Help!

Having a weak moment. Help me!

As you will already know I’m meant to be spending Xmas day with my mother this year at a restaurant, alongside my fiancé and other family members such as my grandparents.

As we have fallen out on such a huge scale and not spoken for the last 5 weeks, I clearly don’t want to spend my Xmas day there.

My fiancé’s parents just asked if we want to spend the day with them and have asked for a reply tonight….

As I read the message, I instantly panicked, felt sick, got stomach pains and burst into tears.

I’m too scared to agree when my mother doesn’t know. How upset my mother would be… we’ve already said yes. She’s already paid. My Nan will be upset etc etc…

How absolutely fucking insane is this? Why the hell am I thinking like this? She hasn’t contacted me because I told her she hurt me when I was a child! We haven’t argued about someone borrowing a pair of shoes without asking. I feel like a hypocrite and a loon at the same time.

Someone help me please 😦

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The Narcissist & Victim Mentality

Last night I was talking to my fiancé about my session Tuesday night and what me and my T had discussed regarding my mother. I said to him that I had asked T what she thought my mother would do (whether she would get in contact or let this continue) and that T had said it depended on how much of a victim my mother was feeling. Basically she said that if she was feeling angry, it was less likely and that she thought other people will be passing comments on soon (flying monkeys).

I said to him that I genuinely think she will be thinking that I couldn’t possibly live without her. I think she thinks (lol) she is “teaching me a lesson” and that I will come “running back”. I also said that she has plenty of evidence that this will happen just with my dad. Over the years we have had lots of periods of “no contact” and every time it’s been me that has gone crying back begging for us to have a relationship. She naturally thinks she is a thousand times better and more important than my dad, and so I think she is just waiting until o crack.

Little does she know that’s not going to happen. The main difference between the two of them being that I still wanted to fix things with my dad. I was always hopeful that we could build a relationship, whereas with her none of that applies.

I told T on Tuesday night that as awful as it sounds, I don’t miss my mother at all. I told her that now I’ve accepted she won’t ever change, that she will never take any accountability or apologise to me added with the fact I no longer need her approval means that all that is left is a shell. An emptiness. I said basically there’s nothing left to want to have a relationship with.

Anyway, after telling T that my aunty didn’t know me and my mother had fallen out and from a few small things I’ve noticed recently, T said it sounded as though my mother hadn’t told anyone about our falling out. I agreed. I said surely that points to feeling embarrassed? I guess it all points back to how it will look, what other people would think. That or she genuinely thinks I’ll have gone crying back before she needs to tell anyone and run the risk of telling them why!

I told my fiancé last night that what I think she will do is text me nearer to Xmas to tell me she has told my Nan and grandad I am spending Xmas with my fiancé’s parents rather than “breaking my nan’s heart with the truth” and she will do that to guilt-trip me AND silence me. Remember that my mother used to tell me if I told my Nan things that it would give her a heart attack and kill her. T said to say to my mother “I am not that powerful” if she does this. We will see what happens.

Speaking of the victim stuff, I told T about my dream where my stepdad was chasing me and told me I always played the victim. T said it is my mother who played the victim. I agreed and said he was doing her dirty work for her (as usual). I said I don’t think I am a victim. T said I AM a victim, of my mother, but I said I meant my mentality isn’t “poor me”, I accept my mother was pretty awful and that she won’t change and I’m trying to heal from the wounds she has caused but I don’t walk around feeling like the world owes me something.

My mother isn’t really the type to walk around crying and being a victim – she isn’t that type of narcissist, but whenever I’ve confronted her she turns into one and begins crying on my stepdad’s shoulder. This made me think of the following scenarios:

1) when I confronted her about my childhood pain she told me to stop living in the past and that many people had it much worse than me. Remember I “had a nice house”.

2) after telling her about my sexual abuse from her ex boyfriend, she didn’t mention it again. A few months later when drunk I said it was like nothing had ever happened. She said “do you expect us to sit here and say “poor you” and talk about it all day every day?”.

3) when I had to have an operation to remove some pre-cancerous cells and was very scared (and young!) the night before she told me she could no longer take me as she needed to take some shoes back to River Island. I went mad and told her how utterly selfish she was and stormed out of her house. She said, again, “we can’t sit around feeling sorry for you all the time”.

I realised last night that in all of these situations she may not play the victim, but she sure as hell won’t let anyone else (me) either. Don’t get me wrong, nobody likes someone who is constantly self-obsessed and playing the victim but equally, sometimes it really IS about you and is upsetting or whatever and surely in those situations most mothers would have given some understanding or sympathy? It wasn’t that I wanted to pity myself, I just wanted some support and affection I guess. To feel cared for.

So my money is on the fact that she may not be walking around saying “poor me” now, but she also will be saying, thinking, that I am. How wrong she is.

I’m not feeling that way at all. I’m just glad I’ve seen through the fog at last. I’m glad I have reached my current level of understanding.

Now I need to work on not constantly wondering what she is thinking or saying – I need to not care about that. I think this obsessing is fear-driven. I’m so used to trying to predict her reactions and moods it’s hard to break the habit!

On another narcissist poor me note, interestingly Tina’s favourite phrase was “I don’t do poor me’s” but my god she did! A different kind of narc I guess? Maybe the difference between a covert and overt narc?

First Day

Well. Here I am on the train ready for my very first day in my brand new job. After 10 years I’m about to try something new.

I’m surprised that I’m not feeling more nervous. I feel strangely calm but I did have a dream last night that my boss wanted me to give a presentation and I had to dress up as a tiger. I went looking for a tiger costume and when I couldn’t find one, asked someone to paint stripes on my face and arms.

I guess this must represent me trying to “dress up” as someone or something else. I think maybe this is my unconscious showing my nerves and feeling I can’t be myself. I really want to go in and be myself but I’m so on my guard not to attract narcissists again (like Tina) and I don’t want to go in and let people think I’m weak and won’t stand up for myself. I suppose that’s my insecurities. Tigers represent power and strength don’t they so I think the dream represents those fears.

Anyway, I imagine most of my day will be in training so I’m not sure how much of my actual job I will get to do but we shall see!

Approval and Boundaries

I dreamt last night that my stepdad was chasing me through a house or a building of some kind and was going to physically beat me up if he caught me.  I remember being face to face with him with my back to a wire fence and him screaming at me that I always play the victim.  The next thing that happened was me consciously thinking to myself:

“Why do I care if I have her approval or her love? I can approve of and love myself.  I don’t need her to do that”. 

I remember thinking this clearly but can’t work out if I was asleep or coming to consciousness.  Either way, it has stayed with me.

I keep thinking about it because it seems so obvious and so simple.  Why does this feel like a revelation of some kind? a new idea, a new realisation? It surely can’t be because I’m pretty sure I have read nearly ever book published about healing from parental/maternal narcissism and surely that must be a theme throughout, right? Speaking of books, only yesterday I purchased “Children of the self-absorbed” by Nina W.Brown – from the amount of books, blogs, articles and so on that I read, I am clearly still hoping for something I haven’t already read to sink in at a newer, deeper level or something. The books pretty much say the same thing I suppose, but I read them (and sometimes re-read them) for validation and encouragement I guess?

Only last night I found myself on Google for hours reading about ‘Cutting out toxic parents’, ‘Going No Contact’ and even, ‘My daughter has cut me out her life’.  Yep, I was even reading the things my mother might be reading. (I’m not actually sure who I am trying to kid thinking my mother would be reading anything like that, but there we go)… it’s like I wanted to be prepared for the types of things she might say but all I read was a lot of poor you’s aimed at the mother’s whose awful children had rejected them – nothing, obviously, about self-reflection or anything like that.

Anyway the point is why do I need her approval? Why has this been such a huge thing for me? Perhaps something has shifted for me which is making it hard to understand but today I seem unable to feel the pain not getting her approval has always given me. That is odd isn’t it? Where has it gone? Perhaps because of all of the work I’ve done in and out of therapy I have strengthened my ‘self’ enough that I am starting to feel the benefit of having some approval towards my self – something I clearly didn’t used to experience at all… is that what is meant to happen?  Perhaps it is because I feel as though I have T’s approval, my fiance’s approval, his kids’ and his parents’ approval? Maybe its a mixture of all of those things.  Perhaps it is from the type of re-mothering T gives me.

It has been a month now that we have not spoken and (as I have already written) I came off of Facebook about 3 days ago and as cheesy as it sounds, I feel better for having done that already.

I haven’t had to see my mother’s stupid check-in’s, photos or statuses and my aunty’s party was last night so I haven’t had to see all the fake smiles of her and my stepdad.  Saying that, yesterday I text my aunty to tell her I couldn’t make it.  I told her that me and my mother were not speaking and that we hadn’t done for a month.  She had no idea which I admit annoyed me a bit because if my mother really cared that my aunty had told me the things my mother had been saying about me and my fiance, then surely she would have confronted her? At least spoken to her about it in some way? But no, obviously she hadn’t and she was attending her party as if everything was normal.  Can she not see that would annoy me? I guess it comes back to the same thing that she doesn’t think about how I would feel – she cannot empathise with someone else.

Deleting Facebook is the best thing for me right now. There is so much envy and anger inducing crap on there sometimes.  I feel kind of empowered at having removed that link from her.  Now she truly can’t see what I am doing in any way. Not herself, or via her friends or other family members.  I like that.  That feels much better.It feels almost like I’ve taken some power back.  I just hope it doesn’t encourage the direct contact.

I think I can feel a bit of anger in me as I think about this approval stuff. Why the hell do I need approval from someone like her? We are such different people. In fact, if she DID approve of me, then I would probably be doing something very wrong!! I don’t live my life like her. In fact, it is hard to believe we are related at all, yet alone mother and daughter.  I need to focus on the fact that I know I am a good person. I am kind and thoughtful and loving.  I try to show my fiance and stepchildren love. I try to show them that I care about them.  I am not perfect – I am flawed like we all are and yes, I have times where I am selfish, greedy or stroppy, but on the whole I know I am a decent person.

I can understand why the child in me has always craved approval from her mother – I can see that, I can understand that so I don’t want to make it sound like I am belittling that in any way and perhaps it is with hindsight from therapy that I am able to release the need for the approval? Either way, maybe this need for approval has lessened because we aren’t speaking or seeing each other. Perhaps that is what having no contact can do for me? Maybe if I found myself back in her house that need would come flooding back. Who knows.

In other news my sister replied to my messages Friday night when I was at my leaving party.  24 hours later. Her messages didn’t go down well. They effectively said that she doesn’t like the language I was using (as in the phrases/terminology – not swearing) and that we shouldn’t need ‘ground rules’ and that she didn’t think there was an issue at all between me, her or my mother and so she was confused where this had come from. As I was at my work party I just ignored them and last night I knew she would be at the party with my mother and co and so I didn’t reply yesterday either as I imagined them all discussing me and my messages.

If I am totally honest I kind of feel a bit like I am fighting a losing battle. I feel like I made the contact with her when clearly she wasn’t going to. I have heard her out, apologised for anything I did that upset her and then made some new suggestions for how we can have a healthier relationship going forwards.  All she has done is bring problem after problem and now is complaining at my language and basically saying she doesn’t agree or understand why we might need boundaries regarding my mother.  She claims she “has always done that anyway so I don’t understand why that issue has come up now“…. I mean that really is the biggest lie I’ve ever heard.  Excuse me whilst I sound like a child but where is my apology? Where is the warmth or the gladness that I made contact and that she also would like to have a healthy relationship with ME too? Where is the meeting me halfway?

Eugh. I dunno, I feel really annoyed by her and having just spoken this through with my fiance, he is trying to encourage me to just text her in a few days or whenever and ask how her weekend was or send her a text as I usually would. I told him, she doesn’t work like that. She is still clearly being aggressive and standoff-ish and that I feel like I’ve reached my limit of being the one trying to do the work here.  Where is her effort? Why not just say ‘Hi, thanks for reaching out to me first. I really am glad you did. I appreciate your apology and I am also sorry for the hurtful things I said to you. I think the new suggestions are a good idea and I agree they will enable us to get along much better from now on’.  Done. Simple. Why drag out the drama needlessly?

I will also admit that her comment about my use of language/words has really pissed me off and the reason for that is that in my mind, that has been said between my mother and her. That feels like my mother’s words and it feels like another dig about my therapy because they are not used to me wanting to put in boundaries.  I didn’t use the word boundaries for that exact reason, but the effect has been the same.  I guess this makes me angry because my mother said I had changed and that therapy had made me worse and that I had been brainwashed and I feel like my sister agrees with her and me trying to put in some boundaries is making her question why I am doing that – basically the undertone being ‘this is therapy stuff – you don’t do this, this isn’t you – you have changed.. therapy is brainwashing you’.  Of course that is my fantasy and I could be totally wrong so maybe this is just my insecurity. For some reason I feel real strong irritation and anger about this point.

Sometimes I want to scream at them both “Yes I’ve fucking changed! That tends to happen after 3 years of therapy, reading hundreds of books, thousands of articles and blogs.  I have got healthier. Now I won’t accept all the shit I used to – now you have to treat me in a way that makes me happy otherwise I will not participate at all.  Yes I have changed and you say that as a bad thing but its the best thing I’ve ever done.  Yes I have changed and you don’t like it but that is YOUR problem – not mine.”

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Oh wow, super aggressive me, not sure where that came from! I know that the ways I have changed are for the best. I know that the changes I am making are healthy and so my mother, stepdad or sister thinking otherwise really shouldn’t bother me, should it? But it really bloody does.  It’s that ugly duckling feeling again that often rears its head.    I have read today that it is quite common for people to react with anger if they are not used to you setting boundaries. I’ve also read that anyone that doesn’t respect your boundaries is the one with the problem.  But if she genuinely believes she has always done that, or even if she doesn’t believe that but is willing to change it, why not just agree so we can move on?

Why does everything have to be such a battle? Is it really as simple as people being threatened?

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Trauma Bonding: Growing up with a narcissistic mother

Last night I sat up until 1am writing my draft letter to my mother about going no contact. Somehow I ended up reading about Stockholm Syndrome and how that relates to growing up with a narcissistic parent.

I already had an understanding of what Stockholm Syndrome was but had never really applied it to myself in any way. I then started reading about trauma bonding and realised that it was something T was trying to explain to me just the other day.

I had said to T the other day that I sometimes feel guilty that I am not in contact with my mother, that I haven’t tried to fix things with her and that I am planning to send a proper no contact letter soon. I told T that I didn’t know why I was feeling guilty because I knew that my reasons were very valid, but that I couldn’t help it.  T told me that years ago, she worked in a job where she would have to remove abused children from their mothers/parents and that the children although black and blue, or starved and malnourished or neglected, would kick and scream to stay with that abusive parent.  I was shocked as she told me this.  She explained to me that babies and children were automatically programmed to bond with the caregiver – it was natural and was in fact a case of life and death. I guess she explained trauma bonding to me but just didn’t us that exact phrase.

Reading about both trauma bonding and Stockholm Syndrome really helped me last night. It has played on my mind a lot since and has really helped me to understand the reasons why I find it hard to detach completely from my narcissistic mother.  It helps me to understand where the guilt, shame and panic come from.

When a baby is born they bond automatically with their caregiver.  They bond for safety and for survival.  I read today that it is basically a defense mechanism to prevent the baby being annihilated. They attach to stay alive.

These are the 4 conditions that need to be in play for a victim to experience Stockholm Syndrome:

1. That there is a perceived threat to the captive’s existence, and they fervently believe that the captor will carry out that threat.
2. That the captor experiences small kindnesses from their captor within a context of terror.
3. That the captor is isolated from any other perspectives other than those of their captor.
4. That the captive perceives they have an inability to escape.

Obviously these conditions can relate to many victims of many different types of abuse, but I refer to my experience and that of growing up a daughter of a narcissistic mother.  You will be able to see how all 4 conditions were active.

A child bonds with their abusive caregiver in order to survive. Literally. They do not know any different.  They get good bits every now and again, that eternal dangling carrot – which makes the child just try harder and harder to get the love and approval it so needs and desires.  A child clearly cannot escape.  The child learns to blame its mother’s shortcomings on itself.  If only it was smarter, better behaved, prettier, more fun. It teaches itself that it is not mother’s fault. Mother after all is a strong, competent and all-poweful protector.  The child therefore is faulty.

For a child, even when things appear to be going along nicely, the child is in no doubt that this will be short-lived and that at any moment, the narcissistic mother will snap back to her aggressive, cold, unhappy and angry ways.  The child therefore tries its hardest to keep her happy. It becomes hypervigilent to the highest degree. Keeping mum happy is the safest thing for it and so it complies in whatever way is necessary.  You see then that the child is living in constant fear. It has a constantly activated fight or flight system.

Imagine then, if the struggle is that hard for a child when things appear to be going nicely, how awful it is when things are NOT going nicely.  I can’t talk on behalf of other children of narcissists, but for me, it was an extremely scary time. You have the emotional pain of the cold, distant and unloving mother but you also have the raging mother, the mother who is pulling apart your character, taking away anything that you love or enjoy – including, for me, people I loved like stopping me from going to my nan’s.  Basically if mum wasn’t feeling good – nobody was. Those times were hellish.

Eventually the child learns to be grateful for any small mercies.  To try hard to keep mum happy. To protect mum from anything that may set her rage off.  For me this was entertaining my sister, feeding her, bathing her, helping her with her homework (to lessen poor mum’s load), cleaning the house and doing the washing (again, poor mum had enough on her plate), trying to predict anything and everything that she could need. Then, when the narcissistic mother showed some kind of remorse or kindness (if you can call it that) the child feels indebted to the mother and relates this feeling to both loving and being loved.  This feeling of being in love is what makes the child (perhaps an adult by now) viciously defend the mother from anyone that may question her.  You can see then, why children that grew up with such a distorted view of “love” can find themselves in abusive and dangerous relationships as adults. You can see how these children become codependant.  Their template for healthy relationships was unhealthy to say the least.

The same dynamic applies in physically violent relationships.  The same conditions apply and the same trauma bonding patterns play out.  The victim is triggered back to their childhood way of relating and the fear of annihilation is again, very real just as it was when the victim was a baby and needed to protect itself by bonding with its mother.  Again, this is where people-pleasing and hypervigilence come in.

I have been very lucky not to end up in a violent relationship, but I watched my mother being the victim of domestic abuse several times. I could never understand why she stayed, why anyone would stay, her reason that she loved him always infuriated me – I guess now I understand it a little better. After all, she grew up feeling the same way herself . Thank God I didn’t follow in her footsteps.

My T has told me this is also the reason I never found myself attracted to the “nice guys”.  I confused normal for boring and dysfunction and possibly abuse, for love.  Now when I hear young girls saying they fancy the “bad guys” it makes me shudder.

 

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1st Draft: Letter to Mother

Mum,

In the month that we have not spoken I have been doing a lot of thinking.  I think we are both exhausted from arguing with each other.

I feel it is pointless for us to speak about it more than we already have because we clearly see things extremely differently and we both become defensive, upset and angry.

I think that your ideal situation would be us moving on, but I am not able to do that.  I feel that you see this as me being “stuck in the past” but it doesn’t feel that way to me. To me,it feels like ignoring something or sweeping it under the carpet and I have tried that – it doesn’t work for me.

I have a lot of pain, sadness and anger in me from the past and I now think these are things I am going to have to resolve on my own.  Because of this, I am going to take some time and space away from our relationship to see if that is possible.  I need to work on healing some of my pain in order to become less emotionally reactive and to let go of some unrealistic expectations.  I can’t carry on as we were whist I feel like this.

I don’t know how long this is going to take, but I am writing this to you so that you know why I am taking the time and space away that I need. I need to work out how we might be able to relate in a healthier way in the future and once I have done that, I will be in touch.

 

Thoughts, comments and opinions welcomed!!!

Sister, Tina, Mother, Facebook….

Sister

This morning I was watching tele and I suddenly wanted to text my sister. I text her saying “I miss you” and a broken-heart emoji.  I sent it and panicked about what response I would or wouldn’t get…. luckily a few minutes later she replied and said “I miss you too”.  She replied again to say she couldn’t use her phone until 4pm and would text me later.

I went about the rest of my day and felt instantly lighter. Better. Happier.  I went to my session this afternoon (my last ever Thursday session) and spoke about it with T.  We pretty much went over the boundaries we had discussed previously.  T said she wasn’t sure whether my sister was going to be able to cope with the new boundaries but that time would tell.

This evening my sister text again and we made small talk which seemed to come to an end pretty quickly.  I text saying that I wanted to suggest a few things and went on to say that I wanted us to try to have a happy and healthy relationship but that we had to keep it totally separate from our mother etc.  She replied with a rather long message about how much I had upset her and listed various things I had done wrong… it was rather lengthy and ended with her saying that although she appreciated me contacting her, it was “still shit”.

I replied and said that I took on board everything she had said and said that I was very sorry for upsetting her.  I said I didn’t want to hash it all out because I didn’t think we would be able to agree, and the purpose of me contacting her was to hopefully find a way forward.  I said that I needed her to respect my counselling and not talk to me about it, unless it was genuine interest or for advice etc.  Unfortunately she hasn’t been particularly forthcoming or warm.  In the end I said that perhaps she needed some more time to think about what she wants to do and to contact me when she knew.  She didn’t reply to that.

I’m a bit gutted to be honest. Not overally surprised but disappointed.  I’m not really sure what more I can do or say. There were many things that I could have thrown back to her that she did and said that upset me, but I didn’t want to go down that path.. I was hoping that she would see I loved her, missed her and wanted to find a way forward but it doesn’t feel that is how she has received it. My fiance said tonight that perhaps she feels a bit like I did/do with my mother in that she needs to resolve the issues and have some validation and that she feels I am doing what my mother does, and am trying to just smooth things over.  I said I had hoped that by telling her I had taken on board what she said and by saying I was sorry, that would have helped… something my mother would and has NEVER done… maybe not.

Anyway.  I guess I will just have to wait and see. At least I have reached out I guess… the rest is really up to her.

Job/Tina

In other news, I left my job last Friday. I haven’t written much about that because so many other things have seemed more important.  On my last day, Tina called me into a meeting room in front of some of our colleagues. I was totally unprepared and so followed her into the room where she said she just wanted to say goodbye to me on my last day.  I thanked her and then she started to say she didn’t know what had happened between us (lies) and then cried and said “we used to be friends!”.  It was so uncomfortable for me as my nature instinct in those type of situations is to hug someone and tell them we can move on… but I didn’t.  I held strong and I said that I thanked her for wishing me well and then I left the room.  It was awkward as hell.  A few hours later, it was my leaving presentation.  My boss had prepared a speech and about 30 colleagues gathered around my desk to say goodbye to me.  Tina sat right at the very front, on the side of my boss’ desk (everyone else stood behind the desks).  It felt totally weird to me and I made a point of not making any eye-contact with her.  I can’t work out why she did that.  Why would you come to someone’s leaving presentation when you have fallen out on such a huge scale? When I’ve made it so clear that I do not wish to reconcile? Odd.  Anyway, tomorrow night is the leaving do for all of us who have left via the voluntary redundancy process and she will be there and I’ve been told she is bringing her best friend from outside of work… the best friend who she told me, hates me since I fell out with her.  So I can’t wait for that!!! NOT.

Mother

Regarding my mother, last night I was at my fiance’s parents’ house having dinner and I got a Facebook notification.  It told me that my mother had “liked” my photo.  WHHHATTT????

So, we haven’t had any contact whatsoever for an entire month, including bloody Facebook likes or anything… and then suddenly, randomly, she likes my profile picture.  That’s normal.  Not.  Obviously this started off the anxious thoughts of what does this mean, what is she doing, what is she thinking etc…. aghh like I need that right now.

So I did what any normal girl would do in this situation. I deactivated my Facebook account. LOL. Okay, so that is a bit passive aggressive right? But hey, I am telling myself it is a self-care exercise. I don’t want her doing that, I don’t want to see the photos from the party this coming Saturday and I didn’t want to/feel comfortable blocking about 20 family or friends in order to not have to see things that would annoy me. So there we have it.  I am only like, 12 hours in, but so far it feels quite good.

I still haven’t decided whether to write a No Contact letter or not but the closer to Christmas it gets, the more nervous I get. I don’t want to contact her at all – in any way but equally I don’t want to hear from her. Hah, if only I could have my cake and eat it.  T said that if I did write a letter, I should keep it non-committal in terms of how long the break would be for or when I would get back into contact with her.  She suggested I said something like “I need some space and time away from you and our relationship” (or something along those lines).  I told T that I have so many conflicting feelings and because I have learnt so much about narcissism, I understand that narcissism is just a big cover up for feeling very insecure and so that makes me feel a bit sorry for her.. I also said that if she grew up feeling like I did, I felt sorry for her.  T said that she could “have some sympathy for the boy Hitler used to be”.  She went on to say that I could have sympathy for the young girl my mother was, but that didn’t take away the things she did and does to me now.  I got what she was saying.

I explained to T that since I have understood the dynamic in our family  and I understood that I had made a fake self to “get” to her as much as is it is possible to get to a narcissist, it has made me determined not to go back to that fake self again.  I said to her that now I can’t do that and that the real me, the authentic me, has absolutely nothing in common with my mother at all… that I can’t see how we can have any kind of relationship at all. I’ve said it a hundred times already, but I just can’t see where we go from here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Sister Heartache

This post is about me and my sister.

In my session last night, I read my blog about the dysfunctional relationship with my sister and what I had figured out at the weekend.  I read the blog easily until the end where I read about the nice memories I have with her when we were younger and then I felt a lump in my throat.

I told T “it is such a shame” and then began to cry a little. T agreed that it was a huge shame and that my mother had caused this dynamic, not me. I said I knew that but that I felt so sorry for my sister. In my head when I said those words, my sister was no longer 22, but about 6.  God the pain I felt in that moment. The shame, the guilt, the sadness. It was horrible.

I said to T “I should have helped her, I was so horrible to her, she must have felt so alone” and then I just broke down in floods of tears. I cried from the bottom of my heart in that moment. I felt ashamed of myself and felt such a loss of what cannot be repaired.

T, rather passionately, said to me that none of this was my fault. She said that I couldn’t have known, that I was caught up in this dysfunction and that I had no way of understanding any of this myself.  She spoke rather urgently so I gather she understood how much shame and sorrow I was feeling. Nothing she said really took the pain away.

I said to T “She hates me. She has always really hated me and I didn’t even realise!!”.  T said it wasn’t that she hated me but that it was misdirected anger towards my mother.

T said she imagined I just wanted to read that blog to my sister and to make her understand. I said I absolutely did but that it was pointless because my sister wouldn’t believe it or understand some of it.  T said that she wouldn’t be able to yet.  T suggested that one day my sister may realise the dysfunctional dynamic just like I had done, but I told her I wasn’t hopeful.  I said that my sister had finally gained what she thinks is my mother’s love and that she wouldn’t be wanting anything else.  T said she may realise when she starts to feel how toxic and fake it is, that she doesn’t get fulfilled in the way she may think she will. I appreciate what T was saying, but I don’t agree. I told T “I wish I was as optimistic as you“.

I said to T that it all felt so hopeless. It feels too late for me and my sister. I said that I have always felt so protective over her but that she won’t feel that at all and that hurts.  It is so sad that my mother has taught us that the three of us can’t all be getting along at the same time. Someone is always the bad guy. Drama/Relationship Triangle stuff.  There are 3 positions in the triangle, Victim, Rescuer and Prosecutor and my God, how true that is for my family.

Right now my mother is the Victim, my sister the Rescuer and me – the horrible persecutor and its painful because all I can do, all I have the power to do, is to remove myself from the triangle.  And that means leaving my sister there to play out her role(s).

I told T that I have felt such resistance and anger at my sister the last year or so but that now, I felt so much pain for her and pain for my own loss of having a healthy relationship with my sister.  As I said to T, things could have been so different. Something I find myself writing and saying more and more these days.

“I can’t save her”.
“No, you can’t”

I said to T that I had seen a photo of me and my sister a few days ago taken on Christmas Day in about 2013.  The photo is of me and my sister stroking the family dog wearing matching onesies. I said to her that you can’t even see our faces in the photo, but that I loved the photo.  I told her I would love nothing more than to have a healthy relationship with her. We could be close. We could be best friends.. but the reality right now is that we can’t – that isn’t possible.

T suggested I text my sister and said something like “I hope you had a nice holiday. I have been thinking of you”.  I was surprised she suggested that and was slightly taken aback.  I said I could, but that my sister is so argumentative and aggressive nowadays (since she’s become Golden Child) that it wouldn’t get me anywhere. I said I knew that my sister would reply to say “Well you upset me when you said X, Y, Z and you were so horrible to mum and mum is so upset” etc… and that would just annoy me.  T said I could do without that drama right now on top of everything else. I agreed.

T said that if I was able to speak to my sister, I would need to tell her that our relationship was separate to the relationship with our mother.  That we should be able to have a relationship regardless of whether I am speaking to my mother or not and vice-versa. She said I would need to put in some strong boundaries that we did not discuss things my mother has been saying – that she didn’t tell me anything at all.  I agreed but said to T that as ridiculous as it is, there is a part of me that wondered what we would speak about if it wasn’t our childhood or our mother. That is all we’ve ever really done!

T said we could still talk about our childhood but that we just don’t talk about things my mother is doing or saying now.  That I would have to tell my sister not to repeat anything we spoke about, anything I am doing etc. I said I doubted my sister would want to do that because she wouldn’t want to risk her newly promoted place as Golden Child.

T suggested that I sat on this for a while and thought about it. She said I would figure out what I needed to do when the time was right.

I said to T that when I got engaged in August, I was so disappointed with her reaction (or lack of more accurately).  T said that she was too envious to be happy for me.  I said I got that now but why? T said that there may be an element that I have escaped whilst my sister is still there, still stuck in the dynamic.  I said but he doesn’t need to be! She could escape it herself.  I said to T, I had imagined when I was planning my wedding that my sister would be really involved.  That she would be helping with the plans, planning the hen do and coming shopping for bridesmaid dresses! I wanted her to be the chief bridesmaid and I guess now, upon reflection, this was me saying “look how much I love you!“.  Stupidly I thought she knew that, but since discovering the childhood dynamic stuff, I guess she had too much displaced anger for me to feel that love plus the additional anger that I could have “saved her” and chose not to.  If only it were that easy.

I said to T that despite all of this, and that I felt stupid for even admitting this, there was a part of me that would feel really guilty if I reached out and contacted my sister whist I wasn’t speaking to my mother.  I said I knew that was insane.  T said I needed to feel and speak about those feelings and that we could keep talking about them.  That I didn’t need to act on them. I nodded.

I told T, my sister is totally unable to move forward with me and that she keeps on going on about how out-of-order I was for not missing a counselling session when she wanted me to.  T said it isn’t really about that, that is just my sister’s excuse. It is much, much deeper than that. I said I knew that now, but that my sister didn’t and so how do we get past that?

Eugh. What a mess.

 

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Thought Fuel and Irritation

It has been 25 days today since the big argument between me and my mother. So about 3 and a half weeks.  I’ve blogged quite a bit during this time and so anyone that has taken the time to read my posts will have seen the emotions I’ve gone through in this time.  There has been empowerment, anger, sadness, more anger and then lots of intellectual processing of dysfunctional family dynamics, namely with my Nan and more recently, my little sister.

I haven’t heard from my mother at all since the text messages that we exchanged a few days after the fall out. I did not reply to her last message, the one which said that I did not have a bad childhood because I had a roof over my head because I was too angry and because I was so emotionally exhausted from trying and failing repeatedly to get her to see how I felt.  It was pointless.

Since then, I put her on a restricted profile on Facebook and totally blocked her on Twitter and Instagram.  I know this sounds a bit childish, but for me this was a pretty big step. It is probably the biggest boundary I have ever implemented with her and honestly, it was quite scary as well as empowering.  Now, I have her on a restricted profile which means that she cannot see any of my status updates but I can still see her page as usual.  So, being the glutton for punishment that I am, I went on her page over the weekend and saw a load of “check in’s”.  For anyone unfamiliar with Facebook, you can “check in” at places basically to show people where you are. That could be a restaurant or a pub or a nature reserve etc.  Well, she “checked in” at 2 very nice and expensive venues … that I had brought her a voucher for recently for her birthday.  The gift was for 2 people to visit a famous landmark and then a paid meal for 2 in a famous restaurant.  She could use this voucher whenever she wanted to within a year.

Now, when we fell out 25 days ago, she had not booked this which makes me think that since we fell out, she has decided to phone up and book the two places in.  The statuses on Facebook over the weekend were many, about what fabulous places they were and how she was “drinking champagne with hubby”.  Obviously there was no thanks to me or mention of the fact it was a present purchased by me.

It felt weird seeing those statuses and check-ins. I spoke to my fiance’ about it at the time and he said that he thinks she has done it on purpose to get at me or to annoy me.  He said he thought it was a weird time to use that gift when we hadn’t been speaking for the last nearly month. I agree.

Seeing that and feeling the feelings that made me feel has had me wondering things the last few days. Now I find myself thinking “what is SHE doing?”.  I knew I wanted and needed space from her and I know why…. but from her perspective, what is she doing? What is her aim here?

I spoke to T about this last night and said to her it isn’t that I want to hear from her, because I really do not but equally I guess it is strange to me that she is carrying on her business as though life is still wonderful when she has had such a huge fall out with her daughter. Booking and going on that present has clearly had the desired effect (if there was an intention behind doing so).. I have been thinking about this ever-since.

I have found myself sitting on Google a lot (as usual) and I’ve been reading about narcissists and the silent treatment. Does this apply to me? I mean, is it the silent treatment when I haven’t contacted her? I’m not sure.  T said that even if I don’t want to hear from her, I probably assumed that I would have so the fact I haven’t is making me feel like this. I find myself giving her lots of thought and that is annoying because 1) it is totally the opposite of what I wanted to achieve by having time and space away from her and 2) is giving her what she wants isn’t it? I am back in some sort of control, whether she knows it or not, where I am spending my time questioning what she is doing, thinking etc.

I read the term “Thought Fuel” earlier and then I found this:

“Thought Fuel is especially useful when we engage in our manipulations through silent treatment, or denigrating you and then going out somewhere. We are able to conjure up the image of you distraught at home and fearing our return and this Thought Fuel invigorates us. It is evident when we have discarded you in particular as we think of how you will be reacting once you realise that you have been discarded and that we want no more to do with you. When we hoover you through technology, even though we may not receive a response to our first flurry of texts we will still draw Thought Fuel from it because we know how you will be responding to our communication. It may be excitement, it may be apprehension or it may be hatred, but whatever it is, it will be fuelling us nevertheless and that is all that matters to us.”

Mehhh.

I feel annoyed and anxious about the whole thing today. I wonder what she is doing and why, I wonder what will be next and I hate that I am spending so much energy on these thoughts and feelings. I hate that she can make me feel like that – that I am allowing myself to feel and think these things. I wish I could just turn it off. In my mind, she is carrying on with her life trying to prove to me that she isn’t at all bothered by my actions.  She is possibly genuinely not bothered or she is trying to get a reaction out of me, whether good or bad. But what is next? It could be another attempt at “moving on”, it could be guilt tripping me, it could be anger, it could be messages delivered to me via other people… and it is quite exhausting not knowing what is next.

Lastly, it is a very close family friend’s birthday party this coming Saturday.  The whole family are invited.  I have obviously decided that I shouldn’t go – because my mother, stepdad and sister will all be there. I am disappointed that I won’t  be going and I also feel guilty that I will have to tell her I won’t be there. I know she will be dissapointed.  BUT the worst bit about this is, this family friend was one of the people who told me what my mother had been saying about me and my fiance’ (how I had changed because he was controlling and manipulative) and in the heat of the moment with my mother, I dropped her as one of the names.  My mother very clearly hasn’t confronted her which is no surprise (because my mother lied) but considering she is so utterly furious with me for believing her over “my own mother“, you would think she may have said something to her wouldn’t you?

So this weekend, I can be sure to see Facebook covered in selfies of this family friend, my mother and my sister too (along with the family friend’s adult kids who are like cousins to me).  I know it will happen and yet I already know it will upset and annoy me.  Will that stop me looking? Probably not. Why do I do that to myself?  T has told me to delete my Facebook and make a new one with only a few selected friends, or to come off Facebook for a few days long enough that the photos won’t be all over the news feed… there are options I know, but I doubt I will be able to stop myself.

It is so infuriatingly unfair. I dread to think what she (and my stepdad and sister) will say to this family friend. How I am nasty and aggressive and how awful I was that night and how they don’t know who I am anymore blah blah blah….  the smear campaign beginning I guess?

So do I tell her that I can’t make her party because of the truth or because of a fake illness… will it make any difference what I say? I think probably not.