For as long as I can remember I grew up thinking I didn’t love my mum and worse, I blamed my mum for everything. At the time I believed she was the cause of all my misery and if only she was different, better or like someone else’s mother, my life would be okay.
I grew up constantly trying to change my mother; constantly telling her what she was doing wrong and how she needed to change. My mum is a deeply caring person and because she cares so much, she was often doing things for others at her own expense. I remember a time when we were at the theatre; it was late and I expressed how hungry I was. My mum being the mum she was, offered to go and get me food. Sweet in itself, but for her to do that meant going out into dark deserted city streets on a cold and rainy night. I was appalled that she would want to do that, and told her so in the most unloving way.
What I didn’t express was how much it hurt to watch my mum, a woman I had adored since I was born, continually make choices that were inconsiderate to herself, continually neglecting herself for the benefit of putting others first.
As you would imagine my outburst did not go down too well and even though I didn’t want to see it, I really hurt my mum; to her she was offering support and love and couldn’t understand why I would react so badly. It wasn’t until I was about 26 years old that I started to realize that my quest to change my mother did not work – all it did was to cause further distress, distrust and reaction, increasing the stress on our already tenuous relationship.
What I came to realise is the only person I had the power to change was me.
From that moment on I started to look at all the ways I wanted my life to be different and what I could do to make that happen. I found this a difficult process and my solution was to cut my family out of my life. All I knew was they were hurting me and I couldn’t get them to change, so the most loving thing I could do – so I thought – was to cut them out of my life. I even told my mum that I couldn’t be around them as it hurt too much . . . ouch, my poor mum! I still remember the look on her face.
So I lived that way for a year or so, only attending ‘important’ family events, thinking what I was doing was self-loving. Then I came across the workshops presented by Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, where (people) Serge spoke about self–responsibility and bringing love to yourself and then being that love with everyone else. Boy did the light bulbs come on!
I was not being loving with my family – I was still blaming them and I didn’t take responsibility for my own choices. I discovered I had a major issue with expression and all the things I had not expressed had bottled up inside my body like one big gaping oozing hurt. Once I started expressing how I really felt, those hurts started to decrease bit by bit.
Today I know no one can hurt me: the only thing that truly hurts me is holding back from expressing my true feelings.
If I had told my mum how I truly felt; that her offering to get me food on that cold and rainy night made me really sad, that I adored and cherished her more than anything else, and for her to willingly put herself in danger for me was not something I cherished but something that deeply hurt. I am sure that speaking my truth in that moment rather than reacting would have received an entirely different response.
I always envied those children who said they adored their parents. I never felt that way and it really hurt because deep down I knew I loved my mother dearly. What I have come to discover in my own healing is that my mother loves me dearly too.
We just happened to be each other’s biggest reflections – constantly reflecting to each other all the ways we did not love and adore ourselves.
Thanks to my commitment to truth, love and healing I have no more barriers in the way of just simply loving my mum.
In fact today I can joy-fully share that I not only love my mum, I adore her. She is the most beautiful woman in the world to me. And I am truly blessed that she is my mum.
By Caroline Raphael
Published with permission of my Mum.
What Mothers Teach Daughters
Expressing Love: I Love You
Beautiful sharing, Caroline. I’ve had a very similar experience with my mum. In the past, I also reacted to the reflection that she offered about me for great part of my life. I was escaping from looking in her the hardness I was into, whilst judging her for that. It was not until I surrendered to my delicacy that I couldn’t relate with her from another point. Now that I have let go that hardness in me, I’m having a very new flavour in our relationship. We are opening to each other like a flower and now I can feel the love that was always there, ready for us to encounter within it.
Blaming others for our misery and waiting around for them to change will never make us happy. Take responsibility for what we are doing in our own lives that makes us miserable and then things start to shift. Great thing about relationships is often the thing that irks us in another is exactly what we are doing to ourselves.
This is so true, ‘the only person I can change in life is me’, and yes it is both arrogant and imposing to want to change another.
It is a great moment of observation when we realise that any problem we ‘think’ we have with another has its root cause in ourselves.
Now that is being responsible.
This is what we experience when we get all the crap and all our crap out the way – that the people around us are AMAZING and totally loveable human beings.
Just love this line: “What I came to realise is the only person I had the power to change was me.” I’ve found that since I stopped blaming other people and started working on my own stuff my capacity to love has massively increased. We can put so much effort into trying to change our circumstances or the people around us but when if by virtue of changing ourselves everything else naturally changes.
I look forward when this is more widely known, ‘What I came to realise is the only person I had the power to change was me.’ I love what you share here Meg, so true.
It is a great learning to come to, that we cannot and should not expect others to change, as in this expectation we hold a picture or an outcome that we need fulfilled to ease an unsettlement within us. It does indeed expose how we impose our need for others to nullify our hurts from our choice to holding back on being and expressing love. For when we are honest with ourselves and accept our responsibility, commit healing our hurts and to being and bringing the love we are to every situation, we respond with truth and love and offer the reflection that which we all are in essence regardless of the outcome.
We hurt not just ourselves but those around us when we hold back and as I have committed more and more to expressing my truth it is beautiful to feel how this has opened up my relationships particularly with those closest to me.
It’s our choice to hold back our words and yet it seems easy to blame others for those choices. Even if in fear of being punished if we spoke up at least then we would have spoken our truth but this is not even a consideration as a child – at least I do not remember it being the case.
I can very much relate to this story, I was also blaming my mother for a long time for many of the “bad” things (like relation break-ups) that were happening in my life. The problem here being, is if you blame, as a man, the first woman in your life (i..e your mother), you cannot do anything else than blaming other women as well. The way you relate to your mother is the model on which you later on relate to other women. It took quite some healing to change this around and to be able to say “I love my Mum”. And truly love other women as well.
What a lovely thing, to admit that you adore your mother, such a thing is rarely talked about, how precious our mothers are to us, how much is the depths of our love for them, and how valuable and cherished they innately are to our lives.
So beautifully shared Caroline, I remember feeling like my mother did not love me because the love did not come in the way i thought love to be, it has only been in the last few years that i have come to realise that she did indeed love me, but that it was her hurts that caused her to hold back her love.
Our mothers can reflect so much to us regarding the things that we have to look at in ourselves, and most of the time we do not want to look at the gift that is on offer. Instead, we blame them and do not want to deal with what’s coming up for us.
“Today I know no one can hurt me: the only thing that truly hurts me is holding back from expressing my true feelings.” . . . wise words Caroline. It is funny just how many of us do so readily blame our mothers for all our woes at one stage of our lives. I know I certainly did. This certainly explains it all . . .”We just happened to be each other’s biggest reflections – constantly reflecting to each other all the ways we did not love and adore ourselves.” . . .I can really appreciate this now and have learnt so much from viewing life in this way.
This really is a beautiful sharing Caroline, so many troubled family relationships would stand a better chance if we all took responsibility in the part we play in the dynamic, for we can’t change others but we can do a lot of work on ourselves.
I loved reading your blog about your relationship with your mum Caroline, it made me think of my relationship with my mum and the one with my daughter too.
Thank you Caroline, I relate to your story in so many ways which I am sure many others do too, expressing this is a gift to the world.
Such a gorgeous read, Caroline. It helps me to ponder on my relationship roller coaster with my own mum but also to appreciate the strength of our connection. There is so much to truly value and adore in others when we get ourselves and our hurts and judgements out of the way.
What I love about this is that it allows us to look at the pictures and expectations that we hold others in and the imposition of this and how this often encourages them to push up against this.
What a beautiful blog Caroline, everything you have said in here is so true. The easiest way out is to blame our family and say that they have hurt us. But in truth, like you say, nobody can hurt us – we hurt ourselves by holding back the deep, deep love that we have.
We feel hurt and then we lash out and hurt another, mainly those closest and dearest to us. What a crazy, not at all so merry merry-go-round.
“Today I know no one can hurt me: the only thing that truly hurts me is holding back from expressing my true feelings.” this is awesome and so true, what I love about this statement is that its a forever evolving – the more we express our feelings the more we see our expression grow – we are forever connecting and communicating and when we look beyond the person we have a chance to feel and experience the universe.
Love what you have shared Caroline, because as the feeling of being in a loving relationship evolves then we all get that deepening reflection as a true blessing of that level of love.
One of the most freeing things is being able to see and fully understand without attachment our parents choices. In this we get to see them not just for their behaviour anymore but for who they truly are inside.
Beautiful Caroline. Pondering on my mum (she is dead) … she loved and cherished me with all she knew at the time. I loved and adored her too. She is not around now but there is plenty of women I know now that I love, cherish and adore. In fact I could adore women all day. Women are sacred and need to be held in this way always.
I love reading about your journey with your mum, I absolutely adore my mum too! She is a huge huge inspiration and guiding support in my life and super super blessed am I to have her in my life.
There really is nothing better then having a relationship based on true support and deep care and love for one and other. I could keep going on and on about how much I love my mum….
‘We just happened to be each other’s biggest reflections – constantly reflecting to each other all the ways we did not love and adore ourselves.’ This is powerful in its statement and must surely apply to every relationship where we are in reaction and resentment? If its not this particular reflection, it will be another along similar lines! It makes sense to ask ourselves the question when in relationship to another… what am I being shown here… what is it that I am reacting to?
Amazing reflection Rachel, and definitely something that is well worth considering in every relationship we have. So that when we are in a loving response to another it comes with a completely different energy and we can feel the difference.
This is a great sharing as I read it, it supported me to feel how I still have expectations and judgements on my mum and the choices she makes instead of just allowing her to be and loving her fully for who she is, this is a great reflection.
“What I came to realise is the only person I had the power to change was me” When we take responsibility for all the choices we make to live with love this can be an inspiration to others to look at the choices they are making.
Families have the potential to be an enormous vehicle of reflection in all our lives
I was amazed the other day to realise how much I had fragmented and pretzeled myself into the son my parents wanted me to be. Today I live free of this conditioning and realise that the greatest gift I can give back to my parents is living all of me in life.
‘What I came to realise is the only person I had the power to change was me’. Wow, we spend so much time criticizing others and the world around us and wanting it and them to change all the while we have it backwards and instead learn, build and change ourselves then reflect that to the others to allow them to be inspired to change in their own time.
This tender blog highlights so beautifully the damage that ensues when we do not express in full. It also pained me to see my mother exhausting herself in her attempts to make everything alright and how I reacted to that was not supportive. My mother passed over many years ago but I feel that as I heal the issues that hold me back from expressing then all my relationships benefit and I embrace the deep love that I had for my mother and let go of the sadness that I never expressed it verbally to her.
“Today I know no one can hurt me: the only thing that truly hurts me is holding back from expressing my true feelings.” This is brilliant and allows us to stop the blame and resentment we may carry and accept responsibility for ourselves and how we feel.
It is incredible beyond measure to feel free from the ideals, beliefs and expectations we hold towards our parents, that they are different or separate to us. This separateness is a condition that sadly is the cause of much of the suffering we experience in society. As you have shared, when we begin to embrace the love we are within, heal the hurts we have been holding onto and take responsibility for the way we feel, we begin to see that we are all not so different, our parents included. That they too have hurts they are affected by, yet underneath that they are the exact same quality of love within. More and more I am feeling the blessing of being with my parents, appreciating the love we each hold within and deeply enjoy sharing our love together.
So true – our parents are not to blame but as a society we need to take responsibility for the fact that we have been passing on our hurts from one generation to the next. Have we had enough yet?
It really is an opportunity to cherish if we can heal ourselves to the point where we have the clarity that Caroline writes about, and we can re-build the bridge back to our parents… whilst they are alive
Caroline I loved reading this blog, it brought it home to me to how I had been with my own mother. Bringing more understanding to what is reflected to us and the ultimate responsibility lies within us all for the choices we have made has taken me a while to get used to. Over time I am beginning to understand more and more this ‘R’ & ‘E’ word – responsibility & expressing – still perfecting it.
“We just happened to be each other’s biggest reflections – constantly reflecting to each other all the ways we did not love and adore ourselves.” I think this explains why so many mother-daughter relationships are so verbally abusive as I experienced around me when I was growing up. We do get very much confronted with a reflection we don’t dare to see of ourselves which makes us react in many ways.
Thank you Caroline for sharing beautifully how you have come to adore your mother, Reactions send out the wrong messages and serves to separate and complicate matters. It is not normally a way of life to express our true feelings but when we do the reflection we offer can bring so much healing.
It is really joyful to see the photograph of you and your mother, Caroline. It powerfully reflects the truth of the healing of the hurts between you and within each of you. Such an inspiring testament to ‘truth, love and healing’.
Wanting people or things in life to change is quite exhausting and frustrating and is distracting us from looking at our own behaviour and pictures we have. The picture of you and your mum shows the love between you two and how adorable you two are.
Caroline, this is such a great article and this feels very true from my experience, ‘Today I know no one can hurt me: the only thing that truly hurts me is holding back from expressing my true feelings.’ I used to hold a lot of judgment against my family and friends, always thinking they were letting me down and that they didn’t love or care about me, I did not take responsibility for how I was and my actions and choices. Now I do, I am much more gentle and understanding with myself and am seeing more and more how very sweet and loving my family actually are, it is very sad that I could not see this before, it feels like my relationships are starting again and this time they are about love, understanding and caring rather than judgment and blame.