When it's time for the holidays or a family reunion do you cringe at the thought, but go anyway? Your mom will find fault with your hair, your job or the way you are bringing up your kids. Your dad might pick a fight with you or boast about how much money your brother makes while you are barely getting by. You know that you will have a terrible time and perhaps eat too much or drink to dull the pain.

When I ask clients to tell me who in their life has had the most negative effect on them that is still a problem, the majority replies either mom or dad. I have lost count of the number of people I have met that were beaten, sexually abused, abandoned, vilified, threatened and harmed in other ways. Yet, these same people are now adults well over the age of consent and still going back for more. Why?

Are you one of these people? As you were growing up you may have experienced some awful incidents when your parents continually acted unloving or downright terrifying and there was no one to protect you. Afterward you tried to rationalize their behavior. You made decisions about yourself and how to act so it wouldn't happen again. Perhaps you decided that it was all your fault so you had better be good from now on. If a parent was dangerous you might have decided that you had to keep him happy so he wouldn't get angry again and hurt you. You learned to put up with drunken or outrageous behavior and see it as normal.

Because there is a place called the limbic system in our brain where the past and the present exist simultaneously, adults who are around the perpetrators of their misery often turn into frightened three year-olds at family functions. The grown up self watching Mom get drunk and mean turns into the three year-old afraid of getting hit so he just grins and stands for her insults feeling unloved and unlovable. He goes home feeling depressed and angry but is unable to turn down future invitations to get together even though he dreads them.

After nine very unhappy years of marriage to a man who was unreliable, critical, angry and addicted, I finally got a divorce and went on to find a longlasting loving relationship. As my children grew older they began to realize how wounded they had been by their father's failure to keep his promises, his unloving attitude and his rages. When my daughter reached adulthood she was still trying to come to terms with the unhappiness of her childhood. She thought that she was supposed to have a relationship with both her parents because we were her parents. The only problem was that every time she had dealings with her dad he let her down in some way, criticized her or became angry.

One day, as she was sharing the latest unpleasantness, I realized that society has created divorce to allow two adults who are incompatible to separate and go their own ways without guilt, but children of divorce don't have that right. I told my daughter about my observation and suggested that she get a divorce from her dad. That is exactly what she did. She not only cut off all communication and asked people to not give him her phone number or address; she even changed her last name!

You are never too old to grow up and stop being at the mercy of cruel and dysfunctional parents. You really don't need parents at your age, especially if you are independent and have your own family. Use EFT now to get a divorce and be free to find the love and acceptance you deserve elsewhere.

Here are some ideas to tap about.

Even though I feel guilty at the thought of divorcing my parents, I love and accept myself.
Even though I am supposed to love these unlovable people, and trying to love them is driving me crazy, I deserve to be free.
Even though it is very painful and uncomfortable being with them, I am supposed to love them and care for and about them and will hate myself if I don't, I am tapping about that now.
Even thought when I was ____ years old I made a decision that I had to make them happy no matter the cost to my physical or mental health, I love and accept myself.
Even though when I was _____ years old, I decided that ______ and I am not allowed to change my mind, I am tapping about that now.
Even though they will feel hurt if I divorce them, I need to remember how much they hurt me and are unaware of all the damage they inflicted, I am loving myself now.

Author's Bio: 

Gloria Arenson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Diplomate in Comprehensive Energy Psychology. She is passionate about helping people help themselves be free of negative emotions and compulsive behaviors such as overeating, spending, internet addiction and procrastination using EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). Her unique visualization method called The Phoenix Effect Process repairs difficult relationships effortlessly.

Gloria is the author of Desserts Is Stressed Spelled Backwards, How to Stop Playing the Weighting Game, Born to Spend, Five Simple Steps to Emotional Healing, Freedom At Your Fingertips, and EFT For Procrastination. She is past president of ACEP, the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology and is in private practice in Southern California .