Self-Love & Mothering: Stopping to Take Responsibility

by Denise Cavanough, aged 56, Brisbane

Over the years that I have been seeing Serge Benhayon and attending Universal Medicine presentations and talks, I can say that nothing he has said has made me feel uncomfortable, squirm in my seat or want to run away. Not until recently have I felt like I was confronted, stopped in my tracks, cut to the bone; felt like I wanted to throw a tantrum and run away kicking and screaming like a child (I think you will be getting the picture).

This all came about when my daughter Shannon sent me a text in reply to mine, saying that it was ok to stay the night, but to have organised it before, not just as an afterthought, and not without consideration for her plans. This called a stop to a behavior that I had been doing and, I now recognise, that my mother had also done to me.

I can now feel how I had (as a mother) this thread of a feeling that my now adult children owed me. That because I had more life experience I knew better, and I could fix things for them my way, instead of letting them come to things in their own time, or waiting to be asked. I felt how in some ways I had taken our relationship for granted, thinking just because they are my children, I had the right to tell them what I thought they should do. I thought this was loving, but now I felt how controlling it could be. I remembered how I had felt when my mum gave me unwarranted advice, and would not leave me to come to things in my own way.

This triggered a chain of events in me that was far bigger than I could have ever realised.

How had I allowed this to go on between mum and me and never put a stop to it?

I felt so angry. I had no idea what I was feeling at the time, but I knew it was HUGE. I had not felt anything like this before, only that I wanted to run away.

My body was screaming and I could feel that I didn’t want to face it. But there was no way I was running away from whatever it was. So I stopped.

From that short text, I had got to feel how I had never truly honoured and loved myself. By my daughter Shannon, also a mother, showing me the love she held for herself, I got to feel how I had never chosen true self-love for me. How I had always put my children first – I would do anything for them, in total disregard for me, never considering how it felt for me. No wonder I was kicking and screaming so much, it was H U GE.

I had spent a lifetime mastering this, thinking that this was what mothering was about. I loved being a mother, but I was mothering at the expense of me, and could see how mum had done the same all her life.

By Shannon saying truthfully what she felt, she reflected to me all the choices I had made that were not loving for me. It hurt me deeply to see what I had been choosing for myself. Since then I have had a great unfolding, allowing me to discover more of myself.

I have been seeing the same patterns running through my relationship with my mum, habits that I had taken on that mum had done. I’m seeing a stop to these patterns, a break in generations of this behavior. The buck stops here. By calling it out for what it is, it has stopped – it has run its course with me.

It is amazing to have felt all the changes I have made since that day. I had never allowed myself to stop and feel how the choices I was making were affecting my life, my children’s and grandchildren’s. They are now seeing the way I am making different choices, and becoming more loving to myself and others.

By holding on to mothering in that way, I was not allowing myself to claim time to nurture me, the lovely me, the beauty-full me, the gentle me, to treat myself tenderly, to speak to myself in a loving way, to adore me and cherish the amazing woman I have become.

I feel that through having attended presentations by Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, I am seeing things in my life through different eyes. By taking responsibility for my choices, this has changed my life. I wanted to get to truth, no matter what. I can no longer blame anything that comes into my life on others – it has been my choice.

Self-love can only be where there is truth.

That’s my miracle for today.

267 thoughts on “Self-Love & Mothering: Stopping to Take Responsibility

  1. What a great gift for you from Shannon and wonderful that you embraced the learning and wanted only truth. Much appreciation for you both.

  2. ‘From that short text, I had got to feel how I had never truly honoured and loved myself.’ Thank you so much for your honesty Denise, I have found it uncomfortable to recognise the same patterns in me which I have worked on but can feel that there is a deeper level to address now. I can really relate to losing myself in the mothering role and not taking care of myself and even though I have made changes how I still have an investment in my daughter being OK and wanting to fix her so as not to feel her hurt and what that reflects to me. This feels HUGE and I feel deeply inspired by your commitment.to taking responsibility for your choices and getting to truth.

  3. Denise, this is amazing to realise ‘I have been seeing the same patterns running through my relationship with my mum, habits that I had taken on that mum had done. I’m seeing a stop to these patterns, a break in generations of this behavior. The buck stops here. By calling it out for what it is, it has stopped – it has run its course with me.’ This has to be appreciatied big time because of it has no longer a hold on you and Shannon and this is felt by all. Thank you for your honesty and openess.

  4. Denise this a precious sharing because it is so easy to fall into patterns of inappropriate over-mothering if this has been the family norm. I valued my children far more than I valued myself, but recently one of my daughters shared how much she just wanted a mum to have fun with, and not the self-sacrificing kind. The tendency to be interfering comes from too much identification with the mothering role. The more I love and honour myself the less I fall into this trap.

  5. It would appear so easy to blame the other or go into the wrongness of our ill choice/behaviour etc when it gets exposed. But what this blog confirmed to me was that stopping in that moment is far healthier than reacting.

  6. Wow, we are not to know what an amazing gift we share by simply speaking the truth from our hearts. By accepting Shannon’s offering Denise, you were able to break out of the mould that had been encasing and limiting the full expression of the amazing woman within. You being you is a gift of gold that everyone can celebrate, open no strings attached, with many happy returns.

  7. The line, ‘mothering at the expense of me’ was a real attention-grabber. It highlights the level of self-disregard mothers can get to in expending themselves to be there for their children, with little or no acknowledgement or appreciation of the true woman they are within. It’s a sad fact but ‘mothering at the expense of me’ only ever achieves ‘mothering at the expense of them’.

  8. There is an enormous amount of hurt that is hidden and covered up and buried in the average person’s life as they strive to be good whether as a parent, lover or employee…. Universal Medicine always presents a life changing opportunity to heal these deep hurts, to know ourselves, and then to bring the beauty of who we truly are to all our relationships.

  9. Lovely to read this honest account of what mothering is and what it is not. Being a mother myself I know how we can be driven with ideals and beliefs of what it means to be a mother and having a picture of what that looks like. I used to have this idea that I couldn’t learn from my daughters, but time and time again I am proven wrong, as there is so much to learn from each other.

  10. Thank you for writing this. What a great pattern to finally choose to break, and yes how huge! Mothering is so deeply ingrained in us that we carry that heavy energy without even being aware of it. But what a beautiful and healing reflection we give others when we choose love first.

  11. So many of us have that expectation of our families, that they will just be there for us no matter what. It really does seem quite liberating to see them as people with lives of their own and to enquire about staying instead of just expecting it.

  12. Isn’t it interesting that when a profound moment like this shakes-us, we often feel so caught-out. It’s wonderful to read that in this case, the truth of the matter was arrived at eventually, rather than dismissed.

  13. Clearly it is not only genetic information that is passed on between family members! From generation to generation the choice of taking on your parents’ habits, issues and patterns of behaviours and then passing them onto your own children is in fact a reality.

    1. It is also interesting that often those ‘things’ that annoy us most about others is exactly what we sometimes do to others….

  14. The old parenting roles can be quite suffocating if not called out, for both the parent and the child, even when the child is an adult with children of their own. Nothing is better than ending these old beliefs that have been around for a long long time. Great blog Denise.

  15. Thank you Denise for sharing this grand insight into an age old pattern of holding back in an arrangement between parents and children. Why and when did we think it was ok to treat our children or parents any differently to any other person. Love is all encompassing not exclusive . Claim it for your whole family and all parents and children, it is a miracle to break through such an entrenched consciousness and live in the freedom without such a burden.

    1. ‘Love is all encompassing not exclusive’ Thank you Paul the dismantling of these old belief patterns is well overdue and this blog has put me on notice of patterns I need to address within my family to free them from my imposition.

  16. ‘Self-love can only be where there is truth’. Denise reading your blog has exposed a pattern of mine that slips at times, and made an appearance this week. Thank you so much for this timely reminder.

  17. Stunning. You have brought incredible insight into my life and an opportunity to reflect on how I mother and also the relationship with my own mother. My life will also change from this point, having been made all more the wiser from your amazing revelations. Thank you Denise.

  18. Thank you, Denise. This is a great sharing exposing how in the midst of trying to be whatever/however we think we are, and acting from that role, love gets left behind.

  19. This is huge Denise, I can totally relate to this. The realisation that this was a pattern from generations is awesome. It’s so interesting to identify our patterns and change them and it’s very courageous to tackle this instead of running away. I have also learnt great lessons from my children when they have refused to play the game of accepting behaviour just because it is the polite thing to do, and chose the more loving way instead. It may ruffle a few feathers but the feeling inside your body, and that’s what we live with, is awesome.

  20. Denise, I am inspired by your honesty, your willingness to feel what is going on and your commitment to making changes and to self-love. If we don’t deal with those ‘squirmy’ moments, they just come around again to give us another opportunity to deal with them, sometimes a little ‘squirmier’ than before – so great that you nipped it in the bud.

  21. What a precious self-awareness to discover Denise; and what a blessing that your body spoke so loudly to you and that our daughter presented an opportunity to evolve.
    I can so relate to the mothering energy you describe.

  22. ‘I’m seeing a stop to these patterns, a break in generations of this behavior. The buck stops here. By calling it out for what it is, it has stopped – it has run its course with me.’ Wow Denise this is powerful stuff, we are changing the world by becoming a woman first and to allow self love and nurturing in to our lives as a reflection for every girl, woman in the world. Mothering comes with so much ideals and believfs and we can let them go one by one and stop imposing on our daughters. Great that you were willing to see what Shannon was offering you with having self love in her life.

  23. A beautifully honest sharing Denise – Shannon’s reflection gave you an opportunity to heal old patterns that were holding you back and now your relationships are becoming more true and loving – very inspiring thank you.

  24. Hiding in a mother role and making it fill my emptiness is familiar for me. I used to only be a mother before being a woman. Now I am a woman first who is also a mother and I am letting go of the controlling parts of mothering more and more.

    1. To live with such obligation, is living a forced reality, rather than a natural and harmonious one. Well said Monika – hiding in a mother role fills an emptiness of sorts.

  25. I love your honest sharing Denise and how your blog highlights that there is no need for judgement and criticism when we become aware of choices we have made that were not loving. Yes sometimes it is a rather very painful “ouch” moment, but better to allow ourselves to fully feel those unloving/unhealthy patterns & choices, and lovingly, responsibly move on, rather than deny or bury all those ill choices because we do not want to feel them. Very inspiring.

  26. This takes things right to the core of the issue for me… for you its mothering, while for me it is the doing, the fixing, the competently sorting it out. But underneath all of that where is the time and care for me? And if that is not there then what is really being received at the other end…

  27. I really appreciated the responsibility that you have taken concerning your choices in life. It is wonderful to read of a woman doing so, it is courageous and powerful. Life can only be lived with love, if it comes from a place of truth, as you say. Thank you.

  28. I love what you have captured here Denise – that moment when someone says “No” can start a change in behaviours that have been held for generations. When that No comes with truth it is saying I love you and me too much to keep repeating this pattern.

  29. Mothering is such a heavy topic, it’s so refreshing to read from someone who is prepared to let all that ownership go and acknowledge that they do not have any rights or ownership over their children – it’s definitely music to my ears!

  30. Denise I love the honesty in you post. There is so much to let go of in mothering and how amazing you were willing to stop kicking and screaming to embrace you.

  31. When we have been making not-so-loving choices for a while it seems like it becomes harder to stop and be honest. Yet when we do we give others the opportunity to stop and make a new choice too. Thank you for sharing Denise.

  32. Your honesty enabled the truth to be felt and lived “Since then I have had a great unfolding, allowing me to discover more of myself.” This is a precious and deeply supportive choice to make
    in life, it offers the opportunity heal old patterns and hurts that can if not resolved be debilitating.

  33. What Shannon expressed to her mother in a text was awesome and the fact that Denise her mother listened and was open and willing to go there was simply awesome too! A beautiful story – thank you Denise for sharing.

  34. Thank you for sharing so honestly Denise , I can so relate to the mothering issues. I realised sometime ago with sadness how I was always telling my sons what to do, thinking that this was helpful and loving. I had a son visit sometime ago expecting me to do something for him, which back then I would have jump at the opportunity to be there for him, but, this time it was different or should I say I was different . What he wanted did not work in with my plans, so I gently declined his request, I was at the time feeling a little uncomfortable at doing this. He was surprised but was ok with my decision. I realised at that moment I am not mum (like I used to be) I am me and I now have a life. This experience gave me a sense of equaliness between us and a respect that had not been there before.

  35. Mothering has been wrapped in so many layers and oozes expectations. Mothering has been seen as a ‘Doing’ thing and getting it right is top of the list or whatever unfolds with your children reflects directly on you. Society can be harsh and we have allowed that. Reading your blog Denise has me reflecting on ‘Mothering’ as a quality, a deeply honouring and loving quality of self first which then will hold your children in that love and honouring. Mothering feels like another word for nurturing deeply with a constancy that holds strong. Thank you for bringing an opportunity to reflect more deeply on Mothering and expanding my awareness of the power in how this can be lived in relationships closet to me.

  36. Denise thank you so much for exposing this mother’s life so truthfully and simply . . . For me this is so much needed – now all women in the world could chose the same way that you chose if they like it. Women need role model like you because this mother’s life is so entrenched – wunderbar.

  37. I too have been learning how to parent children and love myself with equal regard. What has been coming from this is how much less needs to be done than I had originally thought. For example, I see that my child learns so much from watching me brush my teeth than if I were to do theirs for them. The way I am gentle with the tooth brush, the way I hold my body in respect for the height of the basin and what tension I hold in my arm as I carry out the brushing action, this all gives an education in how to be with ones body. A reflection in fact for a possible way to live. But none of this is coming from a need for them to get it, or for me to portray an ideal standard, it is just how I am coming to learn to live with myself in loving ways, and they pick on this with out much if any need for discussion. It’s amazing really and I wish I had known this from the start.

  38. 100% agree with you Densie. Self-love can be the only way to live Truth. We cannot live truth if we are not honouring ourselves (and others) in the process!

  39. Also what your blog has confirmed for me by Shannon expressing openly and truthfully to you and the awesome effect this had on you, is how important it is to speak our truth, show another way and never hold back.

  40. what a beautifully honest blog Densie as this is how it sometimes is, the things we have invested in the most are the ones that take a lot of commitment and truth to face. Well done.

  41. “I can no longer blame anything that comes into my life on others – it has been my choice” great revelation Denise, thanks for sharing. What is so great about that is that I always have a choice in how I express myself from here on now, to how life presents itself to me.

  42. Denise, thank you for sharing this powerful reflection on how we can bring more truth and love to a relationship, when we are connected to our love first and honor this for ourselves. A beautiful foundation for a truly loving relationship. Very inspiring.

    1. True Carola, and honouring ourselves first is not exclusive to mothering but applies to any relationship… Whether this be work, family, friends, etc.

  43. ”How I had always put my children first – I would do anything for them, in total disregard for me, never considering how it felt.” This is rife in our society and I would be bringing up my children in the same way thinking it was a loving thing to do. It is imposing and abusive and I feel so blessed to have met Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine offering me another way.

  44. How beautiful Shannon expressed how she felt to her mother and how wonderful Denise listened. We can learn so much from our children if we are open and willing. I have 3 children and very often I take my relationship with them for granted. It is great to have this opportunity to feel this and also feel the detachment when I simply choose to let go of them and to truly appreciate them for the beautiful children they are – thank you for sharing.

  45. A great experience re-told, I can feel your commitment to truth concerning how the lack of self care has impacted on yourself and your relationships. It is also lovely to read of you opening to feeling the truth that your daughter shared with you, it is wonderful to be open to what there is to learn.

    1. And its being willing to see that truth that opens us up to learning. Even a little dishonesty and we stay stuck in what we think is a half truth but is in fact a lie. Evolution, as in the case of this blog, comes from when we are really willing to look at how we live.

  46. Thank you Denise for this great sharing. The ‘mother’ identity and all the “rights” that go with it is massive, and what is often done under the banner of loving motherhood can be basically imposing, abusive and very emotionally loaded selfish acts to constantly confirm the children’s dependency on the mother and, with this, giving the mother her main identification. It is great that you name the actual abusive energy that is behind it and how it is the responsibility of us as mothers to not impose on our children.

  47. Motherhood and what we have been led to believe it is all about is a huge thing to crack and can seem so difficult at times to be able to be really honest about. Thanks Denise for sharing so honestly what you have come to see for yourself and by doing so offer an opportunity for others to do the same.

  48. This is a huge awareness to come to and what a blessing to you both. A relationship without imposition is deeply beautiful and I admire you for the inspirational path you have chosen. Gorgeous.

  49. I love your blog Denise, there is a huge lesson for me to learn here. My parents had that same thread of a feeling that their now adult children (me and my wife) owed them, but my family was young and my wife and I chose to move away from our parents’ influence to the other side of the world in Australia where our parents had no effect on us, and we liked it that way.

    Many years later and now single, I have realised that I am doing to my own grown up daughter and granddaughter what my parents did to me. I have to call this out for what it is and put a stop to it. Thank you for that.

  50. In my next life Denise I am going to parent in a very different way!
    I will remember the very wise words and messages you have presented in the blog.

  51. Denise you sound so absolute at stopping the mothering behaviour from continuing, which is great. It is so easy to make similar choices to our parents. I have only just woken up to the fact that I was choosing comfort in exactly the same way as my parents have. That comfort brings with it a huge cushioning effect that mummifies. I am committed to not passing on the same choices of cushioning to my son.

  52. The feeling that people owes us is familiar and very insidious. I gave you (something) so you owe me (something). Life is lived as quid pro quo. This way of living is based on measuring. It is not just that you owe me, but there is a clear notion of how much you owe me. This way of living life requires massive control. And this taxes the body big time and creates massive conflicts along the way.

  53. Wow Denise, beautiful that you have shared this, showing how definitely you have chosen self love over continuing on with the Mum pattern that you had made your way of connecting with your children. I can only begin to imagine the many layers that you have faced as you have cleared this from your body. I too am a Mum and I so know the energy of knowing better, and how harmful it is to do and feel. Through self love and a deep love for my children, I too have been clearing aspects of the very same and am constantly gob smacked at how this way of living is offering to my children true love. Not a love based on what I need to prove to them I am a worthy Mum.

  54. Thanks for the wonderful open sharing Denise and congratulations with this awareness :). I experienced the same, that when I learned about the cords and deep patterns between me and my daughter it was very painful to feel it, to become aware. But yes indeed the richness after is so is incredible beautiful.

  55. Self love and truth as one. This is exactly spot on Denise. I have been reflecting this morning just how far I have come with this. There is so much for us all to learn from what you have realised here about the roles we play out and the generational things we just do without checking if they even feel ok.

  56. Denise I can feel my heart opening and the Love that is there to be let out, all thanks to your wonderful sharing! I feel I can start the day with an open heart and a joyful step. There is much for me to Look at in my life regarding family and learning to honour and nurture myself first , still learning this one. With much love I thank you!

  57. Denise, what you write about is HUGE. That you write about it with this much love and truth is GINORMOUS!

  58. Wow Denise, there is so much power and truth in what you write and such learning for me as a young mum. Already I am finding I have set things up not to nurture myself, but slowly am seeing the truth to live me as the woman first. I have found so much support offered by Universal Medicine particularly with what Natalie Benhayon has shared through her presentations. Through these and attending regular sessions with esoteric practitioners and going to the sacred women’s movement I am learning to allow the amazing woman I am to come out for the world to see.

  59. And what a great miracle this is Denise. Your words “…but I was mothering at the expense of me”, is applicable to all other ‘roles’ we like to hold like wife, daughter, sister, partner, husband, employee etc. Amazing how our want for some sort of admiration, or acknowledgement in and of our role, means we’re prepared to dishonour, discredit and compromise on ourselves.. and end up feeling resentful and always with expectation. Wonderful example of love shown by your daughter and even more so, or deeper love, that you chose to embrace and heal this ‘default assumption’ and action you held as ‘mothering’. True mothering is not solely about having a child (or not), but everything to do with the relationship and its quality that we have with ourselves – first.

  60. I’m continually amazed at the huge effect ‘apparently’ small things have on us. Thank you Denise for offering a deeper understanding of the patterns we can carry through the generations and that the possibility of altering these patterns can come from anyone.

  61. It’s fabulous what you have shared here, the mothering ‘ideal’ of putting our children first before us is so deeply ingrained in society – that if you don’t do that others look on as though you are selfish. From my own experience, I know that my son benefits most from when I am caring for myself, claiming and living the woman I am, before I am his mother – I am steady and capable, warm and nurturing… yet if I am putting others before me I feel scattered and behind the 8 ball, frustrated and wanting to retreat.

    1. Brooke, this is so true and the children feel the love
      and power in us when we choose ourselves first.

  62. Being identified with the roles we take on is very draining. Before I met Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine I was always tired, busy, trying to control and protect my children without feeling the consequences of my behaviour. Now I see how damaging this has been for all of us , I am letting go of the ideals and beliefs one by one. In this process I have discovered the beautiful woman I am first and foremost, just like you say “I am a beautiful tender and loving woman before I am a mother” and when I remember this ….then everything falls into place quite naturally.

  63. “I am a beautiful tender and loving woman before I am a mother” and when I remember this ….then everything falls into place quite naturally.
    My relationships with my children become more equal and the advising seems to fall away. The way we connect then feels very intimate and deeply joyful. 💞

  64. It is so easy to be caught up by the ideals of being this or that role and totally convinced that it is a good thing to be/do. Although we sacrifice ourselves it is the ultimate selfishness that runs such emotional behaviour as it is us who seeks recognition and identification and thereby abusing not only oneself but others as well, and all in the assumption of being loving and caring. It takes quite some honesty and willingness to challenge these ingrained behaviours and ways of thinking and eventually become truly loving with oneself and others.

    1. So true Alex, when we let go of Ideals and beliefs and choose an absolute self loving unfolding path.

  65. “I would do anything for them, in total disregard for me, never considering how it felt for me. No wonder I was kicking and screaming so much, it was H U G E.” I can very much relate to what you wrote here Denise. I have done the same in many relationships in my life. It’s great to be aware of this now.

  66. I have found that sacrificing myself for the benefit of a role I play, be that a good worker, brother etc., it is oneself that is firstly and easily forgotten. And the irony is that by trying to be a ‘good’ whatever, it is the self that is looking to be found, met and appreciated. It’s a crazy vicious cycle.

    1. “And the irony is that by trying to be a ‘good’ whatever, it is the self that is looking to be found”, well said Jinya, this is definitely my own experience also. We leave our truth, to be a good person that isn’t even truly good – crazy!

  67. Awesome to re-read Denise and what so many mothers go through – “thinking just because they are my children, I had the right to tell them what I thought they should do. I thought this was loving, but now I felt how controlling it could be”. Any time we try to help someone or tell them what to do when they have not asked for it we are imposing on them, imposing the way we ‘think’ it should be for them, and not allowing or giving them the space to learn whatever lesson they need to. After all, we are here to learn, so we can return back to the Love that we are naturally from. We are not designed to be perfect and so mistakes are inevitable.

    1. James this is so true:”not allowing them the space
      to learn the lesson that they need to learn.” In their
      own time and way. My lesson is my lesson, their lessons are their lessons.

  68. It’s great that your daughter felt able to express honestly to you, and that you felt to renounce the old patterns that were brought up for you.

  69. A great honest sharing and what a ripple effect that one comment from your daughter had. Attending presentations by Serge Benhayon has also allowed me to see life through different eyes as this blog does too, being a mother. As my children grow older and are learning to call out unloving behaviours I am learning there are behaviours I have that come from me as a mother rather than me as a woman which I am first. Thank you Denise.

  70. Denise this is very powerful what you have shared here, and something every mother can benefit from. I can relate in many ways and although my children are only still young, now is the time to break free of this same pattern, bringing the focus back to my own choices, and allowing them the freedom to also choose. We are here as parents to guide and support, not to s-mother!

    1. I love that Anna, “not to s-mother”. Been there, done that!
      Now through breaking some of those smothering behaviours, I leave my children much more free to be themselves and they will now also lovingly pull me up if I behave in ways that don’t support us all. In the past I would cringe and want to run away, hurt, but now I can see the power and love in such honesty, and welcome it.

      1. Thank you for sharing Jeanette, as I too am experiencing this at present whilst breaking the old pattern. What I have come to realise for myself is that s’mothering is just a way of avoiding myself. It comes from my identifying in being a mother rather then the woman first. Either way it is a distraction away from me. I too have my children pulling me up when needed. Sometimes this is directly through words and other times it is communicated in their behaviour, and I am starting to receive this as a blessing rather then react and go into hurt.

    2. Anna, I have had so many healing moments from my grandchildren, who know they can speak honestly to me.
      Because I took responsibility for my behaviour that day, and cut this pattern. I feel that love is coming back to me from the next generation. A true reflection of the choices that I am making.

  71. So great for you to share something that triggered you so deeply. To be able to look in the face of how you’ve lived and take responsibility for making it different is truly wonderful. To understand how to then make those changes for yourself is really beautiful.

  72. Thank you for sharing your story. It is humbling to read how you allowed the truth of what your daughter said, to go beyond the reaction to expose and unlock the patterns there set up between you and your mum. What a gift.

  73. Gosh, that wanting to run away, I know it very well, and yet not only did you not run, but you chose to share your experience with us, and to show us that it is worth staying put, not having the tantrum, and through that, starting to see the truth of, and therefore be able to let go of, whatever it is that we are trying to hide or protect when we want to run.

  74. Thank you for this sharing Denise, it is an extremely relatable topic. What great gifts are there to be had when we actually allow ourselves to stop and feel in that moment when all we might want to do is run a million miles away. Awesome reflection, thank you.

  75. An inspiration to read, thank you for sharing your honesty with yourself and the unlocking of this pattern that has kept you away from feeling and enjoying you and who you are.

  76. Family relationships can be a minefield of behaviours. It is wonderful that your daughter was able to be honest, and you were able to listen and accept what it brought you. Awesome reflection for us Denise.

  77. How often do we not speak our mind with family? it is a real blessing that your daughter is honest enough to call you out for your behaviour and great that you have chosen to look at what patterns you were running that made this necessary. Thanks for sharing Denise.

    1. Great call Stephen – so often in the family a status quo is reached. An agreement to either leave each other’s most tender hurts alone, or for one generation to learn the bad habits of the previous one. If this happens, family becomes a thing that holds us back rather than supporting us as it can.

  78. Thank you, Denise. I can relate to many of the things you have shared, and I appreciate your honesty about the old patterns and your commitment to renouncing them – “I wanted to get to truth, no matter what. I can no longer blame anything that comes into my life on others – it has been my choice.”

  79. By just going along with what others have said, from their own experiences and path in life I have just assumed that I can find ‘my way’ using ‘another’s way’. In my experience this hasn’t worked. Finding ‘my way’ requires me to take responsibility for my choices and feel for myself what works in ‘my way’.

  80. Hi Denise, I too have fallen for that trick of thinking I’m helping people or that I know what or the way they should do something, but actually I’m just trying to control them or a situation. And, of course what a great distraction this is from me. I’m working on allowing others to be themselves and to allow me to be myself. When I can be natural and allow others to be their natural self, it is a lot less stressful, fun and supportive.

  81. I just love your sharing Denise, I don’t have children but I can feel many of the behaviours you describe in how I’ve been with family, friends and even work colleagues, and I’ve been noticing recently it’s a distraction from truly taking care of and looking after myself. So thank you for your lovely blog to remind me.

  82. Thank you Denise for the sharing. A few ouches were felt as I read through, but lovingly brought an awareness and understanding to similar ways I have mothered and am mothered! Inspirational!

  83. Amazing Denise. As the daughter I have behaved in exactly the same way you describe. At 36 I’m being shown that the arrogant and better than attitude I have been holding of “I know best” has been ruining my relationships with people, especially with women. What I have come to feel is that a lot of the time I speak with myself in a harsh, critical and berating way – so of course this will impart on others. Now I am choosing to acknowledge that this behaviour hurts others, it’s a loving responsibility to no longer treat myself in this way. Work in progress…

    1. I can so relate to what you share here, Shevon. Thank you so much for putting into words what I recognise as how I have been with others – this really helps me to understand what that really was.

  84. Wow Denise, this is huge and I can so relate. Even though I do not have children I have mothered my 2 younger brothers from a really young age and then from there I have always tried to mother those around me (friends, partners, work colleagues) in the way I thought mothering someone is, but in-truth I was just trying to control them and this took my focus away from loving (mothering) me.

    Thank you for helping me to expose this with your article.

    1. True words, Amina. So often what looks like mothering is actually controlling behaviour. I can certainly put both hands up for having done that in the past. And as you say, if the loving and nurturing is not there for ourselves, what are we offering another?

  85. This is a very honest and consequently inspiring blog, Denise. How loving to see that letting family and friends “come to things in their own time, or waiting to be asked” gives everyone the grace to just be themselves and eliminates any personal need as well as any hidden agendas.

  86. Denise, what an insightful sharing and one that I have been learning re: advice giving to my children thinking I have their best interest at heart. Thank you for your reminder.

  87. Wow, Denise, your blog really pushed some buttons for me, thank you.

    I particularly liked the following passage: “By holding on to mothering in that way, I was not allowing myself to claim time to nurture me, the lovely me, the beauty-full me, the gentle me, to treat myself tenderly, to speak to myself in a loving way, to adore me and cherish the amazing woman I have become”.

  88. Thanks to Universal Medicine self love comes first when being a mother, not mothering. Because of the loving and honest family I live with I get stopped often and then have an opportunity to take responsibility of my choices. I love this about my family.

    1. Thanks Sally, I also have beautiful reminders from my family to keep taking responsibility for anything that makes me feel less than the love they know I am – a constant blessing that I am just beginning to fully appreciate. I love how open Denise is to learning and growing from her daughter’s reflections.

  89. Amazing blog. While reading this, I was listening to Chris James’ new song release ‘I Am That I Am‘. Together made me realise how much I’ve previously given up on me. I am now re-learning to love and appreciate how important it is for me to deepen this love and care for myself. Thank you. A beautiful reminder.

  90. Beautifully expressed. I particularly love how you have claimed that part of self love is a willingness to be honest and truthful with yourself. I have been witness to the changes in you and the unlocking of old patterns and behaviors that have passed down from generations of women before you that have never truly served any of us… it’s inspirational.

    1. Beautiful, Shannon. It feels so healing that your mum was open to being ‘parented’ by you her daughter in this instance, by receiving a reflection of true love. The potential for mothers and daughters to support each other equally in this way, once the ‘should’s and ‘must be’s are out of the way, is very powerful.

      1. I agree Janet. Once the expectations are moved, then the quality of the relationship moves from mother to daughter to two women developing a honest relationship that supports one another.

  91. What a fantastic learning and just from a text from your daughter letting you know how she felt. When we allow that stop, that moment to really listen, we can learn so much. I am a similar age to you Denise and this way of being with family, the expectations that we should drop everything for family and that family comes first is deeply ingrained. We carry these beliefs from generation to generation, it is great that Shannon was able to honour her feelings so that we all get to feel what true family love is.

  92. So beautifully and simply expressed, Denise. This really speaks to me so thank you for writing this. I, too, am starting to bring more self-love to me, and to feel into – and break! – this pattern of wanting to control. My daughter is 4 and she has her own beautiful expression that she is not afraid to share. I know that it’s important to allow her to find her own way, especially as she starts school next year, while still lovingly being there to support and guide her.

  93. Wow what strength you have Denise, it feels very beautiful the steps you are taking to support you – if this is a miracle achieved in one day, imagine 10 days of your new found self-love. I also wanted to say thank you for the parenting reflection – I feel I can never have too many of these, so much is shown to me in this area of my life.

    1. Toni, I absolutely agree. There is so much shown to me too in this area of my life and it isn’t always clear to see things easily living with this constant reflection while I raise my children. It is when I read blogs like this on parenting that I am offered a greater awareness as to what there is to be looked at within me.

  94. Denise, I don’t have children however I could feel strongly what you have described here and it relates to all of us making assumptions and taking situations for granted because we are family or close friends. We can assume an entitlement that is disregarding for ourselves and the other person. A great reminder. Thank you.

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