“Change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.” Robin Sharma
Don’t you just love that quote?
It came to mind the other day as I was reading an email from a lovely GUC reader who told me about a difficult decision she had to make.
Her mom has been an alcoholic her entire life. And as a result she grew up in an environment where she had to raise herself and her younger siblings.
But recently, she decided that she’s had it with her mom’s issues, drinking and the drama and our reader made the hard choice to cut her mom out of her life.
At the same time she’s relieved to finally have the space to focus on her recovery and her needs she doubts that things will ever get better. She wonders if she’ll ever be able to forgive and if and when the anger and sadness will ever go away.
Personally, I can relate to every bit of what she’s going through. I’ve had to make the same choices about my relationships with my mom, stepdad, dad, stepmom and my two older brothers.
And while I don’t have a magic formula that will instantly make the sadness, anger and confusion go away, I can share 3 mindset shifts that have helped me when I’ve wrestled with the same questions and worries.
So after you’re done reading, jump into the comment section and share your thoughts, insights and ideas.
If you can relate to those overwhelming waves of anger and sadness as a result of cutting a loved one out of your life, how do you deal? How do you balance handling your recovery while dealing with the weight of the choice to put a relationship with a loved one on hold?
I look forward to reading what you have to say.
Remember your voice, experiences and insights are vital to this community. And what you have to share is not only unique but it may be exactly what someone else needs to read. And that someone could be you.
Thank you for commenting, sharing and reading. I appreciate all of the time, attention and love you bring to this community!
Until Next Tuesday,
Mindset Shift #1 – How Will I Get Through This?
I’ve been using this mindset shift for a couple of months now when I find myself wondering how I will get through a rough patch.
Instead of dwelling on or worrying about how I will get through a situation or tough emotional state, I’ve learned to flip the question around and ask myself:
Has it been done before?
And if that thing has been done before or that emotional wave has been conquered before I take that as proof that I can do it too.
Now don’t get me wrong. I know damn well that just because there are rocket scientists roaming the planet right now that doesn’t mean that I can be one them. But when it comes to navigating the rough spots in my ACOA recovery, I remind myself that if it’s been done before, if someone else has figured it out then I can figure it out too.
For example, did you know that actresses Halle Berry, Charlize Theron and Demi Moore are all ACOAs? Did you know that former United States Presidents Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton and Ronald Regan are ACOAs too?
Charlize Theron actually has a pretty incredible story. When she was just 15 years old her alcoholic, verbally abusive father came home from the bar one night and proceeded to fire his gun into her bedroom. The whole time he was screaming, “Tonight I’m going to kill you.”
The night ended horribly when Charlize’s mother, in self-defense, grabbed her own gun and killed her father.
Not long after that horrific night, and at her mother’s urging, Charlize left home to pursue a new life. In an interview with ABC News Charlize said, “she bears the scar of that night on her heart, like a tattoo. It’s part of me but it doesn’t rule my life.”
Even if you never face something as extreme as Charlize did, she’s a great example of someone that made her way through a devastating rough patch. She can be a great reminder to us all that there is a way through.
So the next time you find yourself thinking, “How will I get through this?” Stop and change the question to, “Has it been done before?” And use what you find as proof that it can be done you will get through it.
Mindset Shift #2 – Will I Ever Be Able To Forgive?
At the brightest point in his career, boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter from New Jersey was wrongfully convicted for a triple murder not once but twice.
As a result, he spent 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
In 2000, years after his release, David Rakoff of the New York Times sat down with Hurricane and asked him if he’d forgiven the people who willingly contributed to his wrongful imprisonment. And Hurricane said:
“I don’t accuse them of having done anything to me…I have nothing against anybody, there’s no reason. I’m alive, I’m healthy and I’m happy. I’m poor , but I’m happy, so why would I have anything against anybody?”
So, if after spending 20 years in jail as an innocent man, Hurricane found a way to forgive the people that put him there then I think it’s safe to say that in even the most extreme situations forgiveness is possible.
If you’re wondering if you’ll ever be able to forgive the people in your family that have hurt you the answer is YES! You are capable of forgiveness. It’s not impossible.
But just because you’re able to forgive someone doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re ready or willing to forgive.
So instead of asking, “Will I ever be able to forgive?” why not try asking:
Am I willing to forgive?
I was first introduced to this idea of being willing to forgive through author Louise Hay.
For years I’d heard from several members of my family that I had to forgive my parents. But when I couldn’t find it in myself to do that I thought there was something wrong with me. They made it sound like it was so easy to do.
And the truth is that for some people forgiveness is super easy but that’s not the case for everyone and it certainly hasn’t been the case for me.
So instead of forcing myself to forgive someone I wasn’t ready to forgive or fixating on whether or not I was able to do it, I started asking myself whether or not I was even willing to forgive them right now. And whether that answer for me was yes or no, I went with it.
I learned from Louise Hay that when it comes to forgiveness you don’t have to know the HOW, you just have to be willing to do it.
Mindset Shift #3 – Will I Always Be Angry And Sad?
The answer to this questions is no, you will not always be angry and sad. But if you’re going through something right now that’s emotionally overwhelming my answer may not do squat for you.
So here’s what I want you to try. Instead of thinking about your emotions and whatever you’re experiencing right now as continuous emotional states think of them as flesh wounds or bruises.
Think about it. When you accidentally cut yourself or bump into something do you waste any time wondering if that cut or that bruise will heal? Do you ever wonder if you’ll always have that open wound or if that bruise will be bulging out from underneath your skin forever?
Probably not. You take care of it, you tend to it, it heals and you move on.
Well if you can think of your emotional states in the same way and give your emotions the same kind of respect and care that you would give to a wound or a bruise you wouldn’t have to worry about the anger or the sadness always being there.
The emotions will come and go just as cuts and bruises appear and heal.
Don’t worry if this isn’t an idea that comes easy for you. It’s taken me years to come to this level of understanding about emotions. As someone who can be easily overwhelmed by anger and sadness, I totally understand that feeling like it’s never going to end.
But I’m here to tell you that they do end and they will return. And every time they do you’ll get better and better at handling them. Promise.