Letting Go of Childhood Resentments Against Our Parents

Hello! I’m a little later than usual today. I tried to do a post this morning, and the computer kept freezing on me. So, I am back to try it again…

The issue of our letting go of resentments from our childhood, resentments against our parents, is a big topic that was searched for and I’d like to address it. I personally spent 38 years angry and bitter toward my folks because of my upbringing. Much of that time, I drown my sorrows in the bottle.

And all of the time, I blamed them for my woes, my emotional difficulties. I never realized it was my responsibility to straighten out my messed up psyche. Never even occurred to me. It was easier to blame them. Yes, I was a very bitter and angry person, but you’d never know it because I hid it from everyone, even myself.

But when drunk, the rage would raise its ugly head and I said some nasty things to the men in my lives. I used to yell at them that they were worthless, would never amount to anything. I realized I’d said this when I got sober at the age of 48 and I was doing a self-appraisal, looking at my actions and behaviors throughout my life.

Whoa, I was stopped short, and was devastated that I had denigrated their souls so badly! I realized I had repeated what I’d been told by my father nearly every day while growing up. I also realized that when I said that to the men, I didn’t mean it about them… I meant it about me. Oh, I felt horrible! I have since apologized to them for those words.

More to the point, I began to think, after a few days, gee, if I didn’t mean that the men in my life were worthless and actually said it because I felt it about me, was it possible my father didn’t mean it about me when he called me worthless, that he said it about himself? The answer to this was yes, it was possible he was, in his extreme frustration and anger, yelling at me but meaning he was worthless.

The world opened up the second I realized that. It brought me up short, with new information. I had a new angle to consider. I began to recall stories about the abuse he endured while he was growing up, and I began to realize he was doing to me what was done to him, just like I did to the men in my life what was done to me. This was very powerful to acknowledge.

I began to see myself as a wounded person, and looked with compassion. I recognized that my father was a wounded man also, and began to see him with compassion. Over time, as I considered him with compassion, I began to forgive him for the abuse of my childhood. My resentments began to melt away… over time… and I experienced the greatest freedom and peace I have ever known. To this day, I still experience it, and it has been eight years since I was able to forgive.

You, too, can experience that freedom, that peace, from your childhood resentments. First, take a look at yourself and see if you have ever repeated the behavior that was done to you by your parents. If you have, then you may get to compassion for yourself and them faster than if you haven’t. But it is still possible to find compassion, even if you haven’t repeated your parents’ behavior.

Consider them as wounded people at the time that they did what they did to you. Then, see them with compassion, just like you would see any wounded person. Revisit this compassion again and again, and over time, you may be able to forgive them and get past your childhood resentments.

Let us know if this process helps you by leaving a comment.




  1. Hi Glen, I just saw your comment today… sorry for the delay. It is so difficult to forgive, even knowing the abuser is probably acting out the belt-whipping and being knocked around that he experienced in his lifetime. Can you see him as a child, experiencing what he did to you? You know how awful it feels, both the physical and the emotional abuse. Maybe if you can see him as a child dealing with those things, you can have compassion cause you know how lousy it all feels. As far as your mother… my mom did the same thing… ignored the abuse. It’s because she was getting abused herself and if she said something, there’d be ramifications. Could you find compassion for her, a woman who couldn’t acknowledge the abuse cause it would shatter her ideal of her happy family that she dreamed about as a child… like the Cleavers. One might have compassion for someone that is so far out of touch with reality and lacks the guts to face it… If you want to respond further, please email me at carolyncjjones@yahoo.com… Thank you.

  2. Carolyn,
    I came to this posting late [ more than three years later].
    I appreciate what you say about an abusive parent repeating their own abuse, and projecting their own feelings of worthlessness. But it is still so hard for me to forgive my father’s belt-whippings, being knocked about, allowing my older siblings to bully me, and in some ways the even worse public ridiculing and disparaging comments–all while my mother did nothing to intervene, living out her fantasy that we were a warm nurturing family. I comfort myself that I’ve moved beyond them, live across the country, and am a respected professional with a good wife.

  3. Carolyn CJ Jones says:

    Dear Ken G, I am terribly sorry I never responded to your response to my post. I just am seeing it today. It’s interesting, but I am realizing that there IS more to the answer than what I wrote about. The issue is more expansive, as you say. Frankly, it is beyond my ability to fully understand it at this time. I do know that I repeatedly revisit this issue of self-worth in my life as it keeps raiding its head. There are deep beliefs that I have not yet uncovered and it is like peeling the non-ending onion. :). Interestingly, I got a CD course on self esteem and worth so I can understand more how to address this with my audiences and clients. I am sure I will be learning more of what I need to learn. :). Thanks again for your comment.


  4. Carolyn CJ Jones says:

    Hi wow, I just saw your response to my post about seeing our parents as wounded beings and it brought tears of joy and relief to my eyes. You see, I write and share what I’ve learned through my difficulties so I can help another through their difficulties. You responding the way you did made it clear that I did that with you, so thank you so much for sharing. It makes my heart swell with love for you.

    If I may, just a word of caution… You say you will never yell at your son again because of your upbringing and I know you are sincere in that belief and intent. Still, you are human and with wounds of your own and some day you may yell at him again. When that happens, don’t beat yourself up over it. Know you’re a human being with your frailties. As a suggestion, what about this? If that occurs again and you recognize it was your wounds that led you to yell at him, why don’t you explain to him what was going on? Explain that your wound is really what made you yell, not him. If he’s too small to understand, then tell him this when you think he’s old enough to understand.

    I hope you don’t mind that I offered some input you didn’t ask for. I just felt guided to say this. Take care and many blessings.

  5. Thank you so much for this post as it opened up new doors for me to why I hate my father to this day because of the abuse I suffered from him. I came to realised him being wounded by his own parents perhaps made him this heartless person he is. And it shames me to say I sometimes feel the same towards my own son screaming and the discipline. Oh poor child I will never repeat his mistakes I will from now on not scream at my child because of my past. Thank you for this amazing post it really opened my eyes!

  6. Carolyn, The answer must be more expansive than this. This self-loathing and that of your father can only be addressed in an enduring way when you have the broader answer of how to create and sustain love in your life. Therapists often become too narrow in their considerations and forget that something recurs because bigger issues within the context of life are triggering them. It is important to understand when these themes are recurring. Is it when you have doubts about your capacity to inspire love from others? Is it when you feel that you have been vulnerable in a relationship and it was not reciprocated, causing you to doubt yourself as valued? These are the issues around self-worth that are connected to when your father was abusive. These themes will recur when the same context for doubt about your worth recurs. It is not just about your father’s abuse, but what that represented in your life about yourself as a person of value. And that becomes a recurrent theme that must be repeatedly addressed throughout one’s life, but a battle that you have some of the tools to address (as described in your letter.) Good work.

  7. lineage casio says:


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