Okanagan Panorama

How do I forgive my mother for hurting me repeatedly and doesn't think it was wrong?

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As originally answered on Quora.com ... 


I see two separate but interdependent issues here. You are asking how to forgive your mother. And you are commenting that she is hurting you repeatedly and doesn’t think it is wrong?

Let’s address the hurting you repeatedly aspect. Your question doesn’t indicate whether this behaviour of your mother’s towards you is currently happening or if it was sometime in the past. There is a difference. You can’t change the past but you can influence and change your present and your future as it unfolds.

Jumping ahead a bit, if your mother was hurting you in the past, then it is possible to forgive her. If she is hurting you in the present, it is not likely that you will be able to forgive her now. You will need to have some closure and/or discontinuation of her hurting behaviour before you can start the forgiveness process.

Your question doesn’t indicate your age, nor that of your mother’s. There are unlimited interpersonal dynamics that could be going on between you and your mother. Not knowing you or your mother, it would be unrealistic of me to provide you with specific advice on what to do.

At a basic level, you need to get the message across to your mother that hurting you is unacceptable. Your mother is not likely to stop until she fully understands how it affects you. I would highly recommend that you research the topic of assertiveness training. The idea is that you want to work towards a win-win resolution, where you can rebuild or start over the relationship with your mother.

Despite the platitudes offered that your mother is always your mother and will always have your back, many mothers are not in the least bit motherly. Your question doesn’t say whether your mother has a mental illness, or is just a nasty person. Conversely, your mother may very well believe that by hurting you continuously, she is doing it for your own good. There are far too many people out there that believe in hitting their children ‘for their own good’ or citing religious beliefs.

There is an expression in mental health that goes “all behaviour has meaning.” I’m left wondering why your mother hurts you. Perhaps that was the way she was brought up and it is the only way that she knows how to parent.

Now as the forgiveness aspect. If your mother’s behaviour is in the past, or if you have been able to have an intervention and stop her undesirable, hurtful behavior, then forgiveness is possible.

Forgiveness is for you. It allows you to move on with your life. It doesn’t mean that you forget what the other person has done to you, it just means that you take any power away from them that they have over you. This is why there has to be closure in place.

Forgiveness provides peace of mind. I know as I have done so on several occasions. One, was with my father. Unfortunately, I had to do it after he had passed away. We never had the conversation that we should have i.e. adult to adult. Another time was where I forgave a very nasty, evil supervisor who was very much a bully. I had to forgive her to move on with my life. I did and have.

I hope you give some consideration to what I have provided here.

Thanks for your question and good luck with our task. 

Rae Stonehouse

Author Bio:

Rae A. Stonehouse is a Canadian born author & speaker. His professional career as a Registered Nurse working predominantly in psychiatry/mental health, has spanned four decades.

Rae has embraced the principal of CANI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement) as promoted by thought leaders such as Tony Robbins and brings that philosophy to each of his publications and presentations.

Rae has dedicated the latter segment of his journey through life to overcoming his personal inhibitions. As a 27+ year member of Toastmasters International he has systematically built his self-confidence and communicating ability. He is passionate about sharing his lessons with his readers and listeners. His publications thus far are of the personal/professional self-help, self-improvement genre and systematically offer valuable sage advice on a specific topic.

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