It was Mother’s Day, 1984. I walked into the room with a massive vase of fragrant red roses and baby’s breath. My mother lay in the hospital bed on the far side of the room.
Murmurs of delight came from 3 other patients in the room. But, my mother deliberately and defiantly looked away as I set down the vase and cheerfully wished her a happy mother’s day.
She pursed her lips and turned her head to the window. I waited … and waited. And then quietly left.
I went back every day to try to make my mother understand that I loved her unconditionally and her silence could not stop that. But, it was to no avail.
My relationship with my mother was always tenuous and fraught with control. When I left home at 18 and could no longer be controlled by brute force, she regularly used silence, rejection, and ‘excommunication’ as a weapon. Her mother had used the same weapons against her.
My mother also used illness as a cry for attention. She would end up in the hospital whenever she felt ignored or we did not meet her ultimatums. Her body was trying to communicate that her mental and emotional self was out of balance. But, she did not understand this.
Do you have your own stories of ‘family issues’ and childhood traumatic memories?
For most of us, childhood is fraught with insecurity, and lacking in love, nurturing and healthy mentoring. We desperately want our parents to be something different than who they really are, to love us the way we need to be loved. But, it just doesn’t happen.
Author Jeff Brown explains “We often go back for more, even if we have not had our needs met by our parents for decades. It’s a deep hunger to finally be nurtured, seen, and loved by those who brought us into being. But it’s been my experience that those who cannot meet those needs seldom change. Not because they don’t want to, but because they just aren’t up to the task. They don’t have it in them. They are in too much pain themselves. If you are someone who keeps going back for more, you have to stop. You are holding yourself hostage. It’s no longer them—it’s now you. It’s the unconscious hope to finally feel seen and loved that is wounding you. The key to your liberation is to finally see them for who they are. Really see them, the way you want to be seen. See them in their context, their woundedness, their limitations. Once you do, you no longer imagine them as adults capable of meeting your needs. Because they aren’t. They’re lost children, stumbling over their own patterns and conditioning. They can’t meet your needs because nobody ever met theirs.”
At a very early age I understood that my mother had not gotten her needs met in her childhood, and was not capable of meeting my needs or being a nurturing parent. She had not spoken to her own mother in over 30 years. That was what SHE had learned.
For my own wellbeing, I eventually began to leave my family behind. I found other women who became wonderful nurturing mentors and mother-figures to me. And eventually I began to appreciate and value the best parts of my mother—her stellar business savvy, her strength, courage and fearlessness. I became immensely grateful that she had taught me those amazing qualities. She had certainly taught me how to love unconditionally.
Through thousands of clients over the past 2 decades, I have come to understand that life rarely gives us the family we want. Lessons related to family are always about emotions. That is why they are often the toughest and most hurtful experiences. Family dynamics teach us painful, but crucially valuable lessons about our core selves—who we really are, what we really want and need, and how to set boundaries.
I know I am a stronger, wiser, kinder, more empathetic person because of the struggles and pain my mother put me through. And I love her for that gift.
YOU have greater awareness, and YOU have the Enlightened Feelings tools and philosophies that allow you to take the high road. That is something your parents did not have.
Parents are never deliberately trying to be horrible parents. They are only trying to survive and get through life. They do what they learned, and what they believe is right. If you are now a parent, aren’t you doing that, too?
Rather than let your emotional scars become limitations that will be passed on to your own children, let your past define you in a positive, powerful way. Choose to let go of pain, anger, and resentment and become a kinder, more empathetic person.
Are you a mother? You are likely parenting in one of 3 ways ... 1) You learned from your own childhood experiences the way you think you should parent 2) You are parenting the same way as your mother, or 3) You are parenting in the way YOU wanted or needed to be parented when you were a child. This is especially true if you have your own ‘mother issues’.
Don’t assume you know what your children need. Understanding takes dialogue. ASK each child to tell you 4 things they need from you that will help them feel loved and secure. It might be physical demonstrations of affection, or verbal declarations. It might be a need for intimacy, mutual respect, or a need for honesty and integrity. Perhaps it is trust and freedom, a need to feel safe and protected or to have tangible monetary security. Whatever a person deeply needs comprises the 4 pillars of their security and happiness. These needs begin to form in childhood, based on a child's experiences
Write down the answers. Repeat and CLARIFY to ensure you both understand. Then do the exercise yourself, because YOU need to understand your own version of what love feels like. Share these beautiful, vulnerable needs with each other so that everyone gets love in the way they need.
You’ll find everyone’s answer is different. Because we ALL have different needs. You can love your children desperately. But, if how you show that is not in the way they need, they won’t recognize or feel it. That's why you can’t parent each child the same way
Helping your children recognize and understand their core emotional needs is a powerful tool to help them become happy, fulfilled adults. They will take this awareness into each of their relationships
For example, if your child says “I need more freedom”, ask why. Delve deeper. Perhaps what he or she really wants is trust, or respect. Or self trust through experience. Or they feel overwhelmed by responsibility. Can they become responsible in order to gain freedom? Own or admit their mistakes and be willing to accept the consequences?
Don’t forget that we are here to help! Perhaps you could start with our essence fusion HEART SPEAK to soften your words and allow you to hear more deeply.
For deep healing your past choose Enlightened Feelings essence fusions such as FAMILY KARMA, TRAUMA HEAL, FATHER ISSUES, or I AM NOT A VICTIM, to help you get past any trauma
When you choose our more nurturing Enlightened Feelings essence fusions, such as MOTHER HEALING, ABANDONMENT HEAL, orDEEP WOUNDS OF CHILDHOOD, you may find yourself growing closer to your family, and emotional healing for everyone will occur. You’ll become a better parent and a better person
You will find these essence fusions on our Healing Your Pastwebpage
Childhood trauma creates fear-based control issues such as perfectionism, introversion, social inhibitions, defensiveness, or feeling like you can only rely on yourself. So, be sure to take one of our control release formulas before starting a trauma essence—CONTROL RELEASE, I AM FLEXIBLE, DRAMA FREE, or FLOW
As you change, allowing personal integrity, inner strength, and higher awareness to govern your life, you will quietly begin to make different choices. And that makes a difference in your family dynamics, and with those around you. We call this ‘The Enlightened Feelings Effect’. It is an effortless way to change the world, one person at a time … starting with you