Leigh kept shaking her head and saying she couldn’t understand why her oldest daughter would say she’d never see her grandchildren if Leigh didn’t cut her other children out of her will. After 35 years of enduring rages, blame, silent treatment, bullying, abuse and even physical attacks, Leigh still wailed that it made no sense.
Leigh said, “I showed her how loving people treat each other. Everyone wants to be nice to their family, don’t they? Everyone wants to work things out, don’t they? We’re all the same underneath, aren’t we? Everyone wants peace, tranquility and love, don’t they? Everyone wants to follow the Golden Rule and get into heaven, don’t they? It makes no sense.” Leigh was blindsided every time her daughter manipulated, guilt-tripped or attacked her.
Leigh had clung to her childhood beliefs and ignored the evidence.
She could talk about how she frozen with terror at her parents drunken, crazy anger, but she was sure they loved her and wanted the best for her. She could talk about how critical, negative, mean and vindictive her narcissistic ex-husband had been; how she’d thrown her body between him and the kids in order to protect them, but she was sure it was important that the children loved their father and knew he loved them. So she never said a word of truth against him. She could talk about the thousand things her oldest daughter had done, but she knew her daughter wanted the best for Leigh and her other siblings.
She’d believed in infinite goodness at the core of everyone and in the idea we’ll all eventually come around to loving each other. When she was growing up, that hope kept her struggling for a better life; the hope sustained her.
But now her oldest daughter was forcing her to choose between the other children she enjoyed and who enjoyed her, and the one child who was full of entitlement, greed, jealousy and hate.
Leigh broke through: as an adult, she took into her heart and soul the reality that there are people totally different from the way she was.
She’d never understand why people would choose evil as a way of life, but now she allowed herself to recognize selfish people motivated by money, power and the pleasure of inflicting pain. Now, she could predict what her daughter would do based on her past performance. Now, Leigh could use her energy to protect herself, her happiness and her other children instead of wasting her time and energy trying to understand a daughter who was different from the way she was. People, including her children, had totally different desires, values and character; they had totally different rules of behavior even though she’d raised them all. That was the way the world was.
Now, Leigh could plan how to respond to what was likely to happen.
Just like she’d finally given up trying to rehabilitate her ex-husband, she gave up trying to educate and convert her daughter by forgiving, minimizing and catering to her. Bur she wouldn’t give up on herself and the future she wanted. She decided to use her life to love the children and grandchildren whose love felt wonderful in return. She also decided to matter to non-family members who wanted and appreciated her caring. Whenever she had second thoughts, she remembered her decision not to cast her pearls before swine, and she was comforted and strengthened.
Of course, there are many complications depending on your situation. The best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:
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