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Emotional Independence

I was working with a client who was very frustrated with the fact that due to health issues, he is currently financially dependent on his parents as an adult man.  Not only that, but he feels as if their financial support is conditional and that he won't receive it unless he lives his life a certain way that he doesn't always agree with.  He is currently making some life choices that his parents do not support.  

Through our coaching I have been able to help him see that he cannot be financially independent from his parents at this time in his life, but he can be emotionally independent.  Emotional dependence looks to me like my client needing his parents to behave a certain way for him to feel better. Right now, when they do things that bother him or that he doesn't agree with, he is giving control over the way he feels to them and how they behave.  Emotional independence is doing the work to teach his brain that it's ok for them to not like what he does or how he does it, not understand what he does and why, and make lots of mistakes parenting him and all of that is ok because he's got his own back. 

He likes his reasons, he understands his reasons, he understands that his parents are human and make mistakes, he understands that he is human and makes mistakes. They can think he shouldn't do certain things and he can keep doing them. Most of his frustration lies in thinking they need to stop disapproving of his behavior. He can understand and like why he does these things and his parents can keep not approving and not understanding. 

They don't need to change and neither does he. Read that again: They do not need to change and neither does he.

Our higher brain understands that last thought, but our lower brains struggle to. We do this thought work for our lower brains. To manage our lower brains. We all have lower brains and we always will. Thought work is not a cure, there is not cure. But when we learn to manage our minds we can become best friends with our lower brains. Our lower brains are doing their jobs perfectly, just like a toddler throwing a fit is right on track with what a toddler should be doing. Doesn't mean we enjoy the fit, doesn't mean we indulge the fit, doesn't mean we encourage the fit. We just learn to listen (or leave the room), love, and move forward with the plan that creates the life we want to live (which almost always means not giving into the fit).


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