Question from a reader…

I have a girls trip to Hawaii planned with my adult daughter, my mother-in-law, and my mother in April 2020. I have a close relationship with my daughter and I am so thankful it’s not like the relationship I have with my mother. I’m also close to my mother-in-law. She doesn’t drive and I spend a lot of time taking her shopping, to appointments, out to lunch, etc. She’s always wanted to go to Hawaii so my husband and I planned a great trip, making sure we included the things she wants to do. After much deliberation, my daughter, mother-in-law, and I agreed to invite my mother. They know about the issues we’ve had. I have been working on boundaries with my mother and have limited contact with her. I sent her the budget and itinerary, told her when we were going (making sure it wasn’t over her birthday), and asked her if she’d like to go with us. She’s a scatter-brained control freak, so I took the control part out of the equation as much as it’s possible. She wants to go and things seem fine now. How do I keep this trip from blowing up in my face so that we all have a good time? Thank you in advance for any advice.

Dear you…

As I finished reading your note, this is what I heard in my head: my mother is a control freak so I have to control her by taking control out of the situation so she won’t have anything to be a control freak about and if I can do that, then I can control this trip so everyone has a good time.

I say this with so much love (and self-recognition).

I have been the adult daughter considering every scenario and trying to orchestrate every outcome. It wasn’t fun. It wore me out. And? It was also part of my growth. So know this: you are growing and evolving.

So, how do you keep this trip from blowing up in your face so you all have a good time?

You don’t.

You let what ever is going to happen, happen. And you trust yourself to manage your mind when and if it does. You trust that you’re capable of feeling whatever feelings your thoughts produce for you.

One what to do that is to get curious about what’s underneath your worry.

Write down all the thoughts you have about your mother and this trip, starting with “She’s a scatter-brained control freak” and “I have to make sure everyone has a good time.”

“If my mother is a scatter-brained control freak and everyone isn’t having a good time, then that means I _________.”

And then…

And then…

And then…

Keep writing down whatever comes to mind.

Acknowledge that these thoughts are optional. They’re not facts.

Let your mother be who she is.

So you can be free.

Much, much love,

Karen

Reveal patterns. Heal shame. Transform legacies.

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