"I know I need to move on. I just can't." I hear this from so many estranged moms. It's not that these moms aren't motivated. They see how the pain effects their lives and well-being.
Any mom can move forward. It's not about having willpower to white-knuckle your way through the hurt. It's not acting or pretending until happiness "sticks." No "fake it till you make it."
Here's the truth.
Life is full of circumstances we cannot control. We can't control the circumstance of estrangement. As hard as we may try, we can't control our child's choice to estrange. We can't control the future of the estrangement. Not easy to accept.
But we can control everything else. We can control our experience of our child's choices.
We can control how we think, how we feel, how we act.
It's so important to recognize this because estranged moms feel powerless. And when we don't recognize the power we have, we react. We are at the mercy of our thoughts, feeling, actions. We think "this is the way I am, there's nothing I can do about it, I can't help the way I feel."
When we think this way, we give up the control that we do have in an estranged situation.
We're not taught to manage our minds when we're growing up. We're not taught the power of our thoughts. Which is such a disservice because the thoughts that we think create the feelings we feel. And we act from our feelings.
Our thoughts, feelings, and actions become our reality.
Which is important to know if you want to move forward.
So if we're thinking every day about how unfair this estrangement is, how we're lost without our child, how we thought we were a good mom but not must not be, we're going to feel horrible.
Then we act on that feeling of horrible. What do we do? Hide away and isolate. Overeat. Drink more than we typically would. Reach out to our child over and over.
We'll hide because we think it will feel better than having to deal with what's happened.
We eat and drink because it does help us feel better. Problem is, the relief doesn't last. In the long run, we feel worse.
We reach out to our child to get him/her to make us feel better. We think our feeling better is something our child has power over.
These very human reactions prevent us from moving forward.
To have a different result - to move forward - we must understand our thinking. Because our thinking creates our feelings which create our actions which create our results. Always.
If you try to change your actions - the white-knuckling mentioned earlier - you're in for a struggle. Because the thoughts and feelings are still there.
It's kind of like people who force themselves to exercise. It their repetitive thought is "I hate exercise" and they're filled with dread, how long do they keep exercising? They can keep it up for a while, but eventually their thought catches up with them. So if they want to keep exercising and are committed to making it a habit, they have to take action from a different feeling - maybe inspired. Feeling inspired would come from a different thought, maybe "I can totally do this."
That said, exercise is not estrangement. Finding new thoughts and feelings to move forward from estrangement can be a challenge.
This isn't about fake or forced positive thinking. Most estranged moms want to keep some of the hurt, and that's OK.
It's about acknowledging your current thought-feeling patterns. Without judgement. With compassion. Seeing that you have choice. Then helping you think towards your goal of moving forward in steps that make sense for you.
Last, I want you to know that it's common to have ambivalence about moving forward. If this is you, you may want to move on but you're afraid to "give up" on your child. Momma, it's not an either/or. You can have both. I do, my clients do.
It all comes from your thinking.
Let's sort it out. Click here for a free consultation to help you move forward in whatever way feels true for you.
Live forward with love, mommas!