Forgiveness is the Start of Healing Family

For as long as my patient Claire can remember, she and her mother were locked in a perpetual fight.

The truth is, almost every patient I work with has trouble in her families.

Having imperfect relationships with family members is normal.

It becomes a problem is when the grudges you hold and the pain you can’t release starts affecting your health.

Let me explain. I strongly believe that the diseases we suffer from are reflections of our inner worlds.

So many of us carry around old thought patterns. We cling to worn-out mindsets and believe they are reality. We hold on to pain and sadness about wasted possibilities and lost relationships.

A crucial part of every healing journey includes healing your relationships.

When my patient Claire and I began working together, I suggested she look into the “why” of her complicated relationship with her mother.

I gave her an exercise that helped her loosen the grip on her need to be right and fight all the time.

We dug a little deeper and discovered that the cause of Claire’s anger began with the relationship her mother had with her own mother, Claire’s grandmother.

Claire’s grandmother was a cold, controlled person, and she raised her daughter (Claire’s mother) with very little love and support.

Claire discovered that her grandmother wasn’t cold on purpose. She was simply empty inside after losing her first husband in World War II at age 18.

Later, she remarried and had two children, one of which was Claire’s mum.

Claire’s grandma revealed that she had struggled with deep depression for most of her life, and that’s why she constantly pushed her children away. She even admitted that she feared at one point that she might harm her own children.

Can you imagine what those women went trough? After Claire learned the story of her family’s history, she understood the reasons behind their behaviors and she was finally able to forgive.

I cannot tell you how often my patients—well into their 40s, 50s and 60s—still operate on parent-pilot.

They know something feels off, but they are too close to the pain to pinpoint it.

As kids we unconsciously feel it’s our job to help our parents carry their burdens. We believe we are the cause of their frustrations, and that it’s our job to alleviate their hardships.

When we grow into adults, we continue to carry the same feelings of guilt and responsibility with us. We unconsciously structure future relationship to mimic the relationships we had with our parents because that’s what feels “normal” or “how it’s supposed to be.”

More often than not, the patterns of behavior are unhealthy and lead to unhappiness, illness or both.

When you are working to rid your body of disease, there comes a time when you have to untangle your past relationships.

And the fastest track to healing starts with forgiveness.

Deep forgiveness starts in your heart and moves through your body; it’s a full body experience.

Afterward, you will feel as if you have lost a ton of dead weight.

Forgiveness isn’t easy; it takes time and work to truly let go and release the anger and pain.

Usually this topic is big around the holidays. But I believe it should be front and center all year long.

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