MYTH: the only way to move forward, heal, and feel better about your relationship with your mother is for both of you – equally – to want to repair the relationship, for you both – equally – to actively work on it (maybe even in therapy together), for your mother to apologize, and for you to forgive her.
REALITY: none of that is necessary (or even preferable).
If all of that were necessary, very few women would bother because very few of their mothers (especially in certain generations) would be willing or able (for a variety of reasons, including their own unacknowledged trauma and triggers) to look at themselves with honesty and compassion for themselves and their daughters.
The reason it might feel necessary is that you’ve bought into the idea that it’s supposed to look a certain way: coming together, hashing out the past (who did what to whom, who misperceived what, etc.) in order to arrive at some sort of common “truth,” compromising, and learning how to talk to each other using language like, “what I’m hearing you say is…”
I promise you: none of that is necessary. You can move forward, heal, and feel better without any of that.
Decide how you want to show up in the relationship. How often do you want to see and talk to her (if at all)? What boundaries are needed? How will you communicate them?
Ask yourself how you need to feel in order to show up that way. Do shame, guilt, and anxiety help? Probably not, so what emotions, when felt intentionally, will help you show up as the grown-ass adult daughter you want to be (if that is how you want to show up)? What emotions will help you establish and maintain healthy, mature boundaries?
Ask yourself what you need to believe in order to feel that way. Your thoughts and beliefs, and the identity you’ve created with those thoughts and beliefs, may not serve your goal. Knowing the story you have about who you are in relation to her allows you to change it. Everything else flows from there.
This is totally doable on your own.
If you’d like to speed up the process and have some compassionate accountability as you go, hire me as your guide and witness. The Mother Lode is a six-month 1:1 program designed to be a safe, compassionate container for you to do the most powerful and life-affirming work there is…and for me to see you as the person you want to be, not just in your relationship with your mother, but in your life. Reply to this email with questions or click here to set up a call to discuss working together.
Much, much love,
On the Dear Adult Daughter podcast: