complicated relationship! a navigating through guide

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By: Sophie Parienti
Sophie Parienti's journey into the world of art, media, and communication began with her foundational education in France. After earning her Bachelor of Arts in Art History from the prestigious ...
Edited date: January 30, 2023Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

Strategies for coping and healing in a complicated relationship with a parent

The bond we share with our parents may be one of the most complex and convoluted we’ll ever experience regarding relationship dynamics. Our relationship with our parents has strong ties to our emotional and psychological growth and can potentially have a significant bearing on the people we become. 

Our parents are the first important people in our lives, and for many of us, their influence on who we are and how we make sense of the world around us is profound.

At the same time, our relationship with our parents can also be a source of conflict and sorrow as we learn to navigate the complexities of family dynamics. Sometimes we pick up unconscious behavior patterns from our parents, especially when we are children, because we tend to believe everything they tell us, whether it’s about ourselves, our family, or the world.

I will discuss below how to manage and heal the issues that come with a problematic relationship with our parents and why these relationships may be so tricky to navigate. I will also explore some solutions for overcoming these challenges. 

Ultimately, the objective is to find out how to move forward in a healthy and positive way. It’s about recognizing that our parents are an essential component of our lives and that we can choose to make the most of this relationship, even though it may appear difficult at the time. 

Understanding the difficulties of having a complicated relationship with our parents

Our parents significantly impact how we construct our identities, and they have a similar effect on developing our sense of self and perspective of the world. 

Whether our parents caused us harm or not, and whether they have been the figures of support that we wanted them to be, they will have certainly impacted the people we are today. 

Understanding the difficulties we are going through is one of the first steps to transforming our troubled relationship with our parents. 

Acknowledging that our parents are human beings with their flaws and limits and that they may have made mistakes in their parenting due to their own childhood experiences can be an important part of this process.

We can adjust our perception of the situation once we realize that our parents may have unresolved issues or trauma. We can improve our relationship with them when we become fully aware that this trauma may have impaired their capacity to be present and helpful in our lives. 

Strategies for coping with and mending a strained connection with our parents

As soon as we have a heightened awareness of the issues in our relationship with our parents, we can begin to establish techniques for coping with and healing from them. 

Follow the tips below to strengthen your bond with your parents and establish new guidelines for self-love.

Setting goals

Setting clear objectives that you would like to meet in your relationship with your parents can help you make steady progress toward bettering the relationship dynamic over time. It may involve establishing boundaries, finding more effective communication methods, or assisting one another in times of need.

Taking care of yourself

When dealing with a challenging connection with our parents, one of the most important things we can do is to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves. 

This might look like establishing boundaries, seeking support from friends or a community, and discovering healthy ways to manage our emotions and stress. 

Seek the advice of a mental health expert if the difficulties you’re experiencing with your parents are giving you a substantial amount of worry. Finding healthy ways to manage your emotions and stress, such as exercise, meditation, or journaling, can be beneficial.

Working through these difficulties and processing them in a secure and encouraging environment, perhaps with a therapist or counselor, can be a constructive way to approach your healing.

Learning to forgive

Forgiveness is vital for mending wounds and moving on with life after a traumatic relationship. It is not about accepting or condoning the actions or behaviors of your parents; instead, it is about letting go of the bitterness and hatred that you might be harboring toward them, which does not enable you to feel free to love them as they are.

Learning to forgive can be a powerful way to liberate yourself from negative emotions and feelings, such as anger, resentment, and bitterness. When you forgive someone, you are letting go of the past and releasing yourself from negative emotions. It can help you to move forward and focus on the present and future rather than dwelling on the past.

Forgiveness is not the same as forgetting or condoning the actions of the parent who hurt you. It is a process that involves acknowledging the hurt and then making a choice to let go of the anger and resentment. It is also not necessary to have contact with this parent; forgiveness can happen even if the person is no more or you do not have any contact with them.

To forgive, you can try the following:

– Reflect on your feelings and the situation that caused them. Acknowledge the hurt and pain you have experienced.

– Practice empathy: try understanding the perspective of your parent. It can help you see that they may have been acting out of pain and hurt.

– Let go of the need to be right or to get revenge.

– Practice self-compassion and self-care.

– Consider seeking therapy or counseling to process your feelings and work through forgiveness.

Keep in mind that forgiveness is a process, and it may take time. It is essential to be patient and kind to yourself as you work through the process.

Speaking out

strategies coping healing difficult relationship parent

One of the most effective ways to resolve the difficulties in our relationship with our parents is to talk freely and honestly with them. 

If you do this, you may address several issues in your relationship. It could include being open about your emotions and worries and figuring out ways to better listen to and comprehend one another’s points of view.

However, for that, you need to be able to communicate your emotions and concerns in a way that won’t be threatening to your parent.

Using NVC methodology

When addressing your issues toward a parent, communicating in a way that is assertive yet non-confrontational is crucial to the message being received. It means expressing your feelings and concerns clearly and directly while being respectful and empathetic toward your parent’s perspectives.

Avoid using blame or criticism, as this may cause your parent to become defensive and less likely to listen to what you have to say. Instead, focus on how their behavior affects you and how you would like things to change. 

The Nonviolent Communication (NVC) methodology, also known as Compassionate communication, was developed by American psychologist Marshall Rosenberg. His approach is based on the idea that all human beings have the capacity for compassion and that nonviolent communication is a way to express our needs and feelings in a way that is likely to be heard and understood by others. 

Learning and integrating this NVC method into your communication style toward a parent can drastically improve the quality of exchange between you, even if your parent never knows it.

Setting clear boundaries

Setting boundaries in our relationships and giving priority to our requirements is not an act of selfishness. Setting boundaries in our relationships means communicating what we are comfortable and uncomfortable with, then limiting what we will and will not tolerate. Giving priority to our needs ensures that they will be considered and met, and it will help us stop putting our parent’s needs before our own. 

These actions are not selfish but a healthy and necessary part of any relationship. They help ensure that all parties feel respected, valued, and heard, ultimately leading to a more fulfilling and satisfying relationship. 

Remember that setting boundaries and prioritizing our requirements is not about being self-centered or neglectful of others but rather about creating a balance that allows mutual respect and well-being.

Here are a few tips for constructively setting your boundaries:

-Identify what boundaries you need: Take some time to think about what specific boundaries you need in your relationship with your parents. It could include setting limits on how often you communicate, what topics you will discuss, and how you expect to be treated.

-Communicate your boundaries clearly: Once you have identified them, you must communicate them to your parents. Be direct and assertive, but also be willing to listen to their perspective.

-Be consistent: Once you have set your boundaries, it’s essential to stick to them. Consistency is vital when enforcing limits, and it will help your parents understand that you are serious about the changes you want to make.

-Be prepared for resistance: It’s possible that your parents may not be supportive of your boundaries at first. Be prepared for resistance and be willing to compromise if necessary.

-Give it time: Change takes time, and setting boundaries with your parents may be gradual. Be patient, and don’t get discouraged if things don’t change overnight.

-Seek professional help: If you find it hard to set boundaries or communicate with your parents, consider using a therapist or counselor. They can provide guidance and support in helping you navigate these difficult conversations and relationships.

So set clear boundaries and be prepared to enforce them if necessary. Yet, keep in mind that change takes time, patience, and a trial-and-error process. 

Seeking some support

Another tactic to consider is asking for assistance from other people, whether in therapy, support groups, or the advice of dependable friends and other family members. It is essential to seek out and establish supportive relationships that can lend an understanding ear and an attentive presence during challenging times. 

When we battle with the issues that come along with having a challenging connection with our parents, it can be good to have a supportive network of individuals to turn to for support. 

Be patient

Being patient and taking one day at a time is ultimately the most effective strategy for figuring out how to move forward when faced with a problematic relationship with a parent. With enough time and effort, it is possible to overcome the hurdles of having a poor connection with our parents and find a way forward that is healthy and constructive for all parties involved. It may not be an easy task, but it is achievable. 

Take it on as a life’s journey.

It is possible to find a way ahead and establish a healthier, more positive relationship with our parents, even though navigating a complicated relationship with our parents can be a journey that is challenging and emotional at times. 

Recognizing that the connection with our parents is a journey and that there will be highs and lows along the route is vital to finding a way forward can be reassuring. Prepare yourself for ups and downs along the road to a better relationship with them, and know that even though there might be some relapses, you can truly become more connected.

Finally

We should cultivate gratitude and concentrate on the positive parts of our relationship with our parents, regardless of how trivial those things may appear. It has the potential to assist us in shifting our viewpoint and concentrating on the positive aspects of our lives. 

We may build a more satisfying and supportive relationship for both of us if we first gain an awareness of the issues we are currently experiencing, devise methods for overcoming and recovering from these challenges and seek out assistance and advice along the way. It is essential to remember that our parents are human beings, just like the rest of us, and they have their own set of faults and limits. 

Forgiveness and honest communication are two things that can help us figure out how to move forward. We may find a way to do this positively and make the most of this significant relationship in our lives if we have patience, understanding, and a willingness to improve our connection.