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BravoTV.com: What is it like watching this therapy session now? Have you been able to see, as your therapist pointed out, that you are more than your actions to your loved ones?
Ashley Darby: Being transported back to Esther's blue couch still makes tears well up in my eyes. I was at such a confused point in my life, trying to navigate between the two closest relationships in my life, fearing the potential of losing them both. Looking for love from outside places was how I validated my existence for a long time.
When Esther told me that I am already enough without working to get that sought-after validation, it was quite a eureka moment. I'm not sure where it happened, but along the way, I started to think of love as transactional. While it's natural to want to make my loved ones happy, I've had to realize that my support and affection are enough labors of love. I've been operating this way for almost three decades, but I strongly believe I can shift my way of thinking.
BravoTV.com: Tell us about your clash with Robyn Dixon at the lunch. Do you feel she understood where you were coming from?
AD: I expected things to be tough with Robyn at the lunch given our last interaction. I had come to understandings about why I brought up those past issues, but I realize it's not the first time we have been at this place. This is the second time that I prodded in her personal life, so she would naturally be resistant to making amends. I still felt it was important to try because I believe there is potential for our relationship to flourish. Projecting my own insecurities and pain was not fair to Robyn or Juan. As the lunch went on, seeing a smile on Robyn's face and hearing that she's open to having a discussion made my heart smile. I don't expect her to fully understand or empathize with what I'm going through, but I can only hope for an opportunity to grow.
BravoTV.com: Your conversation with your mother was so real, tell us about this moment and what it was liking having this conversation. What is it like watching it now?
AD: The anxiety that I felt leading up to that discussion was unparalleled. I was raised to never question my parent, or say anything "disrespectful" to her. I felt that even broaching this topic was going to hurt and upset her so much, that our relationship would never be the same. Pure fear of what could transpire from just a one-hour interaction.
Then, actually being in the moment I felt my feelings bubbling over. As my mom began to rationalize this toxic relationship for the umpteenth time, my heart started racing and the room got really hot. I couldn't understand how she could stay with someone who hurts her and everyone around them. All of the years of frustration began to grow and I lost my temper. I don't even remember saying that I don't know what I'm going to do with her - I was so in my feelings.
When we came back together and embraced, it was a very centering moment. I love this woman more than I can express. We have been through hell and high water together - we shall overcome this obstacle too. I'm not sure how or when, but I have faith in our strong bond.
BravoTV.com: Where are things at currently with your mother?
AD: We are still working to find a pure and stable place in our relationship. We have gone through many hardships together, and this is just another ebb and we will always flow. My mom is at a tough point in her life and confronting these issues are hard for her, I totally understand. Once she believes in herself, everything will fall into place.