It’s one-thirty in the morning and a single mother frets anxiously for her seventeen-year-old daughter to come home, anger building. Mother falls asleep on the sofa. The next day, daughter leaves for work before mother awakens. Upon returning home from work at 2:00 p.m., mother speaks her mind.

“You can’t do that—stay out that late and then sneak in quietly. Why do you do that? You do it all the time and it has to stop and stop now!”

To which the daughter replies, “I tried to tell you what time I would be home but you were too busy on the phone, so I left. When I came in you were sleeping. Then I had to go to work this morning.”

“Well, you should have woken me” the mother barks, frustration building insider her. “You think you can just come and go as you please. You are only seventeen and while you live under my roof, you have to follow my rules.”

Tension is rising.

“Fine” says the daughter. “Next time I just won’t go anywhere…” as she storms off to her room.

Mother sits anxiously, body tense, worrying, wondering why she feels so terrible whenever she attempts to teach her child respect and mutual understanding; longing for the loving relationship she senses is available, but just out of reach.

The daughter sits on her bed, crying from frustration and random anger, wondering whom to direct it at. She feels the same frustration every time and all she can do to feel better, is blame. She longs to be “seen”, really seen for the depth of life that she is and every time she is not, a sense of alienation fills her experience.

OR

It’s one-thirty in the morning and a single mother frets anxiously for her seventeen-year-old daughter to come home, anger building. Mother falls asleep on the sofa. The next day, daughter leaves for work before mother awakens. Upon returning home from work at 2:00 p.m., mother speaks her truth.

“I was very angry with you today for not waking me when you came in, you were so late. It scares me when you are out that late, and then I get worried you might not be okay.”

To which the daughter responds in her learned, defensive manner, because she knows nothing else. “Well I am okay and you shouldn’t worry so much. You fell asleep anyway, so what does it matter?”

“I do worry”, the mother continues, “but that’s not the point. It’s more that I get afraid for you. You are only seventeen and I think staying out past 1:30 is late for a seventeen year old girl, and I get afraid.”

The daughter, responding now to the emotion she hears in her mother’s words and sees in her eyes says, “I know. I didn’t wake you because you work so hard all day, I know you are tired and I thought the right thing to do was to let you sleep. I’m sorry.” (look closely, a new level of connection, joining, has just opened onto the scene, one that is not available in Mind Speaking).

“No matter how tired I may be, you are the most important thing in my life, so please, wake me—even if it’s just a nudge, just let me know.”

“Okay”, the daughter replies in a soft, reflective voice.

“I really wish you could come home earlier. I mean I’m trying to understand and I know I don’t like it when my fear causes me to yell at you…”

Sound unrealistic to you? What gets evoked in you when reading the above interaction? Take a moment and check inside, see what you are, or were, feeling. Which interaction fits your life? Which interaction do you sense is more appealing? Which do you long for?

It is NOT unrealistic! It may take practice, but it is possible to learn to recognize what you are feeling and express it openly to another. It won’t kill you and the results build trusting relationships.

Yes, some discipline may be necessary when dealing with a child, that is not the point, notice how the level of interaction goes deeper when the mother speaks her truth, that’s the gift. Discipline comes smoother as well because now two ‘people’ are joining instead of two ‘minds’ battling for dominance. The mother ‘shows’ herself as a feeling, loving person. She ‘reveals’ her truth and the other can not help but respond in same. Also, because the mother moves beyond mind and reveals herself, even if only a little, the daughter experiences this as being “seen”. Two people are now joining, instead of two frightened minds attacking and defending.

Speaking your Truth, Not Your Mind offers the chance to join with another in the manner many of us long to join. It may take some work and it definitely requires a little willingness, but my experience is, IT’S WORTH IT!

Author's Bio: 

Jim McDonald has a B.A. in Interpersonal Communication, which he built upon as a Training & Development professional for nearly two decades. His education, training, and life influences including recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction, have shaped him into a dynamic and inspirational Student of Experience™ guide and teacher inspired to share his powerful message of self-awareness and inner peace through talks, printed materials, workshops, and coaching sessions. Who Would I Be Without is his first book. www.studentofexperience.com