Thank you for Aunt Terri advice!

WOW. What beautiful and amazing timing. After reading your response to my question about my Aunt Terri a couple days ago, I decided I would have compassion and just ask questions like you advised so I can better understand where she’s coming from. I decided to be open, loving, and vulnerable anyway.
We went to dinner and she casually mentioned something about the only part of her life that’s she happy with so I asked what she isn’t happy with which led to an amazing breakthrough in my understanding of her. I thought I would share because I think other people in this group might receive something from it as well.

While I listened to her and kept asking questions, we both realized why she tries to control everything and make sure everyone is doing the “right thing.” She explained how she hates herself for cheating on her ex-husband years ago and marrying the man she cheated with. She says every day that she wakes up and sees her current husband it brings up her thoughts about how she did the wrong thing, broke up her family with divorce and f-ed up her daughter’s life so she has been punishing herself and trying to control what she can to make herself feel better. (Her daughter is actually amazing and wonderful and does not feel like her mom f-ed up life at all. She has totally forgiven her and has a great life.)

Having just listened to your “I’m Not Good Enough” podcast (SO GOOD), I told her that she’s 100% worthy NO MATTER WHAT and how nothing she has done or tries to do now will ever change that. Also, how we can change the story of our past based on how we think about it. She’s having a hard time reconciling that and “letting herself off the hook”. She said “I refuse to think that cheating was a good thing.” I tried to help her see that instead of going from negative to positive she could just say “I made a choice.” and work towards better thoughts.

We then got down even deeper when I mentioned how all this energy she’s using to loathe and punish herself isn’t useful and she could be doing so much more with that energy, not to mention let everyone else of the hook of being controlled by her. She said, “If I’m not doing that then I don’t know what else to do with myself.” Boom. Indulging in these negative emotions so she never has to explore what her purpose is. She said she doesn’t even know what her purpose would be. I said well that’s the work right there. She now understands and sees it more clearly.

I so wish she was in this program too but I sent her your podcast, she listened and is so grateful.
I can tell this conversation was game changer for her AND me. I’ve learned to see past people’s actions and like you said try to imagine their own models.

C: Divorce
T: I hurt myself and my daughter horribly.
F: Self-hatred; anxiety
A: Telling people what to do, over-cleaning, beat up self with more negative thoughts
R: Hurt myself

In the last ten years of allllll of the conversations we’ve had about her divorce, neither of us have ever thought about it in this way. It all makes so much sense. I have learned so much from this experience with her. I don’t expect her to all of a sudden change and I’m releasing my manual of how she should behave around me, and I can continue feeling peace and love for her because I decided to in the first place.

THANK YOU. Your work is so far reaching.