Why did my mother AND father forsake me?

This question, or some version of it, comes up A LOT in psychotherapy, particularly with people who have symptoms of depression, anxiety, or some form of addiction. However, the underlying symptom that is common is a general thought, feeling, or belief that the person who is suffering is “worthless”, which is the basis of shame and self-hatred. These individuals have the most difficult time committing to the hard work that is involved in psychotherapy because there are at least three ‘parts’ working within them at any given time.

There’s a ‘part’ that wants to heal and believes that they are ‘worthy’, at least enough, or has the potential to experience healing and that is committed to doing the work, even though they know that it will be painful at times. The other ‘part’ is the part that doesn’t want to heal and believes that they are ‘unworthy’ or that they don’t have the potential to experience healing or is not committed to doing the work. This is often because that ‘part’ fears it will be ‘too painful’ or because that part doesn’t believe he or she is ‘worthy’ enough to make that kind of investment in ‘self’. The third ‘part’ that is often working within these individuals is the part that knows that the person who caused his or her original wounds (mother and father, in this case) doesn’t want the person to heal. So, that ‘part’ of the person often clings to the anger and pain out of ‘love’ for his or her parent(s) and ‘hate’ for his or her parent(s) in an ongoing futile effort to ‘make his or her parent(s) love him or her’, unless that ‘part’ makes a conscious decision to enter into treatment and persevere, no matter how painful it feels.

It can even ‘feel’ like a ‘betrayal’ of his or her parent(s) and the other ‘parts’ of self, for one or more ‘parts’ to start the process of psychotherapy. This general feeling or belief associated with ‘betrayal’ may not ‘go-away’ as the person continues to work towards healing. However, ‘getting-rid’ of symptoms is not a reasonable goal within effective psychotherapy.

Every child asks ‘why’. Some people will tell you not to ask ‘why’ and they may even give you a reason ‘why’ you shouldn’t ask ‘why’. Ironically, they may even give you an answer for the ‘why’ question in their writings, teachings, or when you ask the ‘why’, which is ‘why’ I don’t tell people not to ask, ‘why’. God knows that every child asks, ‘why’. That’s ‘why’ He gave us the Word. He answered all His children who are ‘crying out’ in this Valley of Tears.

Every answer to every question that you have will be answered, if only you ask. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Mat 7:7-8). Note, carefully, this is not for those who ask casually. Jesus is advocating for perseverance in prayer, which stem from upright and faith-filled intentions, which requires sacrifice on your part.

In other words, we sometimes ask ‘why’ because we are seeking understanding so that we can ask the next question…What shall I do? So, why do parents forsake their children? Well, it’s for the same reason that their children who are forsaken often do not seek the help they need. They don’t believe that they are worthy. But even this requires some explanation.

To forsake a child literally means to abandon, stop helping, disown, or even go so far as to psychologically, spiritually, or otherwise symbolically ‘abort’ the child, as if the parent ‘wishes the child were never born’. To forsake a child is to hate the child and to ‘wish the child were dead’. This is ‘why’ the child then believes that he or she has ‘no value’ or is worthless. For a parent to forsake a child, however, the parent doesn’t do this because his or her child (or adult child) has no value. Rather, it’s the reverse.

A parent who forsakes his or her child doesn’t believe that he or she, as in the parent, has any value. A parent’s choice to forsake his or her child is an acknowledgement that the parent has failed to love his or her child, as well as an acknowledgement that the parent has failed to love God and to develop healthy self-love. In other words, it’s an acknowledgement that the parent has failed to take responsibility for his or her own wounds, which were likely inflicted upon the parent by his or her own parent(s). It’s an acknowledgment that the parent didn’t keep the promise that he or she made to ‘self’, to not do what was done to him or her when he or she was growing up. However, even worse than the first reason to forsake one’s child, which is this acknowledgement that the parent failed to take care of his or her own wounds so that he or she could love his or her child, are the other two reasons ‘why’ the parent makes such a choice.

The second and third reasons ‘why’ a mother and/or father chooses to forsake a child, or adult child, are interrelated and often appear to be directed at the child, rather than at the parent’s parents. Note, carefully, that none of these reasons are the child’s fault and really, it’s still about the child’s parent’s anger at the parent’s original parent(s), also known as the grandparent(s). The second reason ‘why’ the parent forsakes his or her child is because the parent knows that nearly anything that is ‘wrong’ about the child, the parent likely had some ‘part’ in failing to love the child sufficiently in his or her role, based upon gender roles as God the Father created us to be and the example of the Holy Family. The third reason ‘why’ the parent forsakes his or her child is because the parent knows that nearly anything that is ‘good’ about the child, the parent likely had little or nothing to do with helping the child to develop and the parent ‘hates’ the ‘parts’ of the child that are ‘good’.

In other words, your mother and/or father chooses to forsake you because they have chosen to avoid the hard work that REAL love requires and they are making a conscious act of their freewill to avoid doing whatever is necessary now to shed tears of sorrow for their mistakes out of love, learn from their mistakes, and live a holy life of prayer and penance out of love for God, as an example for you. They cannot look at you because it is too painful for them to look in the mirror because your anger and pain, currently reflects their failure.

So, when a ‘part’ of you believes that your mother or father wants you to be ‘bad’ and doesn’t want you to experience healing, you are right! But being right about where the hurt is, is not where healing stops. It’s often only the beginning because now you know the ‘why’. Remember, understanding often leads us to the next question…What shall I do?

Well, you already know what your parent(s) did and how that turned out. You also know what they are not doing, so that’s a clue for you. The only healthy response to stop generational trauma and win the battle against Satan, is through forgiveness by taking on a new identity in Christ. Trust in the Lord that “Though mother and father forsake me, the Lord will receive me” (Psa 27:10). You may need professional help, with 4Giveness+, in order to bear the cost of discipleship. Jesus said, “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (Luk 14:27).

If your mother and father have forsaken you because you choose to love the Lord your God with all your mind, heart, soul, and strength; develop healthy self-love, and love your neighbor as yourself (Mar 12:30-31), then it’s proof that your parents don’t love you and that they have forsaken you, even if they haven’t told you. Jesus said, “If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Luk 14:26). This is not an invitation to anger or to suggest that you have permission to take matters into your own hands. He’s using a special linguistic style to help you understand that you must be willing to love Him more than you ‘love’ someone or something else that is inferior to Him so that you may experience freedom from sin, which you are currently enslaved, and to know what REAL love is, for Jesus is the Son of God.

Remember to pray out of love for your enemies who forsake you. Pray specifically that your mother and/or father will be enlightened, convert, and do penance for the sake of the salvation of their souls and the Divine Mercy Chaplet with the intention for the specific wounds that your mother and/or father have caused. After all, some people do not repent, even at the hour of their death, because they have nobody to pray for them. At the end of the day, all that really matters in this life, is that we all get to the next, so we need each other’s help.

You may also want to consider asking for the intercession of Our Lady of the New Jubilee, in these circumstances, to help you with the ‘parts’ of you that resist forgiveness so that you may be able to receive and respond to the grace of God that you need to forgive. Forgiveness without Christ is like salt that has lost its flavor.

Original publication date 07.03.2023.

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