How to Emotionally Emancipate Yourself From Your Parents

Only by emotionally emancipating yourself from your parents can you achieve true autonomy. If not, your past becomes a burden that hinders your progress in life.
How to Emotionally Emancipate Yourself From Your Parents
Gema Sánchez Cuevas

Written and verified by the psychologist Gema Sánchez Cuevas.

Last update: 19 June, 2022

It’s not easy to emotionally emancipate yourself from your parents, especially if your relationship has been conflictive or marked by traumatic events. Nevertheless, achieving this liberation is essential if you want to be a healthy adult.

Oddly enough, unhealthy bonds are often stronger than others. Indeed, unresolved problems or traumas weigh more in life than happy experiences. For this reason, on many occasions, emotionally emancipating yourself from your parents also means dealing with painful experiences and healing them.

However, if you’re unable to emancipate yourself emotionally from your parents, you’ll end up carrying the burden of your past around. No matter how much you keep your distance or try not to think about them, you still won’t feel at peace. So, how can you free yourself from these bonds? Here are some tips to help.

It’s never too late to have a happy childhood .”

-Milton Erickson-

1. Stop blaming them

Becoming an adult is about taking responsibility for your own life. This includes your feelings, emotions, and decisions. That said, if you’ve had problems with your parents, you’ll probably be tempted to blame them for all of your mistakes.

It’s true that your upbringing determines much of who you are. It’s also true that there’s a point at which you become capable of taking charge of what you are and what you do. For example, repairing gaps, resolving traumas, correcting errors, etc. It guarantees your emotional independence.

Girl comforting her mother

2. Accept them

Very few people in the world can say that they had perfect parents. Most parents look for the best for their children, but they’re not always good at identifying it. Furthermore, not everyone is ready to play the role of mentor and good example.

The truth is that being emotionally emancipated from your parents presupposes your ability to accept them as they are, and as they were. No matter how much you try, you won’t change them. Therefore, it’s far more sensible and liberating to try to understand, accept, and try to see the best in them. 

3. Love them, regardless of whether they love you

All loves are imperfect, including that of parents toward their children. Sometimes, they’re unable to really love their children due to their emotional limitations. It doesn’t mean they’re evil, they just have difficulties that they’ve been unable to resolve.

Loving your parents is a way of emotionally emancipating yourself from them. Your love doesn’t have to be intense, but it does have to be real. It should be composed of respect, consideration, and good wishes toward them. It’s a way of ensuring that your life doesn’t have to continually revolve around them.

4. Stop feeling responsible for their happiness

Perhaps you’re unable to emancipate yourself emotionally from your parents because you experience feelings of guilt when you’re around them. This is because you love and understand them and recognize their limitations, Therefore, you want to give them the happiness that they’ve not managed to achieve by themselves.

It’s natural to want your parents to be okay. However, this doesn’t mean you should feel responsible for their happiness. After all, we’re all responsible for our own well-being and your parents are no exception. Like all human beings, they’ll never be completely happy but this isn’t anyone’s fault.

5. Be empathic

Putting yourself in the place of your parents can be a really liberating exercise. It increases your understanding of what they did or didn’t do. It also allows you to delve into their motivations and the obstacles they’ve encountered, not only as parents, but also as individuals.

Being empathic is another way of emotionally emancipating yourself from your parents. Not only that, but it also helps broaden your own perspective. In fact, it’s a way of seeing situations from another point of view. This enriches your understanding of yourself.

6. Cultivate gratitude

You have a great deal to thank your parents for, despite the mistakes they’ve made. Indeed, your life itself is a gift that they gave you, even if they didn’t really know the best way to cultivate it.

That said, you didn’t become an adult on your own. Your parents were there to take care of you, feed you, protect you from illness or danger, and try to make you a good person. It’s far preferable to focus on that than what they didn’t give you.

Son walking with his father

7. Acknowledge and accept the past

The past can often be a major obstacle to leaving feelings of hate behind. After all, none of us can turn the page and pretend that yesterday didn’t exist. The best way to locate yourself in the present is to look back at your past in an understanding way. Delve into what it was and the reasons why it was so.

Appropriating your past is a necessary step to take if you want to emotionally emancipate yourself from your parents. This appropriation means you reinterpret what happened in the light of what you’ve learned. You also fully accept what it was, and how it was, and take responsibility for the consequences. This process will make you grow.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Fernández-Pinto, I., López-Pérez, B., & Márquez, M. (2008). Empatía: Medidas, teorías y aplicaciones en revisión. Anales de Psicología/Annals of Psychology24(2), 284-298.
  • Vieira, A. C. S., & Rava, P. G. S. (2012). Nido lleno: perspectivas de padres e hijos. Psicologia: teoria e prática, 14(1), 84-96.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.