For most of us, it is the closest relationship we will ever know. It ought to be the most pleasurable and important relationship, but for many of us it is a strife-ridden, anxiety -provoking problem. For me it was the doorway to a profound understanding of human relationships.
Years ago, after treating my mother, I was standing in my office wondering how I had become so dysfunctional and off-center. There were no confrontations. She was pleasant and appropriate. I couldn't pinpont anything that should have caused me to be upset. However, I wasn't much good for the rest of the day and it was quite apparent to my staff.
I had been attending personal growth and awareness classes and workshops since I was in chiropractic college, so taking personal responsibility for my reality was my focus. Ultimately, I was given the opportunity to get in touch with my feelings of being dominated and controlled by someone who didn't understand what I needed for my own development. Basically, I did not want to be like my mother. I wanted to be my own person.
When I was in high school, I understood my mother didn't think like me. Whenever I had difficulty finding something she had put away because it was not in what I thought to be a "logical" place, I would step back and silently ask, "If I were my mother, where would I put it?" Then I was able to find it immediately. My father and I communicated very well and he also had difficulty communicating with my mother. Family dinner conversations were a classic example. My mother wanted us to talk rather than watch television, so she would suggest we turn the television off and ask my father about his day. He would reply in detail and I understood him completely. My mother rarely understood, however, which never led to stimulating dinner conversation. So rather than eating dinner in silence, day after day, the television would eventually get turned back on and the cycle would repeat.
The frustration I felt growing up, particularly in high school, was predominantly from my mother's refusal to allow me to go places or do things to develop people skills. Her childhood was very sheltered. She grew up on a farm with her social contacts limited to church and family. She met my father through her sister who had been writing to him while he was in the Army. Her experience of the world was dictated by what she was told she should do. This reality was too limiting for me and wasn't preparing me for what I knew I needed to do. My way of dealing with this restriction was to say as little as possible and do as much as I could to gain the experiences I knew I needed.
There were really no major conflicts between us: just low-grade tension that I handled the best I could. My father died of cancer the morning after my graduation exercises from chiropractic college, so I continued to live at home and take my mother with me to Unity Village on Sundays. Afterward, she would help for a couple of hours at my Missouri office. After five years, I married and moved to California. My mother followed me two years later. I had done what I have seen so many other people do: I had married someone who was very similar to the parent I had the greatest difficulty with when growing up.
My wake-up moment occurred when I was finally able to heal my relationship with my mother. This happened when I truly appreciated her for who she was, rather than who I was expecting her to be. Since our parents are our first contact with people, how we relate to them colors how we relate to ourselves. Consequently, healing my relationship with my mother reflected the healing of issues within myself, as the problems were no longer triggered by her presence.
Professionally speaking, I knew diet and nutrition were important in a person's health and emotional state. As I began researching diet more extensively, I discovered 25 different body types, each with its own unique dietary pattern. While diet is important, the most profound, valuable information I uncovered about each type was its psychological profile. This is what enabled me to understand my mother and ex-husband, and differentiate myself from both of them.
The plan for our life's experience is located within the body and is directed and reflected through our dominant gland, organ or system. It's the dominant one of them which determines our physical characteristics, weight gain patterns, foods that best support us, how we think, what motivates us, our core character traits and means by which we relate to the world. The 25 body types can be divided into four quadrants based on whether your dominant sense is mental/emotional and physical/spiritual. My mother's body type is Gallbladder, which is in the emotional/physical quadrant. My ex-husband is Blood, which, like my mother, is emotional/physical. That relationship was all about bringing to the surface unresolved issues I had with my mother, though I was not consciously aware of them. My father's body type was Eye, which is in the mental/spiritual quadrant. My body type is Thyroid, which is also mental/spiritual. People who are the same body type think the same way and those in the same quadrant speak the same language, which explains why it was easy for me to understand and be understood by my father, but not my mother. While everyone has all four aspects, only two are dominant. Our challenge is to develop the other two aspects and relate effectively to people in both the same and different quadrants.
The positive side of being around someone who is the same as you is that you basically think the same way and have the same strengths and challenges. This may or may not stimulate growth. The advantage of being around someone who is opposite is your opportunity to grow and develop your less expressed traits. The more we develop our weaker aspects, the more balanced, understanding and compassionate we become. The best way to learn something is to experience it, which is why opposites attract. Life has a way of bringing to us what we most need to learn.
When I was able to understand my mother's strengths, motivations, characteristics and challenges, I was able to accept her for the sweet, conscientious, loyal, dependable person she is. She is a healthy, vibrant 80-year-old who works in my office three days a week. Our relationship is loving, appreciative and harmonious, as is my relationship with myself and those around me.
In general, my health has improved in every way. Since I feel better physically, my attitude is better. I'm finding it easier than ever to maintain my weight or even lighten up. Thanks!
Doretta W., Encinitas, CA