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  • Author Stephanie Hart

A Tale of Failed Motherhood: How to Forgive an Unloving Mother

As an author, my work often explores mother-daughter relationships and the chapter Good Mother Bad Mother, available in the ‘Excerpts’ section, also dives into the same themes. Below, I’m sharing some of the advice and insights I’ve found over the years about forgiving your unloving mother:

Understanding Forgiveness

Feeling unloved or abandoned by your mother can create a lasting pain that may not always heal with time. Indeed, the kind of relationship a girl has with her mother affects her well into adulthood. There are different emotions at play—such as anger, hurt, betrayal, bitterness, and resentment—and this can complicate things further.

Adult women can sometimes feel pressured to forgive their mothers. This pressure may come from their family, from society, or a personal need to present themselves as the bigger person.

At its core, choosing to forgive is a very personal decision. It doesn’t always mean the same thing to everyone, and it doesn’t have to. To some women, forgiving their mother opens up the possibility of reconciliation and building some kind of relationship. To others, it’s simply an indication of moving on with their lives and letting go of the emotional baggage they’ve been carrying.

Forgiveness as a Process

It’s important to look at forgiveness not as a one-time action, but as an ongoing process.

Forgiving your mother first requires you to acknowledge the pain that she caused you. If you’ve been living with denial, this alone can be extremely painful.

Second, only you can decide what forgiving your mother means to you. You may or may not choose to reconcile with her. You may prefer to simply free yourself of her influence. As I mentioned above, no one else can make this decision for you.

Third, you may find that you’ll need to forgive her again and again for different things. You may forgive her for not being affectionate, only to realize that you’re still angry at her for not teaching you to look after yourself. This is normal, and it’s something you should anticipate. Repressed memories and bad experiences may come up unexpectedly, and you’ll need to process them and get them out of your system.

Part of forgiveness is learning to manage your emotions about the person you’re forgiving.

Is Forgiveness Effective?

Whether or not forgiving your mother will be beneficial for you depends on your expectations. Ironically, it’s less likely to be effective if you’re solely focused on it. But if you can connect it to your own journey of healing and finding peace, you’ll find that it’s much more beneficial.

Mirror Mirror, my Collection of Memoirs and Stories, is now available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. You can share your feedback about my short stories, essays, and books with me via email or message.

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