The Power of Forgiveness: Healing the Broken Relationship with Your Mother


By Bernadette Anderson|Exclusive to South Bay Black Journal

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In the tender moments before birth, a silent conversation unfolds between a mother and her unborn child—a symphony of shared breaths, rhythmic heartbeats, and whispered promises.Yet, the reality of mother-child relationships can sometimes prove rocky. There are a lot of ups and downs — some bigger than others and some seemingly irreparable. As life’s journey unfolds, this once-unbreakable bond can encounter fractures—deep wounds born of misunderstandings, unspoken pain, and unresolved conflicts. In the intricate tapestry of mother-child relationships, where joy and sorrow dance hand in hand, forgiveness emerges as a beacon of hope—a guiding light illuminating healing for your soul. It’s not necessarily about reconciliation but rather emotional freedom.

Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and realizing you were the prisoner.” ~ Max Lucado

As a physician, I’ve witnessed heart-wrenching narratives unfold—stories that reverberate with the silent struggles of adults grappling with fractured bonds between mothers and children. While their names remain anonymous, this article is inspired by their true stories. Their pain echoes through every hardened heart, every tear shed, and every hollow smile, a silent testament of those intimately acquainted with the ache of a splintered relationship with their mother. And the impact of these fractured experiences can last well into adulthood—as deep-rooted trauma. The scars left behind are not mere remnants; they are profound imprints that cast a shadow on every aspect of life. They chip away at self-worth, diminish emotional resilience, compromise the capacity for trust and intimacy, and even affect physical well-being. Those wounds are a stark reminder that a mother-child bond was broken or never fully formed, but still deeply craved—and now they are begging for forgiveness and healing.

Perhaps your mother didn’t always stand up for you when you needed her most. Maybe she prioritized other things or people over you, leaving you feeling neglected or unimportant. Or perhaps she knew about the abuse or mistreatment you faced but remained silent, leaving you to navigate the pain and confusion alone. Such trauma can undermine the foundation of trust and security that should exist between a mother and child, making the idea of forgiveness feel unnatural.

What does forgiveness mean, and how do you achieve it? The notion of forgiveness is often misunderstood or oversimplified, leading to much frustration when attempting to release resentment towards a mother who has wronged you, or excusing her actions in a deeply hurtful situation. Forgiveness may seem impossible if the focus remains solely on your mother or the circumstances. The truth is: Forgiveness is a personal gift meant solely for you. Understanding that forgiveness isn’t about your mother—or even the surrounding circumstances—may bring a sigh of relief. This eye-opening moment marks a pivotal first step toward healing. As you traverse this winding path, be sure to intermittently take deliberate, deep breaths to help you navigate your emotions while processing the weight you carry. So, remember to inhale deeply … hold briefly … then exhale slowly.

Forgiveness and healing are deeply personal journeys, each unique to the individual. However, everyone shares a common foundation amidst these individual paths: the conscious decision to shift the mental replay from “what she did”to “how it makes you feel.” Finding forgiveness entails a keen awareness of the specific emotions you’ve experienced—neglect, anger, embarrassment, distrust, or another sentiment—to gain clarity on your pain. This clarity allows you to discern the causes of your emotional distress and understand how these feelings have influenced your relationship with your mother, and other people in your life. Recognizing the raw emotion that was deeply wounded and nurturing your emotional scars empowers you to embrace your vulnerability once more. As you delve into the depths of self-exploration, engaging in practices like self-reflection, journaling, mindfulness, and enriching your emotional vocabulary, you become available to forgive. With forgiveness comes the fertile ground for healing to take root, transforming wounds into wisdom and pain into purpose.

Forgiveness wields immense power—it’s a declaration of self-love, self-respect, and a dedication to nurturing inner harmony. When you choose to forgive, you prioritize your well-being and inner peace above all else. It fosters empathy and compassion towards yourself (and others). Ultimately, forgiveness lets you rewrite your story, transforming pain into resilience and paving the way for a future filled with hope and healing.

As we celebrate Mother’s Day, it’s a time to reflect on the joys and blessings of maternal love, alongside the complexities and difficulties that can arise within these relationships. It’s okay to acknowledge the pain, the disappointment, and the longing for a deeper connection with your mother. To those facing these challenges: Your feelings are valid, and your experiences are heardHealing is possible—it is not a linear journey, and taking small steps forward is still progress, even if it sometimes feels slow. Embracing forgiveness heralds the dawn of reclaiming and welcoming happiness, and thriving amidst life’s myriad experiences.


With 20-plus years in health and wellness, Dr. Bernadette is a respected authority and esteemed family physician. Her book, Fulfilled. 52 Prescriptions for Healing, Health, and Happiness, is the core of her influential Fulfilled. wellness program, garnering her recognition as the Most Innovative Mental Wellness Programming Provider 2023—Midwest USA from Global Health and Pharma. Her literary work has received both the New York City Big Book Award and Independent Press Award in the Well-Being category, alongside a notable feature in Times Square.  Additionally, Dr. Bernadette is a freelance writer for GoodRx, and she pens thought-provoking articles and essays for prestigious publications, including EssenceUSA TodayNewsOneNewYorkWeekly, and TheGrio. For valuable insights into living a healthier, happier, more fulfilling life, you can connect with her via  LinkedInInstagram, or visit her website.


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