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How To Forgive Your Parents

What’s the purpose of forgiving your parents?

It’s about you - and living your best life. Letting go of the past and creating your life, your way.


1. Deciding on what you want your life to look like.

What are the values you want to live by? How do you want to act? How do you want to feel? Answering these questions will give you clarity about what’s acceptable and what is not. Clarity allows for authentic communication.

2. Boundaries

Forgiving your parents doesn’t mean they will change. You can’t change anyone. Forgiveness is about you finding peace. If they do change, great. If they don’t, you can still find peace, and move on. Nobody will keep your boundaries for you. Putting ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in the right place is essential to maintaining reasonable relationships.

3. Understanding how you show up in relationships.

The drama triangle was first recognised by Stephen Karpman in 1968. It connects our destructive and shifting roles with personal responsibility and power.


a) Needing to people please and put everyone else’s needs above your own.

The root cause of this is wanting to be liked or loved. There is a secret hope that all of this giving will pay off and you will eventually get what you want. This strategy never succeeds because there is a lack of boundaries. You may find yourself asking, ‘Why does everyone treat me so badly when all I do is help?

The way to establish boundaries is with agreement frames

I appreciate… and…

I appreciate you asking me to have Christmas at my place again AND I am away until Christmas eve, it would be better if it is somewhere else.

I respect… and…

I respect your need to have help with that situation AND in order for me to help you in the best way possible, I will need to finish what I am doing first.

I agree… and…

I agree having you stay with me for a month could be convenient for you AND I have priorities during that time which means I won’t be available.

b) Waiting for some external event before taking action.

Believe that nothing will ever change because they are not ‘good enough’ or don’t deserve it. When ‘x’ happens, then I’ll ‘y’.

This always fails because you are in a cycle of comparison - ‘It’s alright for them…’. The way out is to focus on what you have achieved, what you do love, and the joyous moments you have experienced.

Language has power - when you start talking about the positive things, the negative aspects of life diminish in importance.

c) You don’t believe you have what it takes to do things on your own. There is a deep fear around your capabilities. People in this situation are often taken advantage of or abused. Emotional pain is easier to tolerate than fear of being alone. This changes with taking stock of your life. Accept information and resources from others that empower you to move forward into a self-empowered life.


1. Your parents learnt life from their parents -

What are the things they do that you swore you would never say or do? And yet - you find yourself repeating them.

What are the beliefs that you have found yourself adopting?

It’s the same for them. they are doing life the way they were taught by their parents.

2. Change what you have made those childhood events mean about you.

As children, we assume that everything our parents say or do has something to do with us. If they are angry, they won't be if we are good. It’s our fault - it’s because I’m not loveable or I’m not good enough. If they are sick, they will get better if we are helpful enough.

As a child, we never look at a parent’s behaviour and think ‘ that’s deep unconscious programming from their childhood - it has nothing to do with me.’

3. Often we know we were loved, but it wasn’t the love we needed.

Maybe you wanted more time from your parents while they focused on providing a good education.


Understand that often, the things we need to forgive in our parents, are things we also do. Of course, they are! We picked them up in childhood.

Understand that is true for them as well, and they were truly doing their best with the resources and capabilities they had at the time.

Look at your predominant relationship behaviour with them. Using the strategies above, how can you move away from being triggered?

Learn from the past about what you don’t want and then focus on what you do want.

Forgiveness is possible when you focus on the positive things you want in your life and let go of your reactivity around their behaviour.

You are responsible for yourself.

Forgiveness is for your best life.


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