The last few weeks

Hi guys,

So it’s been a while. I’m not totally sure why if I’m honest, it’s partly due to being busy and partly due to some resistance about writing what’s going on for me. I’ve not experienced this before so it’s rather confusing.

I’m currently typing on my phone, whilst on the train to work so please excuse any bad grammar/punctuation etc. I’ll try and summarise a little.

Sooooo I got drunk 2 Fridays ago and after some drinks with work, was on the train home late at night and I suddenly sent my mother a Facebook message (I had deleted her number so couldn’t text). I literally sent “I miss you”.

Before I go on, I just want to note that I didn’t miss her actually. It just felt like that easiest thing to say. It was a cop-out I guess.

Anyway, I saw her read it and I waited a few minutes and then she became “active” and replied saying how she was so pleased to hear from me and how she’s been “desperate” for me to contact her. I told her I had wanted HER to contact ME. She said she didn’t think I did.

She told me she had just got to her holiday destination where she would be for two weeks and how I had made her whole holiday. We then spoke via phone for about an hour, we didn’t go over any important stuff really.

She said one trying though “I need to know darling, are you happy? Are you getting nervous?” Clearly both were about my fiancé and my wedding. It annoyed me because she’s always insinuating that I’m not “really” happy and I find it very offensive. I told her I was very happy. I bit my tongue.

Anyway, as I don’t have long I’ll need to skip some of the finer details but what happened next was that for the next two days (the weekend) that followed, my fiancé was MOODY!!!! He was acting out passive aggressively in a big way. The Saturday I tried hard to ignore his mood towards me and act as though it wasn’t bothering me and by the Sunday we ended up arguing as I said I’d had enough of it. We had an argument where he said he thinks I’ve made a huge mistake establishing contact with her, said he’s worried that she will be back with a vengeance, that he doesn’t want to see her and that he doesn’t know how it will work. He later said he was worried we wouldn’t make it to our wedding because she would poison me against him.

His behaviour was difficult and upsetting. I felt very drained because it honestly felt/feels like the drama won’t stop. I feel like I’m forever upsetting someone and that, selfishly, I’m never happy either, whatever I do.

Myself, my mum and my sister are now in a group WhatsApp chat and for the last 10 days or so my mother has sent messages to us every day about what she’s doing on holiday. Every day she says she loves us both and how she can’t wait to see us… she says things like “gorgeous girls” etc. I feel terrible for admitting this, but I feel…..

nothing.

I feel numb to it. In fact, I find it hard to read and I find it VERY hard to respond to.

Now don’t get me wrong, she’s clearly trying but after 30 years of it not being this way, it’s just odd.

She asked the other night if me and my sister wanted to go to a party with her this coming weekend. I can’t go as I have other plans but my first thought was “nothings changed”. She has no idea, obviously. How do I tell her that me and her drinking together isn’t a good idea?

My fiancé still says random digs about her which annoys me (even if they are true).

So basically the vibe isn’t one of some happy ever after story. It’s tough.

On top of that, a cousin who had said he couldn’t make my wedding now apparently can make the wedding and I found out via another cousin (his sister!) that he wasn’t coming because my mother wasn’t coming. Me and his sister ended up arguing by text Friday night as she told me he had family loyalties and i told her that’s not how things worked. She then hit me with his blow:

“Lots of people weren’t coming to your wedding for the same reason, but they won’t admit that to you”.

Ouch.

Ouch.

Ouch.

I knew that would be the case I guess but having someone actually write those words is painful. I cried when I got home that night from how hurt I felt. Making up with my mum doesn’t bring me any family really does it? They don’t have my interests at heart.

I came home upset and told my fiancé how I felt for him to say “your entire family are fucked up, why are you surprised??”. And that upset me even more.

I then text the group chat to say I was very upset about that comment and my mum replied to say I was just getting stressed and that it was perfectly normal and I would have a lot more stress to come. (Thanks!!).

I had to remind myself that she cannot help me emotionally. I had to tell myself she can’t do it. Stop expecting her to help.

More sadness.

And so that’s pretty much where we are. Sorry if it sounds rather negative, things just feel difficult I guess. Perhaps I was saying away from writing it down because it brings it all home even more.

When T is amazing

I couldn’t believe my eyes this morning when I was getting ready for work and saw a notification on my phone that I had an email from T.

I hadn’t emailed T since Monday during my meltdown/panic attack/episode and she had replied pretty soon afterwards. This wasn’t expected…

I opened the email and it basically said that she was thinking of me and all I was going through, that she would stand by me no matter what my decision was and that she would in no way be disappointed in me.

My heart nearly exploded.

1) the love I felt is quite incomprehensible

2) she wouldn’t be disappointed in me!!! (I was very afraid she would)

3) she was thinking of ME!

4) SHE EMAILED ME FIRST!!!!!!!!!!

I appreciate that many of us are currently on therapy breaks right now so I hope this doesn’t trigger anyone or make anyone feel shit and for the record in 3.5 years, this has never happened. Never. So it’s not meant to be a braggy “my therapist is better than your’s” kind of blog, honestly.

I just needed to share what a monumentally ginormous thing this was to me. I’ve thought about it all day. I’ve read it over and over again. I even rushed up the stairs and shoved it in my fiancé’s face like a proud child or something.

Anyway, I needed that permission. I needed to know she would stand by me, that she wouldn’t judge me and that she does care about me. Because on a good day I know those things, but on a bad day, I forget.

Having told my fiancé and T that I may decide to make contact and having them both say that it’s my choice has helped. I’ll admit I would still love it if they actively encouraged it and were happy about it, but.. well… baby steps I suppose.

Experiencing T telling me that I can make a decision she doesn’t necessarily agree with, but will stand by me, is probably an experience I’ve not had from a mother – and so it felt amazing. I was slightly worried this decision could lead to a rupture after the last decision I made when she was on holiday (going back to once a week sessions from twice a week)… that didn’t end well!

On that note, why do I make these decisions when she’s not here? Interesting…

Anyway, I’m still edging towards contact but I’m trying hard to stop myself doing anything impulsively. I’m not good at that…. I don’t have that ability to think on things for long.. I wonder why?

My mum goes on holiday tomorrow for two weeks and there’s a huge part of me that would like to wish her a great time and say we’ll meet when she’s back, in the hope it makes her happy… (a fantasy I know). But I won’t. I’ll admit I’ve been willing a message to arrive from her and I’ll even go as far as to admit I’ve been sending out “vibes” into the universe hoping she gets the vibe and sends me a message…. silly really.

I’m in no doubt that making contact probably won’t be the stuff dreams are made of, I’ll even admit that I’m scared. Very scared, I’m scared even to see her again. I have a lot of stuff to work out with T. Maybe my mum being away for the next two weeks is a good thing?

I need to work out my reasons for doing this, how I’ll do it, how I’ll maintain my boundaries, how I’ll stop myself being hurt, stop myself being pulled back into old dynamics and old dysfunctional characters within the family…. what I will and won’t allow, how much, what I will and won’t discuss … so much. There is so much.

I’ve had spells of nausea since Saturday and I think it’s the anxiety of all of this. How will it end? What if she demands an apology from me and I can’t give one? What if speaking to her undoes my hard work? What if I’m not as strong as I think I am? What if I get hurt again? How will this effect me and my fiancé? Will it cause us problems?

Worry and panic and stress are literally flooding my body and making me feel physically sick.

But thanks to T, the one thing I am sure of is that she won’t leave me regardless and that is why I love her.

Thank you 🙏

Thank you to everyone who has helped me today. Today was a really, god awfully tough day. I’ve cried so much and had another panic attack to the point of barely being able to breathe!!

I’ve calmed down a lot now and I’ve thought a lot.

Despite a lot of people’s advice, my T and my fiancé, I think I might ask my mother if we can meet up when she gets back from holiday. She goes this Thursday for two weeks.

I think that the only way it can work is by us not discussing the past. Clearly she won’t ever be able to apologise. I need to let go of that hope of I want to have any kind of relationship with her in the future. But I will not be apologising for anything.

I will tell her we should meet once every few weeks in a public place, for dinner or lunch maybe just us and my sister and work on the three of us patching things up by going forwards. I can’t be around her husband yet and my fiancé won’t be around her, so this will need to be baby steps.

If it doesn’t pan out then I guess I’ve not lost anything. If she refuses to meet me then at least I can release the guilt and fear that is currently suffocating me.

I no longer crave her approval. Or her acceptance of me. I know now for sure how limited she is and I won’t be going to her hoping for emotional connection. I’ll continue to grieve that (and other) losses in time.

I don’t want to disappoint my t, or my fiancé but I have to follow my gut don’t I? As long as I go into this well equipped and with strong boundaries and a support network I’ll be okay. Hopefully.

I probably shouldn’t do anything until T is back though…. that’s another 8 days. I’m not sure I can wait that long…..

T’s reply

How painful this all is for you to manage. Perhaps, firstly, it’s important to understand the place you are in. You have just moved house, and that will have unsettled you. Then there is the wedding and the invitations, and the reminder if all that is happening with your mother, which is very hard to manage. On top of that, I am on a 2 week break and there’s nowhere to come and talk about it and be seen and held in it all – that will make your longing even more powerful and painful. So, you are left in a very vulnerable and needy place. When feeling so desperate, the pull back to the familiar, even if it’s abusive, will be more powerful, because your needs are very pressing. I am alongside you in it all and we will keep talking about it together.

I wonder if you could just slow it down a bit and really understand that you are desperate to be seen, heard and held in your pain, and to try to offer yourself and the vulnerable child inside, some protection, care and compassion. I wonder if you feel your family can give you that, or if it will hurt you even more right now, especially when so vulnerable? I absolutely understand the needs, but I worry you are going to be further hurt if you pull back to your Mum when in such pain? Your need is absolutely ok, but try to protect that vulnerable part of you from further hurt, especially in the break.

I am here and I hear you and I know how much you are hurting. You are held firmly with me this break and I am thinking of you. Can you hang in there a bit and allow the feelings a voice without contacting your Mum? What you need from her is what she has never been able to give so that part of you is feeling desperate. Does it help to have told me and have me respond? It’s great you have shared it with me – don’t beat yourself up for doing that. Just hold on that you are in touch with needs that have never had a voice – desperate needs. They are the needs that weren’t properly met by your Mum. Contacting her now is going to further hurt you. Try to hold off for now. If you need to keep writing then do so – get rid of it. I hear you. I am here.

Go gently and kindly and protect the desperate parts of yourself. Hang in there.

With kindest wishes

TW: Email to T

Hello [T],

I’m so sorry to send you this whilst you’re on holiday. I’ve been trying to hold off.

I’m struggling a bit at the moment. I have such an urge to contact my mum. I’m absolutely exhausted from the constant worry, anxiety, guilt and fear that I feel every single day. I’m sad that I have to totally give up on her and on us ever speaking again.

I feel sad that I’m maintaining the no contact because I want some empathy, validation and an apology from her and I know it’s never going to come, I know that…. and I want it so, so much but I’m also aware of the fact that it’s her issue. It’s her that cannot self reflect and it’s not about me being wrong or not good enough.

I am constantly trying to figure out how things could be fixed after all this time. I have no idea how things would work going forwards as so much would have to be different.

I worry that I’ll disappoint you and I’ll disappoint Paul because you both think it’s a bad idea for me to speak to her. Paul’s admitted he hates her and will never see her again regardless of what I decide to do.

I just feel like I can’t take much more of it. I know that sounds so dramatic but the pain is almost unbarable. I want it all to stop.

Surely some limited contact would be much better than this. I don’t want to feel like this anymore and I don’t want to lose my family and my sister. I don’t want to live with this guilt and fear every day. I feel like I’m having another panic attack over it all, I can’t stop crying.

I don’t know what else to write. I know I have a week until you are back and I will try and hold off until then, but it’s getting harder every day.

I sent my wedding invites out on Friday and I didn’t send her one, that made this all so real. I don’t want to get married without her – even though I know she probably doesn’t deserve it. I just want to stop this pain and the anxiety – I can’t take much more of it.

The point of going no contact is meant to be that you’ve given up all hope and I guess I am just not cut out for it. I can’t do it. It’s like I need to check it was as bad as i remember. Suddenly it doesn’t seem that bad. Surely if I can hold on to the fact it’s not me. It’s not my fault it will be easier to hold something?

I’m sorry this sounds so dramatic. And I’m sorry for sending this whilst you’re on a well deserved break.

I’ve had enough

I need some help because my mind feels like it is going to explode!

I’m feeling drained. Exhausted even. No contact is proving to be so stressful that it takes away the entire point of being NC! I’m questioning my motive again.

I have lived in a constant state of fear and anxiety for nearly 6 months every day. Daily I am scared to see my NPDm or my stepfather. I’m hugely triggered and have panic attacks whenever I end up being attacked by flying monkeys (who have come in the form of people I would have never expected). I’m petrified to go anywhere she could be.

What am I scared of?? The fear is so hugely extreme. It’s not rational at all.

I’ve been telling myself this weekend that going low contact would be better for me. That if I went low contact I would probably rescue some relationships with other family such as my sister (now golden child) and my grandparents.

I’m telling myself that I would be better having my mum and co at my wedding instead of living to regret it if we sort things out one day.

My fiancé thinks I’m just having withdrawal symptoms and he’s very honest in saying he hates my mother and will not ever see her again, regardless of what I decide to do.

He asks how would I have a relationship with her now that this has happened. He said how would you put up with the controlling opinions and the put downs and comments about your life choices and your appearance? He asks would you go to her house now without me comfortably?

My answer was purely tears. I know things would be totally different now. I hate my stepfather now and wouldn’t want to see him and I would have to tell my mother that AND tell her that my fiancé doesn’t want to see her….

I know this sounds dramatic and I am sorry but I’ve simply reached the end of my tether. I just feel like I can’t cope with it all any more. I feel like I can’t win no matter what I do. Sometimes I feel like I’m maintaining no contact because it’s what people (my therapist and my fiancé) think is best, but it’s not what I WANT.

Now I question what was the point in any of it and how the hell would I begin to fix it anyway?

I still yearn deeply for a loving mother – I still wish she could apologise to me for all the pain she’s caused me. For all the smear campaigning she did and I know she won’t. So why, whyyyy do I want to let her back in my life??

I’m in tears and feel so lost and so confused.

A (very) draft letter to my sister’s dad

I’m not sure if I’m going to send this yet. It just all flooded out. I’ve sent my wedding invitations out now (yesterday) and I haven’t sent him one so I think maybe that’s why I want to send it…

please let me have your comments, opinions etc. It’s rather verbal diarrhoea at the moment and needs editing.

Dear [ ]

I wanted to write you this letter so that you could understand my feelings and a letter feels like the best way for me to do that.

I think (hope) that your intentions the night you came to our house were good. I think, on reflection, that you just want me and Sister to get along well again and that after speaking with my mother, you wanted to play some kind of peacekeeper and encourage me to make up with her so that, in the end, everyone got along and things went back to normal. I’m sure that you are aware that me and my mother not speaking has an adverse affect on Sister. But it shouldn’t. I don’t want it to and I will do my upmost to keep the two of them separate. That’s my sole reason for refusing to discuss her with Sister. It’s to protect our relationship, that’s all.

I like to think that was your motive anyway.. but I want to explain to you, in writing so you properly “hear me” how it felt to me at the time and so you can hopefully understand why I was so upset and so angry.

At the time Sister had text me and asked if she could come to my house to speak to me and Fiancé because she wanted us to sort things out: I was very happy that she asked that after having tried to sort things with her for months. I said yes. An hour or so later she asked if you could come as you had a Xmas present for me. I told her I would love to see you, but that we should arrange that for another evening – that me and her should clear the air first. She agreed. I was so pleased she wanted us to move on as that is what I wanted too.

So you can probably appreciate my shock when you walked into our house that night. We wasn’t expecting you and what’s more, it felt very disrespectful to come over knowing we had said no. I don’t mean that to sound insulting, but if someone said no to me going to their house one one particular evening, I wouldn’t go – that’s normal surely? But also because you came despite my wishes and that felt like it was meant to be a bit intimidating. It felt like you were coming in to my house in an aggressive way.

Anyway, you came and the second Fiancé stepped outside and I was alone with you and Sister your tone and whole demeanour changed and you began to talk about how you are “worried” about me and how you had spoken to my mother, how counselling wasn’t doing me any good and even referred to it as a cancer. I found this very insulting.

I told you several times that my argument with my mother and my counselling were my private issues and not for anyone else, you or anyone, to worry about or discuss with me (or with anyone else). But from my perspective you wouldn’t leave it and at no point in the time you were there was the main focus about me and Sister.

The more you pushed your opinion on my counselling the more angry and defensive I got. The reason for that is that it is private. It’s my business and it doesn’t matter to me what anyone else’s opinion on it is. To be frank, why people keep telling me their opinion ion it is a mystery because it’s irrelevant. You are of course fully entitled to believe that you personally wouldn’t benefit from counselling, but I do. And I respect that you have decided not to do that and I ask that you respect that I have. We are allowed to differ in our opinions aren’t we? As two adults I don’t see any reason that can’t be left there – no need for any further debate. If it’s because you’ve heard the lies my Mother’s spread since we stopped speaking, then please remember there are two sides to every story and she’s lied and exaggerated about that.

I would like to say that when I was young you were one of (if not THE) most significant and trustworthy people in my life. I genuinely thank you and my Nan with all my heart because growing up without the two of you showing me love and care, would have been horrendous. I have a lot of happy memories with you and Sister. They made a huge difference to my life as a child. I have never harboured ANY bad feeling towards you, in fact I always felt extremely lucky and privileged that someone would take me on as their own daughter when I wasn’t a blood relative and after you and my mother divorced many years ago, you could have easily forgotten me – but you never did. I will be thankful to you forever for that regardless of how our argument ends and it’s important to me that you know that always.

I also think you should understand that as a child when you and her divorced I wasn’t allowed to see you, that hurt me a lot because you were the tiny bit of security and normality that I had. When I finally saw you and got to tell you this I was sat down and shouted at by my mother and Keith for wanting to see you. She then told me a very detailed account of why I shouldn’t want to see “someone that nearly killed your mother”. I was about 11 years old. Can you imagine how scary it was for me as an 11 year old to want to see someone and have my mother make me feel both guilty and scared for feeling that way?

I still wanted to see you despite that but I’ll admit I was cautious. What little girl wouldn’t worry after hearing details of violence like I was told?

Try then and see how awful I felt the other week when, regardless of your motive, you effectively told me to make up with my mother, “move on” – effectively get over it. It physically hurt my chest as it felt like you felt your relationship with her was more important than with me. It felt like in that moment I lost someone who used to protect me from her and that you became her protector instead. I missed the man that I could tell my hurts too who would fight to protect me.

That night you said to me that perhaps you didn’t do enough for me. I wonder from you saying that if you think you should have done more or whether you feel you failed me in some way? I have pondered whether you feel like you wanted to, but couldn’t save me or something. I wonder if you want me to make this whole thing right with my mother because otherwise it’s glaringly obvious that things didn’t end up the way any of us wanted. I think after the horrible childhood you had, you wanted to give me and Sister something much better, much happier and much more secure and YOU did. You did. But..

But you have to appreciate that my home life away from you wasn’t like that and there was nothing more you could have done about that. Do you remember going to court to fight for custody of me? I was young and would have had to stand up and tell the judge I didn’t want to live with my mother and I was too scared to do that, do you remember that? Do you remember how I had awful headaches where I was scared of various men that I had to live with?

You didn’t even know about the sexual abuse as I was a bit older and didn’t see you as much, you had no way of knowing but being told that my mother not believing me shouldn’t matter anymore killed me inside. That is why I burst into a state of tears. It again felt like my protector had left me. I cried to you that you had no idea how I felt and you shouted back that actually, you did. And that hurt me more – if you do know that pain, if you can still remember that pain, then you should know better than to brush it off as another “get over it”. It made me question would your reaction be the same if it had happened to Sister instead of me?

You said on the phone that “my daughter is my only concern”. You were talking about Sister. In that moment it was like I slipped from being one of your daughters to a nobody. No longer your daughter? I felt so hurt again.

It isn’t that I’m stuck in the past as everyone seems to think I am – it’s genuinely the opposite. I am moving on and in order to move on and find happiness I wanted to tell my mother the ways she hurt me and how unloved I felt, how I never felt loved or precious from her and how I never felt important, how I always felt a burden and how I never felt safe. It’s my right to confront my mother about my feelings isn’t it? I’m sure you agree. So I did and all I wanted was for her to show some empathy and say she was sorry, genuinely but she could not. And so, I’ve removed myself. That IS me moving on . That IS me drawing a line under it – just not in the way that everyone wants me too. I’m not going to apologise for that decision, believe me it’s not an easy one. I am having to deal with a lot of my own feelings around this, but after the way I felt growing up, I’m putting myself and my needs first now – like she should have when I was young. Again I hoped you would understand my need for a genuine apology as you’ve wanted one yourself from your own mother. You surely know that pain?

I wonder whether my pain is a little raw for you to handle because some of my pains (feeling unloved by your mother, feeling unsafe, feeling a burden, the abuse, etc) mirror old wounds of your own and perhaps you find yourself telling me to get over it and move on because you don’t want to think about your long buried pain too. Who knows. That isn’t a dig, some people prefer to block stuff out – I’ve just decided to deal with mine a different way. They say the only way out, is through.

I have never wanted to fall out with you. I wish you could keep our relationship with one another way away from mine with her. I wish you could just encourage me and Sister to make things better because you love us both – not because she is your priority and I’m nobody anymore.

I appreciate you want me and Sister to get along – so do I! and whether you believe it or not, I have NEVER bullied her. That really hurt when you said that. I was like a mother to Sister when I was young. When we wasn’t with you I had to be. When we were with you I could be a child but at home I couldn’t be. I had to be a mini adult.

When she struggled with depression it was me she came too. Unfortunately despite what my mother says, she doesn’t and has never encouraged us getting along. She has to have one good child and one bad – me and Sister getting along threatens her for some reason. I don’t understand it but it’s clear to see and always has been.

A lot of Sister’s depression came from feeling left out when I was in my mum’s spotlight and I fully see that now. I didn’t, as I was under her spell, but she was only interested in me because I was like a mini her and I was old enough to drink and smoke and go to clubs and Sister wasn’t – that’s all. She could mould and manipulate me. Until I grew up and now she hates that and tries to ruin my happiness. She can’t see me as a different person to her.

And now she is treating Sister like that – I’m glad if it makes Sister happy, that’s for her to decide. I understand Sister enjoying feeling approval and niceness from my mum that she’s craved her entire life. I get it. But sadly it’s not unconditional. I still cannot believe she would rather lose her daughter these past 6 months than say she’s sorry for making me feel the way she did.

On a happier note, you should know that I am genuinely the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life now. I’ve met a wonderful man who looks after me and makes me feel loved. I love my stepchildren and hope for my own one day soon. I am finally able to accept that there’s nothing wrong with me and am not constantly seeking approval from anyone. I know I’m good enough as I am and I won’t fight any longer to make people love or approve of me if they don’t. If people have noticed changes in me, those are the changes. They are all positive. Perhaps it doesn’t feel that way to others but that’s mainly because they aren’t used to the new me. I’m turning 30 soon, I don’t want to waste any more of my life feeling how I used to feel. I hope that people that claim to love me, want me to be happy – and I am happy.

Anyway, now you know my feelings about it all and why I was so upset that night. It may not change anything for you and if so, that’s a real shame but I will feel better knowing you have this letter.

Don’t feel you have to reply to it. I just needed you to read it.

Me x

TW: help! I’m triggered

I’ve just triggered myself in a big way.

I read a post on a forum for people with personality disordered parents and the post explains how our parents start life abused or neglected and then unconsciously project shit onto us… then we leave them and they have to deal with that neglect and pain once more.

The post spoke about how sad and sorry she felt for her mother.

And now I’m totally triggered and feeling the same. Shit.

I know that it’s not my job to fix her or fix things but the thought that she felt the same way I did as a child and that I could now be repeating that pain for her makes me feel TERRIBLE.