When An Aging Mother Becomes Hard to Love

By Val Boyko • August 29th, 2011

Aging Mother and daughterJohn Welwood shares a story about his mother and how over time, an old wound became a  grievance that poisoned everything and took away the joy and beauty in her life. If you are dealing with an aging mother who is difficult to love and its getting you down, then read on.

In the book “Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships” John Welwood talks about grievance. What starts out as a hurt feeling becomes a generalized grudge against the world. He recalls:

” Although my mother had a big heart and was basically very kind and generous, she had had a very hard childhood, and she grew older, she began to dwell in grievance as a way of life. In the last half of her life, she always had something to complain vociferously about, whether it was politicians, the weather, the food she ate, her relatives, her doctors, or the apartment in which she lived. At a moments notice she would launch into long, bitter tirades about any of these things….

Grievance had become so woven into her identity ans psyche that it had taken on a life of its own, remaining split off from her awareness …Criticizing others’ faults was a way she could access some power, to compensate for how small and helpless she felt inside.”

It isn’t surprising that when someone holds on to a grievance for so long they become hardened and are unable to receive love from those close to them. They are afraid to let their guard down and be vulnerable.

Thanks for sharing so openly John. Your compassion and understanding is inspiring.

When we come across someone who is miserable and constantly complains, it helps to know that the cause may be a deep hurt in that person. They may not be aware of it themselves.

As daughters it isn’t easy to accept this in our mothers. Remember that it usually isn’t our fault or within our control!  We need to open our heart and be compassionate.

VB Comment:  This is a wonderful book for all of us on a journey of discovery and love.

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