Selena, a friend for many years, called today. She felt uncomfortable, she said. And sad. She told me about a recent and profound over-reaction she experienced in response to a situation with a long-term friend.  Her awareness told her that the depth of her reaction meant that she’s not only dealing with today; her gut-load of emotions are remnants of the past.

We call those incidents triggers. While the current event has importance, the meaning extends beyond that.  It’s a situation Life brought to us to bring about a healing.

It’s common for people on a growth path to run into situational triggers – events that are real today, but also remind us of yesterday – a time when we lacked the skills or support to feel our emotions and deal with the dilemma.

So like Selena, we pack the feelings away and save them for a special time when we won’t need to rely on denial.  That time may be now.

Selena didn’t go into detail about the problem with her friend; she wanted to keep the focus on herself.  She said it involved her friend calling to tell Selena how she felt about something that Selena either did or neglected to do that caused her friend to feel hurt, angry and disrespected.

“But instead of listening to what my friend had to say, I went into defensive mode,” Selena said. “I didn’t feel superior. I didn’t think I was right and my friend was wrong. The truth is I wronged my friend by not listening to and being present for her.

‘When my friend became angry with me,” Selena said, “I felt attacked.

“I’ve been in recovery for a while.  I know how to take responsibility for my part instead of focusing on someone else’s behavior.   But even though I knew what to do, I didn’t do it.  And I didn’t apologize either,” Selena said.

I asked her what she did instead of listening.

“Mid-sentence, I hung up the phone,” Selena said.  “Then I didn’t call her back. For a week.”

Time can be a powerful healer but by itself, time may not heal our issues. Time can let us cool heated emotions.  We have time to let the hurt or angry moment pass.  Sometimes we become so focused on the argument that we don’t recall exactly what we argued about.  That thing that was so important becomes a secondary issue to our hurt feelings.

If we’re lucky and give the situation clear thought, we may find we can use the incident as a catalyst for change. It starts by focusing on what’s up with us instead of glaring at the other person, ranting about what he or she did wrong.

After Selena up on her friend and took some time to calm herself, she looked deeper inside herself.  She knows what it means when people say, Recovery is an inside job.

“I can see now that for the past couple months my self-esteem has been flagging — almost non-existent,” Selena said. “This insight surprised me – but I’ll take it.  It’s an unexpected but welcomed gift.”

She said her self-esteem problem now felt as big and painful as when, years ago, she first began recovery – those months when she felt so fragile.

“Back then, when I discovered I wasn’t crazy I was codependent, I couldn’t endure criticism. Again it wasn’t because I felt superior or right.  I had so little esteem that someone criticizing me felt like a threat to my life.

“I feel like such a failure and I have so little self-esteem that if I make one more mistake and someone calls me on it, or accuses me of wrongdoing and I admit it, I feel like there won’t be anything of me left.”

I know that feeling too.

Selena said that’s why instead of making amends as she knew she should, she hung up on her friend.

“I feel awful about hurting my friend and letting her down,” Selena explained. “It’s not about me not living up to someone else’s expectations. I didn’t live up to my expectations of myself.

“A week passed.  By then I’d become calm and I saw the situation more clearly.  I sent my friend an email with a sincere apology. I would have apologized directly, but she didn’t answer my calls.  In my email to her, I included some information about my issues – explanations for my behavior, but I didn’t use these reasons as justifications or excuse.  I told her how much she meant to me.  I apologized, and I meant it,” Selena said.

I’m waiting for the but, for what Selena wanted from me. Then I got it.

“So ever since I sent my amends to her I’ve been obsessively watching my emails for a response from her, “Selena admitted. “I didn’t apologize to get a response. I know we’re not supposed to be attached to outcomes.  But we’ve been close for so long.  I wanted her to tell me it’s okay.  I wanted to feel peace and closeness between us.”

Selena wanted her friend back.  She wanted closure on the event.

I know this story is closer to a meditation than a blog.  It would fit in a book of daily readings I wrote years ago — The Language of Letting Go.

That’s what Selena forgot to do:  let go. But there’s still one more thing, something important Selena needed to do as part of taking responsibility for herself.

Most of us want to be good, decent people.  We try to live by the Golden Rule, doing unto others as we want done unto us. But we’re not perfect and we’re not meant to be. That’s why they invented six short words:  I am sorry; I was wrong.

Sometimes after we cool from the heat of the moment, look inside ourselves, take responsibility for our actions and make appropriate amends – including letting go of the outcome of doing that – some circumstances require that we take one more action.

It’s why Selena called me and it’s the point of this meditative blog — that’s how important this piece can be.

If we’ve cleaned up our side of the street but we’re still not at peace because the other person didn’t give us the closure we need, then it may be  time to let ourselves off the hook.

From the Desk of Melody Beattie

November 8, 2012


  1. Karin

    Hi Denise, Thank you once again for your words of wisdom and understanding. I really need to let go and let the chips fall where they may. Do my part and keep my focus there. Surrender to the pain and accept it as a gift that can lead me on a path of growth and healing. Since I last wrote to you a situation has arisen involving my youngest daughter (15) that has thrown the Christmas issue into the background. Without going into details, she made some very unhealthy choices that have impacted her, me and many others. We are now in the damage control and consequences phase….which will last a long time. Thankfully she was not physically injured but there are a lot of emotional and psychological wounds that will take a long time to heal. The police have become involved and we are cooperating fully with them as well. In the meantime, my ex and my husband met a few days ago and we are all working together now to daily find the best solutions for healing and protecting my daughter. That’s one of the silver linings of the dark cloud. Life can change so drastically from one day to the next. My focus was on Christmas and on bringing everyone together and now it’s on my daughter and everyone is coming together to share this focus. I’m trying to take care of myself in the midst of a challenging, sad situation….looking for the blessings and the gifts in the pain. I want to be there for my daughter and love her in the midst of her pain. I want to guide her and help her heal. I want to give her the gifts I didn’t receive when I was in pain at her age. Reparenting. It’s a gift and an enormous challenge all at the same time. I hope and pray you are finding gifts and blessings in the midst of your challenges and pain now too. Always such a mixed bag. Thanks again for keeping in touch. Your friendship means alot :). Karin

  2. Denise

    Hi Karin, I am so sorry to hear of your daughters pain, yours, and your family’s in the process. My daughter’s reactions and means of coping during the last years her father and I were together showed up in distressing and frightening ways. From the time she was 14 – 17 I was in a constant state of anxiety for what she might do. As bizarre as this might sound Karin children can subconsciously find unbelievable ways to bring the family together. My husband and I certainly stood up and took notice when our angelic, compliant, independent, quiet, always cooperative daughter became the opposite in every imaginable way. It was mind boggling, horrifying and shifted my perspective drastically to say the least. I was able to get her into counseling with a woman who had a quiet and compassionate strength that for starters diffused my husbands anger in a way I never saw before or since. She also spoke very difficult but necessary truths to me in ways I could hear and take to heart, as I need to. Police were involved, as well as every teacher and counselor with my daughter. In my situation I was finally able to see that my son and daughter were far more aware of what was going on, in spite of all I had done to protect them “from” it, than their father or I were. This awaken was extremely painful for me. But the beginning of being in reality and with it finding out and facing those things I could and could not change. Without my daughter’s permission, which I will ask if she feels comfortable if I share, I can not share specifics. But what I do want you to know and my daughter was 15 when it came to a head, was that she pulled out of it. She blew my mind, as far towards amazement of what she had accomplished, as it had been blown it in the other direction, only a couple of years before this. When she graduated she was presented with a “new” award created that year for Most Improved Student. She graduated an honors student. I listened as teachers and Principals spoke more about this little mighty mite than any other single student at the awards ceremony. When all was said and done and shortly after she had started College, she said mom I want you to know that you never deserved the things I said or the way I treated you. If wasn’t for all you did to protect me from myself I wouldn’t be here. You stuck to me like white on rice and for as much as you thought I did you caught almost me every time…. how did you do that? Divine intervention, a mothers intuition and a fathers sneaky ways put to useful purposes, are the only answers I can remotely come up with. There were 3 very tough years, with recovery on going, still, I believe she would say now. But the point I hope you can hear is, early intervention, ceaseless prayer, the unrelenting message of ” I LOVE YOU TOO MUCH TO ALLOW NEEDLESS SUFFERING, leaving no stone un-turned and getting myself well were the positives and life affirming results of the crisis’es (sp) Where is your daughter in the birth order? Is she the youngest? The reason I ask is because the youngest and second born in a family of 4 are typically the two who act out and bring attention to the pain in the family, each in different ways. My daughter was second. One of my close friends had similar situations with her daughter, violations followed by psychological wounds, followed by acting out that as you spoke of were of not going to heal quickly. One of the wisest things I ever learned was from this counselor, who told me I needed to listen to my daughter without adding anything about my own pain or experiences. Melding this together, melded her and I together in ways that didn’t allow for the separate identity she needed to have and feel apart from my history. It was one of the hardest things I ever learned to do. When I listened to her I wanted to follow up with I understand because… then go in to my stuff. No matter how much I wanted to do this I forced myself not to and it was hard. She needed me to be her parent which meant I was there for her only. I began to see the subtle ways I had been re-parenting myself through her. Re-parenting was something I desperately needed but it had become confused with and wrapped up in the parenting of my children, and this is in no way to suggest you have done the same. I began to feel a great deal of the pain from my own childhood, after I consciously engaged in a cutoff of sharing my painful past with my children. My motives, intention and reasons came from nothing but good purposes meant to be helpful, but I slowly discovered what parts they couldn’t integrate as developmentally applicable. What ALWAYS applied was the Love and Respect I showed and gave them… knowing the reasons why it was so crucial to me,the titlywe created in them the need to ease my pain. This may or may not make sense for your circumstances but always and ultimately take what you need and leave the rest. This is about my experience only and of course. But should any piece or part be helpful my only wish is to alleviate useless suffering or confusion. I know I found gifts in being able to give unconditional love and acceptance to my children, love has a magnificent and magical way of becoming a perpetual boomerang when giving is the reward. You and your beloved daughter are in my thoughts and prayers tonight and in these days ahead. May God be your rock and the sheltering wings under which you find refuge. I have been in a state of feeling rage, which I shared on Melodys other site this evening, rage still applies when children come to harm, my own prayer is that it will burn into ash and from it growth with good purpose and cause be known.I have no doubt you will love your daughter all the more in her pain as you have loved her every day otherwise. Peace to you and yours my friend. Denise

  3. Denise

    after the sentence; knowing the reasons why it was so crucial are the words ” the titlywe” which has nothing to do nothing except the captcha phrase which i must have somehow accidently (ADD brain) written in this sentence.. just so you don’t try to figure out what in the world I was trying to say!

  4. Karin

    Hi Denise, I so appreciate your continuing insights, wisdom and encouragement….shared from the experiences you’ve walked through. I am amazed at how our histories and journeys are similar in many ways. I am thankful for your perspective gained through the years….much of it hindsight for you now which is so valuable in seeing more objectively and perceiving the blessings and benefits that are so often hard to see in the midst of the chaos and emotion of crisis. I’m so thankful to hear that your daughter made choices to turn her life around and that ended up bringing blessing to herself, to you, and many others. Beauty from pain….best case scenario for sure. I’m asking God to do the same in the situation with my daughter right now. She is the youngest of 4. Your assessment of the 2nd and 4th being the ones to act out more than others is interesting…and accurate in my experience. My oldest daughter, who is the 2nd, has had more behavorial issues as well through and since the divorce. My youngest has a very sweet, tender heart but she has also displayed a bent toward taking risks and pushing the envelope since she was very young. My ex and I have agreed numerous times that she has been more challenging than the other 3 combined. Not just in rebellion but in her wanting to do more risky things that the others would never have tried or wanted to try. Her recent behavior is more of the same I believe….wanting to try something just for the risk/thrill factor. I also believe that your observation could play into things too…the subconscious agenda to bring people together. I know much of what we do as humans and much of what motivates us is subconscious. That’s why awareness is so key in the process of healing and making better choices. I also really appreciate your comments re/ reparenting and the reality of keeping the focus off ourselves and on our children. I am also very tempted many times to interject my own experience and issues as I deal with my kids….which is not healthy because it projects my emotions onto them and doesn’t give the them the freedom or respect to have their own feelings/experience. As you, my heart breaks as I watch the ripple effects of her choices yet I know her path has got to be her own. I had a conversation with her yesterday and told her that regardless of the choices we’ve made in the past each day is a brand new day and we have a wonderful opportunity to create a better future for ourselves, one choice at a time. The best thing we can do on any given day is make it our goal to learn from our mistakes and move forward. This is not the end….it’s the beginning. Those are truths I still need to live by as I am often tempted to get down on myself for the choices I’ve made in the past that have led to deep pain. I want to love her and love myself at the same time during this healing process. I hope to get her to a good counselor soon as well. I’m grateful you had a wonderful counselor who was able to lead you on a path of healing and truth when you need guidance. It seems like a very long road ahead yet I really want to view each day as an opportunity for me as a mother and fellow traveler to learn alongside my daughter. Like you said, you reflect that you were offered healing and growth at the same as your daughter. I keep thanking God for allowing this difficult situation because I know He’s bringing blessing and life through the pain. One truth I cling to is that He doesn’t waste pain. He brings beauty from pain when we’re surrendered to Him and following His guidance. I keep asking Him to enable me to see the gifts right now. I want to set an example for my daughter that pain can be our most effective teacher and counselor when we choose to surrender and not run away. She keeps wanting to have all the things back that she typically uses to run from pain….her music, computer, cell phone, her sister and other friends, tv….but we’re keeping her away from all that for a few weeks. We don’t want her to run from the pain, we want her to contemplate and absorb it. I don’t want her to suffer needlessly but there is value in suffering when it’s appropriate. Thank you for taking the time to write. I’m praying for you in your current pain and challenges as well. I wish you peace…. Karin

  5. Melody Beattie

    TO ALL WHO POST HERE, OR ON ANY SITES: Instead of paying someone to pretend to be me, I answer all posts and comments personally. Because of my need to toally immerse myself in my project when I am writing, it’s hard for me to do two things at once — answer all posts with full presence, and write. (It’s often hard for me to do ONE thing at once.) I’m saying this because I am working on what I find to be truly the most engaging and exciting work of my life, so far. That means, I am here less — although I do scan and try to respond a little, now and again. It is definitely not the “full presence” I give to my sites when I’m not writing. I can’t apologize — this is who I am, and I don’t want someone here pretending to be me, responding to your posts. Please know that I am scanning the sites, will try to respond to any emergency posts, will be back in full …. not sure when. When my project is finished, or I find I can take a significant break. When I wrote Codependent No More, I told my children, “If you can let me go, let me do this, share me with this project, I will let you be part of any rewards that come from it. I will let you fully have my presence. I will celebate with you.” Because I was dead broke at the time, our “party” when I finished was a burger, fries and beverage from a fast food place (a true treat). Because we were so broke, we each got to choose one item to eat from the three — burger, fries and drink. But it was still a feast and a celebration. Later, I was able to share more with them, until … I couldn’t because Shane, my son, left. Anyway, I don’t want any sadness in this post. I do want to tell you that I will be back, and I hope that what I am working on will be my way of sharing with each of you something that either will, or won’t, be helpful, something I hope though, that you will consider a celebratory feast, and something that you can know you took part in my you postive thoughts and allowing me to leave for a while knowing I will come back to you as soon as I can. Thank you, each of you, for making these sites what I hoped they would become: safe havens of truth and healing, with little or no monetization (libraries, guys and gals, if you do not have money to buy books). You can utilize any concept discussed here for free, read any of my books for free by checking them out from your local libraries, and I hope you have enjoyed 2011 on the three sites,, and, as much as I have. Many, many blessings and may 2012 be the best year you experience — so far. All my best, Melody Beattie

  6. Melody Beattie

    TYPO CORRECTIONS: Corrections to the above post (see what happens when I go too quickly). I meant “enjoyed 2012″ and the New Year wishes are for 2013. Sorry. Earlier in the post, I meant to write, “something that you can know you took part in by your positive thoughts and allowing me to leave” instead of what I posted: “someting that you can know you took part in my you positive thoughts.” Again, my apologies. I type so quickly that I often type phoenetically — and miss the first consonant in the sentence.

  7. Smerk

    Thank you, Melody. The best way I know to honor and serve others is through following our passion and doing what we love. It blesses everyone. You’ve constantly reinforced the message of how important it is to love and respect ourselves. Thank you for being a blessing and inspiration in my life. 2012 has been one of those years that has brought an inordinate amount of change in many of our lives. Alot of those changes came by way of loss. More often than not, it’s been through the support and sharing I’ve received here that’s given me the grace I need to gain peace and assimilate these changes into my ever changing “new” reality. The forums have played a big part in encouraging me and reminding me to stay present for whatever shows up and they reinforce the idea that I always receive the Grace to see me through especially when I’m walking in my own unchartered territory. Thank you for having the courage to allow yourself to be vulnerable. Thank you for sharing who you are. Most of all, thank you for being YOU. Not just for what you do, but more so for being who you ARE. For being present. For making it count not just for yourself, but for me and all the rest of the lives known and unknown that you’ve blessed in this world by your presence. ( Can’t wait to see the result of your current endeavor, but at the same time I’m glad to see you’re fully engaged in the experience. Enjoy the journey. We’ll be here with open arms to join you in the celebration.) All of my best Smerk

    • Melody Beattie

      Smerk, you bring tears to my eyes and make my heart feel warm. Thank you for walking through your life and process, and sharing it with me and the others on this site. Please know how much you — and your life — matters. Many blessings to you — and to all who post or read here — as the calendar takes us into 2013 and Life brings us a new set of experiences. Best, Melody

  8. Denise

    Hi Melody, Thank you for letting us all know how very much you care…. by taking the time…. to let us know what’s going on for you. It never entered my mind that it wasn’t you responding. I either trust or I do not. My heart would have told me if it wasn’t you. As far as I’m concerned I have known you for a long time through what you have written and if it hasn’t been you writing here then it hasn’t been me writing here either. A good friend of mine once told me that people write the way they talk, and talk the way they are. It’s healthy to ask the question, if we’ve learned nothing else, then hopefully we’ve learned this. Enough of my 2 cents worth about this though. I am excited FOR you in what ever you are writing now because I sense something really magnificent being birthed and more so that it is exactly what is needed, in due season the fruits of the harvest will be known. You were born to be the messenger. I give Thanks to God for you. Know you are in my prayers for all that God’s Will has for you. May your Christmas be Blessed beyond your wildest dreams… what ever this means. Don’t know why….. but just felt to say this. With Love and Gratitude, Denise

  9. Karin

    Hi Denise, Just want to let you know your words continue to help me today. As you said in one of your posts…I’m “working on my codependency and letting the chips fall where they may” regarding the holidays. I’ve extended the invitation and am now waiting for either the yes or no. I’m letting it be. Good work for me to do. I feel more freedom entering my soul. I’m not trying to hold everyone together and make it a perfect Christmas as I have done for many years. I’m asking myself what I need and giving that to myself. I’m letting everyone else do the same in their own way. Thank you again for all the words you have shared with me. You’ve really been a guiding light. I wish you a blessed Christmas. Karin

  10. Karin

    Hi Melody, Thank you for your communication and update. Thank you for all the gifts you gave me in 2012. Precious gifts that money can’t buy. You gave me the gifts of wisdom, healing, hope and courage. May God bless you a hundred fold for your generosity. I wish you a beautiful Christmas. And may 2013 be your best year as well. Karin

  11. Denise

    Hello Karin, Thank you for your kind, encouraging and gentle words. It is so obvious to me that you have a very sweet spirit and the heart of a warrior, truly. Letting the chips fall where they may is the hard lesson I am still learning. Even if I lived on the other side of the world, away from my family I would still struggle with doing this. My brother was literally brought to my place by our Uncle, because he couldn’t deal with him. I received no call, either asking or telling me this was happening. I felt like a deer in the head lights when they showed up at my place. I love, respect and admire this particular Uncle very much. He was drafted into the Viet Nam war at 19 and returned home because he was the only survivor of a jeep blown up by a land mine. He came back with wounds to his spirit far greater than any physical wounding. He never let on, but did soldier on…. until he had to have surgery to his colon after many years of pain and in the process found help through the VA with fellow survivors of this horrible war. He has driven back and forth from Washington state since April, we are in California, to help us with our mother, (his sister) so that my brother and I could get a break. But… this last visit was without my brother who is in recovery or myself there to run interference between our youngest brother and our mother. Our Uncle was able to withstand it for 3 weeks. I full well understand that he was driven by absolute desperation to have brought my brother here as he did….. because he knew as my other brother and I did what could happen. My Uncle told me something was very wrong … as he pointed to his stomach area and HAD to get to his Dr. I found out that all was well with him, Thank God, but I told my brother, I clearly understood it was 100% stress related as I have been there so so many times myself in years past. He physically HAD to remove himself from the violence. I told my brother he could sleep at my place if he didn’t drink and because the last time he did so (last year), I called the police and he was arrested he knows I will do so again if necessary. He has left for days at a time because he wants to drink, then returns. Tonight however I know I can not allow this to go on any more. He is when not drinking helpful hard working and thoughtful. When drinking he becomes a physically violent and frightening. The violence perpetrated on the children in my home always left bruises, welts and at times bleeding. It has taken me many many years not to have a PTSD trigger when I see a child being even barely swatted. I have had major PTSD episodes with my grandchildren and neither of my children or their spouses even swat their children. The raising of a voice to being put in a time out… just the sense that there is frustration that could lead to anger, has triggered me and I know I have to do work around this. Even though I know it is irrational, it makes zero difference when PTSD is triggered, I have had to quickly get my purse and say I have to go as I run to my car and drive home with my heart pounding out of my chest, my hands shaking and talking to myself for the rest of the night to get past this. I finally had to talk with my son and his wife without detail and let them know I may never be normal regarding what happened to me in my past and that periodically certain things can trigger this. So whenever I get up and leave they needed to know it was not about them but me needing to calm myself. I believe there are specific ages with my grandkids that bring up memories and all I can do is know this and take care of myself when it occurs. I am going to find a counselor who does EMDR because I fully realize now, that an aspect of past trauma is getting triggered and EMDR absolutely prevents the reaction. I think I am at 99 out of 100 with stress right now, my brothers drinking and violence, all that I have been dealing with, with my mother in these final stages, and with every time I hear the phone ring, I think is this it? I believe I will not be re-hired, I co-managed with a narcissist…. and so it is just being in this last leg of getting the news so that I can move on, my sister is still active in the disease and having contact with her, although I am very guarded and know I must limit it, is taking energy I do not have. It all adds up for me right now as too much. I have been on the phone with the case manager for my mother, my brother, her Dr, and the in home nurses today to get things in order for her to go to what they are calling a Rehabilitation Center, because she is not getting the care she needs as things are set up now. I am going to drive up there so I can bring her there Friday morning. I sense that all is as it is supposed to be and that yes, God is in control. I pray that my mother can let go so that she can pass in peace. This is my prayer as I am preparing to be with her and hopefully give her the help she needs and wants. I am always amazed that when we let go of what we think we want, we find the gifts of what we need. May this Christmas be perfect in every way that matters most….. for us one and all. God Bless you my friend. Denise

    • Melody Beattie

      Hi Denise. I’m sorry it’s so hard for you right now, but it sounds like you’re receiving the Grace to get through each moment — and sometimes that is the absolute best we can hope for. I so relate to your PTSD. Yelling triggers it for me, still — although I’m much better. I have had EMDR therapy and it absolutely helps. I have learned to apply it to myself, and it is worth the investment for anyone who has PTSD from any type of traauma. May you at some point find the blessings from this holiday, and good work taking care of yourself. You are important to me, and to many others on this site. Be well. Be at peace. Be you. Best, Melody

  12. Karin

    Hi Denise, I cannot even begin to express what I feel after reading your last post. Grief, admiration, awe, strength, encouragement, hope. Those are some of the emotions that combine in my heart when I read your words and think of your current circumstances. I really do stand in awe of your ability to have awareness and insight on so many levels in the midst of such tremendous difficulty. Your insights give me comfort and strength. Thank you for your kind words of love, friendship and support right now too. I’m praying for you as you face so much stress on a daily basis. I’m praying you’ll be able to breathe, let go, and have peace as much as is possible. I’m praying God will bless you with precious gifts as only He can in the midst of deep pain. I’m praying He will offset your grief with His limitless Love. Also, I can’t tell you how much it helps me by your talking about PTSD and EMDR right now. I have experienced some pretty severe triggers in the past two weeks from my childhood. I totally relate to all you talked about regarding your hair-trigger responses when you witness certain things…. and how you have to remove yourself from the situation. I’ve found myself having to do that recently and I really don’t like it. I would like to get help too. I’m going to look into EMDR. Also, turns out I won’t be with my kids this Christmas. They will be with my ex and I will be with my husband. This is one of my worst fears realized and I’m taking steps with each breath to accept and let it be. I have to trust that it’s the best thing for everyone right now. I have to trust that we will all receive gifts of healing as Christmas unfolds in a very different way this year. But it’s the LAST scenario I would have naturally chosen. I am very blessed by one of the last lines you wrote to me “I am always amazed that when we let go of what we think we want, we find the gifts of what we need.” You articulated beautifully what God is telling me right now. Thank you. I so appreciate you taking the time to give to me, share with me and bless me when you are in the midst of so much difficulty and pain. I’m praying for you and your family. I wholeheartedly echo your words that ‘Christmas will be perfect for you in every way that matters most’. God Bless You too, my friend. Karin

  13. Denise

    Hi Karin, My first sponsor told me that there’s a good chance that the thing we most fear will happen to us… I remember saying you mean it WON’T happen right? No. In essence she was telling me that resistance is trying to keep out that which life wants to bring us release from. I understand and empathize with the feelings this brings up while also believing it is meant for your freedom FROM this fear. We know from the first moment we hold our precious ones in our arms we are beginning the journey of watching them walk into their own lives. For those of us who have come from severe dysfunction the tendency is to not only give our children what they need and want but as much what we did too. From a starving heart and soul we pour love nurture encouragement, and do all we can think or imagine to equip them for this journey… how do we do this? Really. How have we given from what we didn’t get. Love is a powerful energy and creates more love is what I believe. This doesn’t mean our losses are no longer valid with the need to be acknowledged and grieved for what they are. I think it means we have been given the opportunity to give a love that is wanted, needed, welcomed and received. I feared the entrance into their own life signaled…. leaving me behind. I had to evaluate what “leaving me” meant to me. Leaving me never to return? No…. just… excited to test and practice and learn and discover the meaning and purpose that life holds for them. I don’t think the desire is any less when divorce happens, it may get side tracked, the emotional waters tainted but when we are clear with what is ours and what is theirs they can and will thrive and so will we. After 25 years of being stonewalled I finally turned and walked away from a wall that had no doorway to the other side. I realized the pain I felt was the same as the when a limb goes to sleep because the life giving oxygen and blood supply have been cut off, and when able to flow again it hurts. I remember feeling I was competing for my children’s perception of who was right and who was wronged, it was black and white, all or nothing. This was my hurt, and my need for having my pain validated. They already knew and had known all along WHAT was wrong. They had lived with parents saying they wanted the same thing pulling in opposite directions to achieve it. Each wronged before they ever met each other needing to be right (validated) and not finding or able to create the picture they believed was the answer. How ever, the illusion gets shattered, we know what doesn’t work and we understand many things we were not able to without this experience. I felt I had wasted my life, I had been ripped off, lied to betrayed and used and I had been. I learned that although this was all I knew about being loved, I had made a conscious decision to no longer try to convince myself that what was and was not happening between my children’s father and myself, was love. I knew when I left he would show me what he wanted. It took him 3 weeks to take up with and move his friend and employees girlfriend into our home and force our daughter and son out. He told them they were welcome to be there as long as they accepted her. She was 2 years older than our son. She ended up robbing him blind and disappearing with in 2 years. He got the house, the business and all the vehicles. He wouldn’t respond to his attorney or mine for 3 years, then finally signed a bifurcation and we settled with him getting all we had worked for and me getting 10,000 dollars. I was by this time 45 years old and starting from scratch. It was hard. It was unfair. I didn’t deserve what had happened but I had to find a way to come to terms with it or allow it to define me. I have rambled and got sidetracked in some ways but all to say I understand in my own version that it isn’t easy to let go of the known and familiar so that the pain can transform losses and lies into a life that is truly worth living. I have been able to accept that the losses will never magically metamorphosis into beautiful life changing experiences. They will be a part of the story of the on going journey of my life. A life without hurting or blaming or shaming myself or anyone else. A Life I will not feel guilty for or about. So for now I need to get to bed as I am getting up at 4 AM to head to my mothers. Thank You for your prayers Karin I truly deeply appreciate each and every one. I believe prayer has the power to change those we pray for and us for having said them. Maybe not in the ways we may picture, but in the ways that serve love and truth. God Bless, Denise

  14. Melody Beattie

    To all on this site, may you find Peace during this Season — even if you don’t experience the Joy that so many others appear to have. May you have the courage to feel whatever you need to feel, to take care of yourselves in ways meaningful and important to you, and may you see yourself as others see you, and as I see you: courageous beyond all belief, resilient, aware, and channels of love, hope and faith for others. I will be working, but checking in, throughout the coming weeks. You are not alone. You never have been. It is utterly impossible to be alone in this world. May you carry that knowledge in your hearts. Best, Melody

  15. Liz

    Hi Melody, Thank you for that wonderful blessing. You have really touched my life and inspired me to be more me, even if that is not what people really want to see. Also you have helped me to like me even when all of my faults are blazing for everyone to see. Thank you especially for your magical words in the Language of Letting Go and also your liberating activity of being grateful for it all. Thanks Liz

    • Melody Beattie

      Liz, thanks so much. I’ve enjoyed and reaped much benefit from all aspects of our relationship online. You have truly been a blessing in my life — and I wish you the most richest joys life can bring to you in the coming year. I’ve been hiding out — trying to get as much writing done as possible which isn’t easy without an assistant — but I’m making progress and loving it. See you online (I hope) in the New Year). Melody

  16. Karin

    Hi Denise, You hit the nail on the head when you talked about your sponsor telling you it’s very likely that what we most fear will happen. I’ve experienced it many times in my life. The freedom from the fear can only come as we live through it, not run from it. Thank you for reminding me of this powerful truth. I do know that for many years I’ve struggled with the fear that my kids would have to live through the emotional deprivation that I did in my childhood…so I’ve overcompensated in some extreme ways to give them what I didn’t have. This has been shown especially at Christmas. I remember trying so hard during my childhood to make everyone around me happy at Christmas time. I just wanted people to be happy. It never worked. I have had to come face to face with my ‘default’ setting….and my need to hit the reset button. I’ve put so much pressure on myself to hold everything together for everyone else, while my heart is breaking. This year I’m not going to do it anymore. This year I’m not going to try to make it perfect for everyone around me. I’m going to take care of myself. My kids and and I are going to have an early Christmas today. I am trying to model acceptance and the ability to move forward in positive ways, even when my ideal isn’t happening. Also, I’m thinking about you especially in the situation with your mom. My dad passed away 14 years ago on Christmas Eve. He was/is a big source of the ptsd I struggle with. He had a progressive brain disease for about 6 years before he died and as his illness progressed he became more angry and violent. It was hard for me to see him or be around him (he didn’t know who I was for the last 2 years). I wasn’t as aware of my ptsd as I am now. I was very relieved when he died. I didn’t feel any sadness at all, just relief. I’m praying that you will have release and peace in your situation with your mom. I pray God will bring you healing as all the circumstances unfold. Thank you for sharing more of yourself and your life with me. I’m continuing to pray for you and your family. Peace and love to you, Karin

  17. Melody Beattie

    Denise and Karin — Watching the supportive and healing relationship grow between you two has been an added blessing in my life. I see so many sites filled with negativity and trolls; I see this site filled with people like you two, Smerf, Liz — and the guys — and the girls whose names I didn’t mention but hold in my heart — and again, I know I am blessed. Later, Melody

  18. Melody Beattie

    While I’m being publicly grateful, I want to be grateful to: Chip, the webmaster who re-invented the three sites three times to get them “just right” and to the work he puts into these sites weekly (or more frequently) to keep them functioning; to the new business people in my life, whose ethics allow me to work without fear; and to each of the guests. Whether said or written, words mean nothing unless they are heard and read. It is each of you that have made these sites a huge success. It isn’t my desire to make money from these sites, but to provide safe places to heal, to tell our stories and know that we’ll be heard and a safe place to be who we really are (and htat includes me) — on our good days, our in-between days, and our tough days. By that measurement of success, these sites have succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. Thank you all. Melody

  19. Melody

    I second, third and fourth that. He does a lot of work on these sites and often “forgets” to bill for his time. He really cares (he wouldn’t be doing the work if he didn’t). Finding a great gatekeeper is no easy task. Best, Melody

  20. Michele Temple

    Dearest Melody: I was taliking with an old friend this evening and she mentioned that i gave her your book, “The Language of Letting Go” years ago when she was at a crossroads in her 20 year relationship with a man who never married her. The very same book was given to me by my AA sponsor way back in 1991 when i was struggling to recover from alcoholism and the fact that my husband of 14 years was going to prison for 15. i was not only alcoholic but desperately co-dependent and your book, in conjuction with AA, saved my life. I thrive and prosper to this day. Years later I recognized the same co-dependence in my friend and gave her my book, even though it was my dearest treasure, next to my Bible. By that time I knew it backwards and forwaards and so i felt confident to give it to a friend whom i loved and still do. Tonight she told me how much the book had helped her leave her man and make a good life for herself without him. Then she told me about her friend, who was in a relationshiop even worse than the ones we had been in. She gave my book to this woman, even though it was her greatest treasure, and that woman is now happy in a good life of her own. I told her tonight that we shoud thank Meldoy Beattie and let her know that over the course of the last 22 years she has helped save the lives of at least three women that i know of personally. More than likely, everyone who read your book has been saved. What a legacy, from one book, so long ago. Thank God for you, Melody; thank God for your gift and thank you for sharing it with so many women. We are forever in your debt. Michele Temple, Deep South Southern Belle Liberated, Strong, Confident and Happy!

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