Tuesday was such a crap day. So many small things went wrong and by the end of it I felt completely and utterly done in. It started in the morning. I was at work and looked down at my Pandora bracelet.
Background – About 3 years ago when I started therapy and T taught me about NPD and said she thought it described my mother, I was upset, shocked and angry (and relieved) and I decided to take off a ring that my mother had brought me for my 21st birthday. It felt weirdly empowering to me even though nobody else would know I’d stopped wearing it. About a year ago, I decided to buy myself a new piece of jewellery which I could look at and know I had brought with my own money and I decided to get myself a Pandora charm bracelet. I brought one charm, a cupcake which was symbolic to me as I had recently learnt to bake! (who knew I could be good at something?).
Last Christmas Day morning at my mother’s house, I opened a present and it was a Pandora charm. A heart that said “daughter” on it. I felt very weird about this instantly because I didn’t want something seemingly nice and sentimental like that when I was dealing with all this therapy stuff…. It made me angry that now I would be wearing a charm that said “daughter” on it. At the same time, I weirdly (and secretly – probably even denied to myself) loved it as it was the closest thing to acknowledging me in a motherly/daughterly way I had ever had from her. I remember telling T at the time that I didn’t really want to wear it and her telling me I didn’t have to. But I felt I did.
Tuesday morning I took the bracelet off and tried to take the charm off, but it got stuck and now I’ve broken my bracelet. Symbolic or what? Lol you have to laugh.
After that numerous stupid things went wrong. I left my phone at work when I left for the evening, my car broke down and the boiler stopped working. I ended up in tears which seems ridiculous but I think I had just reached my limit.
Luckily I still managed to go to T’s because my fiancé dropped me off and waited for me. I did get there late because the traffic was horrendous (another stupid thing adding to my stress!) but at least I got there. It would have been the worst timing ever if I hadn’t of been able to go. I told T briefly about my dream Friday night and how I felt when I woke up on Saturday. I told her about my feelings over the weekend and about all the “sex stuff” as I refer to it. All of a sudden I felt this scary and weird feeling in my body… I don’t really know how to articulate it. It was like a sudden wave of pressure or something and it got stuck in my throat, I cried so suddenly and so hard. I told T I felt like I was going to choke. T said it is where the feelings have been repressed for so long and are now coming out all at once, she kept reminding me to breathe and not to swallow it down. To let them out. That she was there with me. I can almost cry again now remembering the feeling. So much sadness and anger and confusion. So many emotions.
I read T some diary notes I had written over the previous 4 days. I wanted her to see my thought processes and how much I have been thinking and feeling. I didn’t give her much opportunity to speak in the entire hour session. I apologised for reading so many notes back-to-back but she told me to “get it all off my chest”.
Afterwards we spoke about my mum and my nan. I told T that I genuinely think now that perhaps my nan did treat my mother the same way she treated me. I said that when I confronted my mother about her never having cuddled me or sat with me on the sofa, tucked me into bed etc, her response was “Neither did my mother”. I told her that I find it hard to imagine my nan who was so good to me as a child being like that, but I seriously think that was the case now. I said that I do not think that condones the way she treated me. I am not “there” yet. The fact is, I grew up feeling no love and I’m not repeating that dysfunctional behaviour. I am working so hard to make sure that I heal myself enough to be a good and loving mum one day (hopefully) and she could have done the same. T agreed with me that it is not an excuse.
I said to T that when I was young, I spent all my weekends with my Grandparents and I loved being there. I told her I FELT loved by them. T said that the feeling is the only thing that really matters to a child. She said that if a child, for instance, felt as though he or she had been sexually abused, but actually hadn’t physically, that the feeling of being abused was what did the damage. I got what she meant. I said it’s sad to think now that it wasn’t quite as clear-cut as I had always thought. I now think that my nan was unloving and potentially narcissistic towards my mother when she was growing up, but then when I was born my nan was loving towards me and that made my mother extremely jealous. It explains why I would dread leaving my nan’s house and be in tears within minutes of being home again and my mum was so cold towards me. It explains why she used to scream and shout at me and said “you will never come between me and my mum, NEVER!!”. I was so confused by that when I was a child, I had no idea what she meant. Why would I want to come between my nan and my mum? How would I even do that? They used to have HUGE rows over me when I was little. I remember some clearly. My nan would complain to my mother that she wasn’t looking after me. That I hadn’t eaten, that she put her friends before me.. she would question why I was allowed out late at night, to walk home alone in the dark etc. My mother used to get furious about this, they would argue and I would bare the brunt of it. I don’t doubt my nan meant well, she was advocating for me! But it made things worse.
Putting myself in my mother’s shoes, I can understand (again, not condone) that seeing my nan give me love and affection that she never got would have been painful for her. I suppose she took that jealousy out on me. My nan told me so often how my mother was jealous of me. I never understood that at the time. Weirdly, my aunty disliked how much attention I received from my nan and would pop over some weekends and say “oh, she’s here again, what a surprise”. My nan would tell me that my aunty was jealous of me too. Again, that confused me. Why did nobody like me?
I am not saying that I think my nan purposely and consciously showed me love and affection just to make my mother jealous (or my aunty), but that is what happened. I can also see that if I hadn’t done this work on myself the same thing could have happened with my future chid and my mother. I imagine seeing my mother love my child when she didn’t love me would have been very triggering. I also think that my child possibly enjoying his or her nan’s company more than mine, loving her more than me, could have set me up for another repeat. Blaming the child.
This is all very sad. And very dysfunctional.
I told T the other night that whenever I was naughty as a child my mother would phone my nan and tell her. My nan would be so disappointed with me and I would be heartbroken. I guess looking back, it was done to shame me, but what happened was that it didn’t only shame me, it made me panic that I would lose the love and approval of the only person in my life that was capable of giving that to me. I was petrified my only source of love would disappear. When my mother caught me smoking she phoned my nan. If I had been rude, she would phone my nan. She even made scenarios up in front of me, silly things but my nan and I were/are both very tidy people. My nan would remark on how tidy my bedroom was and my mother would lie and say it was full of wet towels dumped on the floor and full of cups and glasses and plates (untrue). Yet again my nan would be disappointed but I would also argue this and say she was lying and then my mum would say “see, this is what she is really like”.
My nan would send me home with pints of pure orange juice (“for the vitamins”) and my mother would drink it with her vodka.
These days due to my grandparents’ ill-health and age, they are pretty dependant upon my mother. They see her at least once a week and she takes them to their various appointments etc. My mother spends a lot of money on them, takes them on holiday with her and buys them wonderful gifts. Because of this, my nan is now very much in my mum’s pocket. Which is why I think that if I cut my mum off, if she doesn’t come to our wedding etc, that I will lose my grandparents.
How things have changed. I said to T through tears on Tuesday that if I lost my nan it would feel like my mother had taken yet another important thing away from me. It made me cry. T said that nobody could ever take away what we had together or the memories which I know is true, but the memories kinda feel distorted a bit right now.
I told T that I could see similarities between my nan and my mum now that I couldn’t see before and that it was sad. For example, when I told my nan I had met my now fiancé, and that he had children, she went on for ages about how I didn’t need to get myself involved with a man that had children. She told me that I would never come first and that there is no way we could have the children EVERY weekend because no marriage could survive that. My nan then told me that when she met my granddad, she told him there was no way his children could come every weekend – and so they didn’t.
My nan still gets jealous of my grandad’s ex-wives now (and she hates his daughters) and they’ve been married for nearly all my life! My nan is pretty nasty to my granddad these days. She denies that she is and she gets very angry if confronted about that, or if I or anyone else sticks up for my poor granddad. She is also extremely paranoid and thinks everyone is talking about her. My mother claims she hates it when her and my aunty get along. I can’t work out if that is true and my mother has copied that from her regarding me and my sister, OR if that is a projection. Maybe it’s both. My mother certainly seems to get some weird enjoyment out of the fact that my nan hates it. Like she likes she can make my nan jealous or something….. possibly like my nan did when she made my mother jealous when I was small.
I have just remembered something strange that happened last Christmas Day. My nan brought my sister a collector’s teddy bear. When my sister opened it, she cried. When she cried, me, my mother and my nan all cried and none of us really knew what we were crying for. Now I think that unconsciously we were all crying for the same thing. That teddy bear represented love, approval and being seen – something which I’m starting to think none of us have ever had or felt. And coincidentally, it was a teddy that I asked T to buy me & I think that teddy (Frank) represents those things to me from someone that can and does give me those things. #TotesEmoshe