When Do You Let Your Parents Off the Hook?

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By Ronda Beaman

My mom and dad dropped ice cubes down my diaper to watch me dance. Your mom and dad, or perhaps only one of them, made growing up a difficult process too. Maybe they abused you or controlled you.

Now you are grown, and raising children of your own, but your parents still have a strangle hold on your emotions. How long are you going to carry the pain? Are you aware of what it is doing to you?

Maybe it’s time to let your parents off the hook?

Many of you out there are screaming NEVER! It’s a common reaction. The question you need to ask is this – Is continuing to play the role of the victim serving you well in your life? Did your parents do the best they could for who they were at the time?

When my parents were laughing their heads off at my iced butt jig, they were 17. I have chosen to believe they were out to amuse, not abuse, and that one letter change has made all the difference in who I have become.

Parents and children enter into an unspoken contract at birth. There are certain expectations and an understanding that first and foremost you should do no harm. Yet, many parents do harm their children. Perhaps it’s because they weren’t ready to become parents. Maybe they didn’t have role models of their own or the tools to make them the parents they hoped to be. Do you really believe that any parent goes into child rearing with the goal of ruining that child’s life forever?

Posing a lot of questions doesn’t get us any closer to a solution, so let’s start with some answers.

What do you do if you were raised by a controlling parent and now you are a control freak?

First of all, you can take charge of your own life and realize that you have the power. Maybe as a child your parent could force you to do something you didn’t want to do or feared, but today that isn’t the case. Reclaim your power. Understand that you can have the life you want by living it. No one has any power over you but you.

Often a controlling parent is battling their own insecurities. But since they aren’t the ones doing the work of getting better here, let’s focus on you. How can you become a better person and get to the point of forgiving your parents and moving on with life?

There’s a great Bible quote about removing the stick from your own eye before removing the speck from your brothers. That’s what we’re doing here. We’re reclaiming responsibility for our own life by focusing on what you can do differently, as your response is the only thing you can control.

Look at yourself. Really look. Do you think for yourself? Are you a people pleaser? Confident? If not, let’s work towards the goal of being more confident, more independent and less of a people pleaser. Confidence comes from within so make a list of ten things you like about yourself. Create a mantra from those things and repeat it daily. Learn that saying no is okay. You cannot please all the people all the time, so learn to please yourself first. You don’t owe anyone an explanation, and you can live a life of freedom. Kindness counts, but walking around feeling like a doormat only enhances the victim mentality. You are no longer a victim of your upbringing unless you allow yourself to be.

Next, overcome your fears. Your parent(s) can no longer harm you. You are an adult with your own life. Knowing this and living it are two different things – I understand that. Learn to visualize. Picture yourself as the creator of your own destiny. Allow yourself to be in charge. Give yourself permission to have a differing opinion and still be loved. Know, deep in your gut, that your opinion matters.

The good news is abusive or controlling parents are often very smart, so chances are you are too. Use that to your advantage. In other words use your power for good. Take a leadership class, educate yourself on human behavior and most importantly remember your mind is yours alone. Only you choose the path of your life. Only you decide your future because you are an adult now.

It’s time to let your parents off the hook. You may need to do some confronting and forgiving before you can truly let go, and if that’s the case do it. No one ever attended a parent’s funeral saying, I wish I hadn’t forgiven him/her. Moving forward in life as a victim is only hurting you. Forgiving a parent is really for you.

Forgiveness will allow you to move on and maybe make you a parent who won’t need to be let off the hook!

Highly decorated Girl Scout and Patrol Leader, cheerleader, student council officer, honor roll, dean’s list and aerobics champion Ronda Beaman is the Author of Little Miss Merit Badge.  See more about Little Miss Merit Badge here:http://www.LittleMissMeritBadge.com and view a promo of the Book here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVyDwTBDUu8.

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