I suspect most people would be hard-pressed not to think of a dysfunctional relationship they recognize either in their own life or that of someone they know. So often, the holidays stir up old wounds. I want this to be a place of help, hope, and healing. So I asked Phylis Mantelli to share more about what she learned through her journey of healing her relationship with her mother and the hope she found for healing dysfunctional relationships.
I recently chatted with Phylis about healing dysfunctional mother/daughter relationships on an episode of Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast [if you missed it, visit Dysfunctional Mother Daughter Relationships: Hope for Breaking the Cycle].
Read to the end for a Book Giveaway!
Healing Dysfunctional Relationships
By Phylis Mantelli
I recently did a talk on forgiveness as part of healing dysfunctional relationships. I walked the audience through the journey of my forgiveness towards my mother. As I thought about all I had been through with her, all the emotions rounded each corner of my brain and made its way down to my heart. I filtered through each thought, swirled it around until they all landed on peace and forgiveness.
The truth is my mother was not there for me during the most vital times in my life. She did not protect me when she should have. She did not have empathy when I needed her arms to wrap around me when I felt the weakest.
Forgiveness is for YOU
I was hurt and traumatized as a child by the actions and words my mother threw in my path, but as an adult, I had to learn to place them in the proper box. The box of forgiveness.
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” Psalm 55:22
Only God can give you a forgiveness that no human on our own could ever understand. We are always fighting our fleshy parts. I can hear you saying, “But she was so mean and is so awful. You do not understand. It never ends. I cannot stand her. Why should I forgive her? She doesn’t deserve it!”
Am I getting close? I do get it. Here is the thing. Forgiveness is not for the other person; it is for you! The only way you can clear the path to make your future clear and peaceful is to break off the parts that do not serve you anymore. God has a unique plan for your life, and He is waiting for you to climb in and grab hold tightly.
Work with Him on this. Be a person who is filled with:
Forgiveness is between you and God
Let me be clear about another thing: I know sometimes we need to forgive from afar. Perhaps your parent/friend/boss/coworker has passed, or they do not live close by. I am not saying you must be in the presence of the person who hurt you. Forgiveness starts with you. This is your journey. If it leads you back to having a conversation with the one who hurt you, great! But this is between you and God. He will direct your path to the things that need cleansing.
“Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12
Your life will be richer in heart, you will live bigger and feel free. I have no regrets over the journey with my mother. On the last day of her life, I walked to her bedside and told her I forgave her, I was happy, I had a great life, and it was okay for her to go. She died the next morning. I felt I had done everything I could do for my mother to forgive her. I felt whole.
The process of forgiveness
You can do this. Start the process today. Write it out in a journal the things you want to let go of. Ask God to show you where the hurts are and ask Him to release them from your life. Work on them. Take your time. This is important work and so worth it for your future.
Some questions to help you this week are.
- Are there hurts in your life right now that need forgiving?
- Have those past hurts blocked you from seeking healthy relationships?
- Are you the one that has possibly hurt someone that you need to ask for forgiveness?
- Can you take a breath before you say something that may cause pain to someone else?
- Is it time to have a conversation with your mom (or loved one) to understand them better or start the process of forgiveness?
- Can you forgive the things of the past to clear your heart for goodness?
Remember to journal any progress to show yourself the growing journey toward healing and happiness!
In the comments below, we’d love to hear how you have worked to mend and heal dysfunctional relationships.
Guest Phylis Mantelli
Phylis Mantelli is a speaker, blogger, coach and co-host of the Podcast “24 Carat Conversations” with Phylis and Rhonda. She is the author of the book Unmothered: Life With a Mom Who Couldn’t Love Me. She has been married for 31 years and has two grown daughters. She is the grandmother of one adorable grandson and has a granddaughter on the way. She loves to read, walk in her garden and occasionally will break out in dance while cooking in the kitchen!
Stay connected with Phylis Mantelli:
Facebook / Website / Instagram / Pinterest / LinkedIn / Podcast FB Page
In conjunction with this post and the podcast interview Dysfunctional Mother Daughter Relationships: Hope for Breaking the Cycle, Phylis Mantelli is giving away a free copy of her book, Unmothered: Life With a Mom Who Couldn’t Love Me
Leave a comment below sharing with us one thing you learned about finding healing for dysfunctional relationships and you will be entered into the contest.
You could also share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter then comment here to tell us where you shared it and you’ll also be entered into the drawing.
The winner will be selected at random and announced next Monday, May 17, 2021, here on this post. Continental United States only.
This really hit close to home because of issues with my parents. I never was close with my mom. I loved her and she was a sweet woman in her later years but due to depression she experienced in my younger years, I cared for my younger siblings and she was not really involved but in her own world. No mother daughter nurturing that I ever remember. So our relationship was always superficial. No confidant, no asking questions about the facts of a woman’s life but she gave me a big red book to read. As a young married, I was convicted that I needed to ask my mom’s forgiveness for not respecting her as a teen. She understood but dad didn’t. I felt the need to always be perfect for him. I walked around on eggshells all my young life trying not to make dad mad. Dad was verbally abusive, very negative and critical and in my older years I did walk through forgiveness for him but Father kept us away from him. Never a deep relationship but always superficial. I yearned for that closeness but the Lord filled in those yearnings with His love and comfort. So thank you for sharing from your pain. It really blessed me. Thank you, Dr. Michelle, for your input also of growing up with a depressed mom. You truly understand. I forgive them both before they passed away and know they are both waiting for me in heaven. I am sharing this message in FB.
Forgiveness is a big goal for me and something I’ve yearned for a long time. I learned that I can start this journey by having a frank talk with God-just us two. He will guide me from there. I’m going to take your suggestion and journal all my issues and specifically ask Him for guidance in each one. Thank you so much….and please pray for me❤️✝️
That forgiveness is really for you. It sounds like we grew up with te same Mom.
Thanks for this powerful post. In my dysfunctional relationship with my mother, I’ve have learned the freeing power of forgiveness. Even though she’s a repeat offender. Our relationship is still very much broken and unhealthy because she is unhealthy. We cannot have a healthy relationship with someone who is emotionally and mentally unhealthy. Loving, forgiving, and praying for her helps heal me!
Unforgiveness puts a wedge between me & God.
This was an eye opening conversation for me to hear. I never really thought of my issues along this line of thought though it is so true. The best part of this that I heard and have begun is to ask the Holy Spirit to help me to reveal areas that need healing and to be my healer. Open my heart to love and stop looking for someone else to make me okay with me.
This looks like a good book. From an early age, I knew my mom was not the kind of mom I wanted to be. But it took years and some good books to realize how unhealthy and dysfunctional she was. Or my childhood was. Forgiveness was for me. She is still the same person, but I don’t want to carry bitterness or anger around towards her. I have more pity for her, than anything. She hurts others because she is hurting. And she doesn’t even realize it.