Collapse all expectations and preconceived notions of what a parent must be like or do. Recognize what you are looking at, reality in it’s rawest and most imperfect form.
Allow yourself to face the past and gather information. Speak to the said parent or people that knew them. This information may solidify and validate what you are already feeling or may show you a side to them you did not know, a side that shows that it is not all that bad.
Look at your parent as a human being with their own fears, doubts, mistakes, regrets, unfulfilled expectations and hurts. This will enable you to view them with compassion as opposed to looking at them as a superhero made of steel, a position that constantly evokes anger in you when you have to blame them, judge them and berate them for what they did or did not do.
Be honest about your own shortcomings, you are not perfect either. You have made mistakes, you have your own fears, doubts, regrets and shortcomings. If you are already a parent, you may have already disappointed or hurt your own children. How do you want them to react or treat you? Do you want them to extinguish the relationship or offer you understanding, patience, compassion or even help?
Gather your strength and courage and take back your power. Take the elements of your childhood or that make up the character and nature of your parent that you cannot use and convert that into positive affirmations or actions plans for your future before discarding the negatives. Take the good parts and document them, these will form the skeletal part of your relationship going forward. This is what you will focus on and base the relationship on.
Build a new and revised relationship with your parent on your own terms, being as kind to yourself and them as possible, control how far you go with the relationship and have back up or exit plans in place for those sticky, awkward or triggering moments.
Allow God to parent you. Soak in His unconditional love. Do not only rely on broken, dysfunctional earthly love but allow Him to lead, protect, provide for and guide you. This puts things into perspective, breaks chains, broadens the horizon and expands possibilities. Allow Him to be your confidant, for those issues you cannot share with or discuss with anyone else.
Heal yourself through your own children. Give your children what you wished for as a child. That way you get to relive your childhood through them and correct the mistakes or injustices of the past. When you see your children fulfilled and happy, at peace and free, provided for and protected, loved and guided in a safe environment that allows them to thrive and promotes their well being and a sense of self, your inner child can partake in the goodness of your family of creation and heal the wounds of the family of origin. That’s how legacies are made!