I have an interesting phenomenon in my life.
Many of the people whom I work with (professional) and love (personal too) relate to me as if I were their mother. Sounds odd I know especially because in almost all the cases I can think of there’s no way I could be their mother = but it still exists that in the relationship, mother issues prevail.
In some instances this is cool because I get to be the mother they wanted which is rewarding for both of us. But in some cases I have to play out the mother they didn’t like or that in some way let them down – Not so much fun really – that job. I can at times make a difference in how they actually relate to their real mother in their own psyche as a result. It’s challenging to be in the role.
Some say that’s one of the roles of therapist – re-parenting. From my experience I think that’s true in the best of situations. As a result of this I have had a lot of practice at mothering way before I actually was in the actual role of mother.
I can tell you that loving from the perspective of Eric Fromm and Thich Nhat Hanh is the most successful tool. Understanding and accepting as a form of loving is the most useful tool for diminishing defensiveness and accessing a person’s own capacity to forgive.
To Forgive herself, forgive her parents, forgive others, and forgive God for all the ways in which she, they, we, and God let her down.
It’s extraordinary to feel understood and accepted. It’s more extraordinary to feel forgiveness. Forgiveness sets you free to be present and acting in the now. It allows you to create fully without limitations.
We hold onto things, images, emotions, memories to remind us of important lessons. It’s a way we communicate with ourselves and I think its hardwired into our psyches.
Often these are negative. Angry and fearful emotions seem to have a direct line to our memories so that things are embedded in our cores – it’s as if to say REMEMBER this so that it NEVER happens again.
Intelligent, really, from a genetic point of view. But there are some flaws – our emotions aren’t always right – we don’t always accurately interpret cause and effect or intent – as a result we make connections that are miscommunications. We actually set up patterns to continue making the same mistake rather than the other way around. That’s why I write so much about mindfulness and living/relating in the now.
Through forgiveness you let go of the preconditions set up by the negative experience so that you can view yourself and the other in a more whole perspective. Like the figure/ground illusions that I have discussed – sometimes the negative emotion gets us so focused on the figure that we forget the ground and so miss out on the big picture or bigger message of the event.
So I suggest this. Whenever you are experiencing everything happening just right – like your life is working the way you want it to be – consciously set that into a memory.
Look at your life as if in slow motion drinking in the perfectness of it in that moment, the colors, the sounds, the words, the smells, the tastes, the deep and beautiful feelings – the positive feelings. Set it into a memory that you can access in the future. Imprint it with a date and time so that you can go back to it to remind you that life does work.
In this way you will consciously be setting up a pattern of success.
Doing this allows for you to have a tool to remind you of your true best self. Having access to that helps you to allow yourself to understand, accept, and forgive yourself and others, to have faith in the rightness of something rather than avoid the wrongness of something. It allows for the injuries of your childhood to remain there in your past, so that you may create joy in all its forms today.
It allows you to be your own best mother – reframing and refocusing on your strengths in a loving and accepting way.
See you tomorrow.
February 16, 2010 at 9:00 pm
Superb thoughts in this post.
“Angry and fearful emotions seem to have a direct line to our memories so that things are embedded in our cores – it’s as if to say REMEMBER this so that it NEVER happens again.”
That seems like a good theory. I have so often been chagrined to note that when I have apparent past-life memories, they are almost always of awful, traumatic events. It’s as if those are burned in so much more deeply than the pleasant ones. We know that traumatic memories are processed differently in the brain, so that they can give rise to PTSD. So I guess my experience shouldn’t be surprising, and there is supposed to be survival value in it, although it can so easily lead to that pattern of habitual reaction you’ve been writing about.
When patients tell me that they’re feeling good, I’ve sometimes told them to really notice and feel what that’s like, so that they can call up the experience later and recreate it. I guess I should tell them that ALL the time.
February 17, 2010 at 10:08 pm
Thanks Elene. I think the connection to PTSD is strong. Beth