Navigating Mother’s Day and Father’s Day When You Don’t Have A Good Relationship With Your Parents: Part 1
As a therapist, I understand Mother's Day and Father's Day can be challenging. Most of my clients do not have close relationships with their parents, even though they wish otherwise. Below are some of the most common feelings my clients experience around Mother's and Father's Day. It's essential to acknowledge the pain that may arise on these days and to take steps to care for oneself.
Feeling anger about the state of your relationship with your parents.
As Mother's and Father's Day near, images everywhere show loving families. For my clients, these environmental cues bring up painful memories from their childhoods and unresolved issues. They state it feels like everyone has a close relationship with their parents but them. While their social media feeds fill with people praising their parents, my clients often struggle for hours just to pick out a card for theirs. They can't relate to the messages in these cards or posts. My clients are angry about their upbringing, and their relationships with their parents remain tense. My clients are often uncomfortable with the level of anger they feel toward their parents, but this feeling is entirely justified. Feeling this anger is an essential step toward validation and healing.
Feeling guilty about not meeting family expectations.
Most of my clients grew up with parents who were emotionally neglectful and immature. And despite my clients' efforts to improve the relationship, their parents have yet to repair it. Sometimes parents even remain dismissive and expect elaborate celebrations on Mother's and Fathers's Day. During these times, my clients feel conflicted. They don't know how to respect their needs and communicate their limits to their families. As a result, they often feel shame and give in to parental obligations. Or they maintain their boundaries and feel guilty as a result. Here, feeling shame and guilt are not justified. Even though these are strong feelings, they are misfiring due to a history of emotional neglect. You aren't doing anything wrong by respecting your needs, and it's harmful to your parents to shame you for this.
Feeling relief when you don't have to see your parents.
Unlike others who long to celebrate with their parents on Mother's and Father's Day, my clients struggle to be around their parents at all. It pains them to see how things are not changing. My clients often find spending time with their parents emotionally exhausting. However, when they're not around them, they can be themselves. The relief of not having to spend time with their parents on Mother's and Father's Day usually surprises my clients. This feeling of relief is real and makes sense. It's a result of my clients keeping themselves safe from experiencing further emotional harm.
Feeling sad about the state of your relationship with your parents.
My clients long for reconciliation with their parents, but most still feel the pain from their upbringing. It isn't easy to see themselves changing and their parents remaining the same. Mother's and Father's Day remind my clients of this dynamic. My clients don't share the experiences of their friends where they feel known by their parents. They also can't point to many moments when their parents were there for them. These kinds of reminders make my clients feel alone and unloved. They experience grief over the loss of a potential relationship with their parents.
As Mother's Day and Father's Day near, it appears everyone has a loving relationship with their parents. But, it's essential to realize that not everyone has this experience. Many people, like my clients, were raised in emotionally unhealthy ways and still struggle with the consequences, which often complicates Mother's and Father's Day for them. As a result, a range of feelings is common on these days. However, acknowledging and validating the challenges can create a space for healing and self-care.
Begin Therapy in Mahomet, IL
If you would like to learn more about how you can care for yourself on Mother's and Father's Day, check out my next blog. And if you would like to explore your feelings regarding your relationship with your parents, get in contact with Live Lekko today. To start working with a therapist in Illinois just follow these simple steps.
- Take the step by calling or texting 217-402-7817
- Schedule your first appointment at my Illinois-based practice
- Start acknowledging your emotions in a more healthy way!
Other Therapy Services I Offer in Illinois
I know that you may experience issues related to more than one mental health concern. This is why I offer several additional services to provide you with guidance and support. Other services include counseling for women and grief and loss counseling. I also offer counseling for people-pleasing and therapy for childhood emotional neglect. Whether you are in Peoria, Springfield, Mahomet, or somewhere in between in Illinois I can help with teletherapy. I look forward to hearing how I can help you. Please visit my blog to learn more!