A client writes, “My mom brings out the tribal warrior in me and we have some pretty intense exchanges. Today I was practicing being compassionate and thinking she is doing the best she can and then in her presence I felt furious. My nerves were on edge and our exchange was terrible. What can I do when I feel like just out of nowhere provoked intensely. I know I am not a victim of my mom but she makes me really mad. I think she acts inappropriately and out of bounds.”

My response: Somewhere along the line, The Drunk Monkey has decided that your mom is a threat. Now her presence represents a potential danger. Of course, this is a delusion. The only way out is to notice (which you are) and then own it with your mom. You must get with your mom and apologize for being reactive.

Sit with her and say, “Mom for some reason my brain has decided that I am the ruler of the universe and it has declared that your behavior is wrong and my behavior is right. Apparently sometime in the past, my nervous system got tweaked and I started protecting myself against you as if you were a threat. But I can see now mom, that you are not a threat to me. You did things differently. You do things in ways that I don’t agree with. But these things are not a threat to me. I apologize for being unconscious around you and not allowing you to just be yourself. I promise to catch myself reacting to you. I promise to allow you to be exactly as you are and accept that you do things differently.”