilst I buy, prep and cook because I can't bare to be the mean one and not invite them. Even when I have spent many Christmases alone. I'm sorry to harp on about it. Im a single parent without anyone to chat to.

cupcakesmakeyouhappy Mon 02-Oct-17 20:53:11

Offred - I am a firm believer of not allowing negative people suck the energy from you and try to stay away from such people. When it's family, I don't know how to do this. I always think, life is too short.

Justmuddlingalong Mon 02-Oct-17 21:02:17

You are feeling bad by cutting them out while they carry on oblivious to how you feel. It's OK to live a contented life, without those who upset in it. You don't have to invite them for christmas, they didn't invite you when it suited them. You are so overwhelmed by the feeling of obligation towards them, that you honestly can't see light at the end of the tunnel. It's there, but while you allow their behaviour to affect your life, you'll never reach it. You won't stop being a nice person by withdrawing contact. You have to decide that enough is enough, that they won't change and you have to stop allowing them to make you feel as shit as you do. You can change this, but have to ride the feeling of discomfort first.

cupcakesmakeyouhappy Mon 02-Oct-17 21:15:39

You're right! By me withdrawing, means I stop calling/texting? Stop asking them to join in on mine and family days out (because I feel I should as they're alone). I just feel like I'm not being a 'proper' daughter. Then argue with myself remembering they weren't 'proper' parents. I just dont want to be the nehlectful one. I know how that sounds, hence the completely messed up in my head situation. Theyre going to think im being offish if I dont invite them. Its like theyre already expecting it. Both of them hate Christmas.
I know you are right, and it's what I need to do for myself. My plan is to, once able, to move further away.

Apileofballyhoo Mon 02-Oct-17 21:21:18

I agree with whoever said withdraw contact gradually. My DF told me when his DM died he was no sadder than he'd be at any old lady that he lived near dying.

It might to get more(?) counselling/therapy and allow yourself to grieve for the past you, who should have been loved and cherished and protected and supported, and the present you, who should still feel loved and supported by your DPs, and for your children, who will never have the ideal GPs.

At the same time, you need to stop being hurt by your DPs not being anything like they should, because they aren't. You can only change your reaction.


Apileofballyhoo Mon 02-Oct-17 21:21:52

*might help

cupcakesmakeyouhappy Mon 02-Oct-17 21:28:58

That's sad isn't it?! Sad for your df. Yes, you are right. I have actually contemplated counselling recently but can't afford it so would have to go on the waiting list. I think I'm going to ask my gp.

Almahart Mon 02-Oct-17 22:03:22

I hesitate to suggest this because it is very expensive but I had a couple of years psycholtheraoy which got me to a point where I could really think of my mum as an elderly woman I had lunch with once every four months or so. I had zero expectations of her and began to just drift away really. She died last year and it was as a pp said as if she was just an elderly woman I knew had died. I had spent years trying to get her approval and it was never ever going to happen.

Almahart Mon 02-Oct-17 22:04:27

The point of that was that there is some freedom to be had. Perhaps start by not inviting them for Christmas? I do know how hard it is flowers

Almahart Mon 02-Oct-17 22:05:25

And finally, I missed your post just above mine where you said you were on the list for counselling. Fingers crossed it comes soon and apologies for suggesting psychotherapy

whitehandledkitchenknife Mon 02-Oct-17 22:12:28

cupcakes - I found Jeanne Safer's book 'Forgiving and Not Forgiving' very helpful.

cupcakesmakeyouhappy Mon 02-Oct-17 22:15:36

Almahart - please don't apologise, I appreciate your support and advice. I'm sorry you didn't have a great relationship with your mum. You are actually right when you said about expectations. I think I should lower mine somehow. I'm not sure I even feel hurt anymore, just frustration as I allow it to still affect me. I'm thinking of how to go about Christmas as I know they're expecting to come here. I know I will appear the bad guy for not considering them.

Worriedrose Mon 02-Oct-17 22:16:05

It's very hard
I have been 1 1/2 years into therapy
It's helping, dredging a lot up too, but I am a similar age and learning you can't bury it, it makes it harder
I realise my mother had a pretty awful mother growing up, so I try to empathise with that, but she was pretty dreadful
I like to think that I have to stop letting them continue to hurt me. I cannot change the past but I can change how they make me feel in the future. How is very personal to you.
I don't engage really with anything that I know will upset me with either of them and have very limited contact

Do I forgive them, not sure really. i don't feel as much rage. But I think that stemmed from me thinking it was just so fucking unfair

Worriedrose Mon 02-Oct-17 22:17:20

Jesus sorry that was so badly written!! Hope you get the jist of it

cupcakesmakeyouhappy Mon 02-Oct-17 22:17:32

Whitehandledkitchenknife - thank you, I shall Google that too smile
I'm always googling online, self help. I really appreciate book recommendations.

cupcakesmakeyouhappy Mon 02-Oct-17 22:27:40

Worriedrose - I completely get it smile im glad the therapy is helping you. I can empathise with my mum too as she didn't have a mother daughter bond. My mum has never really had that with anyone though as she is completely self absorbed. It's like she doesn't know how to reciprocate. I think sometimes does she even know how to be a mum. Not all behaviour is learnt though is it?! I also feel anger as I question how they can be this way. How it was and is unfair.
It's like I want to go back to my you get self and hug her. I feel sad for what I didn't have growing up. Now anger.

Worriedrose Mon 02-Oct-17 22:34:44

A huge amount of behaviour is learnt
Maybe look up attachment disorder

It sort of helped me to understand my mother a bit. I could see traits in her and my father that might have stemmed from their childhood. Not that I am excusing their behaviour.
I feel exactly the same about my young self, but I am a nice kind person (I think!) and though I didn't get that love when I was young I am glad I have empathy and kindness and that helps me in a way. Therapy has helped me to detach myself slightly from my childhood. I can't change what happened to me, I can't go back and help that little girl. But I can feel sad for her in a different way that I used too.

So, if you can afford it get a good therapist. Really I would forgo most things for it.

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