Our parents want the best for us. The education that parents provide to their children is a complex process. Making mistakes during that process is quite common, so we must be supportive of our parents. They, without malice, often instill in us feelings of guilt that then affect our self-esteem.
The first thing you must do to control and eliminate the feeling of guilt is to recognize it. Basically, guilt is feeling bad about something you did, for which you feel responsible. Once you detect that feeling yourself you will create strategies to cope with it.
Detect the manipulation
No one knows you better than your parents. They know what your weaknesses are, therefore they will know how to induce you to feel guilty. When you identify that behavior in them you will know that they are trying to control you. You will understand that you are not guilty of anything, but that they have simply tried to coerce you. It is likely that your grandparents have also manipulated your parents and they are now repeating that psychological mechanism.
Choose someone you trust to talk to about this issue
Choose someone in your environment with whom you feel comfortable to talk about the guilt your parents create for you. You can choose a friend, a religious reference, a therapist or someone who is living this same situation. Talking about your concerns will bring immediate relief. You will know that you are not alone in this and you will feel understood.
Identify what you can’t control
Surely your parents instilled in you very high expectations about yourself. They told you to be perfect in everything and not to accept anything less than perfection. Now that you are an adult, you must recognize that those expectations belong to them. You are not responsible for their expectations. You should only be interested in your own goals. Never let the expectations that belong to your parents spoil the plans you want to develop in your life.
Understand that they only did their job as parents
Many parents remind their children of how much they have done for them. They then tell them that they are not grateful enough. Logically you feel guilty, believing you are a bad person. Keep in mind that this is a form of manipulation from your parents. Every time you feel sad because you are not supposed to be a grateful person, remember that they simply did their job as parents. They chose to be parents, so they also chose to take responsibility for you.
Developing forgiveness towards yourself and also towards your parents will generate deep relief in you. If you believe that at some point you have hurt your parents you should ask them for forgiveness and then personalize yourself. You should not demand perfection of yourself, because no one is perfect. Remember that to be wrong is human. As for your parents, if they made mistakes with you, you must forgive them, even if they never ask for forgiveness. They, as parents, did what they could.
Close this emotional wound definitively
Your parents make you feel guilty for something that was never your responsibility. This generates an emotional wound in you, which must be closed for good in order for it to stop hurting you. To achieve this you can do a ritual that represents the end of that situation. For example, you can write a letter explaining that you never meant to hurt your parents. Then you burn that letter and in your mind you end that problem. You can choose any other ritual, the important thing is that it represents the end of your discomfort.
Our parents love us and do the best they can while educating us. Parenthood is a very complex role and mistakes are made during that process. They, without malice, make us feel guilty. We must identify that mechanism. Then we must forgive them in order to feel peace with ourselves. Forgiving ourselves is equally important. We should not demand of ourselves to be the perfect children. We should focus on being good people, loving our parents as they are rather than having a guilt trip.