Forgiveness in Mother - Daughter Relationships
Within each of us there is a child longing for its mother. For whatever reason your mother wasn’t able to love you in the way you wanted, when you are able to forgive her you draw a line between childhood and adulthood. Separating yourself from the past and becoming fully present in the here and now, you are able to move on from the hurt place inside yourself.
For as long as you hold onto your pain, you are not completely whole. Part of you remains split off in the past and at the mercy of your emotions, thoughts and feelings. In the absence of forgiveness it is you who suffers.
The best way to resolve conflicts you’ve had with your mother is through forgiveness. By forgiving, you are able to release emotional baggage from the past and you will feel lighter, freer and more joyous about life.
In the romantic comedy film ‘Because I Said So’, Diane Keaton plays the role of an overbearing mother with three daughters. You can hear her plaintive cry ‘’motherhood is the most impossible task, I was only trying to protect you from being me.’’ There may be times when your mother means well, but if she is interfering in this way, her attention becomes pressurising, embarrassing and unwanted. However, when you are able to explore in order to see beyond those things which annoy you there is often a loving meaning behind her actions and behaviours.
The price we pay for not forgiving
Not forgiving, means we remain connected to a person, event or situation. We keep the story alive, as if it were happening in this very moment. We are hurting ourselves by not forgiving. Our hearts and minds become hardened. We operate from a victim mode and the energy of feeling we are being victimised, spills over into all areas of our lives. We stay inside the pain, focused on injustice, trapped within the prison of hurt, attached to despair, locked into the past and frozen in time. In this space, there is no room for personal growth or relationships to improve.
Forgiving means you care about yourself enough to unlock yourself from the confinement of limiting thoughts, feelings and emotions. Forgiving puts you in control, it releases the pain and sets you free, free to live the life you dream of and deserve.
Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could be any different - Oprah Winfrey
Perhaps you may also need to forgive yourself for past actions, words and deeds in relation to your mother. This is an opportunity to work through your own forgiveness process using these questions to gain insight into your underlying emotions.
· What does forgiveness mean to you?
· How has forgiving another person benefitted you in the past?
· How has someone forgiving you been an asset to you?
· What grudges do you have towards your mother that would benefit from forgiveness?
· What do you need to forgive yourself for?
· What is the cost of not forgiving yourself or your mother?
· What emotions do you hold onto when you choose not to forgive? (anger, fear, hate etc)
· How do these emotions limit you?
· What would you need to stop doing in order to forgive?
· What would you need to start doing in order to forgive?
· How will forgiving your mother in particular benefit you personally in the short and long-term?
I have worked with many daughters over the years, who have held onto anger, grudges, hatred, frustration, spite, injustice, jealousy and fear because of something that happened in their past. It has been they who have kept the story alive and in doing so, the emotions and physical feelings related to the problem. Our bodies bear the burden of holding on to the past, often manifesting as ill-health and dis-ease.
The thought of forgiving your mother may evoke many strong emotions for you. It does not mean you agree after all with what she said, did or didn’t do - this is not the case.
Forgiveness gives you the opportunity to choose your thoughts, reactions and outcomes, based on what you want, not on what you don’t want. Forgiveness gives you the wings to fly free and enables you to let go of the hurt, the pain and bitterness you have been holding onto.
Forgiveness is the greatest gift you can give to yourself. Forgiveness gets you past the past, so you live your life in the now.
You might like to listen to the guided audio on Forgiveness to support you in moving past your pain. You will also find a free download 'Negative Memory Release' right here
Forgiveness could relate to something your mother did, didn’t do, something she said or didn’t say, or how she has behaved towards you.
If this exercise is difficult for you, start by forgiving yourself for not wanting to forgive using EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) until the emotional intensity decreases. (See Chapter Six for the EFT process in Mothers and Daughters) or go sign up for your free downloads at www.mothersanddaughters.solutions by subscribing. The free resources will be sent to your inbox over the next sixty days to give you time to work through the various processes
What is it you need to forgive?
· Past hurts from childhood
· Disappointing relationships growing up
· Times of emotional challenge with your mother in adulthood
Use EFT to tap through all of your points, speaking out loud to include the name of the person you want to work towards forgiving, or use the title ‘my mother’, ‘my mum’ etc. You may simply prefer to copy out the statements adding endings which apply to your own circumstances.
· I forgive myself for not wanting to forgive ‘my mum, my mother or name of person/people here’.....
· Even though it’s hard to forgive ‘my mum, my mother, name of person/people here’ I’m working towards forgiving her to set myself free
· I might be able to forgive my mum.....
· I could probably forgive my mum.....
· I could someday forgive my mum.....
· I could consider forgiving my mum.....
· There is a possibility I could forgive my mum.....
· I might be able to forgive ‘my mum, my mother or name of person/people here’ someday…….
· Maybe I could let go of not forgiving mum.....
· Maybe ‘my mum, my mother or name of person/people here’ was just doing the best she could and I forgive her
· Maybe I could forgive ‘my mum, my mother or name of person/people here’
· Maybe I could forgive myself for..... (e.g. my choices, my own mistakes, my actions, my behaviours)
· Maybe I didn’t know any better and I forgive myself for.....
· I’m not agreeing with what ‘my mum, my mother or name of person/people here’ said or did - though I choose to forgive her, so I can be free from hurting myself with this memory
· I no longer want to be a prisoner in this memory and I choose forgiveness now.....
· Forgiveness means letting go of the past and I choose this for myself right now.....
· I choose to forgive.....
· I am willing to forgive.....
· I forgive ‘my mum, my mother or name of person/people here’ right now...
If you have been holding on to anger, resentment, hatred and pain or any other intense and limiting emotion which has stopped you from forgiving, applying EFT will support you in reducing the emotional intensity and working through the unresolved emotion. You are also welcome to contact me to discuss which support programme will suit you best if you'd like to work with me personally.
As well as improving relationships, the benefits gained from forgiving include: a reduction in anxiety and stress, a stronger immune system, healthier heart, reduction in physical and emotional pain, lowering of blood pressure, fewer symptoms of depression, greater spiritual and psychological well-being and higher self-esteem. The Journal of Behavioural Medicine offers further insights into the benefits of forgiveness. As you let go of grudges, you no longer determine your life by how you’ve been hurt.
Forgiveness releases you from the past that no longer defines you. Allow yourself to move on - Cheryl Richardson