The way you were brought up, the experiences you had with your parents and even your peer groups play a very important role in shaping you.
You may have some complaints about your parents. You may even have some grudge against your parents that has stayed with you for years. Maybe your parents did not understand you, maybe they compared you to other kids or your siblings. Maybe they did not give you enough time, maybe they were disinterested in your life, imposing an excess of restrictions and so on. Whatever the nature of the grudge, it leads to similar emotions.
You might be angry, upset, sad or deeply disappointed about this part of your childhood. Sometimes, you are unable to confront your parents or have an open conversation with them about the way you feel. As a result, these emotions remain bottled up and unaddressed.
Sometimes, a long standing grudge even affects the way you see yourself. You wonder if you are less deserving of certain experiences. This might again lead to chronic sadness, anger or insecurity. It also affects your relationships with others. You could have difficulty expressing anger, confronting others, trusting others. You might remain apprehensive about your relationships. In some way, you are unable to be yourself freely.
Is it Okay to Leave A Long Standing Grudge Against Your Parents Unaddressed?
Even a brief look at how this long-standing grudge is impacting you is enough for you to know that ignoring it only worsens it. The longer these feelings remain unaddressed, the more it will fester and continue to impact you. Different areas of your life will continue to suffer, making you suffer more.
How can You Begin Addressing it?
It is difficult to hold a grudge against your parents. Your parents have moulded you, taken care of you, and raised you. Experiencing love and pointed sadness or anger towards the same person can get difficult. Hence, it is worth all its while to work with the grudge rather than letting it remain on snooze mode.
Here are some ways of helping you work with the grudge and related feelings:
The first thing you can do here is take a step back and acknowledge that you have a grudge that is difficult to tide over. Acknowledge each emotion you feel, even the difficult ones. Shoving difficult emotions under the carpet only makes the heart heavier.
Talk Your Feelings Out:
Try talking to someone about these emotions. Maybe a friend, a sibling, your partner or even a therapist. Support is very important when you address certain emotions after long.
Confront Your Parents:
Confrontation is difficult but it helps greatly to get things off your chest. Talk to them about how you feel and be honest while doing that. Try hearing what they have to say. You might get some answers and even if you don’t, things will be openly communicated, instead of remaining bottled up.
Try to Empathize:
Try taking them off the pedestal of parenthood for a minute and try to see them just as people. Just for the time being, put yourself in their shoes and try to understand their situation. It might help you understand their position and what caused their behavior. There are chances you might relate to what they were going through and understand why they were not able to do better. This will open up some space for your feelings to heal.
Some things are hard to let go of. At the same time, coming to terms with your past will allow you to move ahead in life with far less burden. You will notice a change in your relationships and in yourself.
If you cannot let it go completely, you don’t have to. But you can try working on it, so it does not stop you from enjoying your beautiful present and from making an even more beautiful future.
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2 thoughts on “Have a Long Standing Grudge Against Your Parents?”
We hear you! A difficult childhood and especially experiencing abuse and neglect from parents can be very traumatic. As psychologists, when we write an article like this we do not intend to overlook or underplay the damage or bitterness and resentment that difficult childhood experiences bring about. On the contrary, we hope to validate the impact that childhood difficulties can have one’s life at present.
As psychologists, we spend a great deal of time dealing with childhood issues in therapy with our clients. Also, psychologists are as prone to have had difficulties with their parents as anyone else :). Keeping all these aspects in mind, what we hope to convey through the article is that acknowledging the feelings of anger, bitterness or even rage that we may feel towards our parents and finding a way to address them is perhaps a healthier way of dealing with them. Otherwise, these feelings will continue to impact our relationships, lives and even our physical health. It is for the healing of the child who is now an adult and not for the forgiveness of the parent that we aim.
Having said that, parents are human, prone to mistakes and perhaps have had terrible parenting role models in their childhoods that lead them to become difficult parents too. That might be a point worth considering.
Also as far as articles on how to be a good parent are concerned, we have plenty of them on this site. Hope you do find time to read a few 🙂
We wish you a happy journey ahead.
It is all very well for psychologists to say all these niceties but only the person who goes through a traumatic childhood due to poor parenting or being raised by a single (abusive) parent would know how hard it is to get over such a traumatic experience. As psychologists know, our childhood experiences shape our personality to a great extent, and traumatic experiences often stay with us all our lives. I have found that when parent(s) raise their children poorly, they end up facing the consequences when they themselves become old and have to depend on their children for support. Have rarely seen well-raised children ill-treating their aged parents, while it’s common to find people abused in their childhood by their parents, ignoring their parents’ welfare when they grow old. It’s like karma is catching up with these abusive parents, haunting them in their old age.
While the writer urges the children holding grudges against their parents to confront their parents, the moot point is that the communication channels have already broken down between the two, and this is precisely what causes the rift, to begin with. It’s a shame that there are laws in certain States which penalize children who “neglect” their parents in their old age, but none which come to the rescue of abused children (i.e. an authority whom the child can approach against his/her own parents for being physically & mentally abused routinely). Luckily, divorce laws apply only to married couple, else bad / abusive / traumatizing parenting is so rampant that millions of children would happily divorce their parents, if such a thing existed in law. About time psychologists wrote articles on how people should take parenting seriously and treat their children with love and compassion, and respect their individuality (instead of pressuring them to realize their own unfulfilled ambition, regardless of whether the child has the aptitude for it or not). Only people who raise their children with love and care, hone their natural talents (instead of scuttling it by thrusting their own unfulfilled ambitions on the child), and teach them life-skills which benefit them later in life to lead a fulfilling life realising their true potential, have a right to physical, financial and emotional support in their old age from their children. In fact, if the children are well-raised, such parents don’t even have to demand such care, it comes naturally from the children, who can’t bear to see their parent suffer.