Non violent listening

There’s a repetitive pattern: my 17-year-old daughter shares something distressing, I “try to help”, she refuses help and we part ways feeling disconnected. Sometimes she reminds me: ‘mum, I don’t want you to fix it, I just need you to listen’; that helps me drop from doing to hearing. Sometimes I say stuff that turns out to be really helpful and we have one of our amazing conversations. But the times when she reacts to my “fixing” are so painful!

So I did a bit of thinking this morning and quickly saw that, under my ‘trying to help’ was not the worried mum that struggles to see her daughter suffering, as I believed was there. There is some of that, of course, but what is driving my impulse to fix is a desperate young part that needs my daughter to be okay so that I don’t get in trouble (as in being blamed for my daughter’s suffering). Amazing.

About an hour later, my daughter came to me feeling distressed. Usually I sort of lean forward energetically, feel all of her feelings in my chest, anxiety rises and a very strong impulse comes up to do something about it. This time I consciously held my energy back and paid as much attention to her as to my inner distressed part that needs to fix. I felt centered and quiet. She talked and talked; I didn’t need to do anything. Oh! My! God! What a difference! So much more peaceful! Eventually she asked for my opinion, but when I gave it, I was not attached to what she did with it.

I was grateful to the universe for the opportunity to practice relating to her from my newly found awareness. May this way of being become the default. Amen.

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