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Eight reasons why forgiving a parent can be challenging and difficult

Forgiving a friend or a colleague can be a breeze but to forgive a parent is another story. The closer we are to someone who hurt us, the more difficult it is to forgive them. It takes a continuous effort over weeks, months, or even years.

Also, failing to receive an apology from a parent for the pain they’ve inflicted can result in a person becoming trapped in a state of anger.

Though people have different experiences, here are the common reasons why it is difficult to forgive a parent and how to start your journey to forgiveness.

[1] Disappointment

The first person a child looks up to is their parent. When we are young, we always see our parents as role models. However, as we grow up, we see them make mistakes and do things we didn’t expect them to. 

When we are disappointed and frustrated with our parents’ behaviors and treatment of us, we find it hard to forgive them. Nonetheless, we have to accept that everyone makes mistakes, including our parents, and we have to forgive them for that.

[2] Expectations

Sometimes, we expect too much from our parents. We still wait for that day they will change and finally give us the love and affection we have been longing for.

Unfortunately, for some, it never happens, which makes it hard for them to forgive. To resolve this kind of resentment towards our parents, we have to set realistic expectations and try to understand the situation from their point of view.

[3] Betrayal

When our parents do something bad to us, we feel betrayed and lose our trust in them. It usually happens to children with divorced parents. Once the family is broken, the pieces of a once-happy relationship also break apart.

Children find it hard to forgive their parents for separating and not giving them a complete, loving family. It may take time to forgive a parent for this but it’s best to use this time to reflect on our relationship with our parents.

[4] Rejection

A lot of us have experienced rejection from our parents at some point in our lives. However, if we keep getting rejected and not getting the attention and affection we need, it causes strains in our relationship with them.

It is worse for people who were abandoned by their biological parents. It makes them feel that they are never worthy of their parents’ love and when they grow up, the resentment only grows. The answer to this is to own our unconditional wound and have a sense of self-responsibility.

[5] Blaming

The major reason why we can’t forgive our parents is we keep blaming them, even for mistakes they made a long time ago. We blame them for a lot of things and believe they are the reason why we mess up in life.

In reality; however, we are responsible for our own lives and we shouldn’t blame our parents for their mistakes when we were kids. They might have influenced our future but is still up to us if we are going to succeed or fail in life.

[6] Emotional Wounds

Our parents’ failure to meet our emotional needs is why we can’t forgive them easily. In return, we close our hearts and put up barriers to prevent them from hurting us.

On the other hand, some people have lots of emotional wounds that they can’t stop seeking parental permission and parental support.

We can only start to forgive them if we stop doing it and give ourselves what we need from our parents. Sometimes, we don’t need our parents to believe in us as long as we believe in ourselves.

[7] Lack of Apology

When our parents hurt us, we keep expecting them to apologize and when they don’t, we ask ourselves why we should forgive them if they can’t even say sorry.

It may seem impossible, but we can forgive them if we accept that they are just psychologically incapable of apologizing or didn’t mean what they did to us. It is best to bring it up to them gently as it could have been just a result of miscommunication.

[8] False Beliefs

Another reason why we find it hard to forgive a parent is because we have different recollections or understandings of things. If they were too strict with us when we were younger, we thought they were being too harsh and they didn’t love us.

But to them, it was just their way of protecting us and teaching us lessons. This is why it is important to talk to our parents about all our frustrations and misconceptions about them.<

A lot of families fall apart because of miscommunication but if we are going to listen and express ourselves constantly, we will be able to meet each other’s needs and forgive easily, no matter how challenging the situation is.

In conclusion, forgiveness is a powerful and transformative act. It allows individuals to release the burden of anger, resentment, and negativity, freeing them from the emotional and psychological weight of past grievances.

Forgiveness also facilitates personal growth and resilience. It allows individuals to learn from their experiences, develop empathy and compassion, and enhance their emotional intelligence. Through forgiveness, individuals can rebuild damaged relationships or choose to move forward with a sense of closure and newfound strength.

Ultimately, forgiveness is a gift one gives to oneself, enabling the individual to lead a more fulfilling and content life. It empowers them to take control of their emotions and reactions, leading to greater happiness and a sense of liberation from the past.

On a related topic, watch this inspirational speaker talk about her relationship with her mother:

(Note: This article is provided solely for informational purposes and should not be considered a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or opinion. It is strongly recommended to consult with qualified professionals for any mental health concerns or issues. )

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