#43 Mother urged to discuss issue with daughter / Get thee to a communication coach

Dear Ann Landers: Last week, while cleaning my 19 year-old daughter’s bedroom, I came across material that made me think she has had an abortion. I was devastated. I believe in a woman’s right to choose, but this was my grandchild, Ann. I am grieving for the loss and have been unable to talk to my daughter about it.

I wish she had come to me when she learned that she was pregnant, but there is nothing I can do about it now. Should I bring up the subject? I am so sad, I cannot get over it. Please tell me what to do. — Mom in Iowa

Dear Mom: You may be mistaken about your daughter’s pregnancy. Finding material in her bedroom indicates research, nothing more. You owe it to her to find out the truth before you make assumptions. Talk to her with an open heart, and let her know how you feel. If it turns out she did indeed have an abortion, you can be sure she did not come to that decision easily. She is probably hurting, too, and wants desperately to confide in her mother. You can both benefit from comforting each other and moving forward. Please try. —Ann

Gabby's Response:

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Gabby’s Response:

Hi Mom: You have a problem (an unwanted condition that persists), one that hasn’t disappeared with pondering. It reveals there is a lie in the way in which you are defining the problem. When you tell the truth the problem will disappear. It also reveals that you are more committed to being incomplete (out-integrity) than in being complete and whole. This energy-sapping behavior is called an addiction; it produces undesirable results for you and yours, specifically, it causes breakdowns in communication.

I get that you are grieving for the possible loss of a grandchild, however, based upon the facts you have presented,  I suspect you are also grieving for the loss of your daughter. You're experiencing the profound realization that you've lost your ability to be in communication with your daughter—that you have been stuck doing your imitation of mother-daughter communication. It is sad that you can’t share your most profound thoughts with your daughter. As you can see, you've taught her to withhold also.

Let’s assume that your self is smarter than your mind and that the real you, your self, wouldn’t spend minutes, hours, or days worrying over an assumption. From whom did you learn this energy-sapping behavior, of holding on to an unwanted/persistent thought? No doubt it began with a childhood conversation, most likely with a parent, an interaction from which you have not recovered. Thereafter you adopted this withholding pattern. It shuts down spontaneity. It shuts down communication. Those around you have no choice but to withhold their thoughts of choice and do their imitation of communication with you. Your mind wants to believe that she withheld first, but, she learned this from you. She's been doing her best to grow up to be just like you. I'm betting you have not had the "birds 'n bees" talk with her and, that you've never shared with her your sex history (a must so that she knows she's normal).

Re: "I wish she had come to me when she learned that she was pregnant," This is a covert blame statement. Stated responsibly it would read, "I see now that I was not a safe space for her to confide with me." Or, assuming she never was pregnant, "I see that I have not been a safe space for her to discuss such things with me." And, the biggie; "I see now that I didn't create a safe space for her to tell me that the petting was getting heavy and that she was having thoughts of "going all the way." I'm guessing you didn't insist upon meeting her dates and having the "Who's responsible for the costs of an accidental pregnancy talk" with them.

Pregnant, abortion, or not, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have been given another chance. Get thee, not to a nunnery, but to a communication-skills coach. Ask for support in identifying barriers you have to being the space in which open, honest, and spontaneous communication takes place; this will include acknowledging and disappearing the fear you have in your relationship with your daughter and support in completing your relationship with your parents. You have the potential to be an awesome grandmother. It’s very exciting. —Gabby.

PS: If you don't get a minimum of 25 hours of therapy/counseling (or three hours with a communication skills coach) you will pass on your addiction to withholding to your grandchild. In this matter you are the leader.

PPS: Here's a Parent-Child Clearing Process you can do with her to recreate the experience of integrity.

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Check back occasionally for minor edits (last edited 12/4/12)

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