I stopped wishing she’d change.
I started noticing the difference between what she does and how I labeled it.
I asked myself two key questions.
Re: wishing she’d change
Think about how hard it is to change a significant behavior. First, you have to know it’s a problem. Second, you have to be willing to change it. And third, you have to go through the process of changing it. Chances are she isn’t on board with any it and isn’t going to change.
Labels you might use: alcoholic, narcissistic, critical, toxic, mean, dysfunctional, needy, selfish…
Instead describe the actual behavior: the things she did that prompted you to give her that label. And then ask yourself what you’re making her behavior mean (see my example below).
Actual behavior: She asked me a question.
My labels: She’s confrontational, critical, and condescending.
What I made it mean: “She thinks I’m stupid! She’s attacking me! She’s always pushing my buttons and inviting me into conflict.”
Re: the two questions
#1 Would I choose to be who I’ve been? #2 Who would I like to be?
The very act of labeling her as toxic and narcissistic made me act in a way that was not in alignment with who I wanted to be.
I was mostly okay with who I was and how I acted in general, but I didn’t like how I felt when I was around her (or right after I was around her…or maybe for days or weeks or months after…).
I was sad, angry, resentful, bitter, disappointed, frustrated, shutting down, hurt…and it definitely had an impact on how I showed up in my day-to-day and it absolutely impacted how I showed up in other relationships.
What I realized is that I believed I had to act a certain way because of her.
I put all my attention on her…what she was doing and saying (or not doing and not saying).
I constantly thought about why she is the way she is and how she needs to change and why what she is doing is so wrong and who she’s affecting and how it’s such a problem. And and and…
I was not paying attention to myself. And who I was being. I was not acting like I wanted to act. I didn’t like who I’d become. I absolutely would not choose that now.
I wanted her to change, and yet I blamed her for me not being able to.
So I asked myself: who do I want to be? How can I like and respect myself?
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Want to do this with me? See the P.S.
Much, much love,
Reveal patterns. Heal shame. Transform legacies.
P.S. In the past week more than 35 of you have signed up for my FREE Make It Real 2020 Transformational Book Club. Make It Real 2020 takes place next February and will include a private Facebook group, three group calls, and lots of encouragement to MAKE IT REAL in your life. Pre-order The Difficult Mother-Daughter Relationship Journal: A Guide For Revealing & Healing Toxic Generational Patterns and join us!