Being an estranged mom is an uniquely painful experience.
Eventually we want to stop feeling terrible. But we're not sure how.
Feeling better is a practice.
Step 1: Commit to believing you can feel better, even if it seems impossible. Decide to move forward and take responsibility for your future.
Step 2: Look at your life through a stranger's eyes. Do you constantly talk about your estranged child? Do you distract yourself by being busy, overeating, drinking? Or do you hide and isolate yourself? Are your actions helping you or hurting you?
Step 3: Identify thoughts and feelings behind your behaviors. Some examples:
Talking about estrangement is the mind seeking answers and reassurance. Thoughts can get stuck on the question why. You feel desperate for an answer and validation.
Distraction avoids difficult feelings, consciously or not. You may think you can't cope. Or want to escape, not deal with it. Feelings include despair, anger, fear, inadequacy.
Hiding comes from thinking that if your child has rejected you, others will too. There must be something wrong with you. There are feelings of shame and worthlessness.
Step 4: Feel your feelings. No matter how intense. Know they're temporary. They're just feelings. All humans have them. Courageously take them on.
Step 5: When you're ready, practice new thoughts to feel differently. Take control over your thoughts and feelings. When your brain asks "why?", a thought could be "I hear you, but I'm focused on moving forward" or "I don't have an answer and that's okay". When there's shame, try thinking, "One person doesn't decide my value", "I'm letting go of shame to make my life amazing". Brainstorm believable thoughts. Practice. Neuroscience shows that we can purposefully change our beliefs. Over time, new thoughts replace older, unhelpful ones.
Step 6: Have compassion for yourself. Parenting is challenging. Estrangement is life-changing. There are no clear-easy-straight paths through any of it. There will be mistakes along the way. That's the way it's supposed to be.
If you're want to do the work, you can change your life.
I have peace with an estrangement I didn't think I would be able to move past.
My clients have better lives now. "Better" as defined by them.
I have no doubt you can move forward too.
You're not alone in this. Reach out if you need help.
I offer a free consult to see what we can do together, so click here.
Live forward and feel better, wonderful mamas.