A lot of estranged moms simply want to feel better. Strong. Free.
It all seems impossible with an unresolved estrangement. They're stuck.
Here's the truth: we don't need circumstances to change to feel better.
It makes so much sense that to feel better we think we need our child back or to understand what happened. We've been conditioned to believe that our feelings depend on other people and situations.
We see this in advertising -- buy this car to feel successful, powerful. In our society's beliefs -- thin equals happy. Even in our child-rearing -- “did your brother hurt your feelings?”
We're taught that our feelings are not in our control. Which is a trap. And a lie.
And a disservice to us, because it makes us victims of everything around us. We lose the power we do have in any situation. Even the heart-wrenching ones.
We can feel better, without anyone or anything changing.
I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m saying that you don’t have to feel like your life is out of control. You don’t have to be a victim of your circumstances, however awful they may be. There are options. You can feel better on your terms.
Our feelings come from our thoughts. Our thoughts.
How do you feel right now, in this moment? Trace that feeling back to your thought. Maybe you feel angry, thinking I’m minimizing the pain of what’s happened. Maybe you feel hopeful, thinking maybe there is another way.
How do you feel about the estrangement? If you feel angry or devastated, perhaps you're thinking "how could my child be so cruel." If you're feeling sad, maybe you're thinking that about the loss of your child and missing her.
If you want to feel peace, what thoughts would you need? It could be something like, "My child must have her reasons for separating, and I'm learning to accept that." Or even "I miss my child and that's OK."
This isn't about thinking happy thoughts and pretending all the pain will disappear. That’s completely unrealistic. Even unhealthy.
What I am saying is that if you don’t want to feel a certain way, if you want to move on, if you’re stuck and tired of it, you can deliberately choose to think differently. Find your thoughts and question if they’re necessary. Are your thoughts and feelings helping or hurting you? Are you able to see other options?
It’s totally fine to choose to feel something that's typically seen as negative. There are no “good” or “bad” emotions.
Sometimes I choose to feel sad when I think about my daughter's absence. Sometimes I choose to be angry when I think about how we're all missing my granddaughter’s early years.
Choosing my feelings gives me ownership over them. I’m not at their mercy. I won’t get stuck. They don’t hold me back from the life I want.
I also choose to feel grateful. I think about the years I’ve had with my daughter and granddaughter and I am grateful. I think about how I’ve grown and changed as a mom and as a person, and I feel grateful. It’s also easy for me to generate feelings of pride and peace, even while estranged.
The circumstance of estrangement is a constant. It’s our thoughts that determine our feelings as an estranged mom.
How you want to feel, right now? Do you want peace? Confidence? You can generate any emotion you want. All by yourself. We all have that ability and power. Estrangement doesn't take that from us.
It takes practice to become aware of our thoughts and feelings, to see the connections, and to develop new, more useful thought patterns. When we’re so “in it” the idea of choosing thoughts and feelings may seem impossible. It can be hard to see beyond what’s going on in our heads and hearts.
All I can offer is the promise that you can move forward and feel better. I have, my clients have. If you want help getting started, I offer a free consult to help you see what’s possible. The link to sign up is here.
So much love as you live forward, mamas!
You got this!!