Most people don't arrive at adulthood without a few emotional wounds they carry from childhood. It's so important to understand yours, forgive and/or accept parents if you can, and move forward in a healthy way. Individual therapy can give you understanding about your childhood and help you not reenact dysfunctional family relationships in your current life.

What kind of wounds do adults carry? Some parents are unstable and unpredictable. Other parents have substance abuse problems so are mostly unavailable, angry, self-absorbed or checked out. There are parents who abandon, neglect, or physically or emotionally abuse their children. There are parents who play favorites among their children, or criticize and belittle. 

Some adults carry wounds from early parental loss, whether through an early death, divorce, or other abandonment. These individuals can be frightened of abandonment in later life relationships.

There are other individuals who coped with a narcissistic or borderline parent, and have to learn healthy boundaries and self-care as it was not possible to learn those things growing up in their family. The parent's needs likely dominated everything. Healing for these individuals often involves grieving for the childhood they didn't have.

Healing often involves coming to understand that parents are just people and bring all their insecurities, experiences and limitations with them to the parenting role.  Healing from childhood wounds involves seeing parents objectively, both the positive and the negative.

Many families transmit patterns from one generation to another, unless someone decides to stop the pattern. Doing genograms in sessions with individuals, couples and families, it's  eye-opening to see the patterns illuminated. Anxiety, depression, divorce, suicide and infidelity will often repeat in a single family if you study multiple generations.

It may be important to grieve for the childhood you did not have, or the inability your parents may have had to meet your needs. It's key to sort out your feelings of loss, sadness, longing, hurt, anger, as well as others.

It saddens me to see adults who are still seeking the approval of others. If we don't examine our family patterns and influences, we can unknowingly be seeking favorite child status at work with our boss, or be seeking parental approval which may never be given. Seeing our parents as people with their own vulnerabilities, flaws and strengths helps us put things in perspective.

You can make the decision to heal your childhood emotional wounds with the help of a caring therapist, and begin reshaping the family emotional patterns in this generation. You can break the patterns you don't like and build a new, healthier pattern for the next generation in your family. It's up to us.