Author Topic: How to be good daughter to bad parents?  (Read 380 times)

Marshmallow

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How to be good daughter to bad parents?
« on: December 31, 2017, 06:49:21 AM »
My question would be how to be a good daughter to bad parents? Something I've found myself struggling with during the holidays. The members of my family are not caring, loving people. They are cold and difficult, in denial and bad listeners.

I've suffered greatly from chronic health issues for the past 20 years and my mother cannot even acknowledge this fact. Both my sister and mother give me looks as if I was lying to them whenever I bring up my health issues... I have yet to figure out how to deal with this except to continue trying and keep my distance from them.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2018, 11:47:14 PM by Middleway »

Middleway

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Re: How to be good daughter to bad parents?
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2018, 11:56:53 PM »
Hi Marshmallow,

I split the topic as you are asking a different question from the original post. Compassion towards your sister and parents would help. Chances are they are suffering too and I suggest you introduce meditation to them if you haven't already done so. Otherwise, keeping a healthy distance is a wise idea.

Kindly,

Middleway
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Nicky

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Re: How to be good daughter to bad parents?
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2018, 04:00:21 AM »
The Buddhist scriptures explain a child can be morally or spiritual superior to their parents, here: https://suttacentral.net/en/iti74

Quote
Now what, bhikkhus, is the superior kind of son/daughter? In this instance a son has a mother and father who have not gone for refuge to the Buddha, to the Dhamma, and to the Sangha; who do not abstain from taking life, from taking what has not been given, from wrong conduct in sensual desires, from false speech, and from intoxicating drink leading to negligence;who are unvirtuous and of bad conduct. But the son/daughter is one who has gone for refuge to the Buddha, to the Dhamma, and to the Sangha; who abstains from taking life, from taking what has not been given, from wrong conduct in sensual desires, from false speech, and from intoxicating drink leading to negligence; who is virtuous and of good conduct. This, bhikkhus, is the superior kind of son/daughter.

Marshmallow

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Re: How to be good daughter to bad parents?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2018, 05:26:38 PM »
Thanks Middleway, sorry for asking a different question. I didn't realize that the thread had to be strictly for the original one (I joined a few days ago). I thought of this following what someone else had said in that thread which is why I posted it there.

I tried compassion, and it often works... but also if you give more love then you receive in a relationship, it can start to feel unfair. I also want to be loved in the same way that I'm able to love others. But finding high-quality people seems to be challenging. Often we have relationships with the people who happen to be in our lives, and not necessarily the people who are the best fit for us.

Thanks for your post Nicky, I guess these things just happen. :(

BeHereNow

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Re: How to be good daughter to bad parents?
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2018, 06:10:10 PM »
Hi Marshmallow,

Working with our family members is one of the toughest aspects of bringing a meditation practice to life.  It is wonderful that you are noticing the struggle and wanting to work with it.

I would start with lovingkindness towards yourself.  Let yourself feel the pain of feeling unseen and unloved by your parents, and notice what arises in talk, image and feel.  Then, give yourself the love and compassion your wish your parents and family had given you.  Meditation can be a wonderful way to re-parent ourselves.  As you allow yourself to feel the pain of your childhood as it arises in the present moment, and observe it without judgment, you will begin to purify the past and find more space and freedom.

During this process, you may want to limit the time you spend with family if it is too painful.  This can be another way to take care of yourself and develop healthy boundaries.  You don't need to explain what you are doing to them as that will lead to lots of drama,  just be aware of whether you feel resentment when agreeing to do something with them, and if so give yourself permission to say no.  They may be upset and may try to guilt you, but you are taking care of you and there is nothing wrong with that.

Over time, you may find that some of the patterns that you see in your parents and family are also within you.  You will see the pain that has caused these habits and patterns, and recognize the need to forgive yourself, and them, as this is really the only way out of suffering.  Don't rush the forgiveness of them part, though, it will happen on its own time.  Continue working on forgiving yourself and loving yourself.

For me, I have learned to accept my mother, for the most part, despite her having been cruel and critical for my whole childhood.  I find the more I am able to accept her as she is, the more I see that she is truly trying her best and suffers so deeply.  Lately I have been really enjoying spending time with her and loving her, which is truly a miracle.  I have a brother who is frankly an a**hole, and while in theory I can accept him as I know he's trying his best, I choose to spend very little time with him as he is such a negative and aggressive presence.  I send him lovingkindness from a distance :-)

Over time, mindfulness practice (and therapy if you are interested in exploring that modality) can help you come to peace with your family of origin.  You can thank them for having brought you up, relate with them in healthy ways that protect your boundaries, and then choose to surround yourself with a new Sangha or supportive community that you feel is nourishing and supportive.

Lots of love,
Paula
"You are the Sky.  Everything else is just the weather." - Pema Chodron

Marshmallow

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Re: How to be good daughter to bad parents?
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2018, 10:49:30 PM »
Thank you so much for your wonderful post... very helpful.  :)

My situation with them is also somewhat unusual and complicated, because of the chronic health issues I've suffered from. It seems as I'm able to forgive them and accept them most of the time, but whenever my health worsens, the anger comes back. Which leaves me wondering how much my feelings for them have to do with my health issues. But I'm happy to say that I just had a talk with my mother and sister which helped 'clarify' things, so there's still hope.

I will read your post again and reply later, since I am fighting the beginning of a cold today...  :-X

But I find your post to be so full of love and compassion that it warms the heart. Thank you so much for your response and Happy New Year!  :)

BeHereNow

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Re: How to be good daughter to bad parents?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2018, 08:58:39 PM »
I'm so glad you found it helpful, Marshmallow.  Happy New Year!  Stay warm :-)
"You are the Sky.  Everything else is just the weather." - Pema Chodron

Marshmallow

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Re: How to be good daughter to bad parents?
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2018, 06:12:53 PM »
I just read your post again and I still find it helpful.  :)

I'm happy to say I've made some progress with them. I just opened up and talked about the way I felt. Maybe they're not so bad after all... I think these relationships are a bit damaged and a few repairs are needed. I'm realizing the power of being good at managing relationships, I'm happy to say that meditation has improved my social skills.

I did start to see parts of my siblings and parents in myself. And seeing this helps me be more understanding of them.