When You’ve Outgrown Your Parents

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To my friend, they talk about the tragedy when a child must bury a parent but what is said when a child outgrows a parent? How are you supposed to navigate the guilt and disappointment when faced with that?

If there is one thing certain in life, it is that we are bound to make plenty of mistakes. Growing up does not grant immunity nor does becoming a parent. In fact, most of child rearing is a series of “trial and error” decisions so acknowledging one’s mistakes becomes more crucial in parenthood.

But sometimes parents refuse to step up. They stop being the parent you wished you had, someone you could respect and count on. Sometimes, you are faced with the difficult reality that you are the more mature person now.

Where do you go from there?

Never feel as though you are responsible for making your parents feel better.

You should never be left feeling responsible for causing and fixing a problem that you did not create. This is regardless of how you may have behaved or reacted in a situation. you are not to blame for someone else’s wrongs. A real apology will not come with sad-eyes begging for pity and finger pointing. They were supposed to be the adults. They were supposed to know better.

Remember that they are not the victim.

You are not responsible for their (or anyone else’s) happiness or peace of mind anymore than you are responsible for the sun rising and setting each day. You cannot change how they feel or how they behave or how it sits with them. Don’t strain your back trying to unload the burden of guilt from their back. You can only offer forgiveness while they must accept grace. They must be willing to forgive themselves if they are ever to move forward.

Recognize your attachment to your parents.

The only way to overcome pain is to understand the source of it. While there is nothing you did wrong by getting sucked back into your parents’ painful mind games, learn from the experience. Your parents know how to push your buttons because they were the ones that installed them to begin with. It is an unfair advantage to manipulate someone like this but it happens. Introspection and acknowledgement of your weak spots can help you grow resilient to it.

Keep moving forward.

If your parents continue to operate in this vicious cycle, know that all you can do is accept it. Part of maturity is realizing that you can not save them from themselves. This doesn’t mean that you don’t love them or wish them the best. You are on a journey and perhaps you have reached a point that they can not go forward with you. And that is okay. You don’t need to feel the pressure to shrink in their presence.

I want to tell you that things will work out in the end but there is never a guarantee. Sometimes relationships just don’t work out. But I can tell you that breaks heal back stronger and this says so much about your level of maturation.

You are a strong person for rising up.

2 Comments on “When You’ve Outgrown Your Parents

    • I’m so sorry you had to deal with that. I’ve seen first hand how ugly it can get. It shows so much maturity when you can see that in ourself and go your own. I wish you well on your journey

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