Karen C.L. Anderson (author of Difficult Mothers Adult Daughters) explains how to set healthy boundaries for you and your mom.
Such a simple question.
And also so…fraught.
Because change is hard (or at least that’s what you been taught…or it’s been your experience…hell, it’s been MY experience).
But here’s what I also know to be true: change often happens in a moment.
And yet we don’t notice it!
Because it’s not spectacular (unless it is).
“There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.” ~ Anais Nin
The structure of change is relatively simple (this model comes from in a training I did called Coaching The Unconscious Brain with Melissa Tiers and deepens the model I already use with my clients). Let’s try it out:
Connect to your “problem state.” Think of a specific instance in the recent past in which you felt the thing you don’t want to feel or did the thing you didn’t want to do. Identify the trigger.
Example: you tend to feel anxious whenever you think of your mother…it’s just this chronic, low-level feeling all the time. But when you think about a specific instance, you might realize that it’s when you see you have an email, call, or text from her. You actually feel yourself contract…your heart starts beating faster, your breathing becomes more shallow.
Then “shake it off” (literally…shake your body) and disconnect from it by asking how you want to feel or what you want to do instead.
Example: you’d rather feel confident, or at least neutral.
Next, connect into a resourced place…actually summon the feeling state you want to have.
Example: think about what confidence feels like and think about a time when you were in the zone and feeling expansive. Try that on…you straighten up, throw your head and shoulders back and maybe even pump your fist in the air 🙂
Then imagine the trigger again and bring that desired feeling state and all the resources it contains to it and see what changes.
Example: in your mind, picture seeing her name pop up on caller ID, straighten up, throw back your shoulders, and pump your fist in the air.
This might sound like some sort of woo woo thing, but it is based on physiology and the latest understanding of neuroscience.
It’s how we take what seems to just be the status quo of our lives – being overwhelmed or anxious or feeling frustrated with our mothers – and start to relate to it differently. To provide some relief. To live with less guilt, anger, and defensiveness and to experience more peace, pride, joy, and confidence.
Much, much love,
P.S. A couple of resources:
#2 The Anxiety Sisters’ Survival Guide: How You Can Become More Hopeful, Connected, and Happy is available for pre-order.
A Guide For Separation, Liberation & Inspiration (Narcissistic Mother or Borderline Personality Disorder, Mother Daughter Relationship Book)
Difficult mother? The best news on the planet is that your mother doesn’t have to change in order for you to be happy. In fact, author Karen C.L. Anderson will take it a step further and say, your difficult mother doesn’t have to change in order for you to be free, peaceful, content, and joyful.