I have spent my entire life asking, or trying to ask, “why” for just about everything. As a child it was the usual parental response of “because I said so, that’s why.” As a teenager and then for most of my adult life, I have been told, “who cares? move on.” As much as I have grown and learned about life, it is one thing I have never been able to let go of. Now it is “why can’t I let go and move on?” “Why do I need to know?” I am recalling one of my favorite and most influential mentors in my life from 40 years ago telling me what seemed like daily, “Carol, why is simply none of your business.” and every time I would say, “Why is why none of my business?”
Poor him. This went on for about 5 years and I finally understood – intellectually. So understanding intellectually kept me from bothering everyone on the planet about it (only a few lucky” friends got to listen to me) but it never toped my obsession. There is a positive side to this obsession. It has made me a good researcher, a better writer and a great coach because I ask great questions no one else seems to ask. I have actually helped people solve problems they have been unable to solve even with years of therapy because I ask different questions.
So there has totally been a good side to it. In recent years, I have badgered my friends relentlessly with my “whys” and the answer is always the same. Carol, who cares – move on. The pain of not being able to figure stuff out became so overwhelming I was able to finally understand why I need to know why. It is (still) MOTHER. I was reared by a narcissistic mother – not just my opinion – but rather a diagnosis from a professional when I was an adult and had been out of the house for many years. My sister was able to “trick” my parents into coming to see my therapist for 2 visits by convincing my mother he therapist needed her help. I believe every day of my life until today (many years past her death) I have been trying to understand WHY she acts, talks, and does what she did. WHY does not really accept that anyone loves her.
WHY do I never know who she is going to show up as from one day to the next? WHY (and how can she) throw me away like most people discard trash. And then wonder why I am devastated and on top of that ask me if we can start over and be best friends (yes, my mother actually said that). WHY can’t she be happy for one thing I have done. Of course I was told by many professionals to leg go of needing to know. I got it an I still get it – at least intellectually I get the concept, but actually letting go has to been my reality. And I am an intelligent, educated person. I believe we all have issues and/or challenges we know we need to overcome and we try but something within us continues to drive us to discovery. My mother died in 1998 and I thought, “phew that’s done. No more mother issues to work on. Wrong! I continue to run into women who give me the opportunity to keep working. But recently a friend gave me an amazing answer. She cannot tell you why because she does not know. She is simply playing a role – mother, wife, friend, worker – always a role. Wow. I GET IT!!!! Just like an actress – switching roles. No need of explanation – just changing hats.