Why “Forgive & Forget” Doesn’t Work in Mother/Daughter RelationshipsMay 01, 2023
I hope you all had a great week last week. I am exhausted but also tremendously grateful for the amazing vacation I just went on with my family. Spending 6 days in Florida and visiting all the Walt Disney World parks, staying in their resort accommodations, and experiencing the beauty of Disney Magic with those I love; it was all so overwhelming and beautiful. This vacation was something I've had on my bucket list for a long while, and have been talking about taking this vacation since my kids were little. I've learned so much about what it takes to plan and execute a vacation like this, and I definitely have some recommendations, advice, etc., that I'm happy to share if you are considering taking this vacation as well? Feel free to ask me anything and I will be in happy to share my thoughts.
This week I wanted to talk about the stigma behind “forgive & forget” and why I truly disagree with this idea when it comes to mother/daughter relationships, healing from mother/father wounds, and really being able to move on in a healthy manner. Initially, many of us were taught that we simply must “forgive & forget” because “ We Are Family”. Some of the hurts, pains, or traumas that you are healing from could have been caused by those closest to you: parent, sibling, extended family member, closest friend; And may find it difficult to truly move past this emotional injury that you are carrying in your body. You may have even been told that you should just let it go, move on? And while that is easier said than done, I want to explain why I believe this isn't an unrealistic expectation of a daughter who is healing from a mother wound.
- It invalidates the inner-child experience
Forcing yourself to”forgive & forget” tends to invalidate the experience of the inner-child, causing you to almost gaslight yourself into letting something go in order for the other person to feel comfortable. When you invalidate the inner-child's experience, we basically tell that inner child that her feelings, emotions, and pain is less important than the discomfort of the person who caused it. As we mature over time, we must challenge this belief and become comfortable with holding others accountable for their actions. It's not unkind, or unloving to express how you've been hurt. it is also not accusatory. You're simply honoring the fact that you were hurt, and allowing the experience of your inner-child to be felt, validated, and witnessed by you.
- It dishonors your own timing/process
We all have a cycle, or a process for moving through difficult emotions. some of us need more time than others. some of us need to talk things through with a friend, a therapist, a coach; as a means to dissecting what happened to you and what you need in order to move on in a healthy way. Simply forcing yourself to “ forgive & forget”, dishonors your own process as you are expected to move on from the issue without allowing yourself to fully process your emotions, or give yourself enough time to create safety in your body as you deal with those difficult emotions or memories. This is a form of self-betrayal, as you are expected to move, act, and behave as of you’re “over it” when you are not.
- It leads to resentment and pent up anger
When you feel forced to pretend that you are okay, and that you are over it, the level of self-abandment and self betrayal that it takes to do that can poison the relationship you have with yourself and lead to resentment due to pent up anger. your natural desire is for your emotions to be witnessed, and for someone to be held accountable for how they've hurt you. therefore, when you have to pretend that everything is okay, the resentment may come through in your tone of voice, your reactions, and can even lead to health issues due to pent-up anger in the body and mind (i.e. poor sleep cycles, headaches, body aches, struggles to connect, desire to numb away, emotional outbursts, fear-based reactions, etc).
As I explain these three key elements above, I hope this helps you understand why I don't feel that “forgive & forget” genuinely works in a mother/daughter relationships. The mother wound is a relational wound, that impacts our relationship with ourselves, therefore the relevance of leaning into the pain, being vulnerable, self-trusting, and honoring your needs and processes for moving forward; are of optimal importance! We simply must feel, express, and allow time and space to process through an emotional injury caused by a mother or parent. being that our mother was or is one of the most important relationships in our lifetimes, the cuts are deep and the wounds require medicine in all forms.
So if you feel badly for not being able to “forgive & forget” when it comes to your childhood memories, the difficult dynamics you have with mom, or for having a different experience than that of your siblings (ex. “Why are you so hard on mom?”); please know you are not wrong or bad for needing more time to process. You are not wrong or bad for needing to be heard. It is important to be held, understood, and connected to yourself and your emotions. your mother may not be able to give you that, but this energy is available to you through your healing path.
To receive support and guidance and reconnecting with yourself so that you can move forward in a healthy and loving way, schedule a session with me to discuss how we can work together. the link to my calendar is here for you: https://calendly.com/michellegomezcoaching/15-min-soul-connection-call
In the video attached here, I share a personal story on how this pattern showed up in my own experience.
Thank you for being a member of our online community and sharing in your own stories with me. I appreciate you so much!