Are You Angry?

It’s not about anger being good or bad. It’s what you do with it that matters. John Schinnerer, PhD

Motherless daughters are frequently angry. They may have anger toward a mother who abandoned them, anger toward a mother who died, anger toward a family who is not supporting their caregiving efforts, anger at themselves for being stuck in a grief cycle. As Dr. Schinnerer says, there’s nothing wrong with anger but how it is expressed can determine whether it is destructive or productive. 

Anger can move people and feelings forward. Asserting our anger helps us speak up for what we need and let’s others know they are stepping over our boundaries. As we acknowledge our angry feelings, we can begin to understand what lies beneath them and move forward with our recovery. Honor your anger, express it constructively, then release it.

Affirmation: I acknowledge my anger.

Coaching questions: What’s makes you angry? What step can you take to productively communicate your anger? How will you affirm that your angry feelings are a necessary part of your journey towards recovery?

 

Are You Walking In Your Mom’s Career Footsteps?

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist

I just finished reading What’s Mom Still Got To Do With It? by Ilana Tolpin Levitt, MA, M.Ed. It’s about how your mother and the style of her parenting affected and continues to affect your career. Interesting concept from a woman who has vast experience on the topic. Levitt describes five daughter types. Daughters whose mothers died early are most likely Bootstrap Daughters, a daughter who propels herself up with little or no help from others. This model seems to ring true for many early loss and abandoned daughters with whom I spoke. Minus a role model or the encouragement of a mother, these daughters have taken their futures and the possibility of career success into their own hands. They frequently value financial security which is especially true for those who had alcoholic or distant fathers and uncertain, insecure childhoods. 

If you’re struggling in your career choice or performance, take a look at your mother/daughter relationship, or lack of relationship, and see what you can uncover.

Affirmation: I dig deep to determine my success.

Coaching questions: What affect might your mother experience have on your career choice and performance? Be specific. Knowledge is power. Make changes as necessary.

Bring Life to Your Life

Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens. Khalil Gibran, author of The Prophet

Ana, one of the daughters I interviewed whose mother died when she was young, gave me this great quote, “Make sure you don’t leave anything in your closet, unworn, with tags on!”

My interpretation of this is; live every day to the fullest, be present in your life, not bemoaning and living in the past. Ana also gave us this piece of advice, “Don’t be mad that’s she (your mother) is gone, be glad you’re still here.” Words to live by….thanks, Ana.

Affirmation: I’m glad I’m alive.

Coaching questions: Do you have anything in your closet, unworn, with tags on? What’s keeping you from wearing it? What’s keeping you from celebrating life and living in the present? What’s one thing you can do TODAY to bring more life to your life?

 

Shhh….It’s A Secret

With a secret like that, at some point the secret itself becomes irrelevant. The fact that you kept it does not. Sara Gruen, author, Water for Elephants

Secrecy is a common denominator in families where tragedy has struck. The C-word is never mentioned, photos are put away, death is not discussed, the unspoken agreement is “don’t ask, don’t tell” where everyone is expected to act as if nothing happened.

After talking with motherless daughters who grew up in this type of environment, I’ve come to believe that the secrecy was as much of a problem as the actual death of their mother. Silence increased their feelings of shame, especially if their mother died when they were young and there was no opportunity to process their experience by openly acknowledging their mother’s existence and their profound loss.

Affirmation: I’m an open person.

Coaching questions: What are your family’s secrets? How have they affected you?

Triumph Out of Adversity

Always seek out the seed of triumph in every adversity. Og Mandino,  author of The Greatest Salesman in the World

Bettie D. Gonzalez died of a rare cancer at the age of 38 leaving behind six children ages 7-16. On becoming adults, these children established The Bettie D. Gonzalez Foundation of Hope www.bdghope.org whose mission is to “Empower, Serve and Mentor Motherless Daughters”. This year they awarded twelve $1500 scholarships. In addition, they mentor motherless girls starting at age 14 in the greater Dallas and Detroit areas. Their purpose is to create a legacy that motherless girls who are mentored with wisdom, love and empowerment will one day pass on the same to future generations.

Turning their tragedy into a thriving legacy was a way to triumph over their adversity and a beautiful model for us all.  Thank you Gonzalez family.

Affirmation: I can be triumphant.

Coaching question: In what way can you turn your tragedy into something positive?

 

 

The Choice Is Yours

You either get bitter or you get better. It’s that simple. You either, take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate. It belongs to YOU. Josh Shipp, Youth motivational speaker, author

Yesterday I helped put together a taco bar lunch for about 20 women. The lunch was a big hit but one of the best parts was all the talking and laughter that took place while we chowed down our tacos. A friend at my table, who recently lost her husband, showed me her phone with the above quote on it. She said, “This quote is posted on my refrigerator!” I sent it to myself in order to share it with you, my Blogger Buddies.

With Mother’s Day on the horizon, this quote seems especially valuable. Two of the motherless daughters I interviewed replied the same way to the question, “what advice would you give others?” They both said, “You have to learn to play the hand your dealt.” Exactly!

Affirmation: I chose to get better. (I will make tacos this week)

Coaching question: What will help you move towards getting better…not bitter?

PS…I apologize for photos not showing up in my blog lately. They were perfect until published then poof! I’m on a mission to find out what happened.

Mom and Me

Life began with waking up and loving my mother’s face. George Eliot, pen name for Mary Anne Evans, English novelist, poet, leading writer of the Victorian era.

Sadness usually comes upon motherless daughters as Mother’s Day approaches. The day has always been a little sad for me too…even after all these years. These days, I’m doubly sad because I don’t get to spend time with my children or grandchildren on Mother’s Day.

However, one thing I’ve learned is that when I focus on what my mother meant to my life in the short time she was with me and how fortunate I was to have a wonderful father, my heart becomes lighter. When it’s less about what I lost and more about what I gained…yes, gained…by losing a mother at an early age my heart is lighter.

When I was growing up, our church had a Mother/Daughter Banquet. An elderly lady, Mrs. Pierce, always invited me to attend with her. What a loving thing to do. This week, I will remember her too.

The photo is my mom and me taken on vacation a few years before she died, circa 1950.

Affirmation: I am because we were.

Coaching question: What will help you feel less sad this week? How can you help a motherless daughter have a better day?

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