This time it’s going to be different, thought Rosalie, as she drove toward her mother’s home. This time I’m not going to get caught in her manipulations. She carefully reviewed her planned strategies, struggling not to let her anger cloud her thinking.
“First I need to use my Adult,” she told herself. “I need to stay rational and keep thinking about what is actually happening and respond to that instead of getting caught in her game. When she starts whining at me about how miserable her life is, and how much she depends on me to take care of her, I need to remember that her Child is inviting me to use my Parent to think about what she needs instead of about what I need. That just makes my Child so furious because she never did want to take care of me when I needed her. I wonder if I will really be able to have a rational Adult to Adult conversation with her.”
One morning, lingering over coffee, Rosalie decided that the time had come to carry out her plan. “Mom, I need to tell you about some things I’ve been learning about myself in therapy. I’m sorry I haven’t been the kind of daughter you want. I have done lots of things I’m not proud of.”
To Rosalie’s amazement her mother listened attentively to her explanations about how the different parts of her personality functioned and how she was learning to act differently. “Maybe how I approach her really does make a difference,” she thought.
Later, Rosalie asked the most difficult question. Imploring her mother to be honest, she asked if she really was an unwanted baby. Instead of the usual “of course you were wanted,” her mother told the truth.
“I was angry at you, but it wasn’t your fault. Your father was running around with other women even before you were born, and I was completely tied down, and furious with him. Then he abandoned me, and I had no money and didn’t know how to take care of us. I did the best I could. I traded sex for a place to stay and for food. Finally I had to leave you with my sister — I didn’t want to, but I thought it would be better that way. I’m sorry, I didn’t know her son would hurt you.”
With further questioning, her mother told Rosalie about growing up in an alcoholic family, and leaving as a teenager, to avoid physical and verbal abuse. They cried together and continued the conversation. The truth hurt, but it was better than the lies of the past.
Rosalie imagined herself in her mother‘s position and felt compassion for the frightened young woman her mother had been.
When she left a few days later, Rosalie realized that she was no longer angry, and that she and her mother were finally starting to become friends.
[tags]Emotional Problems, Inner Child, Parents, Personal Growth,Psychotherapy, Relationships, Self Help, Self-Improvement,Transactional Analysis[/tags]