My parents were physically and mentally abusive to me as a child. As an adult, they have never recognized what they have done to me and even try to guilt me into having a relationship with them that I do not want. I practice often, but I can’t make myself feel a forgiveness that I do not feel at this time. In the buddhist view, am I wrong if I choose not to have a relationship with them?


I wrote an extensive answer for the question: How should a Buddhist approach honoring parents who abused them?

In summary, you are not wrong if you choose to not to have a relationship with them. Love is something earned. Core on-going relationships require the maintenance of on-going wholesome qualities from both sides. In Buddhism, parents have the duty of being compassionate towards their children & protecting their children from harm.

Naturally, it is up to your judgment, but if your parents insist you have relationship with them, you can honestly communicate to them your reasons for your reluctance. Note: this may be very hurtful to them; even though such hurt is self-made by them.

Buddhism teaches family relationships have four necessary qualities: (i) honest straightforward communication; (ii) training in self-improvement; (iii) patience/forbearance; and (iv) unselfishness.

Therefore, the 1st step is honest straightforward communication. The 2nd step is self-improvement, that is, your parents' willingness to recognize what they have done (which may be difficult for them).

Most of all, keep in mind, your parents acted as they did due to ignorance/not-knowing. Their minds were controlled by ignorance. Buddhism teaches ignorance an element in nature; like a disease, sickness or blindness people can have.


(I write this without knowing the specific circumstances in your life, so i hope my answer don't come across as too blunt).

How honorable it may be to forgive those who hurt us, it is also a matter of allowing it to take time. We can't force a tree to grow, and beating ourselves up for not having a specific desirable emotion such as being forgiving will likely add insult to injury.

It may seem like a tough pill to swallow, but accepting pain first hand fosters non-attachment and allows emotions to subside. At best, acceptance will help in developing an equanimous perspective on things. Acceptance and equanimity can in turn be preparations for forgiving, in case you choose to do so in the future.

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