Leaving Someone Without Abandoning Them


Hi, I really hope you can help me figure out this dilemma. My mother is mentally ill and she has an extremely negative influence on me. She has no friends and my dad, my brother and me are the only family she has in Australia. Due to her condition she is the source of conflict in our family.

Is it correct to remove myself from her life to seek a more harmonious environment? Even if she ends up alone, experiencing unimaginable suffering?

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you so much.

—Thomas Petak, Australia


Dear Thomas,

I certainly do appreciate that this is a difficult situation for you. What comes to my mind first is, do you feel you are doing your mother any good by being physically present with her? This may seem like a strange question, but do think about it seriously. If being in her presence has “an extremely negative influence” on you, as you have written, then I would doubt that this is the case.

In such an intense situation – the negativity you experience, and the fact that she is your mother – I would think that it is best to remove yourself from it. This may seem heartless in one way. But at the same time, I would also suggest that you not abandon her. I think you should put a lot of effort into understanding healing prayers done at a distance, and how to do them effectively. Then every day set aside time after your meditations to pray deeply for her. If done correctly and regularly, your prayers will have a much more healing effect on her than your physical presence. Here is the link for healing prayer on Ananda’s website. There is a 10-minute video on the right side of the screen for doing Healing Prayers at a distance.

Your mother is already experiencing suffering, whether you are with her or not, so I wouldn’t put too much emphasis on this. The karmic ties between people can be very deep, so it’s good to recognize them and to try to do something about them, especially when they are very negative.

I hope these suggestions and information will be helpful to you.

In divine friendship,
Nayaswami Parvati