We Cannot Choose Whether or Not We Love Our Parents

On the deepest level, you cannot choose whether or not you love your parents.

When you consciously reject a parent or a part of your parent out of resentment, your unconscious reacts by making up the difference.

In other words, in the absence of conscious love, the unconscious works overtime to express love for parents. Either way, love is present.

What does unconscious love for a parent look like?


Unconscious love says “I’ll show I still love you by being and acting like you.”

And so we make up for any conscious rejection by adopting aspects of our parent’s behavior, thought patterns, way of being in romantic relationship and much more.

This is why my work with Family Constellations is about making peace with family. When we can heal and let go of the resentments, we have more freedom to choose what we carry from them. It’s another example of how gratitude heals.

With gratitude we have the freedom to take the best parts of our parents and kindly leave what doesn’t serve.

By contrast, if we remain living in resentment of our parents, we end up getting stuck playing an existential game of ‘whack-a-mole.’

We realize we’re dating them in our partner and it horrifies us. Then we notice we are prone to anxiety just like them. Later on we use or lose money like them and so on and so forth...

Each time we notice these forms of unconscious mimicry we hate it. So we whack away at each one attempting to keep all the moles down in the hopes that we can be free of our parent’s influence through rejection... but we can’t.

Here’s why this matters. Whether we choose to accept our parents or not, we received 50% of our life from each. 50% of us is our mother and 50% is our father.

Reject a parent and you’re rejecting a part of yourself. The external rejection creates an equal internal rejection... a withholding of self love.

After some time seeing this play out over and over again, unconscious mimicry of a parent has taken on a new meaning for me.

Instead of being a longing to love and be loved by our parents, I now see it as the unconscious attempt to restore love for oneself.

Photo by @madisonperrins

Nick Werber