Just like Jane, I am in my “Third Act”.
When my Mother died a year ago, I did exactly as Jane talks about in the video above. I did a “Life Review”.
As Jane says,
“For me, it began as I was approaching my third act,my 60th birthday.How was I supposed to live it?What was I supposed to accomplish in this final act?And I realized that, in order to know where I was going,I had to know where I’d been.And so I went backand I studied my first two acts,trying to see who I was then,who I really was –not who my parents or other people told me I was,or treated me like I was.But who was I? Who were my parents –not as parents, but as people?Who were my grandparents?How did they treat my parents?These kinds of things.
I discovered a couple of years laterthat this process that I had gone throughis called by psychologists”doing a life review.”And they say it can give new significanceand clarity and meaningto a person’s life.You may discover, as I did,that a lot of things that you used to think were your fault,a lot of things you used to think about yourself,really had nothing to do with you.It wasn’t your fault; you’re just fine.And you’re able to go backand forgive themand forgive yourself.You’re able to free yourselffrom your past.You can work to changeyour relationship to your past.”
I started writing after my Narcissist Mother died. I didn’t know she was a narcissist then, I thought she was just cruel and evil. Never saying anything nice, or supportive or nurturing and always on the attack. I realized while I began writing about her I was still angry – and I sounded that way too. That’s not who I am. Just when it came to my mother and my enabling family, who treated me as an uninvited dinner guest my whole life. I thought I had a book in me….I’ve been telling stories about her for years. But I couldn’t find my own voice to write in…..Nothing sounded like the stories I’ve been telling – which generally garnered a laugh. Because when you hear some of the things that came out of a narcissist mothers mouth and said to a small child, you think it’s absurd. Plus, I’ve been putting a spin on it for years as a form of emotional protection. One of the things I learned from my mother is how ugly a lack of empathy really is on a woman. I needed to make a conscious choice to bulk up my empathy…..starting with her.
I knew I needed input on what I was writing (really feeling) and I knew I wasn’t going to get that from my husband who read everything I wrote (bless him) and from my friend who was spending an inordinate amount of time helping me as well. So I decided to anonymously write what I was feeling on this blog. At first nobody read it, so I made a plan to investigate successful blogs. I learned so much from all of you.
Here’s where I found my voice. I discovered just exactly how much pain everyone was in because of their experience with a cruel or non nurturing mother. And just how many of us there were, from a variety of sources I discover just how big my demographic was. I read everyone’s post, I even joined a group on Facebook.
I didn’t want to be another person in pain trying to cope….I wanted to change the world, and with my mother gone, I finally thought I just might be capable.
Because my Mother (the old bat) had died, I had a different perspective than most. I was experiencing the freedom of no contact. No guilt because I had no contact. No obligation because I had no guilt. It was a glorious freedom I had never felt. The only regret I had was not doing this “life review” of mine before she died. My regret wasn’t because I wanted to develop a relationship with her, I just felt I had wasted SO much time being angry, thinking she was evil, hating anything that reminded me of her (sometimes even my own image).
The more research I did about her behavior, the more I had to look at her as a person with issues and baggage just like I have (just like we all have).
As Jane says,
“Now we’re all born with spirit, all of us,but sometimes it gets tamped down beneath the challenges of life,violence, abuse, neglect. Perhaps our parents suffered from depression.Perhaps they weren’t able to love us beyond how we performed in the world. Perhaps we still suffer from a psychic pain, a wound. Perhaps we feel that many of our relationships have not had closure. And so we can feel unfinished. Perhaps the task of the third actis to finish up the task of finishing ourselves.”
There’s an old quote that no one seems to be able to identify the source:
“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for someone else to die”
With this as my mantra, along with a few others, I chose not to look at my past and think, Evil, Abusive, Cruel or Neglect. I choose to use my “Third Act” looking back and thinking of my Mother as a woman tormented , a woman with no skill set or support to help her. I do not condone, forgive, forget or justify, I merely acknowledge she was a woman, just like me with issues and baggage of her own that manifested itself in the form of an unattached non Mother. She just wasn’t equipped to carry her baggage. And what I need to do with my “Third Act” is help daughters (and sons) just like me realize peace even if they don’t share my years on this planet.
Have you done your “life review”?