Happy Relationships Blog

Forgiving Your Parents: An Excerpt from the Book

Posted on: February 19, 2009


Here is an excerpt from the book “Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage”  


A life-altering conversation

Only about a month later I would have a conversation with my friend Kent that would change my life forever.  I call this day the most important day of my life.  I had an epiphany. 

My plan with buying a house was to find roommates to help with the mortgage payments.  I had done this in Virginia.  I had two roommates which made my mortgage payments quite low.  In Dallas I convinced Kent to move in one of the two spare bedrooms I had.  I had bought a large three-bedroom house with two living areas on the west side of the Dallas/ Ft. Worth Airport. 

Shortly after Kent moved in we stayed up late one night talking about our different upbringings.  We sat up literally for hours in a tête-à-tête; each of us trying to prove who had the more difficult childhood.  The only problem with my argument was that every time Kent mentioned his problem he ended by saying he still loved his father.  And the point of his comment was that his father had to be more difficult than mine because it was written in the article in the pool house.  Plus, except for my dad’s many prejudices he is really a nice guy, which is the best way to describe him.  Today my dad gets along with everybody even my mom.  When he is not mad he is like a big teddy bear. 

Just like my conversations with Laurie I went through the litany of complaints about my bad parents.  I started out by saying my parents did “this”, explaining one of the many faults I had found with my parents, and he would respond by saying that “my dad sent me to military school, and I still love him”.  And I would say, “but my parents did something else”, and he would say his father never showed any love for him, and he still loved his father.  I would bring up something else my parents did that destroyed my childhood, and he would respond with “my father never had the time to attend any of my school events because he was so busy at work, but I still love him”.  This one really hit home because my dad never missed any sporting event I had ever played in.  He loved his sports and seeing his kids involved in them.  Like I said, this went on for hours.  He broke me down.  I ran out of arguments, and for probably the first time in my life I admitted I was wrong. 

The conversation brought me to tears.  Ten years would pass before I would cry again.  What Kent taught me that wonderful night was the pain I had as a child didn’t matter.  They were my parents and they taught me what I needed to know about life to be successful.  They did the best that they could with their limited resources and we turned out to be pretty good kids.  I actually got on the phone with them in tears telling them how much I loved them and thanked them for being such great parents.  I even called up Laurie in tears telling her of my epiphany about my parents. 

This was important to me because it opened up my mind to my future.  I no longer had the anger of my childhood clouding up my conscious and unconscious mind.  I could look at life objectively.  I learned what is probably the most important lesson in life.  I believe that maturity actually begins when you come to this realization.  Mental growth really begins when you let go of the painful memories of the past.  The difference between a truly healthy positive mind and an unhealthy negative mind is the healthy one has forgiven his or her parents for being parents.  There have been no rulebooks on raising kids.  My parents thought the best way was with the belt, but they did it in love. 

The reality is most parents love their children, they just might not be able to show it but you cannot live the rest of your life blaming your parents or anyone else for the problems in life.  If you think about your parents from their perspective you would probably have to understand that your parents love you, regardless of how they treated you, they brought you into this world.  Think about that!!! 

I have looked back at that lesson for many years and have been forever grateful for the lesson Kent taught me.  This lesson brings me to the point of this book.  I have learned the most important thing you can teach yourself to have a healthy mind, which is an absolute necessity for a healthy relationship.  If you can forgive your parents for the way they brought you up then you can get over the past and begin to live for the future. 

Again, it is faultfinding vs. problem solving.  Faultfinding is having those negative experiences of the past and then having you interpret that they may occur in the future, except this time it is not by your parents but by someone else, your partner.  If you want a happy and healthy relationship then it is absolutely essential that you look at your partner for who he or she is, not by who your parents are.  Your partner is obviously not your parent. 

Problem solving is looking at each problem as it occurs objectively, with an open mind, without the painful experiences caused by someone else.  Life is actually quite simple today; we are the ones who make it more difficult.  We can eat.  We have houses over our heads.  We have cars, cellular telephones, all of the trappings in life.  But getting along with our partner is actually easier than not getting along.  We don’t need to make life more difficult than it really is. 

Since that conversation with Kent I have never found fault in anything my parents have ever done to me.  I have actually looked at all of the good things they have taught me.  I am not a bad person, and it is thanks to them.  I like to joke that my goal in life is to simply stay out of jail, though seriously speaking my parents have taught me how to live a morally good life. 

If you can get over your past you can live your future!!!  

by Tim Kellis

www.HappyRelationships.com

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2 Responses to "Forgiving Your Parents: An Excerpt from the Book"

Tim, thanks for sharing this. I love the last line! Living in your past is like walking through a bog.

Hi Tim,
I don’t know you. I’ve been getting friend requests from you over on facebook. I don’t friend strangers. I don’t think we know each other. Do I know you?

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