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Resentment and Reconciliation

Oscar Wilde wrote: "Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes, they forgive them."

As adult children of aging parents, it seems that in some cases, built-up resentment for various wrongdoings can last until their parents' final days. Often, the heartfelt apology that adult children yearn to receive never comes, adding to their bewilderment and hurt.

Though every parent-child relationship is unique, at this point in my life, I sense that the resentment that some adult children may feel for their aging parents is actually a secondary emotion that masks what they really thirst for: to heal and reconcile.

The sad reality for some adult children is that their hurt runs so deep that as a self protective measure, they've hardened their hearts with resentment, anger, and sometimes apathy.

It's generally more difficult for aging parents to carefully consider where they could have been more thoughtful, and vulnerably express such regrets to their adult children than it is for said adult children to find a path that may lead to healing and reconciliation.

All of the above also feels true for sibling and spousal relationships. A lifetime of feeling resentful of a person we used to share a loving bond with may just be a deep need to experience genuine reconciliation.

Some people may be too emotionally damaged to be capable of experiencing healthy relationships, and some things just aren't meant to be, but I believe that every moment in our lives offers a chance to change things for the better, and this feels especially true of our most special relationships, past and present.


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