This post was originally published on 5/10/20 and was updated on 5/9/21.
“It wasn’t that long ago that my mom just drove me CRAZY! I couldn’t even talk to her without getting annoyed or impatient, and mostly tried to avoid conversations altogether, since I didn’t like treating her that way. Ever since the work I did with Shawn, I now see her innocence. I don’t feel I have to prove to her how wrong she is about me or other things. I connect with her so easily without needing her to change! We talk every day, and in many ways she has become my best friend.”
Anonymous Mom-Healing Testimonial
At one retreat, we witnessed with another client how truly cruel her mom had seemed to be in making denigrating comments to this daughter growing up. No one who witnessed that inquiry thought this client would ever be able to get past it, but by the end we could all see the mom’s innocence, and watched years of resentment dissolve before our eyes.
Now that her mom is older, this client is finding herself feeling patient and compassionate, and as she continued to work The Forgiveness Flip, much of the old resentment continued to fall away.
But she is still triggered by others in a big way, and we started to see the connection!
My later answer to her in a group forum might apply to others’ parent issues, and give insight into how these issues get morphed into our here-and-now relationships (we just substitute other players).
Where Did You Get Hurt?
If you’re feeling your relationship with your mom is in pretty good shape now, look to see how you set up rules for yourself and conditions for others and life along the way (e.g., “I can only be happy and safe if….”). That is how the mom stuff gets played out. We get those threads back to our childhood wounds via whatever upsets us now.
Also notice conditions you place on yourself: “I have to project a particular identity to be safe and loved,” and notice the ways you get mad at yourself when you don’t! They may look a lot like the way your mom treated you, or the way she treated herself. You may treat those close to you in that same way, or you may sometimes feel with others the way you felt as a child in reaction to her. But it’s now in reaction to your spouse, your boss, your grown children, and no longer seems to be about her. And it’s actually not! It always was about your thinking and your relationship to yourself.
Can You Forgive Who Your Mom Was Then?
It’s not about the “who she is now,” so your mind can easily forgive and see she is no longer a threat to you. It’s about the “who she was then” and what strategies your mind implemented to care for your needs and hers. Where are they still driving the bus in your life?
My mom and I did not have a simple relationship — and the early conclusions I drew about what I needed to do to fix it for her and for myself predisposed me to much codependency and dysfunction in later relationships. And it helped to see that, no matter how innocent, they were MY decisions, that set up harsh conditions for me and for her.
In sharing my own lessons learned, and living the amends I finally made, I wish to help you heal, even thrive, not only in relationship to your mother, but by extension, to yourself and to others. This path you’re on in this group is the most gentle and yet efficient path to untangling all that and to working through parent issues that seem to surface from time to time.
Learn to Love the Mom of Your Past, Present, and Future… And her surrogates!
In each of my year-long groups, and during our forgiveness work, you get YOU back. In other words, you get to give yourself back what you thought you lost at your mother’s hands, but which was just an inside job when you started to believe your own thinking. I see you starting to get back both your freedom and the ability to feel unconditionally connected, and loving the mom of the past, as well as the mom of the present and future (even after death, with no regrets).
And all the surrogate triggers life sends out give you as many perfect chances as you need to be there for YOU in ways she simply couldn’t.
You might want to download this Forgiveness Flip and work through any unforgiveness you find toward her or others… and find that the path to freedom is giving yourself and them what you thought you needed from her so long ago. Enjoy and reach out if I can help!
CALL TO ACTION: Click and read my Forgiveness Flips!
Better yet, Join me for our upcoming Radical Relationship Relief Workshop! We will be sending more information over the next few days. If you already know you’d like to attend this 2-hour “hands-on” online workshop to learn my process, get a taste (or a review) of The Work of Byron Katie, and work more on forgiveness or any relationship issue, Click here to reserve your FREE spot.