Mother's Day: building bridges for understanding

Baby Nest machinery Oil on canvas. SurrealismWhere were you born? I mean specifically. Were you born in a bed, in a hospital, a private home or a boat? 

Perhaps in a taxi? Maybe you were born on a blanket on the ground. Was it quiet or noisy around you?

Was it a safe place or was danger lurking or exploding?  

Where did you go after you were born? Who was around you? What was your nest? 

Wherever you were born and in whatever circumstance, your mother was there too.  Your coming into this world involved the atmosphere of the times, your health and strength, her ability to make choices and her ability to cope with the challenges around her.  You got here. (* photo credit below)

Maybe she kept you. Maybe she didn't. Maybe she died.  Maybe she loved you.  Maybe she didn't. Maybe someone else raised you. Maybe you learned to call another woman, "Mom," and she is the mother you think of on Mother's Day.

Regardless of the joy and pain that blossomed in your relationship with your mother, if you are reading this, you got here and you are still here. This is a day of celebration. You and your mother came through the trials of your human development and hers to reach this present moment.

In recovery people often bring up festering old wounds from childhood.  This is as it should be.  Those wounds need to come into awareness, be understood, healed and resolved. When you have an eating disorder, your psyche can go to extremes in evaluating anything and anyone including your mother.  Before you have full recovery it's difficult to hold the good and bad things about a person at the same time. So, when you think about your mother she may be completely wonderful and flawless.  Or, if she has a flaw it is tiny and inconsequential.  The same goes for thinking about her as a negative in your life.  If that is your thinking then any good quality may seem tiny and inconsequential.

Eating disorder recovery brings you to the woman you actually are now, an assortment of positive and negative qualities that you try to integrate as you develop into a healthy wholeness you may have never experienced before.  With that comes your ability to see other people, including your mother, in more mature terms.

Women are human. Mothers have limitations and flaws.  Mothers may have time limits.  Mothers can be wonderful mothers for specific ages.  Some are great with infants. Some shine with a toddler. Others need a more mature child to relate to.  Some mothers are terrific throughout their life span. Others can only give quality care when the child is at a particular stage of development, and the mother is incapable of relating to her child at other stages.

Some of you are mothers.  You know what an ongoing and emotional task it is to love and raise a child, or several, in this challenging and dangerous world.  You might find a way to appreciate your own mother by discovering what happened when she was born.  Can you answer the questions in the first paragraph of this article from her perspective?
  1. Where was she born, specifically? Was she born on a bed or in a hospital or private home or automobile or boat?
  2. Was she born indoors or outdoors?
  3. Was she born in a quiet setting or was there noise and tensions?
  4. Was she born in a peaceful or violent atmosphere?
  5. What happened after she was born?
  6. Who took care of her and how?
  7. What was her nest?

Answering these questions can help you come to a more rich understanding and appreciation of your mother and your relationship with her.  Answering these questions may bring you to a greater appreciation of your mother and yourself on this Mother's Day. 

You can go beyond two generations and discover as much as you can about how your grandmother and great grandmother would answer these questions. What were their nests?  How far back can you go?  You have a legacy of mothers behind you who raised daughters who became mothers.  These women possible both your life and your ability to move on the opportunities before you.

Mother's Day history

Mother's Day more complete history - ancient and spiritual origins

Anna Jarvis and the creation of Mother's Day - many informative links 

The radical history of Mother's Day

* photo credit (adapted for this article)

Nadir M. García. Marks. Oil on canvas. 100x89cm 2012 Surrealismo.


0 # What's a reasonable expectation?shh 2013-05-13 01:13

I know my mother had a difficult upbringing and for that I feel sad and sorry that she had to experience that, and by how much it affected her, and her mother before her had a difficult upbringing too, which left my mother quite bitter about her own mother yet at the same time feeling obliged to care for her in her old age, which was the source of much resentment when I was young.

As the indirect victim of my grandmother's upbringing, I always felt compassion for her and wasn't able to hold her in the same negative light that my mother did, but then I did not spend my childhood at her mercy as my mother did, either.

I would like things to be better than they are with my mother, but then wanting that and keep chasing after that, is what fuelled my ED for so long. I would still like things to be better than they are, but at some point maybe you have to accept that they're not going to be, and start to protect yourself from that.

I don't really think my expectations are particularly high, all I would like is to be treated as another human being, for her to treat me how she expects to be treated herself. Simple acts of respect - an example that springs to mind is how livid my mother was when her neighbour told somebody else on her street that my mum had ordered a new carpet and sofa, and how she was angry for days, trying to decide whether she would ever speak to that person again, yet she herself went and told the same neighbours in the street about my husband's gender issues even though I'd specifically asked her not to, and met my disappointment at her letting me down with how I was wrong to ask her to keep it to herself in the first place. (And that wasn't about expecting her to "hold" my stuff, because I said she could tell her sister and my sister, which she did, along with the people in her street, and others). And if I raised that as an example to her, which I think I did once, I am met with how it was different for her, how I am unreasonable for expecting her to keep that to herself, how I am abnormal for not wanting people to know, how I am a weird because I don't sit gossiping, and don't speak enough and disclose enough because I need to keep secrets because I am not normal, I am a freak, I'm mentally ill and need help....gradually building into a rage and a torrent of abuse. And I end up leaving and feeling like I'm not even allowed to feel disappointed that she let me down, because even that she will turn around into why I don't have a right to feel let down, she is the one who's been let down because I put unreasonable, abnormal expectations upon her, because, (her favourite line) I am mentally ill and I need help.

And so where do you go - when you make that mark in the sand and say that you are determined not to let this cycle perpetuate itself through you down to your children, and you try to put in the work on yourself to ensure that things will be different, where does she fit? I hold her out at a safe distance that because she is unwilling to try to work on things and give me a little respect, and I do it to protect myself because that's what I need to do, but really I would like to be there more for her, and it really bothers me that I'm not there for her as much as I should be.

My therapist seemed to think that my cutting my contact would eventually make her look at herself and realise that she's not blameless and that she needs to work on treating me a bit better if she wants a relationship with me, but it's not really happening - occasionally if she's feeling low about something she will say she wants to try to make things a bit better between us, but it never gets very far, as she seems to get more out of taking the victim role, and the sympathy and attention she can command from others as a result of that.

And so I do feel like I'm left wishing things were better, wanting to be able to give her a bit more care and attention ...but it's just not happening



0 # reasonable expectationpinkjoanna 2013-05-13 10:39
Dear Shh,

I'm sorry for your continued suffering in this area, and I hope you find your way to a peaceful resolution. Your suffering needs to be addressed.

Yes. You seem to believe that if you change your relationship by having your reasonable expectations met your suffering will end. You are frustrated and passionate about this.

Yet this approach isn't getting you anywhere, is it? What you expect, as reasonable at your expectations are to you, seem beyond what your mother can give you.

Perhaps she cannot give these things to anyone. I think of the example you give regarding her neighbor. This is her way of living, perceiving and responding.

The only way to win this endless battle is to not play the game. It is a game. Think about it. You know the rules. You know the triggers. You know whose turn it is to play. It's almost all on automatic now.

How can you disengage? That doesn't mean abandoning her. It means visiting her and speaking with her as if she were a sick person. You don't want to be hurt by the sick person. Nor will you participate in what adds to the illness. And you keep your visiting hours on a schedule you can tolerate.

The hardest part may be this: You expect nothing.

You visit her because you want to, because you get something out of it as it is.

The terrible things she says to you are part of her symptoms. Think of them as you would a fever or a rash. They are not about you. They are about her situation. You can leave. She can't.

She doesn't have a choice except to behave as she does. You have choices. Yes, this would be much easier to accept if the person were a stranger or a hospitalized person. She's your mother.

I altered the title of my article based on your letter. The bridges we build are to give us access to understanding. Understanding can free you and allow you more choices.

If your real aim is to free yourself of suffering you need to use your deepening understanding to guide you to new behaviors and attitudes. Then you can let of of expectations that snare you into endless frustration.

Please, Shh, let your goals be about you and how you can live your own life as you wish.
0 # I get it.Jackie 2013-05-13 15:43
I was born six weeks premature. I lived in an incubator for the first seven weeks of my life. My birth mother  was forty-six years old when I was born. I was her last child and I was a secret. She had an affair. My impending arrival allowed her to leave her abusive marriage and start a new life.

I met my birth mother one month before she died. I showed up at her door unannounced. She offered little information regarding my conception or family of origin.  I didn't push her because she she seemed small and guarded. She was a little old woman in a light blue cardigan who occasionally forgot that she was keeping secrets while talking with me. She's been gone for seventeen years. 

My adoptive mother, the one I call "Mom" was born in a hospital. Her mother, my grandmother could be described as talented and busy. She fought often with my grandfather. My grandfather was lovely in many ways, but he could also be stubborn and opinionated. My grandmother married my grandfather because she grew up with him. He lived across the street from her. I don't know why she married him because her heart always longed for another man, one who moved to NYC. She spoke of him often when we were alone. 

My Mom grew up listening to my grandparents passionate arguing. She hated it. She was the oldest of four children. She always viewed my aunt as my grandmother's favorite, but labeled herself as her grandmother's favorite. It was from my great grandmother that she learned to scheme, lie and keep secrets. They taught her about control. She liked that and to this day speaks of those lessons learned with pride. 

My grandparents broke up a few times but always reconciled. My mother was given gifts if she did the underhanded things my great-grandmother asked her to do. She sided against her mother. This type of insecurity made my mother dislike change and value order and routine. It made her place great emphasis on material objects and apply an emotional attachment to those objects. My mother started an obsession with dolls at that time. She still engages in these types of relationships with dolls, plants and dogs. She talks with them and thinks of them as her children. She says a daily rosary for the dog. 

My Mom can only do things the way she has always done them. She cannot sway. She is obsessive. She will not acknowledge any sort of discomfort. She goes along with illogical thinking, especially if it is someone else's idea or platform.  She lies and schemes to get what she wants just like a child. She's obsessed with my sister and the dog to the extreme. She thinks of my father as her best friend because he goes along with her schemes in order to get the material things he wants. He's rewarded by her if he does. My sister does also. She can't make a move without consulting Mom.

Enter me. At a young age I see that these people are bizarre. I know that I am adopted, so I have every reason to believe that I am different. However, I still need to be loved. I keep trying to get something from her, that my sister can have, but I can't. There is no way I can  have a real relationship with her. I reject what that requires. 

 My sister and Mom have a relationship that is unnatural. Even at a young age, I just can't be a part of that. For example, I knew that shaving my mother's legs would be an abnormal thing for me to do. I had no desire to do abnormal things which is why I don't think I was sexually abused. I was outspoken about my outrage at what was going on. The time I spent in my room as a punishment for my behavior allowed me to enter into my own interior world.

As a result, I would hang out with the neighbors as often as possible. I also attached myself to any adult woman who was nice to me--my aunt, substitute teachers, librarians, lunch monitors, etc. I made sure I was helpful and well mannered so that people would appreciate my presence and invite me back. I was compassionate and kind to people who were overlooked because I knew what that was like. 

I do have compassion for my mother. I know that she is unwell. I accept her limitations, I can often predict how she will behave. Sometimes I take care of her emotionally, sometimes I do thoughtful things for her, sometimes I am contrary just to make her mad. Most of the time I listen to her going on in an illogical fashion about the dog or people I have never met. I try to offer suggestions, another point of view. She doesn't hear me most of the time.

This is the reality, but it is not the reality that I want to be a part of.  As I read through this I see why I do the things I do. Joanna you are so smart. 
0 # that's a BIG ask, that I don't think I'm ready forshh 2013-05-13 16:45

Thanks for your lengthy reply and your wise words Joanna.

They actually reduced me to tears, tears associated with fear, and with my own inadequacy, I had to go away and think about what you'd said, before I could come back and write a response.

I can't walk back in her house, it's a year next week since I was last there, and I can't go back there.

I only need to see her name in my inbox and my adrenalin kicks in.

I'm too scared of losing everything I have, of jeopardising what I have now, that I never had in the whole 40 years that I had a relationship with her.

I'm still touching myself in disbelief to make sure I'm real, because it's only in the last 6 or 7 months maybe, that I've started to be able to accept that I'm a real person.

I already hold the viewpoint that she isn't a well person, that she can't help it, that she'll never change, and I don't really expect her to change, my therapist believed she'd change, but I never did, but I am not strong enough to tolerate the constant, relentless, verbal assault and aggression when I see her.

I'm still building myself up, I'm not ready to be knocked down again yet.

If I could have any wish for myself, my wish would be that she could respect my wish for no contact, let me go and move on, regard me as dead if necessary - that is what I would truly like - I know it sounds harsh, but that is what I dream of, that is what I wish my future looked like

0 # Thinking about the commentsJackie 2013-05-13 18:00
I can recall thinking that if my parents would meet my miniscule expectations, I could have a relationship with them. I used to think that in my relationships with men too.

I also used to think that if I had some certainty in my life, I would be okay. --Same thing in green.

I also used to think that none of this was part of my "real" life--I was always waiting for my "real" life to start. I wouldn't be like this in my "real" life.  

If I thought that I could disengage myself from my parents forever I would somehow feel guilty because I don't think it was ever their intention to hurt me. They wouldn't think that now.  In their own distorted way they love me. They fed me and clothed me and took me places. They gave me a faith and a family. What more could I be asking for?

I'm asking for much more. I'm asking for relationship. I'm asking to be seen. I'm asking for someone to show up for me. I know they can't do that. (I think I'm talking to some segmented part of myself here. This is what I want from myself. Why is my action button broken?)

Isn't this part of boundary setting? i.e., I would like to have a relationship with you, but I am not accepting advice or negative comments at this time. I will hang up if you are rude.  I'm making my own choices. You may not discuss my family in public. I will choose not to relate with you if you do any of these things. The very fact that I breathe means a great deal to many people. The people who love me treat me with respect. The people I allow into my life treat me with respect. 

What I'd like to say in my fantasy--When you get some help Mom, you will understand me better. When you help yourself, you will know what to do for me (and my sister).

0 # Big Askpinkjoanna 2013-05-13 18:12
Dear Shh,

The "ask" is that you take care of yourself.  Set your goals for what is best for you.  Don't skip yourself by asking for something you think will indirectly give you what you want, like asking for someone to change.

Ask for what you want and go for it.  You don't have to knock on your mother's door or enter your house.  You have to enter your own interior home and keep it as you wish.  You need to furnish your mind and heart with what you need.

If this feels like a step that is too big for you to take, then journal about it, talk to your therapist about it, meditate on it.  This is the only task we really have that frees us from domination and allow us to builds our authentic lives.

It may be easier to repeat patterns, but that only gets you what you continually get.  Isn't it time for something new?
0 # commentspinkjoanna 2013-05-13 18:22
Yes, Jackie,

You are talking about establishing boundaries that are healthy and life supporting for yourself. Without those boundaries you are victim to your own fantasies and expectations that will not be met by others.

I like your next to the last paragraph where you talk about what your boundaries are.  You don't have to say them.  You just live them.  In living them you get to live the live you want and meet people who understand respect.
0 # Not repeating patternsshh 2013-05-14 01:15

The thing is, I'm very happy with what I've got at the moment, my life is wonderful now that she's out of the picture, the only spanner in the works is that I won't deny my children a relationship with her, therefore I have to have contact with therapist always pushed me not to let my children see her either so that I could truly cut contact, but I can't do that, they have to make up their minds about her themselves, because their relationship with her is on a different level to mine. And I do understand what my therapist means, what her motives are, that it hits me so hard when my mother does contact me to see the girls - fear, adrenalin, anxiety etc, that it would be far healthier for me if that didn't have to happen.

And I suppose my feelings are particularly strong at the moment, because I am starting to deal with stuff, that I guess has been too painful to deal with in the past because it's something I always skirted around or glossed over, and that is the abuse I suffered at the hands of my sister, and it's not even the things she did, sexualised aggression, burning me, heavy violence - it's the fact that I went to my mum on several occasions with the cuts and bruises and burns, and cried at her to make my sister stop, and she was always very dismissive and never did anything to help me or protect me, but the day I tried to push my sister off me during one of those sexualised episodes and accidentally scratched her chest, I knew about it, I was severely punished, for daring to put a mark on my sister.

And when I see my mother to drop the girls off, I see someone old beyond their years, she's in her early 60's but seems about 70, I feel sorry for her, I think "well she did her best", and I want to offer her some kind of care, but when I'm forced to look at other stuff and I look at my children and try to imagine doing those things or allowing other people to do those things to my children, I'm still angry in parts, and feel like she doesn't deserve my care.

And I dont know whether I will ever be able to reconcile those two things 



0 # Powerful and timelymylifex2 2013-05-14 17:27

What a powerful and timely blog for me, Joanna. It seems to be that way for several of us here. I first want to say that when I first read this article, I thought of you, Shh. I know how hard it has been for you to make the decision to cut back on your personal relationship with your mom, while still allowing your kids to see her so that they can make their own choice when they are ready. I would have to say that I agree with the way you are handling it because you cannot have a relationship with her right now. I understand the all or nothing. I also understand Joanna's comment about your mom being mentally and emotionally sick and asking yourself if you can deal with her on that level.

I have been working on my sexual abuse issues in therapy, as most of you know. I have been meeting twice weekly with my therapist for almost 6 weeks. We are getting places much faster this way. I was having a lot of bad dreams initially, and dissociating a lot in and out of therapy. This brings me to my mom.

I think she was born in a hospital. My mom's mother was a lot like her. Controlling, manipulative, emotionally abusive. my mom's father was an alcoholic. In therapy we have been discussing how it is most likely that my gf sexually abused my mom as well. I had never connected that possibility with her behaviors, mothering style, etc.  My therapist has helped me see how emotionally absent my mom is, especially during times of distress. How she disconnects from the reality of the chaotic family that we are.

Let me give an example. I come from a large family. Most of us are grown with our own families. My mom and dad are nearing 70 and not in the best of health. I have a mid 30's sister who has lived off one person or another in our family for 8 years. She has lived with my parents for 3.5 years, paying no rent, utilities, etc. Not one dime. All the while she takes her child on weekend trips to the beach or mountains, goes to dinner almost every night, buys expensive articles of clothing, and leaves her very emotionally disturbed child with my parents while she goes out on dates.

Some of us older siblings decided to confront her about this behavior as our parents cannot afford to keep taking care of her, her son, and five other kids who still live at home. We merely suggested she do the right thing and step up to the plate. We only took this route because our parents have not had the energy to deal with doing this themselves as she is terribly volatile - they would rather not deal with her moods.  We have asked them to say something to her, but they wont - rather can't.  So instead of getting a call thanking us for our help, we received an angry call from our mother and were told not to come to Mothers Day dinner-basically to just stay away period.

My therapist has helped me come to terms with the fact that my mother cannot comprehend that she is being used and abused by my sister. That she blocks it out, dissociates herself from this type of emotional abuse because she did so long with her mother.  My mother also enjoys playing the victim as much as she likes taking care of those who cannot take care of themselves. This can be a good thing, but when your motivation is to look good to others or if being needed is your identity, then its not so healthy.

Shh, I went a long time allowing myself to do what Joanna suggested. See her as a sick and wounded person who can do no better. I used to have blow out arguments with her once a year where we wouldn't talk for months at a time. Recently, we had gone 2 years until last week. I understand where you are coming from when you say you just have to distance yourself. I feel the same way. I know I am much healthier when I take a step back every now and then. It gives me time to re-evaluate how I will deal with her when things cool down.

Today in therapy we discussed how I find myself treating my kids with some of the emotional crap my mom doled out to me. The difference being that I can recognize it, and apologize when needed. I want to break the abuse cycle with my kids. I am sure she thought terrible things about us on Mother's Day because we weren't there - not really taking responsibility for being the one who told us not to come.

I found a way to enjoy my day with my children. I was glad it was just us.

0 # clarificationmylifex2 2013-05-14 17:33
in my next to last paragraph when I said we had gone 2 years until last week, I meant we had gone 2 years without a "breakup" in our relationship.  I basically "sucked it up" when she got weird and mean and manipulative, etc. I used the technique Joanna talked about.
0 # Getting thereshh 2013-05-18 14:46

Tracy, you sound like you are achieving so much in therapy at the moment! I'm really glad you managed to enjoy your Mother's Day with the girls, without your Mom.

I have been questioning a lot this week whether I can go back to treating my mother as though she is sick.

I think my initial reactions to it were because it feels like a step backwards - because that is how I'd always regarded her prior to therapy, and I think I'm scared that if I go back to treating my mother in that way, then I will also revert back to who I was pre-therapy - and that scares me, a lot!

And so the question is really whether I can tolerate the way she behaves and the way she treats me without it bringing back all those feelings and symptoms of low self-worth? It's not like a have a therapist at my disposal to help me with this, if I attempt it, I'll be going it alone.

My self-worth is certainly the best it has ever been, I'm not plagued with the feelings of "not good enough", I don't think or feel inherently "bad", but is this new way of regarding myself firmly cemented in place? It feels it - but reconnecting with my mother would certainly test it.

When I look back at what I originally responded, it wasn't really a question of what I could reasonably expect from my mother, it was a question of what should I be willing to tolerate, especially in front of my girls - if I don't have any boundaries with my mother, then I feel like I'm giving them a message that it's okay to tolerate that kind of treatment from people, if I tell them that I think she is sick and that's why I tolerate it, then I am forcing my view of her upon them. When she hurts them, which she does, do I just make excuses for her, for why they should just accept it - or should I be protecting them from that hurt.... this is all the stuff I struggle to figure out what to do with.

I know that as soon as my children get out of the car to see mother, she will weigh them up and down, and make a critical comment of some description..."ooh you've gained weight" wobbling her hand on my daughter's tummy like it was a jelly in front of all the people the foyer of a shop, last time it was poking her face and saying "ohhh look at all your spots" (my daughter has hit puberty and gets spots)'s not like she says "It's lovely to see you" or "I haven't seen you for a while, how are you?"...the critical comment is the first and often only sentence to leave her lips when she sees them...I know she can't help it, I know she can't stop herself....but what about my daughter? She's hormonal, she's sensitive, she doesn't need those unhelpful remarks, the ones that aren't even tempered with anything positive, the ones that say the most noticeable thing about you is your figure or your spots.

My daughter doesn't like seeing my mum anymore, and when she says she doesn't want to see her gran, I support her in that.

So where is my way forward in that respect - do I really just sit with my mother and let her make those comments to my children and expect that my saying to my daughter that her gran is ill and can't help making those comments makes it all okay - because I don't really think that is sufficient to undo the damage that those remarks do to her.

So maybe myself as an individual does have the ability and self worth to do this, but what about me as a mother - because she really doesn't know how to deal with my mother


0 # to shhmylifex2 2013-05-18 19:39
I agree with your approach at this time.  I don't see how you can safely have a relationship with her at this time. By relationship, I even mean contact. I understand that this would be particularly hard for you not having a therapist with whom to navigate the tough waters.

I went back and read Joanna's response to your first post. I feel torn between wanting to believe Joanna's approach is the healthy and positive way to handle this, and between knowing how it feels to be where you are. You worked really hard to get where you are and are finally feeling good, and like you can breath again. Your girls are expressing to you their desire not to see her, and you are obliging them, knowing it's not a healthy relationship for them at this time.

It is especially hard for me to hear the way she talks to them. She is setting them up for self esteem issues, and possibly eating disorder behaviors which I know would be devastating for you. I don't think you are being revengeful toward your mom. I think you are just trying to protect yourself. 

I am not having contact with my mom at this time. I do not see this being permanent, but I am able to understand where you are coming from and how you feel.

My mom is sick. Her comments come out of deep rooted emotional issues stemming from the way her mother treated her, as well as her father.  What hurts me is when she makes deliberate statements about my kids or me with the intent to hurt me.  What is she accomplishing? Well, she feels so crummy in her own life, that she throws that rock hard...usually without thinking..shoots off the top of her head. We can all be angry and make impulsive statements. But a healthier person will be able to go back and apologize. In my whole life, my mom has apologized to me ONCE. true story.

I hope Joanna can help us with this a little more. Its a definite dilemma to be taking care of oneself, but also purposefully placing oneself in the line of fire -even for a short period of time- as Joanna suggests. Heads up, Shh. I am proud of how far you have come.

0 # 45 minutesshh 2013-05-24 02:27

Droped my youngest off to see my mother for a couple of hours after school yesterday, and when I went to collect her, rather than the quick 5 minute discussion on the doorstep, I went in the house and stayed 45 mins.

It was okay - I put my foot down when she started quizzing me about my finances, she started and I said "mum, my finances are fine", to which I got "well how much are you paying for X, are you still paying for Y, do you pay for Z still, is he giving you money to care for the children? how much...."and I just put on my stern voice that I use with the girls and repeated "mum, my finances are fine", and she dropped it.

There was one comment before I left about how it's a shame that I'm a person who gains weight when I'm upset/stressed rather than loses it, because if I'd lost the amount that I'd gained recently....

And I just thought don't you dare let this get to you, and replied "yes, it's a shame isn't it"

Other than that it actually felt quite good to chat with her - I realise there are lots of things I need to navigate with her - like her being a feeder, and not being able to deal with my requests to moderate things a bit (a 4 year old doesn't need 2 bars of chocolate, a packet of fruit gums, a bag of chips and a bottle of sweet sugary drink, as well as a proper meal with dessert - which is what she got yesterday over a 2.5 hour period, and mum doesn't respect my requests to curb it a bit, instead she tells my girls that I said they can't have a treat - which is not true, all I ask is that it's 1 treat, rather than 5).

But I'm working on things!

0 # mother conversation and saying morepinkjoanna 2013-05-24 17:03
Hello everyone.

Tracy, you asked me to say more.  I will with this preface. 

I read what everyone writes in the comments. Yes, this is my website, but that doesn't mean I have complete freedom to say anything that occurs to me, nor do I want to.  I'm a psychotherapist. There are rules, laws and ethical restraints on what I write here or anywhere.  The bottom line of those restraints is this: I cannot (nor do I want to) do personal psychotherapy on this site or online. 

So I walk a line, listening to you, caring about what you are going through, offering encouragement and information but not stepping into what can be construed as psychotherapy.  Some of you can say what could be construed as psychotherapy, and it's okay because you are not licensed psychotherapists and under the constraints I am.

What I do my best to do is listen carefully to what you say. Then I may write something that relates indirectly or directly to the issues you raise in an attempt to find a deeper or general thread that applies to many people.  (I can write to many people. That's not psychotherapy.) If you are among the many people who can relate to what I write and find it useful, terrific.  

See my next comment for my POV on one of the issues being discussed.

0 # But it's my mother!pinkjoanna 2013-05-24 22:22
Couldn't put it all in a comment.  See the new article, But it's my mother!

Please let me know if this helps.

Thank you, all.

0 # not what I meant??mylifex2 2013-05-28 17:40

I feel I may have offended you, Joanna when I made some comments to someone on here in regards to her relationship with her mother. I did offer my opinion on the "big ask" because I have a similar situation going on in my life with my own mother.

I was not trying to override your expertise. I guess my heart was just aching for someone who I can identify with. I have tried to ignore the nastiness, I have tried to be the "bigger person", I have avoided, I have angrily left and kept my distance for months, only to always be the one left hurting. My mom doesn't appear to care or even recognize when she has hurt someone. That's all. I meant no harm and definitely wasn't trying to do psychotherapy. Please..I would ruin lives if I did that  LOL


0 # re: nFirsot what I meant?pinkjoanna 2013-05-28 19:57
Dear Tracy,

First and foremost, I value and appreciate your contributions on this site.

For the rest:  I am not offended, not in the least, not even remotely.  I welcome different viewpoints in the discussions.  That's what makes them valuable.

As for overriding my expertise - You are the authority and expert on your experience and perspective.  Each person who contributes to these discussions in the comments and or in the forums speaks ffror their person expertise based on their experience.

I learn from you.  I learn and am inspired by all of you.

If you have something different, oppositional, contrary to say, based on your feelings, experience and perspective, I say, Bring it on!  We need authentic voices that comes from experience and thoughtfulness plus experience and not yet ready for thoughtfulness.   :-)

Thank you for being here, Tracy.

warmest regards,

0 # Still cannot accessmylifex2 2013-05-29 13:13
Hi jjoanna I still cannot access the "but it's my mother" post.
0 # access "But it's my mother"pinkjoanna 2013-05-29 15:16
Hi Tracy,

Sorry you are having trouble.  The site is up, clean and accessible.

If you get a warning message from Google, disregard it and press continue and proceed.

You may have a cached version of the site in your computer.  If so, then reboot to clear your system.

Let me know what happens.  These measures shoould give you access.

Thank you for your patience.  Grr to the bad guys who slip malware into websites.

Applause for webmistresses like Jenni who chases them away and gets sites running again.

0 # moving mompinkjoanna 2013-06-10 10:15
good news, shh.  sounds like there is more movement than geographical, 

how old is your mother, and how old are you?  Developmental stuff may be happening now for both of you in different ways.

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