What’s the best gift to give your mom on Mother’s Day – or any day of the year? Forgiveness. Learning how to forgive your mother for hurting you will change your relationship with her. Even better, forgiveness will free your heart and soul from the burden of anger, bitterness, and guilt.
“Since I was young I’ve never been good enough for my mom,” says Sandra on What to Do When Nothing is Good Enough for Your Mother. “How I feel or what I wanted was never important. My mom always calls me selfish and tries to control everything. I’m in my late twenties with no family of my own, still living under my mother’s roof and trying to break free. I’m stressed and feel drained all the time. I don’t know how to forgive my mother for hurting me. Mother’s Day makes everything worse.”
Forgiving your mother for hurting you — whether she was intentionally cruel, thoughtless, or unable to tell you why she did what she did — will help you move forward in your life. Your mom may have hurt your feelings and perhaps even ruined your childhood, but she doesn’t have to control your future.
How do you feel about Mother’s Day? It’s fast approaching, but not everyone can celebrate their moms the way the television commercials and magazine advertisements suggest. I know I can’t say “Happy Mother’s Day!” to my mom the way many daughters do.
And the truth is that it’s not the Mother’s Day show, gifts and cards that count…it’s your heart.
3 Steps to Forgiving Your Mother
In 7 Tips for Dealing With Controlling Parents, I talk about my mom. She struggled with schizophrenia my whole life, and I grew up moving in and out of foster homes. It wasn’t my mother’s fault that I had a terrible childhood. My mom didn’t set out to hurt me or ruin the first half of my life.
Before I could learn how to forgive my mother for hurting me, I had to accept two things:
- My mom did the best she could;
- My childhood is over, and I needed to choose to move forward.
You, too, need to find ways to forgive your mom for hurting you. My tips will help you move forward in your life, Mother’s Day or not.
1. Accept that your mother did the best she could
Your mom may not have given you the love or support you needed growing up, but she did the best she could. Your mother can only give you what she has in her own mind, heart, and spirit. Is she is empty, heartless, cruel or controlling? Your mom is struggling with a heart condition. Maybe she’s miserable, bitter, lonely or even mentally ill, like my own mother. Maybe her heart isn’t right with God, and it’s affecting her relationships.
I don’t know why your mom hurt you, or how long you’ve been struggling with pain and resentment.
But I do believe your mother’s actions represent what’s in her heart. If your mom is thoughtless or cruel, she has a reason. This doesn’t mean it’s okay that she did what she did, or even that you have to forgive your mother for hurting you! But, you will find yourself softening and healing if you accept that your mom can only give you what she has.
2. Allow your mom to be herself
You can’t change your mother. Look at how hard it is to change yourself! Growth and healing have to come from within, from God’s strength, love and grace. We can’t force our moms to be different any more than we can force ourselves to change. We can’t change our mothers any more than we can change the color of the leaves on the trees.
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Accept your mother’s actions, and allow her to be who she is. This is how you’ll forgive your mom for hurting you. Give her space to parent you the way she thinks best. This is a Mother’s Day gift that will free your heart and soul from the burden of pain and guilt. Accepting your mom will help with forgiving her. Making space for her personality, choices and behaviors will soften your heart and help you find peace in your relationship with your mother.
3. Get help healing the hurt your mom caused
Accepting your mother for who she is is hard. Allowing your mother to parent you the way she wants is painful. But, forgiving your mom for hurting you is possible! Forgiveness softens our hearts and heals our souls. Forgiveness brings healing and growth, life and light.
Don’t hold on to the pain of the past. You can be free from destructive emotions and toxic relationships, and you can move forward in light, hope and freedom. In order to learn how to forgive your mother for hurting you, you need to heal the wounds.
I found healing by talking to a counselor. I had to talk about my childhood, which was really hard. It still hurts to think about the ways my mom hurt me, and I’m 48 years old! Our childhood wounds never go away — especially if they’re caused by our mothers. We want our moms to love us, support us, take care of us and be there for us…but our mothers can’t be who we want them to be.
Our moms can only be who they are. If we can accept our mothers for who they are, then we can forgive them for hurting us. This doesn’t just make Mother’s Day easier to handle, it changes our lives, our relationships, and our future.
If you’re feel compelled to give your mom a gift for Mother’s Day or her birthday, you’ll find 30 Gifts to Surprise and Delight Your Older Parents or Grandparents helpful.
Help Forgiving Your Mom for Hurting You
In Difficult Mothers, Adult Daughters- A Guide For Separation, Liberation & Inspiration, Karen C.L. Anderson says, “The best news on the planet is that your mother doesn’t have to change in order for you to be happy.”
In fact, your mom doesn’t have to change in order for you to be free, peaceful, contented, and joyful.
In this book you’ll learn:
- Why mothers and daughters tend to have difficult relationships.
- How to heal and transform your mother “wounds” from sources of pain into sources of creativity and wisdom
- How to tell your stories in a way that empowers you, rather than making you powerless.
- How to handle the uncomfortable emotions that seem inevitable when it comes to your relationship with your mother.
- How to forgive your mom for hurting you – and how to create healthy boundaries.
- How to “re-mother” yourself and acknowledge, honor, and meet your own preferences and needs.
What do you think about my tips for forgiving your mom for hurting you?
Your thoughts – big and little – are welcome below! I read every comment, but don’t worry: I won’t give advice or tell you what to do. It’s your turn to talk.
If your mom is no longer with us, read Healing Guilty Feelings When Your Mom Dies.
May you find healing and forgiveness in your relationship with your mom – whether or not it’s Mother’s Day. May God bless you with strength and wisdom, courage and hope. I pray for your relationship with your mother, that you find ways to forgive your mom and accept her for who she is. I pray for a softening of hearts, for loving relationships, and for the healing of wounds. May you find peace, healing and joy.
Laurie's "She Blossoms" Books
Growing Forward When You Can't Go Back offers hope, encouragement, and strength for women walking through loss. My Blossom Tips are fresh and practical - they stem from my own experiences with a schizophrenic mother, foster homes, a devastating family estrangement, and infertility.
How to Let Go of Someone You Love: Powerful Secrets (and Practical Tips!) for Healing Your Heart is filled with comforting and healthy breakup advice. The Blossom Tips will help you loosen unhealthy attachments to the past, seal your heart with peace, and move forward with joy.
When You Miss Him Like Crazy: 25 Lessons to Move You From Broken to Blossoming After a Breakup will help you refocus your life, re-create yourself, and start living fully again! Your spirit will rise and you'll blossom into who you were created to be.