Make Peace with Your Mom
- Thursday, February 15, 2007
Manage anger well. Face any anger you have toward your mom instead of denying it or apologizing for it. Think about the reasons behind your anger. Ask God to help you identify the root causes of your anger (such as fear, hurt, or frustration). Consider how you express your anger – in healthy or unhealthy ways. If you have a habit of expressing anger in destructive ways (such as by yelling, blaming, or attacking), seek healing from God to learn how to direct your anger toward constructive outcomes.
Use anger to change situations for the better. Be honest, willing to listen to criticism and challenges as you discuss issues, and willing to take responsibility to do your part to resolve them. Recognize when your expectations for your mom are unrealistic, and lower them when necessary. Accept her faults. Stop trying to constantly earn your mom’s approval and be at peace with the fact that you can’t always please her. Rather than simply reacting to the anger you feel, proactively choose how you will respond to it.
Ask God to give you wisdom and patience. Then make a list of your options, keeping in mind what type of relationship you would like to have with your mom (instead of what your current relationship is like). Write a prayer describing your vision for dealing with anger in better ways, and read this prayer at least once a week to remind yourself of your vision. Choose to forgive your mom whenever she hurts you, relying on God’s power to help you. Choose to forgive yourself for mistakes you’ve made in your relationship with your mom. Remember that both you and your mom are worthy of God’s love and forgiveness, and He wants you to love and forgive each other as well. If you’ve been estranged from your mom, do whatever you can to reunite with her. But if she’s unwilling or unable to reunite (such as if she’s deceased), release your past and mom to God. If she’s still alive but doesn’t respond to your reconciliation efforts, never give up praying for her.
Face your loss. Reflect on ways in which your mom was absent from your life growing up, perhaps through death, divorce, abandonment, or being physically present but not emotionally there for you. Ponder how her absence has made you feel, and why. Consider how her absence affected your life. Then pray about your thoughts and feelings, asking God to help you discover what is true about your mom and what isn’t. Don’t be afraid to ask questions on your quest for information about her. If your mom is available, try to interview her. Talk with your mom’s family and friends about her. Once you’ve discovered all you can about what you’ve longed to know about her absence, talk about your feelings with a close friend, counselor, or pastor. If your mom has passed away, think and pray about what you were and were not able to do to help her and what you miss most about her. If you weren’t able to say goodbye to her in the way you would have liked, write her a goodbye letter and read it at her grave, to an empty chair, in prayer, or in some other way that helps you express yourself. No matter what the cause of your mom’s absence, identify all the things you lost because of it and make time to grieve for each one. Then say goodbye to those things and move on with your life in peace, trusting that God will lead you into a good future and help you every step of the way.
Build a new relationship. Know that, although you can’t change the past, you can change the present and future in your relationship with your mom. Think and pray about specific ways you would like to see that relationship improve. Then focus on one change at a time and approach your mom about it. Check your motives to make sure you’re not approaching her to punish her for her mistakes, but to truly try to improve your relationship. If possible, request a change in writing (such as through a note or letter) to give your mom time to think about it before you both discuss it. Focus on the desired behavior instead of on what your mom has or hasn’t done in the past.
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