How forgiving your parents helps you heal from a painful childhood

Many adults struggle to move on from their childhood pain and forgive their parents.

Whether it's abuse, lack of affection, extreme pressure, divorce, estrangement or oppression - it can be hard to let go.

Harbored hatred towards a parent can affect other relationships in your adult life, advises counselling psychologist Jeremy Bayer.

For your own sake, Bayer says it is important to forgive your parents in order to move on with your life.

Forgiveness is important, for yourself... Take responsibility for your own life and make of it what you want.

Jeremy Bayer, counselling psychologist

He says the act of forgiveness does not mean that you have condone your parents' behaviour or attitudes.

According to Bayer, the inability for people to forgive their parents can have long-term psycho-social and physical consequences.

It can eat away at you. Trauma does't just leave, it has to be dealt with.

Jeremy Bayer, counselling psychologist

Some listeners called in to share their experiences of having a difficult childhood:

I'm now 59... For the first 15 years of my life my father and mother abused me. From rape to molestation to emotional abuse, to being tied up and beaten, you name it. I was abused in the most inhumane way possible. It is vital to forgive and to release. It was the most liberating feeling. It opened possibilities for myself to heal.

Carol, caller

My father was very abusive. He sometime beat us to the pulp to the point that we couldn't go to school... He one night put a gun to my head...I went with a repentative heart and asked for forgiveness then told him I forgive him.. But we don't have a relationship. I needed to forgive him and myself and move on.

Peter, caller

Bayer fielded calls and spoke about the role of parenting, its impact on children and families and gave practical tips on how to move forward.

Take a listen to the moving conversation:

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