Where am I in healing from my mother wound? 

How am I feeling about her at the moment? 

Where am I in this journey to heal from the mother wound – of being an unloved daughter of a narcissist? 

I don’t know. 

This is the thing, everything is so confusing in this recovery. It all seems to overlap and intertwine, nothing seems clear cut and obvious, nothing is easy to articulate or process. I think that’s what makes it harder. You make progress in one aspect and then you fall back in another. 

I often wish someone would give me some sort of map of recovery, so I could see what stages there were, which stages I had “completed” and which stages were yet to come. I question myself why? Why do I want that? and I think the answer is that I want to know I’m getting somewhere and I need to know there’s an end in sight somewhere – the feeling that this pain and confusion is never-ending is too much to take. 

It’s like peeling a very large onion. You learn something (that she’s a narc for example) a layer comes off as you take that in and you learn what that means. That takes years and then your understanding and awareness deepens a bit and you learn something else, maybe that you feel guilty for thinking badly about her – you explore that, where that comes from and why and another layer comes off. This goes on and on. 

I have no idea how many layers I’ve peeled off this onion now, but it feels like a hell of a lot and it feels as though its scarily never-ending. It’s the fear of what’s to come and how much more pain is yet to make its way into my heart. 

My latest realisation this week is how scared I am of her. I knew I was scared of certain things, but this week I’ve seen and felt the true strength of this fear in a way that I’ve never “seen” before. It’s shaken me up a bit to be honest. 

Was that small child as scared as this? I mean, if I’m this scared with my adult knowledge, life experience and safety, how the hell did a helpless child feel who had to live with her night and day? The answer is that the child made it her fault. Mummy was good – she was bad. And that’s stuck. I don’t know what’s worse. 

She couldn’t get away. It makes me feel sick. 

So I’ve been asking myself, what exactly am I scared of? 

I just don’t know the answer. I guess it’s just the way my inner child has been programmed. It’s not a conscious thought process. The way I reacted and how easily I was triggered Wednesday was excessive – she was dangerous. The way I felt and the way my body reacted Saturday evening before going to her house tells me I was very scared. 

I know logically there is nothing to be scared of. I’m an adult now – I no longer need her for survival. I don’t need her approval now. I have my own life, house and family and I don’t even have any warm feelings towards her – I dislike her and I HATE the lack of connection between us and how raw that feels to me. 

Avoiding her for as long as possible seems the best and safest option. 

Yet I now have the option to cut her out completely and yet I choose against it? Why? The truth is (and it’s hard to even admit this), that it’s for her sake. 

I see her for her sake. To keep her happy. How fucked up is that? I don’t see her because I miss her or because I enjoy her company. I subject myself to the anxiety before visiting her, the false-self during my visits and then the pain and sadness that follow the day after when I inevitably cry and mourn a little more the difference between what I want and what I have. 

It’s like self-punishment. I punish myself for her gain over and over again. 

I know that T, my boyfriend and probably my readers will be thinking that I don’t need to do those things, that I don’t owe her anything and that it’s probably infuriating to read – yet the idea that I could live without her seems impossible. Which again makes no sense because she does nothing for me!!! What would I miss other than the apprehension, anxiety and fear? 

I think perhaps I’m scared of her ability to manipulate me and how easily she can do it. 

I’m scared she will suck me back in without me realising. 

I’m scared she will turn me bad – make me do and say things that are not really me as I morph into the people-pleasing me I used to be with her. 

I’m scared she will ruin my life. She will damage my relationship with my boyfriend, with my other family members, with friends or my boyfriend’ family…. and why? Because she can and because she has done before. The risk is real. 

I’m scared of what could happen if we got into an argument. Of what I would do or say. Yet there’s a part of me wishing for an excuse to let rip and have an excuse to break ties. 

I’m scared of having to feel the depths of my feelings about her. 

I’m still scared I’ve got it all wrong even though logically I know i haven’t. 

I’m still scared that everything else in my life is borrowed and that I may find myself alone one day and need her. That ultimately she’s the only thing I’m guaranteed to “keep”. 
I don’t like her and I don’t like who I am around her. It’s all too fake. I feel I loose touch with myself when I am there and it’s scary how naturally that happens, how quickly and how effortlessly. 

I don’t feel love for her as a daughter “should” and I can’t handle the disconnect that’s recently become so obvious. That hurts me deeply. 

The denial has left (for the most part) and the harsh reality that’s left is frankly sickening. 

I find myself caught in cycles of self-pity, mourning and grief, anger then depression. 

I wish I could go back in time with this new knowledge and grow myself up properly, differently. I wish I could save my inner child from the feelings I had to endure. I wish someone could save me from enduring them now too.

So much damage has already been done, what more am I scared of? Family relationships have been ruined. Family members think things about me that aren’t true because of her and I’m dealing with that – though it’s a struggle because it’s unfair – I’m learning to accept that’s how this is going to go, I’ve given up the fight. 

I don’t need anyone’s approval anymore. I don’t want her’s and if I can’t get my Nan’s or my sister’s or whoever else’s then so be it. 

But I do want to get to a place where I fully support myself. Where I have less doubt and far less fear. When will I feel strong on my own?

I’m only uncovering the truth, my truth and yet I feel like I’m being deceitful in doing so. I’m sick of the blame being on my shoulders. I keep telling myself, if she wanted me to speak nicer about her, she should have given me nicer things to tell.. 

It all comes down to the fact that I am hurt so very deeply by her. My heart physically breaks when I’m in touch with these feelings. It feels like it will be eternal. I can’t intellectualise this away. It’s not possible. My mother is too self absorbed and selfish and narcissistic to love me how I needed and still need to be loved. I didn’t have the mum I needed – or deserved and I never will. 

How do you heal that hole in your heart? 

Why didn’t I get that? I’m learning it wasn’t my fault, I’m believing this, slowly… yet I need explanations. I need logic to help me accept it and there isn’t any. I have to feel this to loosen its hold. 

I know it’s not true, but it feels like I’m the only daughter who wasn’t loved by her mum and dad in the world. It feels so acutely personal. 
There’s grief, sadness, anger, hate, disbelief and it’s all muddled up and confused. 

People talk about me setting boundaries with her that would enable a more beneficial relationship between us and there is nothing I can think of that would enable this to happen because as awful as it sounds, it’s not boundaries I need, it’s an entirely different mother. 

Sure I could suggest we meet at a different location, a restaurant for example so it’s less on her territory. I could lay down the law and ban certain subjects of conversation etc but none of this seems appealing to me because none of those adjustments would give me what I need. It doesn’t feel as though a middle ground is achievable or even wanted. 

So what, I would rather put myself through this self punishment than even try and apply helpful boundaries? Yep. How distorted is that?! 

In an ideal world, she would do something so undeniably awful to me that I could evidence and then I’d cut her off forever. Nobody could think badly of me because “look what she did!!” They wouldn’t be able to take her side, they wouldn’t pity her and I would be guilt-free. I could finally cut the ties and walk away with my head held high. Some readers may be thinking that she’s already done that in so many ways and you’d be right, but none of it is easy to prove and even she isn’t able to admit any wrongdoing yet alone apologise to me. So there’s still that doubt that I have it wrong. That I would be making a huge mistake. 

Then there’s all the people that tell me I should try to emphasise with my mum and understand that she loved me the only way she knew how, that clearly she has wounds herself that affected her parenting ability and then the guilt is back in my hands – it’s me in the wrong again. 

Tell me this gets easier please? I feel like I could drown in the confusion and pain this brings. 

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21 thoughts on “Where am I in healing from my mother wound? 

  1. Oh my lovely 😞. The acceptance stage is in sight and it’s scary, that’s why this is so confusing. You stay in the cycle for you not for her, because it’s terrifying to walk away as things are now because of what she’ll tell everyone and that still has a hold on you. You described it perfectly towards the end about being able to walk away guilt free with your head held high, but that she would need to do something undeniably awful in order for you to be released. But by nature she will not do that, it would have happened already if it was going to, she’s gotten away with all of this because she never quite let’s it get undeniably obvious to everyone else that you need it to be obvious to. Or I suppose, just be obvious to you? Because she’s done nothing but made you question yourself all your life, and placed the blame for her actions at your feet and convinced you it’s yours.

    Cutting ties is to put final nail in that coffin of hope. Even though logically it seems quite unimaginable that she’d ever be a decent mother, for you to be the one to close the door on that is still an equally unimaginable step, which does require acceptance and grieving the loss of what never was and never would be.

    The moment you’re waiting for won’t come in the way you might have subconsciously hoped for. It won’t be by her actions, it will be through yours…through your increased sense of self worth, and understanding that you can and should choose to only have the people in your life that add to it and make your days better, regardless of their relation to you. You do not have an obligation to keep people around at your cost, because they are family. You do not have an obligation to try harder or empathise because they are family. Because you only get one life, and you should get to spend your time doing what makes you happy.

    As you may be able to tell, I’m on the ‘cut ties’ team. Staying in the relationship with her, no matter how distant, will keep from truly walking all those steps of recovery, because staying is what signals to you that what she does is on some level acceptable, and thus something about you is bad and not good enough to be treated fairly, kindly, with warm and unconditional love.

    So I may be a TAD emotional now. I’m (now not so secretly) just waiting and hoping for the post that says “I’m done”.

    All the hugs in the world xxx

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    1. Thank you so much for this. You help me see things so much more clearly.

      I’m currently sitting here thinking how lovely it would be for me and my boyfriend (and his kids and family) to move somewhere where I would never have to worry about seeing her. Somewhere that was so far away that I didn’t “have” to visit regularly – that have me the much needed physical space. If only life were that easy.

      It’s so hard because the stuff she put me through is now so long ago that it feels I’ve no right to cut ties now. That nobody would understand and everyone would hate me. That I would feel too guilty and yet at the same time, when her name comes up on my phone, I get angry. I don’t want her to text me and I don’t care what she has to say. I don’t want to see her and when I do it affects me so badly.

      Maybe acceptance is in sight and maybe I’m trying to stay stuck so I don’t have to face it….

      I don’t know.

      What I do know is that I never thought I would even consider it. But the image of being free from her is so uplifting. Xx

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  2. I understand that feeling of not having a right to cut ties because of the time that’s passed, the fear of not being believed because people who haven’t suffered abuse (or don’t recognise that they have) don’t understand why victims don’t just bolt at the first sign of harm…and so they struggle to believe it’s true. That would be their issue and ignorance. It would be different if the abuse was long ago and it had been resolved, apologised for, and forgiven. Not only have you not had those things, you’ve not even had acknowledgement, and on top of that it has in fact not even ended. Her hold is not so strong now because you are an adult and out of the home, so she is limited in the ways she can control and manipulate you, but she exercises those at every opportunity. Can you think of a time you have been with her since starting therapy, where she hasnt done or said something to hurt you? Does even one single moment exist where you just enjoyed her company and you were lovely to each other? Or does just reading that make you howl with sarcastic laughter?

    I think acceptance is risky, because what if you’re wrong and you make a big mistake like you said. But then consider, what would it look like if it were a mistake? What could happen that would be big enough to make you regret walking away…and it what world is that even slightly likely to occur?

    It felt uplifting just to read you describing being away! Xx

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    1. I mean… there’s moments where we are speaking about her or other people that aren’t painful but enjoy? I can’t honestly say I’ve genuinely enjoyed time with her for years now.

      So much has changed for me now with regards to her and my dad. Only today I was speaking to my boyfriend about when we eventually get married (still waiting for the ring, ahem!! Lol) and I said my imaginary wedding has changed. I don’t want her or him there. I used to imagine so much being different but now it’s changed and I’m not sad about that right now, I don’t even think the deserve to be part of those big things.

      You’re so right. What would that big mistake look like? I honestly can’t answer that… I’ve no idea!! I guess, as bad as it sounds. I worry that she will fall terminally ill or die and I’ll suffer from guilt for the rest of my life… don’t ask me why that would be – it’s just a feeling I have.
      Xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha YES. 5 years and 2 children!! but then I have been a high maintenance anxious-preoccupied and he’s a dismissive-avoidant so I realise now that’s to be expected! Haha I’ll get on the vibes!

        I have day dreams about the diamond ring 💍 😁😁😁 xx

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hahah everything makes sense once you’ve learnt about attachment doesn’t it!! We have no kids together but he has 3 that I look after every weekend. Luckily for me he’s securely attached but I’m like you and I used to be TERRIBLY anxiously attached. Things are certainly running a lot smoother since I’ve learnt about attachment.

        Oh the ring!! I’m so excited for the ring. But mainly I just wanna be a wife!! Xx

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      3. So much sense!! Everyone should be taught it!

        Things are running smoother for us now that I understand myself, and him. I’ve been able to stop doing a lot of things just by understanding its a typical behaviour of my attachment type! It’s amazing.

        Oh I want to be a wife too, it feels weird saying ‘partner’ all the while. All my friends are married or engaged too so that doesn’t help *sigh*. X

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  3. “I’m still scared I’ve got it all wrong even though logically I know i haven’t. ”

    Those words ring in my head every minute of every day in my situation as well.. I try to convince myself I’m the one who has it all wrong…it just feels better that way.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is such a paunful stsge. Part of you still feels so young. Its not necessary to forgive just face the reality she is deeply damaged. If she makes you miserable all the time self care and self love means you keep distance. I hope my past blogs dudnt imply you should forgive her and theres simething wrong with you if you dont.
    Separation anxiety is bloody painful you feel you will die if you say goodbye buts its also a birth. Praying angels hold you in arms of peace and love 💖

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    1. Is this a stage then? I feel like I’m in no man’s land!

      Oh I’ve 100% accepted the reality now I think(?) but yeah forgiveness isn’t on my agenda as yet. Your blogs didn’t imply that at all, honestly, I was just free associating really, writing literally everything that came into my head.

      Is it separation anxiety is that what it is?

      Thank you for your well wishes xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t know completely what is going on for you but I do relate to those separation anxiety feelings. Maybe when your therapist gets back you will feel more contained and held. It was obviously a huge trigger seeing your Mum the other day in what you thought was a ‘safe’ space. xox

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  5. I think the temptation when you’re learning all this new stuff and feeling very validated for the rage and unfairness of it all is to finally think ” I’m not doing this anymore, she’s hurt me too much, she’ll never change and I want to cut her out my life.” Feeling she’s too dangerous and might suck you in is also a stage because you haven’t learned what your own boundaries are, far less how to manage them and defend them if need be. I know your mum feels powerful to you, but she’s only as powerful as you allow her to be and once you get your own boundaries, she will feel far less potent and threatening to you.
    And that’s why I suggest not completely cutting her out and not making any big decisions at this stage of your healing. Not for her benefit, because she deserves to be cut out. But for yours. In the future you might be able to cope with her better and you might want some sort of relationship with her. Equally you really might decide she’s so toxic that you have to cut her out and that will be okay too. Your mum might never change, she probably won’t. But as people age they do mellow a bit which would maybe make her easier to cope with and that’s where you might get some sort of relationship with her. It will never be what you want or need unfortunately but having her at a copeable distance might feel better to you than not at all and if you cut her out now or when things are so raw, you might deny yourself that chance.

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    1. Yeah that’s all really sensible and thought-provoking…..

      What I’m struggling with right now is the way she’s making me feel recently. Suddenly becoming aware of my psychosomatic symptoms and all that stuff, just realising or maybe it’s got worse, I’m not sure. Anyway, I realised that I don’t ever crave seeing her and when she texts me, I hate it, when her name flashes up I’m like “eughhh what do you want!!!”. I only see her because I feel like I have to, which I know I don’t but that’s the feeling I get and I guess you are spot on, all of a sudden I’ve been validated and believed and I’m like “no! F off away from me!!” But I’m also aware of regretting anything so this does sound like the most sensible decision. Yesterday I was dreaming of moving far away which sadly isn’t an option koz of my boyfriend’s kids…. it’s all in my attempt to get Away.

      But yes. Boundaries… (god I hate that word) I need to learn what mine are and how to handle them.

      How are you anyway? You’ve been quiet the last few days. Are you okay? Xx

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      1. It doesn’t have to be business as usual. Take the space you need grim her. Don’t answer her text until you are ready to and distance yourself if that’s what you need. Just do it in a way that doesn’t mean permanent rupture.
        You will learn to love the boundaries word especially when you see him easier relationships become with them in place. – you’ll never love the word in therapy though haha.
        I’m okay. Just working things through in my head since all the drama. And I’ve been busy with life things too this week. Now I’m on a 14 day break.

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