Have a problem to solve? Figure out what to do. That's what we've been taught.
So when I tell clients that every problem is a thought problem, it doesn't always sit right.
When estranged there will be painful thoughts. That's inevitable. They're thoughts we tend to repeat over and over, to ourselves and others.
We fixate on changing circumstances and acting our way out of pain. We think solving the estrangement problem, we'll feel better. Intentionally or not, we act out - we yell, cry, beg, ignore, blame, and guilt our adult kids to end our misery.
While acting from hurt and negativity can give relief in the moment, it's not effective long-term.
It's like trying to lose weight while calling yourself "fat" and obsessing over hating exercise. It can provide relief to "give in" to those thoughts in the short-term, but ultimately it feels worse.
We can't act away painful negative thoughts. Feeling better requires a shift in thinking first, then action.
Notice how your current thoughts play out in estrangement. Are you repeating the same stories again and again - to others and yourself? What actions result? Are you repeatedly taking the same actions with no change in outcome? Are you getting the results you want in your life?
Now, we can't think our estrangement away. But we can manage our minds to ease our suffering and take intentional actions. Our ability to regulate our thinking is our human superpower.
Thinking in ways that serve us, we act in line with our values. We're not controlled by what's happening around us. Automated negative beliefs don't run the show.
Here's an example from a mom I recently worked with - she was tired of all the time spent angry and resentful, talking and thinking about her daughter:
She started with the automatic default thoughts of: “My daughter is wrong to do this and I need to show her that. She has betrayed me and I can't see getting over it until she apologizes."
She took control of her thinking and her life with: “This isn't anything I'd choose - but right or wrong, it's reality. Making peace with it serves me to move forward and live to my full potential.”
Can you feel the difference?
She's no longer taking chaotic desperate action to solve estrangement. Managing her mind, she's taking purposeful, empowered action that benefits her and serves the life she wants.
Thoughts first, actions second.
Need help with this? I'm here for you because I know this is the way to true healing, and I want that for every mom who's suffering with this grief. Sign up for a free consult to get started.