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A woman from New Orleans struggles with her mother’s decision to be friends with a man who has served prison time for rape and who assaulted her when she was a child. Her mother wants to spend time with him because she feels he adds value to her life. “When you are arguing with your mom,” Katie says, “are you adding value to your life or her life? It’s war. Defense is the first act of war. “And in fact, through no choice of your mother’s, the man is no longer in her life. You wanted him out of her life and you have that, but it’s not doing much for you, because you’re feeling betrayed by your mom. He’s fallen out of her life, and you’re still holding onto your resentment. The pain of the past is over, and it appears in the mind as images, as though it were real. This problem has to be kept alive in your mind in order to be a problem. And it’s held at your own expense. “You have to be there at that moment,” Katie says, “in that place, sitting there with your mother when she’s saying she wants him in her life. Identify and collect what you were thinking and believing in that moment. Those beliefs are the ones that caused the feelings of resentment, hatred, rage, and betrayal. When you question these thoughts, you’re questioning the cause of all of those emotions and your separation from your mother. “It’s huge to finally understand not only the cause of all our suffering, but how to identify the specific thought. That’s such a gift.” What I love about the past is: it’s over.
Purchase, Loving What Is by Byron Katie