I remember the day so clearly.
I had marched myself down to Ocean Beach Park, a few blocks from our old house in New London, and was HURLING rocks into the water.
It was a fury like no other. White! Hot! RAGE!
Because my mother had asked me a question in an email.
I was proud of myself because instead of responding to her email in my normal fashion – instead of engaging in our decades-long pattern – I was throwing rocks into the ocean.
It reminded me of the time my mother told me that she screamed at the top of her lungs on her drive into work.
I’m guessing she thought she was feeling and expressing her anger, just like I thought I was (and to be clear, we were).
But here’s the thing: the anger wasn’t healthy, mature, or clean.
In her case (and this is my opinion), it was borne of a decades-long belief that she was stuck and that her parents hated her.
In my case it was borne of a decades-long belief that she was out to get me…I had cast myself in the role of victim and her in the role of villain.
Was she out to get me? She very well might have been. Who knows.
It really doesn’t matter.
What matters is that I lived my life believing it…it was the lens through which I viewed our every interaction.
As a result, I also believed:
I’m a pathetic loser.
I should be ashamed of myself.
It bled out into all areas of my life.
I hurt myself each and every time I became angry – not because anger is in and of itself bad or unhealthy – but because in this instance (and many others) I believed I was powerless.
It wasn’t clean, mature anger; it was impotent, immature rage that quickly melted into powerlessness.
Until the next time.
The moment I set myself free is the moment I acknowledged that I WANTED to be angry at her.
That’s when my anger went from being impotent and immature, to being powerful and mature…because it was my choice, and I was taking responsibility for it.
As I said above…it doesn’t matter if her intention was to “get me.” What matters is whether or not the belief – and the identity I created around it – helped and served me.
Like most stories it did serve me a little…but mostly it kept me ashamed.
So I learned how to tell myself a different story. And changed the trajectory of my life.
Rewriting our stories is big part of what we do in the six-month 1:1 Mother Lode Mentorship, which is for smart, creative women (who also have a bit of rebellious streak) and who have a difficult or troubled relationship with their mothers that they KNOW is negatively impacting important parts of their lives.
I am working with several clients right now who recognize they have similar narratives that are playing out not just in their relationships with their mothers, but with their daughters, as well. Despite their desire to be a different kind of mother. This isn’t because they are bad mothers. Or because they are stupid. Quite contrary. It’s because they couldn’t see the pattern. Just like I couldn’t see my pattern.
I worked with a coach so I could see. So I could change.
And the change was so…profound…I decided to make helping other adult daughters my mission.
Because right now? More than ever?? The world needs more powerful, unashamed women.
If this sounds like something you’d like to try, send me a message and we’ll have a back and forth to see if you’re a good fit. If so, we can get you started right away!
Much, much love,
Guess who was interviewed for a New York Times piece on boundaries during a pandemic?
And check out this podcast interview I did with Amanda Kingsley of Speaking Light Into Abortion. I never pass up an opportunity to talk about the abortion I had when I was 21 because my story, the way I tell it, and the way I feel about it is not the norm. Amanda is doing amazing and important work in the world and I love that she titled this episode “Expanding What It Means To Love.”