Many of us have been hurt by parents who abandoned us; whether physically, emotionally, or both. It can be difficult to forgive someone who caused you so much pain and heartache.
But forgiving your parent can help you heal from the trauma of abandonment and move forward with your life. So if that’s what you want to achieve, here are some tips on how to forgive a parent who abandoned you.
5 key steps to forgive a parent who abandoned you:
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings:
One of the first steps in learning how to forgive an absent parent is acknowledging your feelings. This doesn’t mean that you need to dwell on them, but rather that you recognize what is happening inside of you, and understand why it’s happening. Whether it’s anger, sadness, or confusion; whatever emotions come up, they should be acknowledged and accepted without judgment or further resentment.
Although it’s hard to forgive when you’re still reeling from the hurt someone caused; it’s possible. Sometimes, it doesn’t feel like it. And, it will probably feel like trying to put out a fire with a stick of butter. Moreover and to make matters worse, those emotions can be painful and confusing. However, in the end, it’s important to embrace these feelings instead of pushing them away or ignoring them, because it will help you reach understanding and resolution.
When we’re ready to work on forgiving our parents for their mistakes, we must first accept our own turbulence of emotions as part of the process toward healing and let go of the bitterness and need for vengeance that could sometimes come with bottling up all those unresolved feelings.
2. Release any negative energy:
Once you’ve identified your feelings and accepted them as part of the healing process, it’s time to start releasing any negative energy associated with them. The best way to do this is through journaling or creative expressions such as painting or writing poetry. Above all, it’s important to remember that any anger or resentment we’re feeling is actually just energy that needs to be released in some way.
Fortunately, there are numerous tools and means available for us to do this. As mentioned earlier, poetry or painting can work well; but if you want a more direct approach why not try journaling, or speaking with a therapist? Even if the circumstances of their abandonment remain unresolved or confusing, we can still make room for peace by focusing on how to let go of our negative feelings. With awareness and compassion, anything can be forgiven.
Writing down all the things that are bothering you can be cathartic and will help you get in touch with your emotions in a healthy way. Releasing this negative energy will make it easier for forgiveness to enter your heart.
3. Connect with your parents and look for answers:
Forgiveness of a parent that has abandoned you takes not only an emotional toll but can also require some hard work. Of course, not everyone needs to physically reach out in order to obtain closure, especially when we consider that in some cases not connecting with someone toxic may be the best decision.
However, to gain a better understanding of your parent’s situation, try to get in touch with them. You don’t have to ask them directly or verbally for their reasons or re-open old wounds. Perhaps, all you need is good observation of their charachter and to study their personality, likes, dislikes, etc. If you do this and try to reflect back on past life events, you may just find the answer on your own.
For instance, when we have a parent that is an addict or an alcoholic, it is not hard to see how every decision they make will revolve around feeling their addiction. It doesn’t really take a genius, in this case, to tell you why you didn’t come first once upon a time or even why you probably still don’t come first in the present time.
So by being close to your parent and observing their character, priorities, values and more, the clues about why they left may become more apparent. You will not have to trick anyone into telling you the truth or beg for answers. Most often than not, the truth is simple and right under our eyes but acknowledging it would hurt so we keep making up excuses and thinking that there must be more to dig up. Ultimately, though it is far from easy, taking time to connect with a parent who has abandoned may not provide direct and satisfying answers but perhaps it will lead to closure.
4. Understand Your Parent’s Perspective:
Once you’ve begun to process and release your negative emotions and once you would’ve observed and got answers, you will start to understand things better. The main goal here is to try and understand why your parent may have chosen to abandon you. even though the answer could hurt, it will surely bring closure.
While you’re trying to understand, it’s important not to let yourself off the hook here; if there were issues between yourself and your parent prior to their abandonment then those need to be addressed. For instance, if you were an extremely difficult child or a stubborn rebellious teenager that endangered others, then the answer will be just that. This will help you find true forgiveness as it will take root within yourself. But, if they abandoned you when you were a baby or if you’re sure you played no part in it then no need to dig deeper for reasons to self-blame. Self-blaming is not the purpose here.
The point is rather to understand why your parents would’ve done such a heartless and selfish thing, was it all just a way for them to get more freedom and privacy away from the responsibility of taking care of their own blood and flesh? Or was there more to it? Understanding their perspective can help give context around why they may have made certain choices that forever affected your relationship negatively.
5. Be the type of parent that your parents have failed to be:
In the end, raising and inspiring children is a tall order for any parent. From picking the right foods to feed them to pushing them forward in their studies, it can be hard work. So whether your parents abandoned you only metaphorically, emotionally, or literally, you don’t need to despise them for it now. What’s done is done. Mistakes are inevitable and nobody’s perfect!
So instead of worrying too much about how things didn’t turn out exactly how you would have liked with your own parents, now you can learn from their shortcomings. Change doesn’t stop when we become adults. Perhaps you can this as a sign that will inspire you to be the kind of parent that you wished yours had been.
Parenting can certainly be challenging, but there’s no reason why we shouldn’t strive to give our kids all the love, attention, and support they need.
Forgiveness can be hard work, but ultimately it is worth it because it opens up space within ourselves for peace and understanding after being hurt by something as life-altering as getting abandoned by our parents.
By following the steps listed above, we can begin the healing journey toward forgiveness. This will allow us greater freedom in our lives going forward. If we take these steps one at a time we will find ourselves moving closer to inner peace even when faced with difficult circumstances or worse life events in the future.