What Do You Do When Your Parents are Opening Old Wounds?

So there has been a great conversation that we’ve been having in our Facebook group with the guys about what do you do when your parents just are opening old wounds? Oh! I mean, this is really, really hard to deal with. My heart goes out to the different guys who were expressing this happening to them. They want to integrate their parents into their life. They want them to be around their kids. They want grandparents’ engagement to be really good. But man, there’s tension between them maybe and their wife. There’s tension between them and themselves. Their parents, they just haven’t learned-


-old lessons. And so a lot of times this can get really painful because now you’re experiencing sort of freedom from some of that baggage. And then your parents pick open that fresh wound. And so we’re having this conversation. Like how do we handle that? Do we just wall our parents off from our kids, or create really strict boundaries? Or how do we handle that?

And there’s a couple of… Every single situation’s different. So we don’t know your situation. So just… we’re going to give you some tips. This is not prescription, but a few tips, you guys.

Tip number one that I think is really big, is you need… When this is happening, you need to lower your expectation for your parents. You need to understand maybe your parents have grown in certain areas and not in others. And so a lot of times, if you have high expectations and you’re constantly shocked, they haven’t figured this out yet, and just your actual anger and resentment’s growing even though your parents are the same as they were, then I really think it’s important to dial down your expectations because I think your expectations could be creating more resentment.

And a lot of what we need to do is accept our parents, where they’re at, what they’re doing, not try to… We’re not given the assignment, scripturally, to fix our parents, just to honor them. And so if they’re still at… still sort of picking open old wounds, then definitely lower expectations or begin to expect that that’s going to be just a part of the relationship in order to not let that resentment build.

Another tip that I think is really important is that you need to understand that your faith in the Gospel, your ability to receive what your abba father is saying about you, your identity, is usually directly related to the amount of impact your parents’ words, particularly maybe your father, it could be your mother’s, words have over you.

And so, in other words, if their words are really causing an identity crisis for you, or causing so much pain and frustration, then maybe instead of just trying to create boundaries against your parents, really use that as a portal to figure out, is there a part of the Gospel I don’t believe? Is there something that my father is saying about me, my abba father, my heavenly father, that I’m not believing? So going deeper into the Gospel can really help heal those wounds so that you can have a very open, loving relationship with parents who may be sort of opening those old wounds from time to time.

And so the last thing I would say is, over time, and this is more maybe as your kids get older, strengthen the culture of your home and make it strong enough so that when your parents enter into your home, they’re entering into your culture, and that they’re not able to just completely blow up or overtake the culture of your home. That oftentimes happens when you’re older, you have more kids, you’ve done a lot of training. You’re able to set a lot of cultural things where your parents just feel like, “Whoa, we’re being swept up into this amazing thing that our son has created,” so that they’re not constantly feeling like those violations are not causing rifts or disunity within the family multi-generationally. So those are three tips that might help. But yeah. Jeff, have you thought about this one?

No, I think that’s great. I don’t even know if I would add anything because I think all those were yeah, right on the nose. I think the only thing I would emphasize is what you said about expectations. I think it’s just so important. So much of stuff like this, or bitterness or resentment, not always, but a lot of times can come from us having a vision that isn’t met, like an ideal that isn’t met, or a picture that isn’t met.

And so I feel like, man, there’s so much grace and so much pressure taken off if you just say like, “Even if this is a terrible reality, this is my reality. And the Lord’s going to meet me today, and going to speak to me, and I’m going to allow grace in me, and grace in other people’s lives.” So I just think, yeah. Just let your reality be your reality with open hands, receiving that as a gift from God, who he wants to teach you, talk to you, and meet you in the middle of it.

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