What I would like advice on and what’s annoying me about myself is that I tend to validate my mother on stupid things she says to avoid conflict and keep the peace. As conflict with her takes weeks of bitterness on her side to then live through and turn around.

How can I come more into my power yet not validate every single small, stupid comment she makes without incurring her illogical wrath??

—V.J. (Ireland)



Congratulations on at looking at this difficult situation with consciousness, awareness, and a proactive approach. Congratulations also on being aware of your part in the situation and your ability to make a change to improve the relationship with your mother.

You ask a great question. As difficult as it can sometimes be, the smoothest way through the situation is to not let yourself get sucked into the old pattern of toxic dynamics and old roles and outworn patterns of relating with one another. Because this dynamic has developed and been reinforced over decades, it will likely take time to retrain yourself (and your mother) to behave in a healthier manner than in the past.

Often people who treat others poorly are themselves unhappy and often feel powerless. Keep this in mind as you interact with her.

Practice being in the energy of love, particularly before and while you are with her. When she is especially trying, in your heart, thank her for your existence and for making you the person you are today. Keep this in your heart as you respond to her and try to repeat things back to her neutrally so that she feels heard without you having to resist or defend yourself against invalidating comments or energies.

For example, when she says, “I’m always having to clean up after everyone,” you can respond by saying, “I hear you saying you feel you always have to clean up after everyone.” If there are ways you can help, you can—for example, help a little more around the house. If it’s an unfounded complaint, simply repeat what she said in as neutral a manner as possible, and go about your business without engaging in the discussion other than that. Keep doing this as best as you can. Over time, if you keep staying neutral while repeating back to her what she says, it will gradually start to break the old toxic cycles as you move towards being able to move out when possible.

Keep heart, my friend.

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