Ferne Kotlyar

Ferne is back! In this episode of the Frame of Mind Coaching™ Podcast, Ferne presents a case about a man named Mo who cannot stand his mother’s new husband. He is young, unemployed, and unpresentable. Mo doesn’t know how to have a relationship with his mother while she remains married to this hooligan.

What do you think Mo should do?

Tune in to listen to our conversation!

Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this? Do you have a case you’d like to talk about? Share your story! If there's a challenge you'd like to discuss here on the podcast or privately, please reach out to us at:



Episode Transcript

Kim Ades: [00:00:05]
Hello, hello. This is Kim Ades, I am the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching, and you have just joined The Frame of Mind Coaching Podcast, where we typically invite guests from all over the world to come onto the podcast and get coached live and in-person.

Today we have a special episode. I have invited my daughter, Ferne Kotlyar to come back again to interview me or rather present a case and discuss it. We reverse the roles and in this case, she's the one who's leading the process.

Ferne, welcome.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:00:37]
Hi, thank you so much! I'm always happy to be back.

Kim Ades: [00:00:41]
Amazing! What do you have for me today?

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:00:44]
I was just going to ask you if you're ready for your case.

Kim Ades: [00:00:47]
I'm ready.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:00:48]
Great! Let's get started then.

Okay. So this time our case is about a guy named Mo. So--

Kim Ades: [00:00:56]

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:00:57]
Yeah. So, Mo is the manager of a bank, he is doing really well in life, in his mid-forties, has three young daughters and a beautiful wife. A few years ago, his father passed away and his mother started to get closer to him and his wife and his kids.

And she has honestly just been such a great role model for his daughters. She babysits, she takes care of them and they've really, really developed such a close relationship, and he honestly could not be happier about that. And so, with time he's developed such a good-- she has developed such a good relationship with them.

And as time passed, you know, her husband passed away, she decides she's ready to get back on the dating scene and Mo couldn't be more supportive. So he makes her a dating app, sets her up with a dating account, you know, does all the things, helps her out and you know, she's 65, but she looks great for her age, she looks at least 50, you know, super good, really healthy.

And so she gets on that app, she goes on, dates, tries it out, doesn't like anybody. Nobody is good enough for Mo's mother. Okay. So, no one's good enough. Eventually there's this retreat, this singles retreat in Las Vegas, and Mo says "you should go, you know, worst that happens, you had a good time. You come back with some stories".

So she's like, "okay, I'll go". She heads out and doesn't call him for the entire week. A few weeks, go by. She calls him, little updates here and there, but nothing really, just texts. And so finally, three weeks later, you know, she's okay. Okay. She calls him up and says, Mo, you won't believe it".

And he's like, "what? Like, I haven't heard from you in so long. Tell me what's going on". She says, "I'm married". And he says "what?" She goes, "I got married". He's like "what?" She goes, "I know you're going to love the guy. You have a lot in common". And so he's like, "that's crazy". And she's like, "and I'm going to move in with him". And he's like, "what?" And so, you know, she's moving in with him, that's a few hours away from Mo and he's like, "that's a lot to handle".

So she comes back with her new husband and they're going to meet Mo for the first time. She comes back, has to pack all of her things. And so they go, they meet at this restaurant and, you know, he sees his mother, super happy to see her.

And she leans over and talks to this young guy who, I don't know, he seems a bit lost. He's wearing flip flops at this nice restaurant. It's a bit weird. She whispers something to him. She's like, oh. Mo thinks, "oh nice, she's helping somebody". So he goes and says hi to his mother. And he says, "where's your new husband?"

And she points to the guy beside him-- beside her. And he's like, "that's your husband?! I thought this was just some guy you were helping, you know, find his way". Anyway, so the more Mo gets to know him, the more he dislikes him.

First of all, he's Mo's age, he's in his forties, he's unemployed, and the worst part is, the very worst part is that this man, this new husband of his 65 year old mother insists on calling his children Mo's step siblings. "Excuse me. We're the same age. Your children are not my step siblings".

So Mo's annoyed, upset, and just rattled that his mother would get married to such a guy. And so, Mo doesn't know what to do. He goes home, complain to his wife, whatever, but he insists on having a relationship with his mother. So his mother goes and lives with this guy and Mo will call him. And he's always on the phone, always on speaker.

And Mo's just frustrated. He feels like he's losing this relationship with his mother. Like he can't get close to her anymore. He can't have this connection as he did before, because she's spending so much time with him, and because he's just always there. He makes unnecessary comments and Mo just doesn't enjoy talking to his mother as much anymore.

And so finally Christmas rolls around and she's always there for Christmas, helping the girls get ready for the Christmas pageant. And he calls her and says, "mom, when are you coming?" And she says, "I'm not". And he goes, "what?" She's like, "yeah, my husband is taking me on a trip this Christmas, and I'm so excited to go".

And that's it. That's the last straw for Mo. He doesn't know what to do. He feels like he completely lost his mother and that, you know, this stupid young guy who is unemployed and essentially useless is taking his mother away from him and his children. And he's mad and upset and he doesn't know what to do.

Kim Ades: [00:05:34]
Okay. So we're coaching Mo, yes?

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:05:36]
Mo, yes.

Kim Ades: [00:05:38]
Okay. So, the first thing I would do is kind of go back and say, you know, tell me a little bit about your experience after your father died. You know, tell me about your mom. How did she react? How did she respond to this experience? And what was it like for you? What were you concerned about for your mom? What were you worried about? What did you want more than anything for your mom? Right? What did you want for your mom? What were you afraid of for your mom?

So would go have him go back to that experience and share some of the fears, the worries, the desires, the goals, and relive some of the aftermath of his father's passing. And my guess is that what I would find out from Mo is that what he really, really wants for his mother is for her to be super happy.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:06:38]
Of course.

Kim Ades: [00:06:39]
For her to be alive and vibrant and engaged and independent and having a great time living a good life. And so, you know, I would help him really get clear about what he wants for his mother. And there's a distinction between what he wants for his mother and what he thinks his mother should have.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:07:08]
Tell me more about that distinction.

Kim Ades: [00:07:11]
So in his mind, his mother should have a relationship with someone who's probably closer to her age, someone who's established, someone who's stable, someone who doesn't wear flip flops at a restaurant, someone who's more decent. He has an idea, a vision of what's right for his mother.

And so there are a lot of different ways that we would approach this coaching. First and foremost, we see that Mo is using his mother and her choices as his reason for being super upset. He's looking at what she's doing and looking at that as a loss, as a source of frustration, as an assessment of his mother, where he believes she's making poor decisions and that she's lost it probably by engaging with this guy.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:08:05]
But he feels like he lost that relationship with her because of him.

Kim Ades: [00:08:09]
So what he did was he lost a relationship with her because of the resistance he has to her choices. The lack of acceptance he has to her choices. Right? Because whenever he gets on the phone and he hears the husband-- the new husband in the background, what happens for him? He cringes.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:08:30]

Kim Ades: [00:08:31]
And that cringe factor causes him to experience a disconnection, not from his mother, but from himself.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:08:39]
How so?

Kim Ades: [00:08:40]
Well, when you have a belief that things should be this way, one way, but things are actually another way, that way... Then what happens is you have a feeling of cognitive dissonance, you have a feeling of dis-ease, you have a feeling of a lack of settlement. And that's what he feels right now with his mother.

And that has nothing to do with his mother because the mother is perfectly happy. She's living her life. She's having the time of her life. She's, you know, probably experiencing some things at her age that she didn't experience at a younger age. She's having a great time.

But Mo feels like things aren't right. And it's that feeling or that thought, for example, that causes the feeling of being unhappy, that causes the feeling of dis-ease. And what we want to do is we want to say, "Hey, Mo, first of all, the way you feel comes from the way you think. Doesn't come from your mother's actions.

Your mother could be standing on her head all day long doing yoga. That wouldn't bother you. Or maybe it might, but it's what you think she should be doing, or shouldn't be doing that causes you that feeling of dis-ease".

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:09:58]
But he feels like she's abandoning him and his kids. Like, they used to have such a good relationship and now they don't. She doesn't spend time with them anymore. She's gone. She's living somewhere else. She's going on vacation. She's not even around for Christmas.

Kim Ades: [00:10:12]
Yes. Is she entitled to do that? Is that a terrible, horrible, awful thing? When my kids grow up and they move out, they don't spend Christmas with me either, right? Not that I celebrate Christmas, but you get the idea.

When my kids grow up and they move out, they go and they live their lives. And so I have two choices. I can feel bad for myself. I can feel sad for myself or I can stand on the sidelines and cheer them on for living an extraordinary life. For living the life that they're choosing.

Even though a lot of times, the life they choose is not necessarily the life I would choose. Even though sometimes the life they would choose is not the life that I think they should choose.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:10:55]
Is that targeted? It feels targeted.

Kim Ades: [00:10:57]
It's not targeted.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:10:59]

Kim Ades: [00:10:59]
I have a lot of kids, right? And sometimes they're in relationships with people that I don't think are ideal. So what do I do when they're in relationships that are not ideal?

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:11:09]
What do you do?

Kim Ades: [00:11:09]
I keep my doors wide open for them to come back anytime they want. I remove the judgment I have for their decisions, and I continuously ask them questions to make sure that they are happy, that they are in this relationship with eyes wide open. But I am in their corner, no matter what. And that's what I would recommend to Mo. It's not that different.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:11:37]
Interesting. Would you flip it on him and ask him what he would do for his kids instead? As opposed to his mother.

Kim Ades: [00:11:46]
Well, I might flip it on him and ask him what he would do for his kids. But also he might have a point of view that says, "well, if my kid ever dated, you know, somebody in a (...) I'd stop it, I'd, you know, prevent that from happening". And, you know, at that point, we would have a discussion about whose life are you living, whose life are you in charge of.

And right now, if you're in charge of your life and that's all that you have control over is you, what you're doing is you're using everybody else's decisions to feel unhappy, upset, and disturbed. And we would say, "stop doing that. That's not serving your mother. It's not serving your children. It's not serving anybody.

And you're probably coming home going "aw poor us. Grandma isn't coming home". Instead of saying, "look at grandma. Look at her go. She's living her life. She's living her best life".

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:12:37]
Interesting. And so going forward, how would you recommend that he has a relationship with her?

Kim Ades: [00:12:42]
I would recommend--

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:12:43]
A better one.

Kim Ades: [00:12:44]
I would recommend that he figured out how to accept her husband and have a relationship with both of them. And I would also recommend that he speaks to his mother and say, "Hey, I'd love to spend time with you. Do you want to go for lunch with me? You and me? One-on-one. Let's go". And it's okay to ask for that!

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:13:00]
Yeah. Okay. So if you were to give Mo one last piece of advice, like, one summarized piece of advice, what would it be?

Kim Ades: [00:13:10]
Well, I would give him more than one piece of advice.

Piece of advice number one is what are you using as your reason for being unhappy? And right now, what he's using as his reason for being unhappy is a judgment about what his mother should be doing, what she shouldn't be doing. And I would say to him, that's not a good reason to be unhappy.

That's number one. And I would really have him own, take back the relationship between his thoughts and his emotional state. Right? So right now he has no control. He just feels upset, frustrated, and I would have him take it back.

Number two is I would say to him, Hey, you know, if you want to have a relationship with your mother, you want to have a relationship with your mother, regardless of the decisions she makes.

And if she's making a bad decision, if you're right that she's making a bad decision, you want to be the safe place that she comes back to without feeling any shame. You want to have your doors open, you want to make her feel loved no matter what she does, no matter what happens.

Even if this guy is the worst person in the world, you want to be in her corner, regardless of the choices she makes. And so what I would have him do is just relax, calm down about this.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:14:24]
Interesting. I like that.

Kim Ades: [00:14:27]
What would you do?

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:14:31]
That's a good question. I guess I'd come to you for advice. [Laughs].

Kim Ades: [00:14:35]
You've probably would, and I hope that I would be there for you for that as well. That old in my life.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:14:42]
[Laughs] I'm sure you will be. And if not, I'll come back to watch the podcast.

Kim Ades: [00:14:48]
Perfect. Ferne, thanks so much for being on the podcast, for throwing me such good cases. I love them. They're not easy. And I, by the way, for those of you who are listening, I never know what she's going to give me. All the storylines that you are hearing are brand new. You're hearing them at the same time as I am hearing them. So it's incredible. Thank you for throwing them at me. I love them.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:15:11]
It's a pleasure.

Kim Ades: [00:15:12]
I hope that you got something from this podcast. Again, for those of you who are listening, if you have a case that you want to share with us, please send them my way. If you want to be a guest on the podcast and share a challenge, please reach out to me.

My email address is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com

And if you have a challenge that you want to discuss, but maybe not so much on the podcast, please reach out to me as well.

Again, my email address is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com

In the meantime, if you're listening, please like, please share, please do all the things, write a review. And we're so, so happy that you are tuning in.

Until we speak again. In the meantime, have a great day!

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