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    There is so much harm that can come from one person dismissing another’s pain. Siblings, even identical twins can and often do have different lived experiences with their parents. I

    n families, there can be a dynamic where one child is always seen as the good one, or the Golden Child, and one is always seen as the bad one, or Black Sheep. This will definitely contribute to their having very different experiences with and feelings about their parents. One does not invalidate the other. Both are true for that person.

    In addition, abusers actively seek to hide the reality of what they are doing, so that others will naturally have a more positive experience of them than those they direct their abuse towards.

    Calls to forgive, to understand or to re-engage with abusive or toxic family members causes harm. So, if you hear someone share about negative feelings or experiences with a person, try to remember to get curious about their experience, rather than rushing to judgment.

    Instead of advising them to better understand their parent, seek to better understand their experience with that parent. By doing so, you hold space for the other persons’ lived experience.

    There is so much pain that I see in working with my clients, first from the direct experiences they’ve had, and then from the way their experience is reacted to by others.