Why mothers overcompensate and how it hurts our kids

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Photo by Christina Hernández on Unsplash

We need to deny the over-popular trend of smearing fear and shame all over ourselves and instead celebrate compassion, colossal screw-ups and vulnerability. — Jen Sincero

When a woman feels like she is not enough, especially when it comes to her parenting, she is likely to try to make up for that perceived lack by overcompensating. This can look like a lot of different things, but I will give you an example from my own life.

When my older daughter was getting married, it brought up all kinds of feelings in me, but the dominant thought was this: “I need…


A dilemma for parents in ‘long-haul’ estrangements from their adult child

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Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

When a parent first experiences the grief and shock of estrangement from their beloved child, the only thing on their mind is reconciliation. It is the first thing we think of in the morning and the last thing we think about as we fall asleep. We are desperate for our child to come back to us. It consumes us.

Most parents would do anything to reconcile with their child. The problem is, until recently there has been little support or advice from ‘experts’ in the field because it has been a topic that is hidden behind so much shame. Most…


And everyone thinks they know how to diagnose them

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Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

Go ahead and google “narcissism,” “narcissist,” or “narcissistic personality disorder.” What you find will boggle your mind. If you were to believe all the articles out there, you might come to the conclusion that every other person on the planet is a narcissist and the goal is to get them all out of your life. The thinking is that when you can rid your life of these toxic humans, everything will be just fine. Then you can have the life you want.

Am I the only person who is alarmed at the tendency for us to label one another, therefore…


It has taken time, but now all that’s left is the love and the scar

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Photo by Alfonso Scarpa on Unsplash

I broke a glass in my hand once. It was a thin, crystal glass and it sliced the inside of my thumb below the knuckle. The gash required stitches, and because the doctor could not staunch the flow of blood, he was unable to see that he was stitching a tiny shard of glass into my thumb. It was now a part of me, whether I liked it or not.

From then on, whenever I grasped something, it sent a shock of pain through my thumb and up my spine, reminding me of the original trauma. Sometimes I would run…


Throw away the rules when it comes to your personal journal

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Photo by Luz Saldaña on Unsplash

For years I had an on-again-off-again relationship with my journal. I would start a journal and because of the rules I created about how my journal had to look, my effort would flop. I would write for a few days, or a few weeks, then get off track, unable to meet my self-imposed perfectionistic standards. I had rules for how often, what, and how neatly I wrote in my journal.

The problem was, I was making journaling hard because I had set up expectations that were totally unrealistic and unnecessary. It didn’t help that I I was reading articles about…


And how to find support from people who do

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Photo by ActionVance on Unsplash

When I first became estranged from my youngest daughter 10 years ago, I did what I always do when faced with a question that needs an answer: I went to the library. Guess what? There were no books about family estrangement in the library. None. There was one book about difficulties in parent-child relationships, but it didn’t have much about estrangement.

I was at a loss. I knew no one else whose child had cut them out of their life. I was confused, hurt, and above all, deeply ashamed. How could this have happened? It was the last thing I…


Won’t my child think I have abandoned them?

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Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

When your adult child estranges themselves from you, the first thing most parents do is go into overdrive trying to reach out, reconnect, let them know that you are still there and you still love them and want them in your life. This is the natural response to losing someone you love in this way.

But when the estrangement goes on for months or years, even though you have reached out over and over again, should you stop trying? Will your child feel like you have abandoned them if you stop attempting to reconnect? Will they think you don’t care…


Recognizing our pain is the beginning of healing our connection

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Photo by Pam Sharpe on Unsplash

Imagine this scenario. Mom and her adult daughter are talking on the phone. Mom is trying to tell a story about a recent event. Daughter has missed some of the details — either she was distracted or Mom is not explaining it very well. She stops Mom and says “Wait. What are we talking about?”

Mom circles back and tries to explain again. Adult daughter is not satisfied. She still cannot follow what Mom is trying to tell her. She gets frustrated and her frustration builds to exasperation and anger. She unloads on Mom. …


Home resides within. Tap into it to create the sense of peace you need.

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Photo by Amy Humphries on Unsplash

Home. Because of the pandemic we have all been spending more time there than we normally do. Being in my home almost an entire year with very few times of venturing beyond my little plot of land has sent me on a path of self-discovery. I have been thinking a lot about what home means to me. I have been thinking about what makes a house a home.

I am remembering homes from my past, and sorting out why home has always been so important to me. Home, for me, is so ingrained in my imagination that it has become…


Curating memories and making peace with the past

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Photo by sarandy westfall on Unsplash

I opened a box yesterday that was filled with little scraps of paper, notes to self, pages torn from magazines, quotes I love, photographs, and various other bits of detritus from a lifetime of trying to make sense of the world. That is when it occurred to me that I am at the stage of my life that I have become a curator of my experiences.

I can now see everything with the eyes of someone who has survived it all. I can look at the ugly parts, the painful parts, the messy parts and see the beauty in all…

Beth Bruno

Human learning to be human. Writing in hopes of getting there. You can follow me at https://www.facebook.com/bethbrunoauthor

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