Many years ago when driving back from a family get together, my mum drove me to the point of distraction by being what I thought extremely obnoxious.
I remember we were just outside of the town of Grafton when I couldn’t take her exaggerated silence and extreme childishness any more, and I blew up. I parked the car said some things that weren’t nice, got my 2 children out of the back seat and told my mother and sister (neither of whom could drive at the time) to find their own way home, I’m catching the bus from here.
My mother could hold a grudge for a long time, and managed to not speak to me for over one and a half years, even at family parties I was ignored. I felt I had nothing to apologise for as she was the one acting badly and caused the whole fight in the first place. However there was no way I was going to be let off without one.
I had been reading a few personal development books by this stage, and had a couple of strategies. So I set about writing a letter to mum, outlining the reasons for my outburst and how I felt at the time, and that it takes two to resolve things. Well this just made it worse as my mother just read into it all the wrong things and it still wasn’t enough of an apology, the apology I still found hard to make, as I didn’t feel it was all my fault.
After a few more months I knew I had to do something, otherwise my children would be growing up not knowing their grandmother. I cannot remember the name of the book I found it in, but the idea was to write a letter to the person who you feel has wronged you and start with why you’re angry with them, why you hate them, all the things you feel they have done to you, and how much they have hurt you. Then you keep writing, getting all the bad feelings out on the paper until you get to the point where you can start writing how much you miss them, why you want to see them again and ultimately why you love them.
After doing this I cannot express the difference it made in me and how I viewed the whole experience. Nothing has changed in my mother, rather I now had let go of all the anger, all the hurt and all the frustration, I had caused myself over the rift.
I didn’t send the letter, I didn’t need to. I actually had a ceremonial burning with a really good healing cry, after which I was then able to go and apologise for what I saw was my part in the whole affair and our relationship was instantly healed.
A Different Way of Seeing
Sometimes you just have to let others, even those closest to you (especially those closest to you) be who they are and let go of any reasons to let it upset you. By doing this it frees you to forgive them and, most importantly, yourself. After all, forgiveness is the cure to all broken relationships, with others and with yourself.
Many years later, I know I haven’t always been there for my daughters when they needed me, however being a mother doesn’t make anyone perfect, so I forgive myself, and I get on with being the best mother I know how to be at this time in my life.
I highly recommend the letter approach for anyone trying to move forward in a broken relationship of any kind. I’ve found it invaluable.