Have You Separated from Your Parents Internally?

Have You Separated from Your Parents Internally?
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Is it normal or acceptable to be angry with your parents?

People ask: “What can I do so that my parents will stop criticizing me and will see me for who I am? Why is this so painful and triggering? Why am I angry with my parents?”

Sometimes, even if parents passed away a long time ago, the adult children notice anger, guilt, shame, and resentment toward their parents. Many people are not sure what to do with these feelings and prefer to ignore them.

Remember that if feelings are ignored and not dealt with, we are looking at an elevated risk of relationship problems, health problems, including cardiovascular diseases, and jeopardized mental health wellness. Also, it takes a lot of energy to suppress difficult feelings.

Maybe your relationship with your parents triggers overwhelming guilt and anger, and you find yourself having conversations about these feelings in your head with your parents. In that case, whether they are alive or not, this happens because you did not go through inner separation from your parents.

You might be an adult, living separately, making your own living, having your own family, and still not yet fully separated from your parents.

Very often, parents of an adult unseparated child were not themselves separated from their parents. Sometimes they were immature, not responsible, and maybe it was difficult for them to be in the adult role or they were competing with the child for resources. Degrees of this may vary.

If a child does not have a responsible adult who can care at the time of need, anxiety arises. If that pattern repeats itself over and over, a child might start feeling unsafe.

If child-parent attachment is not secure enough, the child has to work extra hard to make sure that this bond is still strong. For the child, this is incredibly important at the survival level. Anxiety rises due to that. Later in life, it becomes difficult for this child to leave – physically or mentally.

In that case, the adult child becomes enmeshed with the parent and has difficulty setting up boundaries or experiences deep resentment and anger toward the parents.

Separation is an inner process of rebuilding the relationship with your parents. It always starts inside.

Separation requires several steps:

  1. We acknowledge the problem.
  2. We notice and name the feelings.
  3. We access inner resources, create and re-write narratives.
  4. Witnessing the pain.
  5. Reparenting wounded self.
  6. Understanding that our parents gave us what they could in that moment.
  7. Accepting parents for who they were.
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