Imagine me reading this to your mother…or, if you’d like to hear me read it, click here.
Also, your mother may be mentally ill, addicted, and/or have a personality disorder that prevents her from having the empathy and ability to hear and receive this message in the spirit in which I wrote it. I hope it helps anyway.
I’m betting that when your daughter talks about the strained relationship she has with you, you make it mean that she thinks you are a bad mother, maybe even a bad person, and that she’s one who has suffered, as a result. You might even make it mean that she thinks she’s the “good one” in the relationship.
Here’s the thing: she’s just different.
Because she needed you to take care of her, and because she wanted your love and approval, she sometimes contorted, changed, and hid herself. She did this not because she thought what she was doing was bad or wrong (because it wasn’t) – she did it because she was afraid that if you knew the real her, you would withdraw your care and love.
And now that she’s being her true self, it seems like she’s changed! She’s not as pliable and malleable. She’s not as easily manipulated, and it’s caused some friction, or maybe even estrangement.
Here’s what you need to know about your daughter: she needs and wants to feel good about herself and her life, but she didn’t have the ability to do that when she was enmeshed with you.
Because you were so big and so important to her, she gave you an inordinate amount of her attention. And in so doing you trained her to separate herself from herself. She loved you so much and stayed enmeshed with you a long time because she thought she might be able to find herself anyway. But as it turned out, she couldn’t.
She couldn’t not be herself (for you) and be herself (for herself) at the same time.
So she figured, at a minimum, that she needed space. She needed space so she could retrain herself back into alignment with who she is…and who she wants to be.
She loves her life. She feels good about herself. She likes to wake up every day and feel alive and on purpose. She wants to talk about happy things and she wants to see the best in others. She wants to feel good about what she gives her attention to. And for a while, when she was with you, she was able to do that. But the longer the two of you were together and the more enmeshed the two of you became, the less able she was to do that. It became a struggle and the struggle sucked the life out of her.
So here’s the plan. She is going to choose to feel fabulous. And she is going to do everything in her power to envision you feeling fabulous, too. She could write pages and pages about all the things she loves about you, but she is NOT responsible for how you feel…and you’ve tried to make her responsible for that every damned day. That’s not her job, it’s yours.
Her promise to you is that she will be as happy as she can and will never hold you responsible for the way she feels.
Also, please know that I see YOU.
I see your hurt and fear.
I understand that you might think I am trying to drive an even deeper wedge between you and your daughter.
I understand that you might believe your daughter is looking to me to absolve her of responsibility.
I acknowledge that you think I am only hearing one side of the story and that we’re ganging up on you.
I also understand that your daughter was, perhaps, abusive towards you. Your daughter might be difficult. I was a difficult daughter and my mother probably still thinks I am.
The work I do is not about creating divisiveness between you and your daughter, or turning your daughter against you. It’s about helping your daughter discover and take responsibility for her own beliefs, thoughts, and feelings – separate from yours.
My devotion is helping your daughter become the creative, confident, unflappable woman she wants to be.
So when I talk about separation, it’s not about disrespect or never seeing each other (unless that’s what’s your daughter feels is best for her), it’s about both of you becoming emotionally autonomous women who have healthy, respectful boundaries.
One thing I know for sure is that, whereas I used to hate myself, I now love and respect myself, and that love and respect extends outward from me to my mother.
When I was able to take responsibility for my thoughts and emotions, I was able to also take responsibility for my actions and to stop blaming her. That is ultimately what I teach – in my writings, in my support calls, in my workshops, and in the 1:1 coaching I do.
This is where our freedom, peace, and happiness lies. It can be hard work and a woman has to be ready, willing, and able to do it. It was the hardest and very best thing I’ve ever done for myself.
So fear not.
Your daughter is a woman, just like you.
This work is as much for you as it is for her.
Much, much love,