By Nancy Moonstarr

It is a fact that our parents condition us and we take habits, attitudes, beliefs and patterns with us as we grow through all stages of life. Healing ourselves of the negative influences can take a lifetime. I will share my recent process of inner healing that it may encourage you to find the courage to deepen your relationship with the beautiful person inside of you.

I have spent a good portion of my life doing the inner work necessary to become a happy, healthy person emotionally. The profession I chose, being a psychologist, pushed me in directions to explore my inner landscape deeper than I may have missed otherwise.  My training allows me to be open to new teachers and ways to heal. I know the things I learn about myself and when I heal my own issues that I pass on similar insights and information to help others. Recently I signed up for a workshop on a Sunday afternoon at church. This short workshop was life altering and I would like you to know how it shifted my awareness and took me to a place of deep peace and understanding.

The issue I took into the workshop to heal further was lying and betrayal. I have always been surprised and shocked at how I keep finding myself in situations of betrayal, being set up with trusting another and then being blindsided with verbal and sometimes physical attack. Deception of others deeply affects me, whether it is a client experiencing a betrayal or my teenager lying to me. Telling the truth is at the top of the list for my core values.

How did I shift my awareness from this workshop? I identified the original betrayal was from my mother. I had some reservations about looking at this relationship, as I have done this many times over the years. I told myself that if it helped me go further in seeing patterns of setting myself up to be a victim then I'd participate for the duration of the workshop. So much came together for me out of this workshop, more than I can go into here. I will say, however, I identified how it is I keep setting myself up to be hurt. My mother's actions that influenced me were very subtle, but they set me up to not listen to myself and think I had to know things without any help. One example was she would shame me for "not knowing better" when she did not like an action. This shaming was done without ever having given guidance about what the "proper" behavior should have been.

The facilitator of the workshop had us write three letters to the person that we identified. The first one was to express hurt and anger and not sensor what was being written.  We were to let go of being the good girl or boy and go right ahead to blame the other person and just express the raw feelings, thought, and emotions.  The next ‘insight' letter we wrote addressed how we attained wisdom. The third letter was to write what was gained in terms of gratitude from this person playing their particular role with us. This letter below is my third letter expressing what I learned. In sharing it with you, it may give you some insights into your issues.


Nancy Moonstarr is a  Ph.D psychologist in private practice in Washington DC. She also see clients in the Annapolis area and teaches a course in Women's Studies at the local community college. Contact her at


To learn more about Gary Bayer the facilitator of the workshop and his numerous publications go to


Dear Mary,

I am sharing an experience I had as your daughter this lifetime.  It began as a young child when I was shamed or blamed by you into believing I had done, chosen or selected wrong even though it was perhaps the only alternative I knew of at the time - I had no other instructions to do otherwise – or was set up by you to do it. This was then followed by you criticizing me or chiding me for wrong doing and your refusal to listen or take my words, opinion or side into consideration.  Sometimes this was fueled by your being polarized by someone you knew and took their stand over mine. Plus, I was not allowed to ‘make good' on any error I made.  I was judged, by you, pushed out or away and made into the villain who victimized you…then cut off from communication with disapproving silence (and sometimes anger) on your part. 

I felt confused, dejected, wished I were not alive nor ever born, left to appear like I was fine on the outside, yet deeply hurting and relentlessly depressed inside-living with these secrets all the while-often pretending everything was functioning and my life was ok.

My growth from your role in this was to make me incredibly strong, not needing anyone else, independent and determined to not let others take control of or trick me.  But first I had to be sickly dependent & co-dependent, violated sexually many times and a participant in serial emotionally abusive relationships with men.

This role of yours also led to me to discover healing friendships and wisdom to develop a palate of wonderful female friends and social network of support within that circle of friendships.  I learned how to be completely honest with them and myself in safety. 

Additionally, I am a superior therapist to others who have experienced anything of the varied victim roles I got to be a part of and the form projected perceptions can take in relationships.  I only wish I could have been more honest in my history of sharing with you how this all was for me…maybe that can happen now.

I thank you for the role you chose to play for me helping me to see secrets of trickery leading me to second guess myself, trust or align with those and beliefs not worthy of trusting, my own desperate attempts to validate my participating in this game and how I gave my own power away instead of listening to myself and the gifts I could have brought  to others despite this dramatic deception entanglement.  No longer do I need to continue this charade or foolery-I can make my own choices and decide how to act, think and be in my own integrity while allowing anyone else to judge, trick or create deception as they so choose.  From the bottom of my heart, your part in all this has truly made me a grander person who can serve so many others from this lush expertise I was able to access, refine and produce from all you provided.  Did I mention how much you helped me hone in on my intuition for reading others as well. 

With gratitude,

Your loving daughter, Nancy






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