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My relationship with my mother is not the way I want it to be - How can I take it forward?

heart to heart The questioner's philosophy
I am Christian and work toward a God-centered life on a daily basis. I participate in a prayer line and I believe in paying attention to others' needs and meeting them, where they are and doing what I can to help them. It could be stopping by the elderly neighbor's house, holding the door for a co-worker so they don't have to get their key out, lending an empathetic ear etc. I don't look for return but do these things just because they are needed. If I have any hope it is that my act of kindness causes someone else to produce an act of kindness for someone else.
The questioner's hopes and aspirations
I want to make "enough" money to support myself and my children. I want to get married again. I want to improve my relationship with my siblings and parents. I want to go to college and obtain a degree or move ahead in my work environment due to my performance.
After 17 years of marriage I learned from my oldest daughter that my husband was molesting her (and the other children - I later learned). She was 11 at the time. We prosecuted. He committed suicide. My whole life shifted. I am now alone raising 4 children 8 to 13 years old, 2 boys, 2 girls. My parents wanted to parent me. I informed my family that I needed to take charge of my children and begin our new course and firmly establish myself as the "parent." The daughter who told about the abuse became extremely violent, destructive and a full time job for me. I was fortunate enough to stay at home and work with her for a few years.

I am stuck right now in relationship problems with my parents. My mother behaves in a very immature manner. I try to relate to her as an adult but she still wants to relate to me as a child. This doesn't work. My parents were abusive toward me as a child and my mother still attempts to be abusive toward me. My father was an alcoholic and the boundaries were not clear. My mother was depressed and over-emotional when I was growing up. Now she does not seem to be depressed but is still over-emotional and manipulative when I point out specific things that she does or says that are attempts at manipulation, or just plain mean.

I am having trouble finding a starting place for recovering the relationship. She does not respect my private information and shares things inappropriately with other family members. When I told her that I wanted her to stop doing that as it was a violation of the trust in our relationship, she continued until I finally stopped sharing almost anything with her. This also makes her angry and resentful. This is not the way I want things to be. Although I read articles, search the Internet for solutions and pray about this matter, I have not become clear as to how this relationship can move forward. Can I have some suggestions and recommendations?

Wallace's reply
You certainly seem to have had difficulties to contend with in recent years, and have done well to come through all that, while at the same time nurturing your four children. I want you to remember that your children represent your future and your parents represent your past. I can understand your distress at the kind of relationship you currently have with your mother. I think the key sentence in your question is, "This is not the way I want things to be." Wisdom begins with accepting things as they are. If you want your relationship with your mother to be different from the way it is, you will always be exerting a subtle influence and the message your mother will be getting from you is, "I want you to change." This will understandably cause resentment and anger in your mother.

Why not replace "This is not the way I want things to be" and "I want you to change" with "I accept this relationship the way it is" and "I love you as you are." Instead of placing subtle pressure on your mother to change, focus on those things that you see and admire in her and appreciate them. Remember that your mother has God within - relate to that and do not be distracted by negative or difficult behavior.

When people are loved for what they are sometimes miracles happen!

Further Help and Resources
To accept "what is" is not to say that you like it or that it is not a good idea to work to improve the situation, but that you can face it squarely, with equanimity, and without resistance. Resistance is what energizes a condition you cannot accept and causes it to continue. For help to release such resistances in your life, and so to be better able to handle such situations, I suggest you read about the Release technique.

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