One of the hurdles in seeking out the pain in your past and turning it into your power is that you can feel as if you are blaming others for your misfortune, including people you love, such as your parents or siblings or grandparents. Many of my patients pause at the door of self-discovery and tell me a version of, “I dont want to make it seem like my parents are responsible for what I’m going through. That just seems like a cop-out.” Others want me to know that their parents did the best they could, that they love their parents, despite their shortcomings.
These worries reflect a core misunderstanding about the ultimate goal of living the truth. Living the truth isn’t only about empowering yourself by short-circuiting the human tendency to pull away from your own pain. It’s about realizing that your parents and grandparents were limited by the same very human, very understandable, yet very toxic, dynamic. They did do the best they could with the psychological resources they had, whether or not it was good enough to minimize your suffering and keep you safe.
Living the truth is about forgiveness, not blame. Because any problems visited upon you during you developmental years weren’t invented by your parents. They weren’t invented by their parents, either. They are the result of psychological dynamics that reach back many generations, each passing along pain to the next, because no one was helped to confront it, own it, and overcome it.
Living the Truth, Keith Ablow, MD