By Vijaylakshmi Nadar
Is your relationship with your parents holding your life at ransom? Unless healed, these primary relationships can adversely affect all other relationships and also impede your progress and financial well-being
Use this affirmation to wash away your pain
My parents, too, were once children. Now is the time for me to stand up on my own two feet, to support myself, to think for myself, to give myself what my parents could not give me. The more I learn about their childhoods, the more I understand their limitations. No one taught them how to be parents. They were living out the limitations of their own parents. I do not use my parents as an excuse for the negative parts of my life. I bless my parents with love, and we are all free to accept the happiness that is meaningful to us.
– Louise L Hay
Tears rolled down my eyes, as I cried inconsolably in the midst of about 200 others, most of who were in tears too, some surreptitiously, some openly. Most were professionals, senior government officials, homemakers, college students, all of them probably feeling this raw in public, for the first time in years. The venue was a Landmark Forum session at the Lala Lajpatrai College, in 1994, where the trainer was recounting how he held so much grief against his father and how liberated he felt when he was finally able to hug him and say a big sorry.
That was the first time ever, as a 24-year-old, that I learned how important it was to leave behind all the hurts and pains linked to your parents and to your growing-up years in order to truly liberate yourself and evolve as an adult. It was also the first time I understood that our parents are not convenient hangers-on, on whom we hang our aspirations, expecting them to fit our notion of an ideal parent.
Needless to say, the whole foundation of the parent-child relationship that I had built up in my mind, where I, as the child, could have limitless expectations from them, and they as the parents, had no choice but to comply, fell apart leaving me completely shaken, to say the least.
The thought was too profound to digest back then and I fell back on my pattern of accumulating hurts, every time my parents failed to live up to my expectations. This pattern only strengthened over the next 15 years of my life, when I went through a troubled marriage, which also put an end to a successful career. In short, my life skydived into bleak depression. It was, of course, very convenient to lay the blame at my parents’ door, refusing to see beyond my hurt. Through these years, I drifted in and out of darkness, convinced this was my destiny. Sessions and workshops on reiki and EFT helped stabilize me and a few transformation workshops helped chip away at my hopelessness but I still could not touch the core of my deep despair to heal.
Then in 2010, much to my surprise, in yet another workshop, supposedly a success seminar called SP2 led by Mr. Latesh Shah, I was forced to re-assess my status quo with my parents, after again being reduced to tears. Along with some 150 other participants, I heard Mr. Shah describe his hurt when, on going to his father’s shop, his father gruffly asked him to get up to make way for his father’s friend. That one incident scarred him so badly that he carried the hurt of rejection all through his life, right until his dad’s funeral. It was not until he related his rejection theory to his shocked mother that he learned how mistaken he was and how much his father had really loved him and how proud he had been of his son.
In the sharing that followed, I realized that in every adult, there is a child within, hurt and sulking, waiting to be hugged.
And yet I continued to have a less than comfortable relationship with my parents and carried a baggage of hurts that made me angry and sullen. This would have been okay had it not been for the unpalatable consequences: a destructive marriage, a career which nose-dived, adopting harsh parenting techniques myself, and tremendous anger against the rest of the world.
In May 2012, I was forced to review my parental bonds for the third time, at the Nithya Spurana program (NSP), with Swami Nithyananda. Since the NSP was projected as a self-awareness and self-development program, I decided to attend it for more clarity in my life, as I continued to be in darkness, with no clear path, personally or professionally, ahead of me. I was therefore shocked and surprised when Swamiji also brought up the consequences of carrying hurt and how it manifests later on in life. As a participant after the participant recalled their childhood experiences, I reflected on my own issues. My conservative parents expected me to be completely docile as a female, as a result of which I was constantly at war at home, struggling to come on my own in my growing-up years. The final straw was when I was compelled to get into an arranged marriage, a gamble which did not quite pay off for me.
|“This is one relationship which has no substitute and hence conflicts need to be resolved, to help you to move forward. Conflicts can manifest as early as in the womb,” says Brahmakumari B K Shivani.|
Determined to get out of the hell hole that I saw myself in, I chose to dive right in this time and discover for myself how the troubled equation with my parents could stunt my personal and professional growth as revealed by these masters. To assist me in the journey, this cover story was born.
“All the thoughts and actions the mother undergoes is felt by the fetus. A negative environment can be created when factors like gender preference, financial difficulties, worry, and anxiety, not wanting the pregnancy, all create a feeling of being unwanted and rejected. Parents can spend a lifetime explaining, but cannot really erase this hurt, spilling into adulthood, influencing all our personal and professional decisions.”
If exposed to excessive negative energy in the womb, the fetus is bound to grow into an emotionally weak child, she stresses.
“Comparisons between siblings and other peers can damage a child’s psyche too. The first layer of information comes from parents. Not just the words but even the thoughts of the parents can help build a child’s self-image because it trusts its parents so blindly. Constant criticism or physical violence can make a child grow up with the feeling of never being loved,” emphasizes Shivani.
If the relationship with your parents is not healed it can influence all the relationships that follow, from siblings to spouses, to friends, colleagues, and bosses.
“To facilitate healing, it is important that the child is shown the parents’ perspective first. This itself removes the blocks, paving the way for healing. One needs to also explain logically why it is important, not to hold on to hate, which is, in any case, a matter of perspective at that point in time and not a reality,” says Shivani.
|“We think as an adult that our childhood is over, but the hurt
you experienced at four or 14, remains within you.’
Samadarshini, One World Academy
Elaborating on this, Samadarshini of One World Academy says, “The depth in these relationships determines the quality of your relationships with the rest of the world. If you have problems with your father, you are most likely to have strained relationships with an authority figure like a boss, consequently affecting your professional growth; and if the relationship with your mother is strained, then intimate relations might be affected. You will also not be aligned on the path of prosperity,” she says.
If struggling with finances, experiencing career blocks or unhealthy relationships, examine your primary relationships, and resolve them to energetically move towards the path of prosperity. Relationships are therefore a direct force, not an indirect force, in determining our destiny.
“We think that our childhood is over, but the hurt you experienced at four or 14, remains within you. If, as an adult, you think it does not matter anymore, you need to re-connect to the child and re-experience the pain. Healing begins when, as an adult, you become aware of the pain, understand the interpretation your mind gave to the situation then, and in the moment of awareness, you dissolve all the old hurts and pains,” says Samadarshini.
We will know the healing process is complete when we move towards gratitude to our parents. “Parents remain a part of us forever. We share an integral part of their physical, mental, emotional, and intellectual inheritances, so we have to deal with the negative aspects too. It is important that we become more compassionate towards them too, because if they have never experienced love, how can they give love?” she elaborates.
It is a well-established fact that when men do not resolve their hurts, they experience a constant need to prove themselves even as an adult, creating discontent.
Samadarshini relates the story of a bank manager in Andhra Pradesh, whose father kept comparing him with his two IAS brothers. “He not only developed a hatred for his brothers but also tremendous anger towards his father. He was driven to prove himself. Even when he got a good post in the bank, it was not enough for him. He got into share broking, suffered losses, jumped into medical transcription…and suffered losses there too. Not surprisingly, he wrecked his marriage as well.”
“It is only from an elevated position of love and compassion that you can take the right steps to move forward,” says Samadarshini.
Research conducted by Harvard University on their former students in the ages of 35-40 years has shown that heart attacks are most common among those who did not resolve their emotional hurts before the age of 20 and earlier.
|Meera Kotak, who healed her relationship with her parents, sits by their portraits|
“I had carried a lot of emotional baggage all my life and knew I had to complete with my roots,” says Meera Kotak, corporate trainer, and spiritual healer.
Though she had been working on this for many years, with many modalities like reiki, Vipassana, EFT, hypnotherapy, she was finally able to heal only when she was 50, at Oneness, Chennai. “There while meditating, I saw images of both my mother and father and I was able to finally release the hurt.”
Meera finally understood why her parents did what they did, and that their intention was not to hurt her.
“I was born amongst five siblings and as a child I would scream and shriek a lot, throwing huge tantrums. So when I was five, I was sent to stay at my relative’s house. Though I was sent because they had no children, I thought I was being punished. It was only for a year, but the damage was done and I went through my entire life feeling unloved and uncared for. I always felt that I was on one side and the world on the other,” she recounts.
Despite teaching and practicing reiki, Meera lived with this anger for more than four decades. “It was like a volcano waiting to erupt inside me. I realized that this feeling of rejection and lack of self-worth was my perception, not reality. I could not, however, really distinguish between the two,” she explains.
It was a chance comment from a relative who mentioned that her mother had really missed her and had wanted her back immediately, which made her finally aware and she was eventually able to heal and let go at Oneness. “The strange thing was that while I was letting go of the hurt, my brother let me know in a phone call that my mother was remembering me that whole day. I did a forgiveness prayer with her and was finally able to shed tears of joy as I felt like an amended doll,” says a relieved Meera.
She came to terms with how long it took her to heal, by recognizing that the “Universe has a beautiful design and everything will happen in its own time”.
After her own release, her level of empathy and compassion went up. “Whatever I had released, I was able to release in my clients faster, too.”
According to Mala Raja, a past-life regression therapist, we are actually victims of victims. “Our parents have gone through their own share of trauma and conditioning and therefore raise us according to their beliefs. So instead of placing them on a pedestal or rejecting them, we need to view them as human beings first who are capable of making mistakes, just like anyone else.”
It is during healing that an individual realizes that his financial and relationship patterns can be related to the beliefs or issues that he grew up with. “We pick up our parents’ fears and patterns, unconsciously, and create our own patterns. And the core belief beneath it all is that I am just not good enough. Parents are like roots and for a tree to be strong, the roots need to be healed first,” she says.
|“During healing, I realized that I had issues of rejection
from previous births which I dealt with in this birth.’
There is abundance in the universe; there is enough for everyone and more and yet we grow up with a sense of lack. ‘I am not worthy’, ‘I am not deserving enough’, ‘Even if there are lots, it is not meant for me’. “These are actually our parents’ beliefs, lapped up by us. We need to identify these beliefs, forgive them and then love them, ” says Mala.
Explaining the phenomenon of old age homes, she says that just as the core of every parent is to nourish, similarly the core of every child is to care back. But the adult who deserts the parent at an old age home has somewhere grown with the belief that there is not enough love and money to care for you and so the parent gets the same treatment.
She candidly admits that as a child, her mother’s money beliefs rubbed on her. “When my family went through a particular hardship, I chose to rough it out, despite the fact that I always had money with me. Despite my savings, fears of lack crept in. So much so that even when I was married off in a comfortable home, I would save gold coins for my children, because my mother’s concerns that something could go wrong, always played on my mind,” she recounts. It is only after working on herself that she was able to let go of her anxiety, secure in the knowledge that she will be taken care of.
“I grew up with a lot of big, red boils, not only on my face but also my body. As an adult and during healing, I became aware of the possibility that it was because of my suppressed anger. As a daughter, I was told that girls are not supposed to get angry, and so the suppression continued even as a daughter-in-law. It was only when I got into awareness mode, that I realized that instead of suppressing the anger, I needed to become aware of it, vent it out if necessary, identify the core issue and move into forgiveness mode,” recalls Mala.
Yet another spiritual healer who does not want to be named explains her journey from despair to awareness and finally to forgiveness, liberating not only herself but also her mother.
“Ever since my brother I was born, I felt differentiated. In something as basic as food, he would end up getting better and larger portions. Over the years, I thought I had resolved the issue, but obviously I had not. Every time he came from abroad, my mother would continue with the same treatment and my resentment would surface. All I wanted from my mother even as an adult, was an acknowledgment that she indeed had differentiated against me. Instead, I got labeled stupid by even those around me and accused of imagining stuff. I was pushed further into the belief that if my mother did not love me, then who could? I got angrier and angrier.
“Finally when she was in her 70s, just one week before her death, she told me that I was right, she had differentiated. Tears rolled down my cheeks. I actually went and hugged her, which I did not like to do earlier. The hurt and pain just dissolved and I could actually see a rainbow bridge between her heart and mine. It was the best week that I ever spent with her,” says the healer.
She adds, “In the last four years since I have been liberated, I feel happy, free, light and joyous enough to live life on my terms. Until then little demons always plagued me.”
Ellaeenah Niloufer, also a spiritual healer and counselor, recalls, “I was an extremely rebellious child, though my mother’s parenting was flawless.”
During an inner child healing session, she traced back her anger to the time when she was in the womb. “A spontaneous recollection of my parents not accepting me or the pregnancy came up. Though my mother’s parenting was flawless after that, I still felt rejected. As part of the healing, I also realized that I had issues of rejection from previous births which I dealt with in this birth. For which I now realize what a beautiful catalyst my mother was.”
Shamshad Ali Baig, author/publisher realized that at the core of her lack of consistent professional success, was her troubled relationship with her father. It was only when she became aware of his love for her, that she was able to overcome some of her hurdles. “I have always looked for fatherly comfort and a warm hug, but my father’s idea of love was to give money. He bailed me out of a financial crisis once and would often remind me that he had given me the money then, so it implied that he loved me.”
Today, she attributes her attraction to older men to the lack of physical display of fatherly love.
|Farzeen Shroff in holiday mode with her husband, Somit|
Chitra Jha, an Inner Child Work facilitator now writing a book, The Science of Conscious Parenting, believes that some of the trauma is caused because most parents have no idea about a child’s essential needs at various stages of his/her growth. The birthing process to creates trauma. For instance, a C-section creates feelings of inadequacy and under-confidence in a child. Lack of adequate parental touch can also generate an issue of trust.
“All these layers of distrust are formed by the time a child is seven years old, and create repeated negative patterns in life, unless the layers are peeled off, one by one. For all this, inner child work is of great help. One need not involve the parents in this cleansing because they are not really to be blamed. They did what they believed to be right. No parent willingly creates problems for the child unless s/he is a sadist.”
Dr. Dayal Mirchandani, psychiatrist, and family therapist reiterates that he often sees clients dealing with issues of anger, resentment, dependency, disabilities, and dysfunctional marriages (when partners end up choosing mates who have the same exact characteristics as either their mother or father) discontent, sexual dysfunction, controlling behaviors and so on. “During the course of counseling, we can trace these issues back to their troubled equations with the parents and make them aware of it. Then we assist in the healing process with spiritual practices like the Buddhist Metta meditation.”
|Mala Raja with her children: inheriting parental beliefs of scarcity|
“In our mad rush for name, fame, and procreation, we forget that our soul’s purpose is spiritual evolution by reducing our karmic baggage through the experiences we undergo in this lifetime and the relationships we choose,” says Farzeen Shroff, reiki practitioner. And it is only those dearest to us in the spirit world, who decide to come back here for us, to give us the experiences, good or bad, in accordance with our karma, which forms our blueprint.
The souls who manifest in our lives as mother, father, brother, sister, husband, wife, are therefore here to act as divine catalysts to allow us to go through the experiences we need to, in order to learn our lessons and evolve. “And so the other person is actually playing her/his role to perfection by choosing to be mean, irresponsible, or not caring as a parent, sibling, spouse,” emphasizes Farzeen. “But because we have no memory of our past lives, we label these relationships good or bad, based on our expectations and carry over the same karma for many more births. We do not have the grace to see that in their meanness our loved ones are actually doing us a favor, by being a catalyst for our cleansing,” elucidates Farzeen.
No wonder then, the same parent will have a different relationship with each child, depending on what they have contracted between themselves.
So if we are not at ease with our parents, and bristle with hurt and resentment instead, we invite yet another person in our life, invariably a spouse, who hands over the same life lessons. If the pattern is still not broken by reaching a level of compassion, from where you can forgive and forget, more such relationships follow. And if you are still not done learning in this lifetime, brace yourself for similar bonds in the next lifetime too, with the same people in different avatars.
It is therefore imperative to evaluate what you are giving to the relationship, rather than demanding from the relationship, as part of your own growth. It is important not to add further conflicts to the blueprint.
“The most important part of the learning, therefore, is that there is no blame whatsoever. All our experiences are divinely chosen by the soul and our parents, whose soul connection with us is so deep and pure, that they take on these unpleasant roles of being our divine catalysts. We need to be eternally grateful and not apportion any blame to them. If one uses this higher vision, we liberate ourselves and our parents from the burden of emotional entanglement and can proceed to have empowering and beautifully loving relationships,” emphasizes Ellaaenaah.
To heal we must first take the responsibility that we are the co-creators of every event in our lives. And for us to grow we need others to play their designated roles. Thus divine justice demands that we love them for their roles, not condemn them. Only then is healing completely.
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