Message from an almost reader:

One of the biggest reasons I have not bought your book is that I do NOT want to discover that I am culpable in this issue with my mother. I have limited contact with her. Have the healthiest boundaries I’ve ever had – I honestly forgave her at a retreat. Now I see her at family functions and she doesn’t hurt me as much. So, I’ve got your book in my cart on Amazon and STILL haven’t clicked purchase. I was at an event recently where someone spoke about how addiction recovery requires ownership. I don’t want to examine that too close because my mother was so awful. I simply cannot give an inch because I feel like it’s giving her a pass. That’s why I’ve been hesitant to buy your book. I didn’t want to find out that you’d given your mother a pass, or were advocating for “pass giving.”

Dear you…

I don’t advocate for giving anyone a pass, unless you want to.

What I do advocate for is honoring your painful experiences AND choosing to have amazing boundaries with your mother (up to and including not having her in your life at all if that’s what works for you) AND doing it from a place of strength and respect for yourself versus from a place of being diminished, defensive, and bitter.

Which isn’t to say that you “shouldn’t” feel diminished, defensive, and bitter. Or sad, and angry, and annoyed. Feeling those emotions doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong.

You get to choose right now how you want to think and feel about your mother and what happened in the past, knowing that how you choose to think and feel right now is your responsibility, not hers. That’s the ownership piece.

That’s how you take your power back from her.

I also get the conundrum: having reached a mostly peaceful place (but perhaps with lingering doubt, guilt, and a fear that it might, somehow, be all your fault), you wonder…

If I read this book I might “give in” and go back into my relationship with my mother as I was before (feeling vulnerable and unprotected) because I’m no longer feeling quite so angry and defensive. And I’m not sure I can trust myself.

My clients often say things like, “My mother did shitty things to me.” When they shorten it to, “My mother did some shitty things” they’re not giving her a pass, they are taking themselves out of the less-than position

Then we work on creating and maintaining healthy boundaries, not because they need to protect themselves but because they TRUST themselves.

What do you think?

Much, much love,

Karen

P.S. I have to share something funny that happened during the Boundaries Workshop a couple of weeks ago. I noticed, once all of the participants had logged on via Zoom, that there was one more participant than there were participants who had registered. I thought to myself, “who else could possibly have the link?” So I asked, “Who’s calling in from area code XXX?” A voice said, “This is your mother. This is all of your mothers.” Then…laughter as a participant said she’d logged in from both her computer and phone.