If someone has come to see that they were mistreated during their formative years, they might have the need to speak to the parent or parents who harmed them. But, if they have this need and take the next step, it doesn’t mean that they will get very far.

Assuming it was one parent who mistreated them; this parent could dismiss most if not all of what they say. Based on what takes place, it will be as if they are talking to someone who wasn’t around during this time.

A Stranger

But, as they are talking to someone who brought them up, they can find it hard to understand what is going on. At this point, they might even start to question what is going on inside them.

In other words, they might wonder if what they can remember actually happened and if they are making it up. If they do begin to doubt themselves, this can be a continuation of the doubt that they experienced during their early years.


Throughout this time, this parent might have often disregarded their needs and feelings. As opposed to them being seen as a separate being that had their own needs and feelings, their reality would have typically been ignored

Thus, it generally wouldn’t have occurred to this parent that they had a self; they would have been seen as an extension of them. If this is so, how this parent is behaving now that they are an adult won’t be any different.

The Evidence

After a while, they can settle down and know that they are not making up that they were mistreated. Of course, certain memories might not be that accurate but; their feelings will prove that this stage of their life was not very loving.

Unlike their memories, their feelings won’t have been altered since that stage of their life. As a result of being deprived of the love that they needed, they would have suffered, and these feelings will reflect that.

A Strange Scenario

Now, if they can accept that this parent's inability to truly see them is a continuation of how it was for them as a child, it doesn’t mean that they will be able to let go of their need to have what they went through validated. Additionally, they can have the need for this parent to empathise with what they went through and show remorse.

However, there is a strong chance that this parent will never change, which is why they will be wasting their time trying to get through to them. Still, this might not be something that they are able to accept at this point in time.

What’s going on?

When it comes to why this parent is unable to face up to how they treated them, it is likely to show that they are not very emotionally stable. If they do come across as strong and together, this is likely to be nothing more than an illusion

Behind the strong front that they may present to the world, then, will be someone who probably has weak foundations. Consequently, if they were to face up to what happened, they would end up falling apart.

Back In Time

During their formative years, they are also likely to have been deprived of the love that they needed. This would have stopped them from being able to grow and develop in the right way and develop a strong sense of self.

To handle what took place, they would have been forced to create a disconnected false self. The pain that they experienced and their unmet developmental needs would have been repressed.

A Defence

The self that they created will have essentially been built on sand and, if they were to face up to how they behaved, some of the material that has been repressed would be unlocked. This would undermine their ability to keep it together and function.

Their view of how they treated their adult child during their formative years is part of what allows them to keep their pain at bay. It is then not that they are doing what they can to undermine them; they are doing what they can to protect themselves.

Another Part

Their early years may have also been a time when they were heavily criticised, causing them to feel deeply flawed and worthless. If they were to accept that they caused a lot of harm, this would unlock these feelings.

The trouble is that while blocking out how they behaved will allow them to maintain their false and perhaps inflated view of themselves, it will prevent them from being able to take responsibility for how they behaved. Their inability to engage in self-reflection will undermine their ability to truly be there for their child and play a part in their healing and it will undermine their ability to have healthy relationships with others.

Drawing the Line

Their parent is then going to look human but they will be out of touch with their own humanity. This is why it won’t matter what they say or do as it won’t cause their parent to change.

For them to gradually let go of their need to get through to this parent, they are likely to have a lot of pain to face and work through and unmet developmental needs to experience. This is something that will take courage and patience and persistence.


If someone can relate to this and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.

Author's Bio: 

Author, transformational writer, teacher and consultant, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, self-worth, enmeshment, inner child, true self and inner awareness. With over three thousand, two hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.

To find out more go to - http://www.oliverjrcooper.co.uk/

Feel free to join the Facebook Group -