How to Emotionally Free Yourself From Your Parents

The ties that bind us to our childhood run deep. Just think about how the memories of that time make you feel. One of the most important aspects is linked to your reference figures and how they made you feel.
How to Emotionally Free Yourself From Your Parents

Last update: 16 August, 2022

If there’s one huge change that’s become apparent in recent decades, it’s the difference between generations in terms of thought, way of life, and, above all, emotionality. In fact, wars between parents and children are the order of the day and aren’t always resolved independently. For this reason, many people wonder how to emotionally free themselves from their parents.

Although it’s true that no family is perfect, family relationships have a tendency to present problems that don’t get resolved. One of them is the emotional dependence between parents and children. It’s an issue that can last a lifetime if it’s not consciously resolved.

Adults tied to their parents

There’s an established and unconscious belief that humans, like other animals, naturally mature and separate from their parents, both physically and emotionally. However, unlike the bird that pushes its chick out of the nest or the primate that refuses to continue carrying its child on its back, we continue to maintain the bond.

Added to this are the conflicts that weren’t resolved during the breeding season. These issues and grudges produce suffering, thus keeping the chains tightly tied. How is it possible to escape?

Mother criticizing her daughter as an effect of family beliefs

Emotional dependency between parents and children

This kind of toxicity in relationships usually has an unresolved underlying emotional dependency. It maintains a never-ending cycle of conflicts. There are several reasons for this:

  • Parents who project their own desires toward the figures of their children. Therefore, everything they didn’t do or achieve for themselves, they want to experience through their offspring.
  • An upbringing that didn’t favor autonomy and was overprotective. Not preparing children to function in the world means that they continue to need care and their parents are unable to stop caring for them.
  • Children who don’t want to leave the safety of home. Indeed, there’s a scary side to launching into independence that not everyone wants to experience.
  • Children who are carers. In unstructured families, the little ones often have to take care of the big ones. Consequently, they feel extremely guilty when it comes to distancing themselves from their parents.

As you can imagine, for people to emotionally free themselves from their parents when codependent dynamics exist is an arduous task. Although many are aware of this problem, there’s usually a certain fear of dealing with it openly.

How to emotionally free yourself from your parents

If you’re in this situation and have detected a pattern of codependency, you’ll know that it’s hurtful for both you and your parents and you’ll want to stop the suffering. However, where do you start? Here are some helpful tips.

1. Forgive them

It’s an apparently simple action yet it can take years to carry out. Nevertheless, everything you’re blaming your parents for is a rope that’s keeping you bound to them and making you suffer, so try and let it go.

That said, don’t confuse forgiving with justifying. No one should ask you to approve of any mistreatment you may have suffered at the hands of your parents. Condemning this kind of behavior isn’t contradictory to the process of emotional release you need to free yourself from its influence.

2. Don’t try to change them

Feeling like you want to change fundamental aspects of your parents’ personalities shows intolerance on your part of the unconscious idea that you’re going to have to put up with them for the rest of your life. If your parents don’t want to change, you can’t force them. It’s better to accept this fact and make your decisions accordingly.

3. You’re not responsible for them

By the time you’re an adult, both you and your parents are responsible for your own happiness. They have no obligation to make you happy and vice versa. Victimization, resentment, and suffering are born from this kind of dynamic.

4. Understand their circumstances beyond their role as parents

Another way to emotionally free yourself from your parents is to stop seeing them merely as ‘breeders’. Stop and analyze them as human beings with their positive attributes and flaws. Observe how these affect their role as parents. This will help you better understand the reasons for their actions and find solutions.

5. Appreciate what they’ve done for you

In conventional families, despite their mistakes, parents usually simply want to raise a child who’s happy. Part of abandoning the resentment that ties you to them involves recognizing this fact. Furthermore, it provides you with emotional balance.

Daughter talking to her older mother

One last recommendation

Sometimes, introspection and reflection aren’t enough to overcome an emotional dependency that’s been developing for a lifetime.

In these cases, it’s best to visit a psychological professional, especially if you come from a broken family or have suffered abuse. It’s never too late to regain your emotional independence.

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.

  • Resett, S., Moreno, J. E., & Mesurado, B. (2021). Dependencia parental, motivaciones ocupacionales y relación con padres y pares en adolescentes. Perspectivas en Psicología18(1), 56-69.
  • Huayamave, K. G., Benavides, B. B., & Sangacha, M. M. (2019). Estudio del rol de los padres de familia en la vida emocional de los hijos. Apuntes Universitarios. Revista de Investigación9(2), 61-72.
  • Selma, A. A. (2015). La influencia del consumo de drogas en la violencia filio-parental. Revista de Derecho de la UNED (RDUNED), (17), 165-202.

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