What letting go actually means – and what it doesn’t


Do you feel the same way? That you have a problem understanding the term “letting go”?

That you can’t really “grasp” what you’re supposed to “let go of” because everything feels like it’s slipping through your hands since you broke up with that toxic Ex?

I’d like to help you make friends with the concept, because letting go of something can definitely be scary.

But when you’re in clarity, letting go becomes a very big mental release and marks a major turning point in your life.

Now, after breaking up with the toxic Ex, there are so many things we are asked to let go of as mothers:

From the beloved house with the great garden, if it’s his and you’re not in the land register.

Of the image of the perfect family.

Of the security of a second income if things don’t go well at work.

Maybe even your job, if you worked for him in his company.

From the mutual friends who are now no longer on your side.

Of the environment – the neighbors, the infrastructure, the previous quality of life.

Of money. A lot of money – especially if you have built up a fortune together.

And of course, of him. Or, to be more precise, from the energy strips that he keeps throwing at you and that you dutifully pick up in the old habit.

The most striking letting go exercise, however, is without a doubt the one when we have to let go of our child.

Our child – whom we had sworn to protect when we became mothers!

And now, after the separation, we are supposed to entrust the baby to the conscienceless and irresponsible villain for several hours? Or take the toddler, who is incredibly attached to you because you have been the main caregiver, on a farm vacation? Or let your elementary school kid go on a Christmas vacation to Thailand with him?

“Never ever!” you think to yourself and go into the first court hearings like a lioness.

You know enough mothers in intact families who would give their husband the finger if he suggested such things as taking the toddler on a farm vacation with the neighbor’s family, or letting the 8-year-old go with the 25-year-old uncle to Bali.

Your own child may know the neighbors or uncle just as well as they know their dad – but if you share custody with their father, you wonder why you still have to discuss such decisions.

And then in court you get the sobering shower. Because irresponsibility does not count as the strongest argument if the child is to have undisturbed contact with his father in order to maintain a deep bond, and certainly not if he has to build this up in the first place.

So this is a classic case of “letting go”.

Yes, as a separated mother you learn to let go faster and earlier than when you are still together with the child’s father. On school trips, you stand next to the excited moms who have to entrust their child to “strangers” for a week for the first time.

By then, at the latest, we are already experts.

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It is also difficult to let go when there is a lot of money at stake.

It doesn’t matter if it’s five thousand, fifty thousand, a million or half the company. By the way, a million can easily come together if, for example, you bought a property in Munich together years ago.

Especially if you know that the toxic Ex is a veritable scoundrel who cheats the tax office what goes or even embezzled funds in his company.

“He gets away with everything! He absolutely has to get his just punishment now, he can’t do what he wants with me!”

The supposedly longer lever is not really an advantage for you. Quite the opposite – a pathological narcissist, who sees himself with his back against the wall and regards you as an opponent or threat to his success, then quickly turns loose and shoots with everything he gets in front of his nose.

Then the proceedings take on a life of their own and quickly acquire a lousy dynamic that no judge can see through.

I train my clients in my programs Court Royal, DEXKADIMA and in the Club of Courageous Mothers that it is important to adopt the right attitude and to maintain it like a red thread.

With your attitude, you coherently support the role you take in the proceedings. And whenever mothers come out of a contact hearing frustrated because apparently “nobody cares that the ex is a conscienceless criminal,” there has been a huge discrepancy between their own understanding of their role and their attitude.

Right off the bat:

Your role is not to play society’s avenger on your ex-partner!

You are also not in the role of the psychologist who certifies the Ex a pathological narcissist in front of third parties.

Furthermore, it is not your role to educate the judge about narcissism and to position yourself as an expert on the subject.

Your role is simply to protect your child’s childhood as best you can.

And this is where balance matters. Because:

Which criteria serve to protect your child and which hinder both of your progress?

Giving the father access to a baby for 3 hours is certainly more feasible for the child than a prompt weaning and a raving alternating residency model from day to day.

Putting a 7 year old in vacation visitation for three weeks is a different ballgame than a visitation arrangement where he is primarily cared for by the stepmom, Grandma, or not at all for several hours.

Ask yourself: What is your child capable of – and what is he still too small or not mature enough for?

Only you can know! You are the expert for your child – and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

THIS IS YOUR TASK – and here you must remain persistent, i.e. don’t get involved in lazy compromises just because others urge you to do so, but your child will have to pay for it later.

But you have to be honest with yourself!

Do you want to feel confident about managing child hand-offs with your toxic ex?


After all, this is the fine art of letting go:

You let go of your child more and more each time, deeply trusting that he’ll be able to grab the next step.

The beautiful saying “Give him roots and wings” fits very well in our case. Yes, our children are growing up quickly, and we would wish it differently for them – especially in this toxic environment.

But the fact is that the perfect family no longer exists, you also have to protect yourself, hence ending the relationship with the toxic Ex – and exactly this step is the best one you could have taken for your child!

So if you know you have an edgy vacation transition coming up in six months, prepare your child for it.

Strengthen him.

Show him what he can do when situations arise that aren’t so great.

Teach him your cell phone number so he knows it by heart, so he can call another adult for help at any time.

The difference between letting go and resignation is in your attitude

A mother who agrees to a first extended vacation because she feels her child is now ready and may learn to cope without her is letting go.

A mother who shrugs her shoulders or has no more strength to fight and only thinks “the poor child!” but then agrees to a compromise because “she has no chance after all” resigns herself to it. That is not letting go!

And with that you do your child a disservice!

Because when you look at your child with pity, you’re communicating to him: “You poor thing – you won’t be able to do it, I don’t trust you to do it yet.” And when he does have to go on vacation, he feels it – even if you say something completely different.

And how do you think he’s going to feel when the one person who knows him through and through doesn’t trust him to get along without mom for two or three weeks?

So either you work with your child to make sure that he or she will pass this next hurdle with flying colors, or you continue to struggle through the instances, knowing full well that the risk to your child’s physical and emotional condition is too great.

You realize – your attitude will light up the way ahead for your child like a lighthouse.

Letting go has to do, above all, with trusting that everything will work out.

And that you and your child will grow from it.

What’s your take on letting go, sweetheart? Please write in the comments below what experiences you have had with it, and share your knowledge with the other moms. Thank you so much!

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