My mother died in 1995. As many do after someone dies, I put her up on a pedestal. It’s only now, fourteen years later, that I have begun to look at the affect the unhealed parts of our relationship have had on me and the unanswered questions they have left for me. Would we have resolved our issues had she lived? Would I have been able to stand forth in my own feminine power with her big personality hovering over me? Could I have forgiven my judgments of her?
My mother loved me. This was never in question. She was controlling. I’m sure she thought it was for my own good. When she pushed me to go out of my comfort zone, I resented her and sometimes withdrew—thinking this made her wrong and me right somehow. But I was really hurting only myself and setting myself two steps back. When I soared past the limitations she had set for me she felt betrayed and abandoned. Such was the time when I moved to Europe instead of just traveling there for a summer the year I turned 22. After all, she was no longer the center of my world. I thought she was selfish and I am sure she thought the same of me.
Now I realize that she didn’t know any better. And because she didn’t know any better, she couldn’t do any better.
Is your mother controlling? Did she try to control you in the past? What if that control is not something she’s doing against you but is simply coming from a place of her own loneliness and inadequacy? Could you find compassion then? The key thing here is to know that you are not condoning her behavior or forgetting what she has done. You are filling yourself with compassion when you think about her so that you feel better inside.
This also allows you to be in charge of your own life. Instead of being emotionally triggered by her demands, take a moment to take a breath so that you can transform your anger or anxiety into compassion to make healthier choices from that place of equanimity. You are in charge of your life and decisions. The sooner you take responsibility and overcome the challenges of change, the sooner you will enjoy more freedom and peace in your life.
Some of the people I have worked with over the years have felt stifled by their mothers. Women felt like their mothers were in competition with them for their fathers’ attention and they hated their mothers’ because of it. How do you think this would affect your relationship with other women? One woman realized that she never trusted women because of this unhealed material with her mother. Imagine the freedom and love that came into her life when she stopped looking at other women through untrusting eyes.
A male client told me that his mother never approved of any woman in his life, even his wife, causing disharmony and a tug of war inside him as to who should be placed first. He felt disloyal by choosing his wife over his mother at times and felt a strong draw to make his mother feel like she was always first for him. His mother had a hard time letting go as well. It is amazing how much more peaceful he became when he achieved clarity on what was really important to him. This allowed him to take responsibility for his choices and make mindful ones rather than doing things out of habit. He was able to stop blaming his mother and his wife for their demands. He made a clear decision from a centered place inside of him where he could energetically send love to everyone involved.
Here are two life-changing and freedom-giving reasons to forgive your mother:
1. When you hate your mother, you hate a part of yourself. This may seem counter intuitive at first. You may even feel like you are protecting yourself with your anger because this is the only way you know how to keep her at a distance from you. Truth is that we live in an energetic universe and the energy that you send out comes back to you. If you crave more compassion in your life, be mindful of when you aren’t feeling compassionate and change that. If you are blocked from finding compassion for what your mother did to you (or is currently doing), switch your thoughts to something you are feeling compassion for. Maybe you have a good friend who you love or a pet. My love for my dog never fails me.
Continue to set compassionate and thoughtful boundaries with your mother. Limit the amount of time you see her or speak to her. Be open to the possibility that she may actually change as you stop being judgmental of her. This isn’t guaranteed but it can happen.
It is never too late to forgive. If your mother has passed on, it is really important for you to do this work now to alleviate any guilt that you may be living with. Guilt is poison to your spirit.
2. If you want more good/ joy/ abundance/ love in your life, then you must make a shift within yourself to eradicate anything which is counter to that positive energy. By making your mother wrong you are hanging on to judgment. Imagine what your life would be like if instead of trying to change her or living in regret or acting out, you could move on and spend your time on more positivitly. Release the negative and open the doors to your kingdom of freedom and peace where you’ll be better able to meet the love of your life, enjoy time with your children and friends, take up an artistic project so you can express yourself creatively, travel to those dream destinations, see more prosperity in your business, contribute more to your community.
Let me state this clearly—forgiveness is for you so you can be happier and experience more peace every day.
Coaching Steps – What to do now:
1. Keep a journal with you and note how many times a day negative thoughts about your mother take over your mind. The first step to healing is bringing this negative pattern of thought to your awareness. Forgive yourself for time lost, and make a commitment going forward to be kind to yourself. Today is the first day of your new life filled with freedom and peace of mind. In one week read over your journal. Note any patterns that show up. And then throw your journal out and start again.
2. In last month’s article on How to Forgive Your Father’s Betrayal, I laid out the tools for you to start practicing forgiveness of your judgments about yourself. I’ve learned that all judgments can somehow be turned back on us because as people we project our feelings and thoughts onto others. For example: If I judge my mother as mean-spirited then I need to look at where I am mean-spirited. When I’m aware and honest within myself, I can easily see that I can be mean-spirited towards myself when I don’t stick to healthy choices in my self-care. By forgiving myself for the mistakes and missteps I might make in this the world, I see changes for the better. This tool also allows for your forgiveness work to be in your own hands because you are not depending on someone else to change to make things better.
You can change your life by changing your patterns of thought and how they manifest in your behavior. Do this work and see the abundant freedom that comes from truly forgiving those who have betrayed you and the past wrongs you have done to yourself because of it.
© Copyright 2009 Brenda Adelman
Want to reprint this article in your ezine or website? You may, as long as it remains intact and you include this complete blurb with it: Brenda Adelman, MA in Spiritual Psychology, referred to as The Queen of Forgiveness, teaches people who have a lot to offer but are stuck, how to become present, enjoy more success and peace in their relationships and lives by letting go of old and new resentments using the art of forgiveness. For FR*EE tips on how to finally be happy and free visit www.forgivenessandfreedom.com.