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Mother Issues

I want to admit to having been a hypocrite. I pride myself on being a “transformational storyteller,” and I am. In fact, I am phenomenal at helping others to change their stories in order to change their lives. Yet, I recently realized that I’d been clinging to a story that wasn’t serving me.

I have, and have always had, an amazing mom. She couldn’t have had it easy with me as a daughter. Even from the outset, I was a difficult child. She labored with me for 45 hours before I was finally willing to come out, which I think is either evidence of my codependent tendencies or of my insensitivity to the pain that I inflict on others (or both). I was the most precocious child I’ve ever encountered. Who needed rules? It was way more fun to do what I wanted whenever I wanted.

My mother loved me with every ounce of herself. Early on, I was able to let that love in but soon after I turned eleven, I began having difficulty letting her love in. I could go into an elaborate set of stories about why I felt unloved or the ways in which I perceived myself to be entitled to more than I received, but stories are subjective and not necessarily true. Sadly, when you’re angry at a parent, whether rightly or wrongly (or somewhere in between), it’s all too easy to get others invested in that story as well. Even those I entrusted to help me unwittingly contributed to the myth that my mother is narcissistic.

I took a lot of actions from a place of being unwilling (and unable) to acknowledge that the incredible woman who gave me life has only ever offered me the best of herself. She has her limits, sure, but all parents – all people – do. Recognizing this, I made a commitment to loving her back with the same selflessness with which she loves me, and it made me want to share this excerpt from my memoir project with you and to invite you to look at where in your life you might be telling yourself stories about the people who love you that aren’t supportive or true.

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