Today I’m sharing a snapshot of a coaching session. (Client’s name is changed and permission has been given to share this.)
Veronica was feeling dissatisfied and judgmental about her daughter, and also about herself for being judgmental.
“My daughter is doing it all wrong- how she is living her life, how she treats her husband. She’s not going to get what she wants. I can’t help her- when I try, or rather, when I can’t stop myself from trying to control or fix her- I make everything worse. I do it all wrong, and she pushes me away. That’s really frustrating.”
We talked about this and Veronica noticed that when she is focused on the idea that her daughter is “doing it all wrong” she feels compelled to insert herself into her daughter’s life- and then ends up “doing it all wrong” herself.
We considered whether her daughter really is doing it all wrong. Is it true? And can we know that the daughter is not going to get what she wants? Is it possible that how she is with her husband is the way it needs to be for her, for them, right now?
It’s okay that Veronica has judgmental and worried thoughts; she’s a mom, she cares about her kids, and sometimes thoughts like these pop up. But it is also worthwhile to question them, and ask what comes out of focusing on them. In this case, frustration, judgment of herself and her daughter, and ultimately, her daughter pushing her away.
I asked if there are other thoughts Veronica has about her daughter that we could put out on the table and look at. “Sure,” she said. “She has a good job, plus she manages her ranch and all the animals… she is actually doing a good job at doing her life. And, I only hear what she chooses to tell me, I don’t really know what happens inside her marriage.”
It’s clear that Veronica has a variety of thoughts about her daughter. Some positive, some negative, some neutral. All of them are believable and available thoughts that she can chose to focus on.
I asked: when you choose to think “she is doing a good job at doing her life,” how does that feel? Veronica: “I admire her. I don’t feel the need to fix anything. I can listen to her concerns and be supportive and empathetic. That feels so much better, and is the kind of mom I want to be to her.”
And that is the kind of mom Veronica is becoming, day by day, thought by thought.