Mom: You should really do XXXX.
Old Marlen: No, no, no…that won’t work.
New Marlen: Thank you. That’s a good idea and I’ll think about it.
I have had to work very hard to hear her ideas and suggestions as not criticisms, but as her own attempt to give input. This is a major step forward for me! Is this what professionals refer to as "the symbolic death of the parent"? I’ve come to respond to my mother in a different way…
Moreover, I have learned to think about validating her emotions in our conversations and re-thinking my input.
Mom: Business hasn’t been very good since the hurricane. Finishing the new house is driving me crazy.
Old Marlen: Well, what would you expect? You never should have bought a new house just after starting a new business.
New Marlen: Sounds like you are very stressed. It must be a difficult situation for you.
Today’s blog entry is in honor of communication. Truly listening to and responding to my mother in a way that takes care of her and shows that I appreciate her ideas and understand her sorrows.