Concerned Husky:

I too have had a difficult and complicated relationship with my mother with ongoing sexual overtones and various kinds of boundary crossings.

Your perspective on her life and what she may have gone through seems wise and naturally can urge one to feel forgiveness. But as Robert Karen writes in "The Forgiving Self", forgiving involves going through a lot of feelings.

What impresses me about your post is that you have access to a range of feelings. I find that it is powerful to acknowledge all of them, because for so many years I tried to live up to expectations of feeling only the ones that seemed appropriate. No More! That was so debilitating.

As an adult male who wants to be in a good relationship, I think emotional literacy can be hard work but it also pays off big (a recommended gamble!). First, in staying in touch with myself. Second, in being able to be present with other people.

Forgiveness, like healing, seems like a process to me. I think going at one's own pace helps the right instincts arise. You may find that confronting works better in some ways more than others.

Last year I led my mother through a conversation about my take on why we are so "anxious around each other" Then she burst out and said, "a mother should be able to touch her child any way she wants!". This was such a good affirmation for me, because she had never actually said it so clearly before.

Now I use that as more of a baseline for our emotional and physical relationship. Reciprocity is not easy to explain to people, but you can remind them that how you receive something is just as important as how it is given.

Reading over what I've written here, it's pretty easy to see where I might have gotten the idea that some feelings shouldn't be felt. Sadly, she is still learning that for herself.

Hope to hear more from you as your journey continues.
Lose the drama; life is a poem.