How to Heal Family Wounds

Family wounds can cut the deepest, but family is the most important thing in the world. It is worth the effort it takes to recreate bonds. Here are some steps found to be effective to healing family wounds.


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    Accept that healing takes time. Never assume that someone's attitude or behavior today will always be so. Do not assume that Your current attitude or behavior will always be so. Time is more often than not the greatest healer. Allow yourself and others to take the time they need.
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    Make amends if need be. If you have done something offensive or hurtful to your family, a sincere apology and a real effort to make things right will go a long way. Sometimes people will not trust that you are truly sorry, but consistent effort over time will change their minds.
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    Forgive. Sometimes we are not in the wrong in the slightest. Forgiving someone does not mean you allow abusive, domineering or tearing- down behavior to continue. But when someone is making an effort to change, knowing they have your forgiveness and support will go a long way. Bringing up the past constantly or rubbing their past misdeeds in their face will only waste time and cause deeper hurt. Ask yourself if you are more concerned with having your anger justified, or with helping this person you love become better.
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    Focus on the present. Living in the past will not help wounds heal. Make goals as a family, and decide to let go of any bitterness or anger that will keep you from moving into the future.
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    Seek to build up, not tear down. As you move to build healthier relationships, stumbles and mistakes are inevitable. Concentrating and commenting on the things you are doing right will be far more productive than becoming discouraged that relationships are not perfect yet- no relationship ever is.
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    Always love. You are a family. Define what that means to you and act accordingly; look at the whole forest and not just one tree. Also understand that people receive and give love in different ways. If you do not feel love from someone in your family it does not mean they do not love you- it may mean that they express it in a way you do not understand. Try to vary the ways you show love. If you are verbal, try to be affectionate; if you tend to buy small presents to show love, try to give service to your family by making dinner or lending a listening ear. Be observant of what each member of your family seems to respond to.
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    Look further. The motivations people have for the way they treat others is rooted in the way they feel about themselves. It is difficult not to take things personally, and often, people will lash out when you try to reach them. Do your best to not be offended and continue to patiently build their self-esteem- even when it seems like it's not doing any good or backfiring.
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    Understand that you cannot control other people. You can patiently support, uplift, encourage and forgive, but in the end, each individual must decide for themselves the kind of person they want to be. You can always love a family member, even if their behavior is such that distancing yourself from them is necessary. You can also pray for them, if you believe in prayer. But remember that developing yourself as an individual does not have to be hindered by the choices of others. In fact, seeing peace and joy you cultivate in your own life may provide the motivation they need to change themselves.


  • Always love
  • Be around families that provide and example of what you want your family to be- they will give you great ideas and rub off on you!
  • Appreciate the quirks and individuality your family has
  • Do things that build you as an individual
  • Don't keep bringing up the past, show genuine love.
  • Forgive others and yourself
  • Vary the ways you show love and see what each family member responds to the most
  • Dilute hostile situations by having a sense of humor- laughter is the best medicine and reduces the tension


  • Do not let bitterness take over your life.
  • Be wary of expecting perfection, from yourself as well as from others.
  • Do not take lashing out personally
  • Do not acquire Florence Nightingale syndrome and think it is your job to fix everyone. Worry about yourself and just love them.

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Categories: Creating Life Balance