So, you know that you are going to spend some time with your mum, or the equivalent figure in your life. But what if you are not looking forward to this day like so many others seem to do?
As I grew up, I had a very unhealthy relationship with my mum and experienced a lot of sadness. A lot of the time I felt as though I wasn't loved, cared about and had to put in certain coping mechanisms to feel better.
Throughout my life this has not really changed, as my mum is pretty much still the same person she always was.
A few years ago, I decided that I wanted a relationship with her, but one in which I would not feel the rejection, disinterest and unimportance that I have always felt.
Here are five things you can do to make sure that you don't struggle on Mother's Day.
Know what to expect
By now you are aware of the relationship that you have with your mum. You know how they are towards you and that you can feel a certain way because of what they say and do.
So be ready for it and decide that even though you know this is going to happen you are not going to allow it to affect you.
Be aware of your triggers
As you grew up, you put things into place to manage the relationship that you have with your mother in order to avoid loss and pain.
These sit within your subconscious ready to be set off at any time something happens that reminds you of that time.
By being aware of what can get triggered for you, you can decide whether you allow yourself to go with these or choose to let them pass, knowing that they actually just perpetuate the difficult relationship that you have in the first place.
Choose who you are going to be
Do you find that you go through your every day life being one person, but when you meet up with your mother you become someone else?
Who do you want to be when you are with her? Choose to be the person that you are with others, even though you know your mother may not accept this or question who this person in front of them is as you have never shown them this ‘you' before.
Choose to be someone else
This is kind of the opposite of tip number three.
What strategy works for you the best? Think about what is the easiest version of you to be when in your mother's/s' company? Is it easier to keep the peace, to be the listener? To hear about how terrible their life is or about the neighbour's dog (meaningless chit chat).
- See also: Fire and ice? Supporting each other when you might both be ill
- See also: How to stop idolising or vilifying people
Can you take yourself into a good space within your own mind that means that you don't require anything more from this time than to just have a cordial relationship? This will obviously be much more difficult if the negativity is aimed at you … onto tip number five.
You don't have to take it
As a child you ‘had to' find your place, to learn to fit in. You were seeking acceptance and affection from your parents and it may just not have come in the way that you wanted. Maybe the only attention that you got was negative and today this is still the same.
Well, now, as an adult you no longer ‘have to' sit there and listen to this. You no longer need to find acceptance or attention from someone who you know finds it so hard to give it to you.
It is difficult to change the relationship of a lifetime and you cannot change who someone is unless they are motivated to do so. But, if you keep acting the same with them, they will keep acting the same with you as they are not aware that it needs to change.
Try one of these out, the one that best suits you and the relationship that you have with your mum.
It can be a good day, if you put yourself in the right space.
John Kenny is the founder of Interpersonal Relationship Coaching and the author of The P.E.O.P.L.E. Programme.