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How to Forgive Abusive Parents?

"Forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us."1

MT writes, "I have a problem which I would appreciate your help with because I don't know what to do anymore. People tell me that I'm too nice because I let people push me around a lot. But my biggest issue is that I can't forgive my parents. I have this hatred toward them that I can't explain. I repeatedly try to make peace with them but they never want to help me back. My relationship with them is very difficult. My main concern is how can I get rid of this sour feeling I have for them?"

When we have been hurt—especially by parents—it can be very difficult to forgive them. However, if we don't forgive them, we end up hurting ourselves even more because our inner resentment eats away at us physically, emotionally and spiritually. As someone has said, "Failing to forgive is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die."

So how can you forgive your parents? First, it is impossible to forgive anyone until we first resolve our hurt and our anger. Unresolved, they block forgiveness. However, once they are resolved, the door is open for forgiveness, which becomes a choice.

Second, I would strongly advise that you seek professional counseling to help you resolve your hurt and anger so you will be able to forgive your parents.

Third, forgiving them doesn't mean that you allow them to continue to hurt you, so you need to exercise tough love and establish healthy boundaries to protect yourself. Let them know, lovingly but firmly, that if they continue to treat you in a hurtful manner, you will need to distance yourself from them.

Fourth, realize, too, that people who are being "too nice" aren't really being nice. They are being weak because they are afraid to stand up for themselves. So you need to work on this problem too so that you will be able to establish healthy boundaries. You will probably need counseling to help you in this area too. You can't change your parents, but with God's help and the help of capable counseling you can change you, and in so doing this will change your life.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to resolve any negative emotions that may in any way be affecting my relationships as well as my physical and spiritual health. Help me to resolve every impaired relationship and freely forgive all who have ever hurt me as You so freely forgive me when I ask for it. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."

For additional help read the following articles:

"Taming Your Anger" at:
"Boundaries" at:
"Developing a Healthy Self-Image" at:
"Forgiveness: The Power That Heals" at:

1. Matthew 6:12 (TLB).


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.