It can seem like we’re the only one who had a parent or parents who were unable to parent us adequately.  Even more so if there was abuse or neglect or dysfunction involved.  Unfortunately this is not an unusual occurrence and so there are large numbers of us trying to heal wounds left from childhoods that were less than stellar at a minimum.

Oddly, common wisdom seems to find two different directions that we should head to find healing.  One is to make our pain and woundedness our problem.  We should get over it, move past it, let time deal with it, shrug it off and move on.  I haven’t found this to work well and, in fact, it tends to exacerbate the problem by making us complicit in the wounding process.  We continue to wound ourselves by replicating the parenting we received and continuing to invalidate our truth, keep ourselves silenced, and never allowing us to voice the pain.  The other direction we’re encouraged to go is to, in some form, try to resolve the emotional disconnection with our parent(s), forcing them or a simulation of them to act differently than they have in the past.  This also rarely works as, being unhealed and in a wounded state we come at them from a place of need and anguish, despair and anger, which gets us mostly nowhere, changes nothing, and doesn’t heal.

If we change our focus, look at what we is truly the issue, the fact that we need to be acknowledged and loved and appreciated by a parental figure, then we can see more clearly what will be healing to us and help us move from wounded to whole.  Our parents of origin are not the only beings in the world that can provide us with these things.  There are many people in our lives and in the world around us that can be “good” mommies or daddies for us in healthy ways.  Often times we have friends, usually older, who are willing to provide us the shoulder to lean on, the advice and support, the validation and unconditional love that a parent should have provided, all with good boundaries.  Counselors, clergy, co-workers, parents of friends, all can provide us with good role models for parenting allowing us to reprogram ourselves, to replace the dysfunctional with the functional and help us open up to healthy relationships that heal.

We don’t need to force our parents to be something they’re not, what we need is to fill the parental void in our lives.  It’s never too late and we’re never too old to need a nice parent once in a while.