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On the Road to Healing

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: I grew up in an extremely abusive household with a functioning (mean, abusive) alcoholic for a mother. Because of the poor examples I had as a child, I ended up becoming a functioning addict in an abusive relationship of my own. Over the years, I found my way into recovery and therapy, which led to me making some drastic changes in myself. I'm now in a healthy relationship and have turned my life around. I have forgiven people who have never asked for, nor deserved, my forgiveness; I had to in order to heal.

The problem is that my mother continues to deny any responsibility for her own actions. If she took accountability for her actions, it would mean she's wrong, and she's NEVER wrong. It's making it really hard to forgive her, which makes it hard to start the healing process. On one hand, I want to cut all contact, but in my heart, I keep hoping she'll change and, beyond that, she's my mom. What should I do?! -- Trying to Heal

Dear Trying to Heal: It is incredibly difficult to forgive someone who isn't sorry. But, as you seem to know, it is essential to your own healing.

Your mother may never change. It's up to you to decide the effect her behavior will have on your life. Do you want to hold onto your anger, or do you want peace?

Follow the advice of Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh: "Forgiveness is difficult; even if you want to forgive, you cannot. If he or she has made you suffer so, so many times, even after you have warned him or her, it's difficult to forgive. But if you can understand the suffering, the deep suffering in him or her, and see that they have been the number one victim of their own suffering, the situation becomes different: you can forgive more easily."

Dear Annie: I'm a mother to three beautiful children. I didn't get enough credits to graduate high school, which has messed up a lot in my life. I don't drive yet, and it makes life a lot more difficult when I need to go to the doctor or get groceries. I'm at a loss on how I can turn my life around and be a better mother and a functioning member of society.

Everything leads back to money and transportation. I want to get out of this cycle of going nowhere. I feel the weight of so much on my shoulders, and I don't know which approach to take. Should I get my GED, then get a job, then worry about a car? I just don't want to get ahead of myself and get a car and have more financials to worry about before getting my GED and a stable job.

 

I just wanna be a role model for my children and feel a lot better about myself. Everyone around me tells me just be happy with life the way it is. But truthfully, I don't wanna be the mom that has to choose between feeding my kids and buying them school clothes. -- Feeling Stuck and Lost

Dear Stuck and Lost: Firstly, kudos to you for taking the initiative to better your and your children's lives. You sound like a wonderful mother and are setting a great example for them.

I think you are absolutely right to pursue completing your high school credits first. With that done, you'll have one thing off your plate and more opportunities when you enter the job market. Once you've found a job, try saving up little by little for the kids' expenses and for car payments, whenever you are able to make them. In the meantime, try to make the most of public transit and other affordable options.

It takes time and planning to gain financial security, but it sounds like you're well on your way. Be proud of yourself for how far you've come and continue to go for yourself and your family.

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"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

 

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