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. 

The Fairytale Ending: Amended/Revised

For anyone that read the fairytale ending, this is pretty much the same post but I have expanded on it and sent it to T ahead of tomorrow’s session. Don’t ask me where I found the courage to do that……….. aghhhhghgh.

 

Matilda and Miss Honey

The child in me has been waiting for an adult to come and save her. She has been waiting to be rescued for approximately 29 years. She wants someone to come and take the pain away. Someone to fix everything bad that has happened – to magic it away forever.

Matilda got her happy ending with Miss Honey and she wants hers.

I used to hope that adults, mainly teachers, would see that I was a good girl and would adopt me. Friends’ parents would joke that I was their adopted daughter – it was a joke to them about how regularly I spent time at their houses, but to me it was the potential beginning of my fairytale ending.

Enter T

So I find T one day many years later. At this time I am an adult in age, and in physicality, but emotionally a child. Emotionally stunted at about 6 years old. Still unknowingly craving love, affection, understanding, acceptance and warmth.  Still so desperate for that bond.  That unconditional love. I had a yearning for something but I didn’t know what it was, or how to get it. I tried to get it by moving from boyfriend to boyfriend, even at a young age. I don’t like that about myself but I understand that I just copied what my mother did – that was all I was taught to do. Clearly it didn’t work. But I didn’t need a man, I needed a mother.

I guess I picked a female T for this reason. It wouldn’t have been so easy to find my new mum in a man would it? My fantasy about therapy wasn’t only to “fix myself” but I guess I had this feeling that I could potentially find a kind adult to care for me. Someone who would listen to all of the pain and have genuine compassion… someone who, like I used to hope my teachers would, would see I needed rescuing and would rescue me. I guess in a way it was hoping someone would take pity on me.

Looking back I felt (feel?) some similarities between T and my mum in that I saw them both as powerful, authoritive and strong. I guess therefore potentially dangerous. I felt a similar unconscious sense that I had to be good, well behaved, polite, well-mannered. The alternative? Punishment.  But of what kind? I am not really sure. Abandonment and rejection perhaps.

I liked and respected T for the first two years that I saw her, but now it is more than that in ways I am not sure I have the words to explain. Just thinking about it makes me well up with tears. I’m not entirely sure why, I think I am scared sometimes by the depth of feelings I have for her and how painful the loss would be if she went away. Is it worse to lose something wonderful or to have never had it?

T has shown me and given me things that I had never seen or felt before. Patience, understanding and non-judgment – but I think the thing that sticks out most for me is attunement. I don’t even think I knew what that word meant a while ago and now it is the word I use most regularly in all of my diary entries and blogs. Attunement is key. It is so important on such a deep level. I don’t think I ever felt my mother attuned to me and what’s more, you can’t fake attunement apparently so it truly is precious.

“being or bringing into harmony; a feeling of being “at one” with another being”

I’ve written a lot about all of the ways T is amazing and how I love her – or what she gives me or represents. What I still childishly fantasise her being one day – effectively my Miss Honey.

But…. on the less lovely side of things. T’s attunement to me, her patience and everything else, have suddenly shone a beacon of light on the loss. The loss of my childhood, my innocence and my birth-right to have been loved by my “good enough” mother. A childhood that felt full instead of starved and warm instead of cold. Safe instead of dangerous,. Loved instead of hated.

All of a sudden I am feeling the stark contrast of what T offers me and what I have/had and it hurts. Like it hurts my entire being.  My soul. Everything. It hurts me in a way I don’t think can be explained.

As I write this I have this strange energy coursing through my body, like adrenaline. Maybe it’s anger. It’s mixed with sadness and prickly tears. But the tears aren’t flowing, they are forming a barrier behind my eyelids almost refusing to come out. Like they are trying to stand strong. Like a line of soldiers making a human fence.

Everything that I (very cleverly) defended myself from knowing, seeing and feeling suddenly staring me in the face with a (not so) welcome home banner. I’ve reached the truth, my truth and it makes me want to debate for a moment if I want to keep walking towards “truth” or run backwards to denial and just pretend none of it is real.  Although that isn’t possible now. I sometimes question what was harder: blaming myself for everything, for the things I didn’t have; or knowing it wasn’t my fault and knowing who’s “fault” it was… what is worse? Which is the lesser of the two evils?

Verbal Diarrhoea

The adult part of me knows this is necessary for my healing. That this “is the work” as T would say. I guess that is what enables me to stick it out and not run away. (That and the fantasy of Miss Honey of course) but child me is in pain and shock and so I guess that explains why now I am craving the fairytale more than ever. I feel so regressed so regularly in therapy and sometimes in-between sessions and the craving for T is more intense than ever before. I think that the reason I enjoy writing my blog about therapy, enjoy reading other people’s, reading therapy books, re-reading my old blogs and the comments on them, is all part of this – trying to “feel” the connection that I am craving when I am not physically there with her.. and then sometimes when I am there, the sessions go way too quickly and the loss is right there again sitting in my chest hard to ignore. So I talk fast. “Verbal diarrhoea” as my mother would say, because I have so much to say, so much to share, so much to be soothed and so little time.  And then I leave and feel so ashamed of how much I’ve talked. I should not be the centre of attention – that is for my mother and not for me. I do not deserve that. I will be punished for that – and so I punish myself.

Tuesdays/Thursday Sessions

Thursday sessions sometimes seem like they don’t give me the same feeling that Tuesday sessions do and that is annoying because it is my “ last chance” at connection until the following Tuesday and that feels like a lifetime.  I keep wondering why it is that Thursday sessions feel so different and it feels as though I go into that session more (too) adult. It feels as though I go to Tuesday night sessions way more in touch with the child me, the regressed me, the sensitive me that wants to bare her soul and be soothed – whereas Thursdays I am an adult who wants T to see how competent I am. How grown up I am and I am so bloody fed up with trying to be the grown up so why do I do that? Perhaps I don’t want T to think I am a complete lost-cause. I don’t want her to think I am pathetic and childish and immature. I want her to think to herself just sometimes when I leave that she can have a normal “adult” chat with me about normal life things and not have to feel as though she is babysitting me or teaching me how to be a normal person…. And yet even that is completely contradicted by having a childish need to be rescued so none of it makes sense. It’s like the child in me has a tantrum when I leave on Thursdays and is shouting

“Hello? What about me? Now I have ages to wait just so you could be all grown up”

I wonder whether T sees a difference between Tuesday me and Thursday me or whether this is purely internal?

 

Therapy Breaks

And then you have therapy breaks. I mean, the adult gets this – of course she does, but the child wants to shout:

“What about me? You can’t just leave me here on my own. I will die without you looking after me”

It thinks it very cruel that it is expected to fight against everything it knows to “let someone in” and to learn to trust, to learn to take down the barriers and try to stop the competent (fake) adult taking over. So it does, slowly, very slowly it does this and then it is left alone?!  WTF is that about.  You wouldn’t leave a 6 year old child at home on their own for an entire week because it would die. Unable to eat or wash or anything and it feels almost the same, but emotionally speaking. Mixed messages – confusing. “Trust me, I won’t leave you” – oh, I’ve gone away. Then there is inner-dialogue between adult and child

“T deserves a break, she needs a break to look after you properly. It is only a week [or two weeks], she will be back before you know it”

“She hates me. She wants to leave me. I’ve worn her out. She is fed up of me. She won’t think about me, she will forget me. She won’t ever come back! I don’t need her anyway. I am fine. I am grown up and mature. Watch me cope all by myself. I don’t even think I need therapy anymore”

To the people that created this therapy. Freud etc: you missed something here!

 

Adult vs Child

Adult me knows that I am an adult now and that I cannot now get all that I missed and long for. That it is too late. Adult me knows therapy will help me to accept this and move on. Adult me knows T isn’t going to become mum and make it all vanish – that she doesn’t have a magic wand and that she can’t wave it so that I am 6 again, but her daughter, and none of it would have happened. Adult me gets that in therapy T will help give me some of the things that I didn’t get that will help me. Things like a kinder internalised voice – she had already done that to an extent and she is helping me not to feel so ashamed for having needs, to feel loveable. But child me… she hasn’t quite given up the hope of being rescued yet.  I know the happy ending will still be far nicer than the story ever was…. That in comparison the ending will be nicer than it could have been…. but I have a way to go to be okay with this. Today I feel robbed and angry. Like I have a hole in my heart that is exposed to the elements and it feels like no amount of plasters or stitches or even filler can make it better. Horrible image, but it feels like it is left open and it is being chewed on by insects.

That poor little girl was and is so desperate to be loved by a mummy that she didn’t get. It makes me sick.

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful for what I do have – that I have found T, that I can get so much from her that I have never had – but I guess like a child it wants more of what it likes and it can’t really have much more and that seems so unfair. Knowing that T is a mum seems to make that harder because it makes me jealous that her children get her as a mum so when she has said the words “my children” I have to try hard to keep my face neutral in case she can see anything in me change. Poker face.  Luckily she can’t feel the movement inside my chest.  Plus anyway, it is obviously a one-way relationship where I can’t ask her things that I want to know and so it isn’t really the same is it? Because what I “love” is the feeling I get because you can’t love someone you don’t even know. The whole thing is so confusing.

Dream

I had a dream on Saturday night that two boys I had been intimate with in my life (not both physically) told me that I had an infection on my bottom – I looked in the mirror and it was disgusting, all scabby and disgusting. The word in the dream that jumped out was “bacterial”. I hadn’t seen it because it was behind me, on my bum and so out of my view and I felt hugely humiliated and dirty. I felt so ashamed that they had both seen it and knew it was there and that I didn’t.  I have thought about this dream a lot since and I think it is representative of the fact that people that knew me well enough “saw” I had issues, problems, gaps… but that I didn’t and how ashamed I am about that and now the “scars” of it all seem to be obvious – like the scabby rash thing in my dream.

“A hidden or invisible attack that may weaken or even destroy you” – “Feelings of inadequacy or a sense of uncleanness”

 

One thing that amazes me is quite how relentless my inner child is at not giving up that hope. I am not sure if that makes her determined or stupid but there we have it. She isn’t ready to drop that fantasy yet. Saying that, I do admire the fact that she has continued to fight and has never totally given up. I wouldn’t have blamed her.

My adult wants to make it all better for the child. To cuddle and love her better and yet the child is saying “No! not you!! – someone else!!

The thought that I can make this better for myself seems ridiculous because although half of me wants to be grown up, the other half wants to stay young because if I stay young then Miss Honey will come and if I don’t – she won’t.

 

I do not want to have to be my own mother. I don’t want to grow up (even though I already have).

She’s a geriatric Barbie doll

Last night’s session.

Work had a bit of a weird atmosphere yesterday. It was very quiet and lots of people had taken the extra day off to make a longer long weekend. Mood wise I felt okay you know, not particularly happy but not very down either. Just so.

On the way home from the station last night I found myself with a bit of road rage 😡 and then when I got home found myself snapping at my boyfriend and feeling irritated. I drove to my session and noticed that I felt in a bad mood, nothing felt right. No song was right, I felt annoyed and thought that it was probably due to therapy somehow.

When I got there T asked me how I was and I said I was good and that I hadn’t thought about anything therapy related at all since my last session which wasn’t like me at all. T said perhaps something had been released and it had enabled me to have a bit of a break and “leave it” there with her. I agreed.   I told T that although I had been feeling okay all weekend, since I got home from work tonight I felt a bit miserable.  T asked if I was upset and I said, no, sorry I mean snappy, irritable – I clearly use the word “miserable” out of context when describing my own mood.  T said perhaps because I had therapy tonight and I said that I thought the same although it wasn’t because I didn’t want to come, because I did.  I said I didn’t want to cancel and I would have been very disappointed if she had cancelled, but perhaps the mood was because I knew I would have to think about and deal with this stuff again.  She said that most people who get road rage are people who have passive anger.

We spoke about how the weekend had been and I showed T a photograph of my mother which she had put on Facebook of her and her latest group of BFFs at a festival. My mother was wearing a top which she had tied up to be a short crop-top and looked just ridiculous. T looked at the photo for quite a while and said how age inappropriate she looked and how fake her smile was. I agreed.  T asked how it made me feel and I said it hadn’t bothered me, but I had laughed and thought how pathetic it was.  T said that somewhere it would have affected me and said that my mother had no regard for the fact her daughters wouldn’t like to see their mother acting like that.

I mentioned my upcoming holiday in two week’s time and T said that she knows this is really hard, but perhaps now was the right time for her to give me her summer holiday dates (Bleugh).  I said that was fine and got my phone out to put them in my diary.  She said she was doing things differently this year and was going to take one week in the middle of July and then 2 weeks in September. I noted the dates and said that was all fine.  T asked how it felt and I said it was fine and probably wouldn’t have much impact on me until just before.  T said that she felt as I struggled to show her any needs, I probably felt I had to keep it in and that perhaps I didn’t let my true feelings about this out to her. I said maybe, it was hard to say because at the moment it felt okay but we would see.

T said she had been sitting there before I came in thinking about quite how hard I find it to show her I have a need/needs. I said yes. She said that she was thinking how my mum liked me to be vulnerable and as we had discussed before, was quite voyeuristic about it and so she wondered if I was up against that with her because she was encouraging my vulnerability?

This wasn’t something I had ever thought about before so I wasn’t really sure what to say or think. T said that she knows how thankful I always had to be to my mother for bringing me up or simply being my mother and she wondered if I felt I had to be the same towards her? Did I have to be thankful and “blow her ego up”… I was thinking, no obvious thoughts came to mind.

T said she wondered if sending emails to her with my gratitude kept me safer. Whether I was less likely to be attacked that way? She said that in her last break I had text her a text to show my gratitude towards her and our relationship and that maybe that was the safest way to do it but that deep down I may have felt angry with her.

T said again that at some point I may well start feeling angry and irritated by her. That I will make her what she needs to become for me to really deal with my anger and rage. She said that she didn’t tell this to scare me but wanted me to understand it so that I understood when it happened. I said it did scare me a bit because coming here was my safe haven and I didn’t want that to change.  T said it would and could still be my safe haven, we would work through it.

T said that emailing on its own was showing a need but the content was hard for me to express. She asked me where in my body I felt it? I thought and I wasn’t sure. I said probably my head because I often get a headache if I’m down and said I have what I call “head cloud” which is where everything feels heavy and miserable sometimes. I said sometimes I just wake up like that. T asked if it’s after I’ve had dreams and I said yes sometimes. She said that sometimes our mood could be because of things that are unconscious to us at the moment and I agreed.

T said it was worth thinking about because some people might notice for instance that they get a stomach ache before they cry or something like that. I said I have noticed things before like I sometimes get heartburn before therapy and I’ve had it enough now to be able to explain it to myself “ah, it’s because I’m nervous about therapy tonight”. T nodded. She asked if perhaps I saw a colour or a picture or a shape? I said no… I said I don’t really understand but that I didn’t think so.

T asked how I feel when I am miserable or angry, where do I feel it in my body? I said I don’t know… this was hard because I felt a bit stupid not knowing the answer – t said it is okay and that it’s still a new concept for me but it’s worth thinking about.

I told her that I had a memory the other day that when I was young and my mother was getting ready to go out, which she did a lot, she would pout in the mirror and ask me how she looked. I would say “lovely” and she would always say “JUST lovely?” So I would say “beautiful” and she would say “just beautiful??”. I told T it became a joke that me and my sister would tease her with and before she asked we would reel off as many positive words as possible and that it was annoying. I said it was only now I realised how narcissistic that was – she was literally asking me and my sister to tell her how wonderful she was.

T asked if she would tell me nice things when I was going out and I said no. Never. She did the opposite. She always pointed out things that weren’t good enough, in front of my friends and that again it’s only now I realise how cruel that was. I said that I always tell my stepdaughter how lovely she looks and said that only the other day she had done her hair and I told her it looked nice but she said she was worried her ears looked big. I said they absolutely didn’t and then told my boyfriend on the quiet to tell her how nice she looked. I said even if she did have “big ears” or something, I would never, ever point it out to her.

T said a mother should tell her daughter she looks pretty. (Automatic thought was lucky T’s daughter probably got that growing up) – I know, jealous much.

I said, I hate the impact she’s…. then got choked and started crying but managed to stop myself quickly. T told me not to swallow it. I took a few deep breaths and said I know we’ve touched on this before, but… and T interrupted and said we will have to revisit it many times… I said the impact she’s had on my view of my body and looks makes me feel so angry.

I thought very briefly about telling T the extent of this but she said something and I decided not to.  Part of me really wants her to understand the ways she has affected how I view myself physically but at the same time I am scared to point my flaws out to T because I don’t want her to look for them when they’ve been pointed out to her and become more obvious.

I said the last time we spoke about this, I had left her’s very upset and found the next day or two really very difficult. T said that’s because it came up at the end of the session and that when this happens it may well get me in touch with my anger. I said I think it did a bit last time because I felt angry that I had to go. T agreed and said you would have liked to stay. I said yes. This made me upset again. (For background when this happened I cried a lot when I got to the car and all the way home and again a lot at home. I kept hoping T would text or email me to see how I was because I left in so much pain but she didn’t and that felt cold).

T said I was angry with my mother even if I didn’t feel it and I said oh I know I am, I am not trying to pretend otherwise. I am very aware of my anger at her. I said this is why I am steering clear of her at the moment because I wouldn’t be able to stop myself if she said something.

T asked what sort of thing and I said if she made a comment on my weight or clothes etc I think I would lose it. T asked what I would like to say? I said I didn’t have a clue but that perhaps I would tell her she looked like a geriatric Barbie doll. T burst into laughter but stopped herself quickly.

She suggested that I wrote a letter to her and dispelled some of my anger. I said I had written letters before that I had read to T and she said I had, but they were much more “in the head” and this might help with the anger. I said I wouldn’t know where to start. She said not to worry about sentences or spelling and just to write words or scribbles or whatever I felt I needed to do. I said maybe.

I’ve since thought about this and note that I feel some reluctance which surprises me because I’ve always wanted T to “give me homework” or some sort of project to do and yet I don’t see myself doing this at the moment. Maybe I’m scared of my anger or something, I don’t know.

I said to T that it is really hard that she doesn’t even know I am so angry with her. I said that usually when you are upset with someone, they know about it and it is hard to be so angry and yet have to act as though everything is normal when I speak to her. For example she text me Sunday inviting me to a festival that she was at (don’t ask!).  T asked what it would mean to have replied and said “I am upset/angry with you at the moment”? I told her that then she would ask why and I can’t tell her and even if I did it would be completely useless because she can’t accept any criticism or blame for anything and it wouldn’t get me anywhere.  T said that neither of my parents were able to take any blame at all for anything. I agreed.

I said that I genuinely do not want an apology off of her – I have given up hope that things may ever be different: that she might change one day into what I want her to be – I said that if she did apologise now, it wouldn’t help, it would be too little too late so it isn’t that…

T said you just wish she was a normal mother? I said yes.  I told T that my anger and sadness were very mixed up and it was hard to say which I felt because I wasn’t sure. With that I got teary again and as I tried to push back the tears, they came out quite hard and forcefully and I let the tears come for a bit.  I think T said “oh Twinkletoes” and that seemed to make it worse but in a kinda nice way… I wasn’t entirely sure what I was crying about.

I think we spoke about some more stuff but nothing is jumping out right now. I left T’s feeling okay-ish although I had to sit in the car for 5 minutes before driving off and I cried again and felt so very sad.  When I got home I was very quiet which is very unlike me, I didn’t have anything to say and I didn’t really have any conscious thoughts, I just laid on the sofa until bed time.  Eventually my boyfriend came over and asked if it was a hard session which I said yes it was… and cried again as he gave me a cuddle.  He later asked me if something had happened and I said no, it hadn’t.

I wish I could explain to both him and to myself what I am crying about specifically but I can’t. I think it is just the sadness about the whole situation really. I wish it wasn’t reality but it is and it sucks.

T hit the nail on the head when she said that I was having to re-write my history and figure out what is and isn’t true and realise the damage that has been done.  I just feel like I am in the middle of it all at the moment and it does feel overwhelming at times…

The tears could be about the body image stuff and the anger and shame that brings up in me… it could be the breaks coming up.. it could be the neediness and the fear that brings.. I don’t know, but when I got in the car last night I thought how quickly my session had gone and how it just didn’t seem long enough.

Twink x

 

What is the worst she could do? – Leave.

I woke up yesterday morning and realised it was T day. That made me happy and I felt much more motivated to get out of bed and get ready for work, I noticed how much knowing I would be going to Ts changed my spirit and thought that it was a nice way to feel.

I was looking forward to telling T all about my new mind-set. My new revelations. I hoped she would be as excited as me but I had this feeling that she wouldn’t. A couple of times in the past, I’ve gone to T and told her about something which has got me really excitedly empowered and have come away feeling a bit “brought back to earth”. An example of this was when I thought I had reached acceptance about my mother’s bad behaviour. I went in excited and came out a little deflated again. I think that made me a bit angry at the time but clearly in hindsight she was right because since then I am angry with my mother so it wasn’t real acceptance after all.

Yesterday was much the same unfortunately. I went to T and told her I was feeling good and that I was feeling like a new person. She smiled and asked what realisations have you had? And I told her how I was feeling in that both of my parents are emotionally immature, that I really have understood that it was/is them and not me and that what I said out loud to her in my last session about neither of them being able to handle my feelings felt like a big deal.

T asked how it felt that I had come to this realisation that neither of them could handle my feelings and I told her that I felt empowered by it not to let them carry on. She seemed a bit surprised and said that it was a hugely painful thing to understand (clearly she expected me to be upset) and I said, before she did, that perhaps my feelings of sadness will follow but that for the time being, just having understood this was helping me to feel more in charge.  T said something about anger and I told her that I was feeling some anger about it, she suggested that perhaps at the moment the anger was fuelling the feeling of empowerment. I agreed.

We spoke a lot the rest of the session about my mother. About the fear she provokes in me (indisputable unfortunately) – I will go into details later . I told T what I had learnt in my book (adult children of emotionally immature parents) about the “rescue fantasy” and about the “role-self” – being that children with parents like mine create this fantasy that one day things will be different, that their parent will become all that they need and everything will be fixed. It is what keeps us going throughout the shit childhood. And the role-self being the self that you mould around what your parent needs you to be.  I.e. not you real self which you repress because basically it won’t be accepted by them or could get you in more trouble/cause you to get access to even less love or whatever.

I told T that both applied 100% to me and that it was remarkable. She said that perhaps reading this book was helping me to feel less alone in this situation and perhaps it was validating something. I said it was, but she said (god I hate this) that I was intellectualizing again. I really bloody hate it when she tells me this – not because she is wrong, because she isn’t! but because so what?!– Here I am feeling all feisty and empowered and now this makes me feel rubbish again. I don’t want to focus on my lack of “feelings”, I want to celebrate my new knowledge! *I realise this is the child part of me kicking off and do understand as an adult that of course she would point this out – it is her job as my therapist etc* .

Today I started another book, one I read about 2.5 years ago which is called “You’re not crazy, it’s your mother!” which was good the first time around but incredible this time around. I think because I have accepted that it is true more now than then and so it’s still giving me those “Omg” moments when I can relate something in the book to her. I have started writing some notes on the things that apply to me which I might post in a day or two in case it helps anyone else and also as a reminder to myself in the future.

I was talking about how the weekend went when I saw both my parents separately – I told her how I felt about it which was pretty much that I just held my head up high and went to both the party and then my mother’s house and felt fine. T said that I go there and shut half of myself away so that I can survive. I said maybe. I don’t know. I told T that my Dad said at the party that he was scared my mother would ruin my future wedding and that he would walk me down the aisle (if I wanted him to) but that he wouldn’t do a speech. T said it was a shame that he couldn’t put his nervousness aside for that small amount of time for his daughter – I agreed.

This lead me to tell T that my mother has always said that either her or my stepdad would want to do a speech. I used to love this thought. A special speech all about me and admitted that I had the “rescue fantasy” that my Dad would give some speech admitting his crapness and I would shed a tear or two and we would hug and it would all be lovely… I had the fantasy that my mother would do a speech but I never really imagined what she would say.  I said that now, I didn’t want my mother or stepdad giving a speech because my mother would just make it all about her and my stepdad would be doing it to get one over on my Dad in a kind of “Dad-Off”. T said that I didn’t have to have either of them give a speech.  I was like.. mmmmmmmm.  (this meant me thinking mother would kill me).

I said it would be a shame to not have any speeches if I’ve already had to give up on my parents giving speeches and T said that other people could do one if I wanted them to, perhaps my boyfriend’s Dad, my boyfriend etc… this thought filled me with horror. I couldn’t do that I said!! T asked why not? I said what would I say to my mother when she asked why I didn’t want her or my stepdad giving a speech?? T said that I don’t have to justify myself to her. I can simply say “I don’t want you giving a speech and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to come” – I rolled my eyes and said the backlash to that would be awful. T said “what is the worst that could happen?” – I told T I ask myself this all the time and didn’t know what the answer was, I said I know it sounded stupid.

T said it isn’t stupid but that it is very obvious to her that I can fall back into the trap of the “fear factor” with regards to my mum. I agreed with her and said I know, I know I do.

I told T that my boyfriend woke up feeling a little miserable on Sunday and T said that it was like he had an “emotional hangover” – I looked shocked because those were the exact words my boyfriend had used himself and T laughed. I told her the things that he had said about how he felt about being there. That he felt trapped and that he was constantly on edge, waiting to see if he was going to be attacked again like before.  He also said that he struggled seeing me act like “all was forgiven” when I was there.

T said it must be hard for him but that he needs to know if she does it again, he can look her in the eye and tell her that he will not tolerate her behaving like that to him and that he will not put up with it. That he can walk out and that he can tell her “I know what you are doing, but if you want a relationship with your daughter and I then you cannot treat me this way” or words to that effect.. I said I agreed but I felt he worried I wouldn’t stick up for him.

T said he probably had a shock when she attacked him last time because saw how I changed (basically totally dissociated and stared into space feeling all weird). I agreed that was probably hard for him.

T then told me a story about how she once went with a friend of her’s to visit her narcissistic mother after they had been separated for 15 years. Apparently this narcissistic mother attacked my T (not her daughter) and T said that the reason she was telling me this story was that my mother and this narcissistic woman were very similar.  That this woman attacked my T instead of her daughter and that my mother was doing the same via my boyfriend.  I said to T that I know my mother is furious with me, I can see it in her eyes.  T said she will be furious because you are not being her narcissistic supply anymore and that is what she wants.

I thought to myself last night/today that the “role-self” I came up with developed in my teens because I realised that being my true self, which my mum called “Saffy” (after the daughter in Ab Fab) wasn’t going to win her approval and eventually I guess I succumbed into being more like her. I started to drink, to smoke, to flirt around me, to go to clubs with her (yes, I know)…I went out with men – actual men, not boys my age that I didn’t even like.. I even slept with someone because she told me I should.  This train of thought reminded me of a memory that I am ashamed of but have decided to write here because I think it is important on this journey of mine.

I once went to the pub with some friends and drank a lot of wine. One of the boys then invited everyone back to his flat for more drinks which I went to happily.  They all started doing drugs and I decided that I would try it. I have no idea why because I had always been dead set against drugs! I even ended a relationship with a long-term ex because he started to do them… anyway I tried it and I did it various more times during that evening (the evening finished at 6am the following day!).  I eventually got into a taxi home and when I got into bed, I didn’t feel very good and I just couldn’t believe I had done drugs, I had surprised myself.  Then I had this thought…. Maybe I should text my mother (who was asleep in the other room) and tell her what I had been doing, I had this feeling that she would be proud of me. That it would really prove I wasn’t boring. That I wasn’t “saffy” after all.  But the fear that I might be wrong and she might actually hate me for it stopped me telling her.

Isn’t that story just horrific? Isn’t it sick? I haven’t been able to admit this to anyone at all ever before and I’m not sure I will.. but I think it proves my point.

My boyfriend said to me “try to really think about what it is that you are scared of when you know your mum won’t like something. Like really think about it, I think the answer will be important” and I thought about it and said, well, I guess it all boils down to her abandoning me, leaving forever and there we have it.

The very basic point of it all is that I am petrified of upsetting or angering my mother in case she abandons me.

AGHH.

The Victim Is Dead.

The victim is dead.

Here lies the body of victim Twinkletoes – she died feeling sorry for herself for her lack of decent parents, for the all-consuming feeling of being constantly rejected by the people that “should” love her but constantly demonstrated that they did not. She died never feeling like she was deserving of love. She died feeling unlovable. She died having only half-lived her life.

The survivor is born.

Let me introduce to you the newly born survivor Twinkletoes. She is born with an understanding of her own self-worth, with self-respect and with the understanding that other peoples’ perception of her, is not her truth.  Newly born survivor Twinkletoes does not think about the things that happen in life as unfair, does not think that the world owes her anything and does not feel small, powerless or defenceless.  Survivor Twinkletoes is not a child, but a powerful, independent, strong woman.

 

 

Now that the introductions are over, normal service shall commence.

Hi guys. I haven’t gone mad I promise, although something has happened. Since my last blog yesterday which sounded very strong-willed, I went back downhill slightly and started to feel a bit of a victim again. I went off to my session feeling rather pleased to be having a session. I think looking back I was hoping to go in and have T tell me what to do, what to say and what I needed to do to make things better but obviously that didn’t happen.

I ranted, vented, moaned whatever you want to call it, I exhausted myself. T sat with me. She “heard” me, she understood and she validated but she didn’t tell me what to do to magically fix it which was a shame really… however we were (or rather I was) chatting away about it all and I said that it felt as though my mother and my father were both standing behind glass.  I can see them but I can’t “get to them” and T said “and they probably can’t hear you either if they are behind glass” and I agreed.  I said to T that when I was a child and visited my Dad for the day, he would always ask me at some point in the afternoon (awkwardly) what time I wanted to go home.  I never knew the answer to this and it always made me feel very uncomfortable. I told T that I never knew the “right” answer so I would always say very timidly that I didn’t mind, it was up to him.. whenever.  He used to get a bit annoyed because he clearly wanted me to decide but I was a child.  Sometimes he would say things like “well do you want to stay for dinner or not?” and I wouldn’t know whether he wanted me to say yes or whether saying yes was putting him out and so I would say the same thing, I don’t mind – it’s up to you”.  I gave a few examples of these silly scenarios and T said that even when I was a child he put it all on me to decide.  He couldn’t ever be the adult, the father and just make a decision and tell me what we were doing.  I said that was true and that also I was always so worried about saying or doing the wrong thing and pushing him away that I was always playing the good girl.  I said to T:

“Neither of them can handle my feelings. Neither of them can validate how I feel.  Neither can take themselves out of the picture for even a moment and try to see where I am coming from.  Neither of them can apologise when they are wrong or have hurt me, intentionally or not”.

T nodded her head and smiled at me as if to say “Finally you understand”… it was as though I had finally understood something that she had known all along. It’s one of them moments in therapy where you say something out loud that you just know is very significant and something that you thought you “knew” but only intellectually knew – and now you really knew it like on some deep level.

T then said that no, they couldn’t handle my feelings and that they couldn’t handle their own either. My dad buries his head in the sand and hopes it will all go away and my mother projects her stuff onto other people and is obviously so narcissistic that her grandiose sense of self doesn’t enable her to even consider she might be in the wrong.

I suddenly realised this was true and I suddenly understood the impact this has had on me, on my life so far. I think about them, their feelings and their responses before my own. I am too scared to be honest, I am too scared to say how I feel – I don’t even KNOW how I feel because I lost touch with my feelings a long time ago – if I ever learnt how to feel them in the first place?!

And then I thought “I’ve tried to be a good girl for 29 years now and it hasn’t worked – I am still chasing their love and approval and I haven’t got it so fu*k them! No more”.

I left T’s and went home where I did some housework and watched a few episodes of a series I like, a few hours later as I was hanging up some washing I thought to myself “ooh I haven’t thought about this for all that time, ha!” I was surprised because until this point, this stuff has been consuming me constantly. Not even seconds went by without me thinking about it all. I thought to myself that this was a good sign but wasn’t sure how it had happened. I thought it must just be the power of T.

But today I think I understand that it is actually the power of that realisation. It’s the effect of finally really “getting” something. Understanding something, being validated – heard and seen and, dare I say it… maybe even that belief that it really isn’t my fault. Like, really, it really, honestly, truly and genuinely isn’t (something I’ve heard a gazillion times before and rolled my eyes at because I thought it was just a pleasantry. You know, something you say to cheer someone up or whatever).

I then spent some time Googling (the font of all knowledge!) about “victim mentality” and “how to stop playing the victim” because I decided that I am fed up of feeling weak and powerless and childish. Yes I am hurt, yes I am angry – very at the moment, but I refuse to spend the rest of my life only half living.  What a waste that would be.

Here is what I learnt so far:

  • People like to feel like the victim because it basically brands them “the goody” and the other person “the baddy”. So I guess you get some sort of approval from that – in my case, approval is clearly something I want so it’s better than nothing right?
  • If you are a victim, its safe. You don’t need to risk anything or do anything – you can just sit around in your familiar “victim” status.
  • You don’t have to take responsibility because life is happening TO you;
  • Many people think they are entitled to good treatment. The truth is that they are neither entitled nor not entitled to it. The significant issues are what is going on and how do they feel about it. This woman would have been better off actively facing the facts of the situation and acknowledging her emotional reactions rather than personally judging it and feeling victimized by it”; and

 

  • Maintaining a child victim role leads to chronic passivity. Victimized feelings are very often appropriate to the child’s situation. Children are without power, are helpless and are at the mercy of their parents. Later as an adult, things happen that are sometimes beyond your control and understanding. However, the adult who is still playing the child victim role responds like the deer that sees a mountain lion approaching and instead of fleeing the danger becomes paralyzed. This person just keeps noticing over and over that the situation is unreasonable, unfair or threatening but doesn’t make the appropriate adaptive responses. In the case of the woman mentioned above, the tip off to the fact that she really preferred the child victim role was that she never made any substantial attempt to change her circumstances. Like so many of us, she would rather feel justified in complaining endlessly about her unfortunate circumstances while passively registering her dissatisfaction than actively changing her situation”.

So, I have made the decision to go to this party tomorrow where my dad, stepmum and brothers will be. I will go there and be strong and adult. I will not get caught up in any conversations about unfairness or rejection or disappointment because I will not waste my pearls (T’s phrase). I am going to the party because I WANT to go to it, rightly or wrongly.  I know I will only feel more upset if I don’t go and so why bring that upon myself on purpose?

The plan currently is this: Change my thinking from victim, to survivor. Change my mentality from defenseless child, to in charge adult.  Try and accept that my father is unable to give me what I would like and try to just accept what he can offer and if I decide at some stage that isn’t enough – well then perhaps I will have to make the tough decision to stop being the one to keep the contact.. we will see.

I accept that I may slip in and out of this mindset. It may feel easy today and impossible next week but I will hang in there.

recover from victim

 

strong women

 

recover

 

This has to stop ✋ 

More drama… 

Yesterday was one of my brother’s birthdays. I had text in the day and wished him a good day. He said he hoped to see me soon and I asked him if he was going to this party Saturday night, he said he was and that it would be “good to see you again”. I thought at the time that it made it sound as though I was a random and not his sister but brushed it off because clearly I’m sensitive at the moment. 

On my way home from work I was scrolling through social media and see a photo of my 3 brothers all dressed up in shirts etc and it hit me – of course, they will all be going out for a meal tonight to celebrate (they do this for everyone’s birthdays (well, except me). 

So I text and asked when his birthday meal was going to be. No reply for about an hour and I just knew I was right. It was now. I text another brother with the same question and eventually they both replied at the same time to say yes it was tonight but that it was “last minute”. Like fuck it was. 

With this is burst into tears but the tears only lasted a few seconds. Rage kicked back in. The rage I had been carrying since my session Tuesday anyway, amplified. 

I phoned my friend and ranted to her about it all and when I hung up, I saw that one of the brothers had “checked in” on Facebook and tagged people in. It was my dad, stepmum, 3 brothers AND all 3 of their girlfriends too… last minute my arse and even if it was last minute, they managed to invite the others so where was my text? 

Beast mode: activated. 

Cute, sweet me is not so cute now. I’m full of so much anger and disappointment but I’m struggling to hold it all, I don’t know what to do with it because it’s an unfamiliar feeling for me. 

T said to “bring” it to her but that doesn’t seem enough. I want to react. I want to write shitty statuses, shout, scream, punish and send angry texts and make him feel as shit as I do. But there really is no point. 

I had a stern talk with myself and thought, I’m 29 in a few weeks he (dad) has never been any different, this is very much same story different day. Why am I still so hurt? You would think the pain would lessen but it doesn’t seem to be. 

I decided enough is enough. I’m starting to feel like I’m keeping myself in this victim role. It’s like I just sit here and wait for the next rejection to come my way, then I cry about it and feel a bit poor me until it fades and then I wait for the next thing to happen that backs up my thought and feelings that I’m not loved by him. 

No more. 

Something needs to change because I am seriously through with this shit now. 

I know I need to accept him for what he is. He can’t offer me what I want, he never has been able to. I need to let go of this hope that I carry around because it’s like one huge vicious circle of hope & dissapointment. Each time it bites off another piece of my self esteem. 

I need to get some self respect. I need to give up on this childish fantasy of righting the wrongs. The daddy thing just isn’t going to happen for me. I need to make my peace with this, I don’t know how yet, but I know that is what’s next. 

Clinging on to any tiny morsel of love is insulting and pathetic. 

I have told him all the awful things that have happened to me in the hope he will see I truly need rescuing and they make no difference. 

I haven’t cried since that initial moment. I’m not feeling that in touch with sadness, just anger and this weird feeling that something has shifted. 

It takes 2 people to hurt someone right? The one doing the hurting and the one allowing it to repeat. I need to stop playing my part in this right now. 

I’ve been caught up in this replay for years and years, never giving up hope that it will change. The evidence is clear. 

I woke up feeling that something had happened. You know that feeling where you have to figure out what – is it Xmas day? A birthday? Are you going somewhere …. then I remembered what it was and I thought today is the start of a new phase for me. I don’t know how but it just is. 

Session Tuesday 4th April

Hi everyone,

Firstly thank you to everyone who commented on my post yesterday about feeling unwell, it seems I am far from the only one who has experienced somatic symptoms on therapy day and I have absolutely no doubt at all that it is linked. Far too much of a coincidence for my liking! I have woken up feeling much better today which is a relief.

When I got home last night (shortly after posting about how I was feeling on the train), I found myself in floods of tears and desperate for a cuddle from my boyfriend. I didn’t know what I was crying at which is something I still struggle to accept – I get quite aggravated at myself for not understanding what is making me cry. I really needed to be cuddled by him, he had just taken his top off to get changed and I literally had my head pressed on his chest and just cried all over him (I know, lovely!). I do feel for him because obviously he asked why and when I said I didn’t know, he didn’t know what to do or say to me lol!

I asked him if he could drive me to my session because I really didn’t want to go and I really didn’t want to drive (I have noticed that when I feel like this, I lose concentration when driving or I make stupid mistakes and scare myself) but he couldn’t because he had to log back onto work. So I had no choice. I really, really didn’t want to go.

But I did go, and I did drive and I arrived – with no nails having bitten them all off.

T asked me how I was and I said quite honestly, “Err, I’ve been better”. I had a bit of a miserable sulk face on and breathed out quite heavily.  I went on to explain my physical symptoms and she asked me what I thought they were about. I said I didn’t know and that I hadn’t had any thoughts accompanying the feelings so I was a bit confused.  T said she thought it was about the break and I said I had thought this was possible too.

I told T that I had also bitten off all of my nails and that I had realised I had also done this last week. T asked if I always bit my nails and I said that I used too, but not anymore.  T said that I have suffered with my stomach a lot haven’t I and I said that I used to think I had IBS for years.  T said “used to?” and I told her that for nearly a year now, I’ve barely noticed any stomach troubles and that it had nearly gone unless I had a lot of dairy – which was easy enough to avoid.

T said “so you are re-experiencing physical symptoms that you used to have?” – that made sense. I agreed. She said she didn’t think that was a coincidence and said something was going on and it was all in my tummy. She asked if I was scared and I said I wasn’t sure. She asked if I was angry and I said I wasn’t sure.

I told T that I had burst into tears when I got home and she said she thought it was interesting that I had cried at home rather than in the room. I said that I had felt like I needed to cry all day long so I wasn’t surprised it came out when I got home – she said maybe the “upset” coming out in tears at home would help with the “belly upset”.

T mentioned the break and said that obviously the break was next week (for two weeks) and that it was probably having an effect on me. She said that last time in the break I found it very hard at first, but was then able to settle into it a little. I didn’t say much at this point…. I noticed that for the first time probably ever, there were a lot of silences from me.  Usually I talk A LOT. I just didn’t have anything to say and that is very unusual for me.

My mother came up and I said that I hadn’t thought much about my last therapy session and that over the weekend I had totally turned therapy stuff off (again this is unusual for me). T said that it struck her in our last session how much I was realising about my mum and how painful it was.  Silence from me for a bit….. I then said that it had really hit me last session that everything we spoke about and every suggestion T made about my wedding, that my first thought was about what my mother would think. I said that I couldn’t really believe how much I did this and that it really made me realise how much I do it. I said it was stupid.  T said it wasn’t stupid, it was completely natural because I have been trained to please her and I’ve become very loyal to her because of it.  I felt irritated and annoyed. Deep breath out… more silences.

I told T at some point during the session that I just can’t believe she is that bad yet I know she is. I said it is annoying me because I feel so stupid – I have all the evidence there – right there in front of me and yet, I still have these thoughts and hopes that it isn’t really true. I said I just can’t understand that conflict!  T said again how it is normal. She said that sometimes we need our defences because things are truly so painful.  She kept telling me not to call myself stupid and I said even though I understood why I might do things or feel things, it was annoying me.  T asked where the anger was and I said I do get angry! I do, it really pisses me off that I do this, that I fall into her trap – it pisses me off that I can be so gullible and feel so much guilt and it annoys me that I still can’t accept the truth!!!!! She said again not to turn the anger to myself. (easier said than done).

The tears were flowing by this stage and I think they pretty much stayed there for the rest of the session on and off. I still find this hard to believe because up until fairly recently, there were no tears EVER and now they are there nearly all session nearly every session.  I worry she will start to find me too depressing even though I know that is not something a trained therapist probably thinks about her patients.  I also know that I am not there to entertain her but hey, I can’t help the thoughts that come – true or not true.

T told me to limit how much I see my mother during the two weeks she is off and I said I would and that I had no plans to see her. She said that when she is away, she isn’t there to regulate and contain me and my feelings about her so not seeing her would help with that. I agreed.

We spoke a bit about how when I see her and when I am in touch with my anger, I find myself rather aggressive – I question the things she says that don’t match up and I point out inconsistencies etc. I am guarded and ready to fire – I said that this wasn’t fun for me and that if I’m not like that, I am too soft and seem to get sucked in to her attempts and don’t realise what she is doing. T said that it might help to imagine that I am wearing a sort of cloak. It is soft enough to let the good stuff in but is hard enough to let all the nasty stuff just bounce off.  She has used this concept before but it hasn’t really worked for me before. I told T that some weeks a certain family friend will be all wonderful and the next time I see her, she is slating that person and that I find myself pointing that out to her.  T said not to waste my time or my breath – I said I know, I just can’t help myself.

I said that I had thought a bit about our conversation about the row between my mum and my boyfriend and that it made me feel sick to think that her reasons for allegedly “protecting me” were so different to what I had hoped/thought they were. I said it made me feel sick – she pointed out it wasn’t a surprise I had physically felt sick all day. I said to T, obviously it is all sick but it really is so sick isn’t it? She is so sick.  T didn’t say much but I just kinda looked into nowhere and sat with that.

I said that I know people say this sort of thing often but I just cannot comprehend/believe that she could be so … just like this. It is hard to truly accept properly. I said yet someone had commented recently on my blog to say that perhaps my mother wasn’t narcissistic and I was very quick to point out that she really is. I said I know she is but I just can’t believe it.  T said she really did understand.

T said it takes time and I said I thought I had understood all of this for the last 2 years, why now am I back to denial? T said I might have accepted it on an intellectual level but the feelings about it all are much harder. She said it takes time and that I would get there slowly. She said to settle in and that 2 years really wasn’t long. I let out a sulky moan type noise and felt kind of defeated inside.  I wanted to tell her that I don’t want more years of feeling like this but I didn’t say that.

We spoke some more about the guilt that I feel (this is not a new conversation) and I said that sometimes I guess I fear she will know what I am thinking and saying about her and that ….. I paused here and said I know this is totally ridiculous but I guess that I worry she will die and I was wrong (about her being shit and narcissistic etc) and that I would never forgive myself. T said basically I worry that I could CAUSE her death? I said yes, and that I know that isn’t possible.  T understood this fear and said that it doesn’t matter if it makes sense or not, fears are fears and feelings are what they are – they don’t have to make sense.  She seemed to understand this and said again, it is just more evidence of how much I have been taught to look after her and put her needs first and that obviously going against that so much would bring on these fears.  She said I was taught growing up to keep her good and happy otherwise death was possible.  Even writing that sounds stupid but I hope some of my readers might understand this somehow.

Conversation changed towards the end of the session and I spoke about 2 examples of arguments I have had in the past with my mother. I told her the details of the stories which I won’t go into here but one of them resulted in her not speaking to me (or her husband) for 3 weeks and that was whilst I lived at home. I said it was horrible and she seemed quite shocked.  The other story, she told me if I left a party she held that she would never, ever throw a party again – I told T that I DID leave and she didn’t ever throw a party again until a year ago.  T said “she made you very powerful in that didn’t she?” I said yes.  I spoke more about how these two events happened surrounded by her friends and by our family and that this is why everyone thinks so badly of me. She cries and becomes a victim and everyone only ever seems to see me when I have had enough and I get angry and respond either with words or by refusing to do what she wants and that this is why they think I am bad.

T said I know it is hard, but it doesn’t matter what these people think. They are her flying monkeys – people that associate with her that are either scared of her, just like her themselves or just only see little bits, not enough to get the full picture I said I knew all of this and that I know it shouldn’t matter what they think of me but it still does – it still infuriates me.  I told T that I had a dream the other night of someone hiding a knife in my purse or bag and that everyone thought I was dangerous but it really wasn’t me – she said that dream was pretty symbolic of being made to look like the baddy. I agreed.

I can’t remember much more of the session but I left feeling okay and I feel fine today too which is nice. But… it is on my mind that tomorrow afternoon is my last session for 19 days including weekends and that obviously isn’t a nice thought….. we haven’t discussed ways to help me through the break with transitional objects or voice recordings etc and I am worried it is now too late. I am debating sending an email today asking for something but I feel so stupid doing this (despite the fact I would encourage anyone else to do this!!!!).

 

 

 

Guilt, Acceptance, Denial?

When I wrote yesterday’s blog I didn’t consciously know I felt that way until I had the words in front of me in black and white – one of the many reasons that I love to write. Sometimes I shock myself, yesterday was one of those times.

I’ve been thinking a lot since then about the guilt that I feel towards my narcissistic mother and yet at the same time, the pain I feel because of her. I find it really strange that I can be feeling two different emotions so intensely.  This morning I read a few articles on Google about guilt and it seems to be a very common theme with people raised by narcissists so I am not massively surprised but what has surprised me is that I suddenly feel a bit sorry for her.

Reading back my sentence about how I suddenly looked at my mother’s interactions with my nan on Sunday and realised that perhaps she herself is seeking love, acceptance and approval from her own mother – realising that is probably how/why she has become so narcissistic herself – has blown my mind.

The question howver is, is this just my way of making the pain she has caused more tolerable or is this a level of acceptance and understanding that I “should” be feeling? Are these feelings right or wrong?

I know that feelings really can’t be right or wrong – they just are, I say that sentence enough myself but what I mean is, is this part of the process and part of the journey that is normal for people like me or am I teetering off the cliff edge about to land in a deep river of denial?

Did she cause me all sorts of psychological harm? Yes. Was my childhood horrible? Yes.  Did she love me unconditionally? No.  Did he hurt me? Yes… BUT………… Did she set out in life to be a narcissist – No.  That’s where I am at today.

I’ve learnt first hand that you internalize all sorts of crap from your caregivers – you don’t know it to be right or wrong when you are that young and it just gets in and you don’t even really notice it.  Then one day you (hopefully) end up in therapy and you say things which are mirrored back at you and its like you “hear” them for the first time and realise they are wrong.

I’ve also learnt first-hand that had I not have taken myself to therapy, I have no doubt I would have become more and more like my mother until perhaps I ended up fully narcissistic too – after all, I was on a constant search for love and approval from her that I just couldn’t ever get and so I kept trying harder, bigger, faster…. perhaps eventually that hurt would have been so much that I covered it all up with a big NPD cloak.

With that in mind, it’s made me think that she had the same experience with her mother. She hasn’t had the benefit of therapy and she doesn’t know this stuff. She doesn’t understand anything is “wrong” or not normal or unhealthy… she hasn’t had the big “aha” moments that I have had.. she hasn’t read the books, the articles, the blogs, she hasn’t felt the power of being truly seen and heard by someone – hasn’t had someone “sit” with her whilst she cries and acknowledges some really deep, painful hurts.  She hasn’t had these things pointed out to her and been able to understand them, feel them, SEE them and so is it really her fault?

I don’t mean that it is someone else’s fault – like say, my nan’s, because if my nan was like that then chances are so was her mother and so the cycle continues and “blame” can’t ever really be given to anyone particular. I just mean it could have so easily been me.  One day, it could have been my child writing a blog like this.  One day my child could have found themselves in therapy having to dig through the mountains of pain and hurt trying to figure out that they aren’t to blame – all because I parented them like my mum parented me – like her mum parented her and so on…..

I am baffled.

Is blame even important?

Sometimes when I am really in touch with some of the pain my mum has caused me I hate her for it.  Sometimes when I am really in the midst of it, the pain of the sadness, the grief, the helplessness, the powerlessness, the unfairness, the crying, the headaches, the days where I can’t even bear to go to work and have to “adult”. The days where my attachment to my T becomes so childlike, all because of my upbringing and my experiences with her these thoughts would never cross my mind.  Days like that I am all about boundaries, giving the guilt back, I dislike her, I HATE her and it IS all her fault and yes, fault IS important…

Yet today, I just feel bad for her. I feel sad FOR her…. Am I in the bargaining phase of my recovery or what?

It doesn’t mean she isn’t accountable for the consequences of her actions. It doesn’t mean it is all okay. It certainly doesn’t mean I am healed and it doesn’t make it my fault again (like it was before I seeked help)… but it does help her to not seem such a monster. It does help to “rationalize” the perhaps, un-rationalizable (pretty sure that’s not a word but hopefully you catch my drift)…. Is this just self-protection stuff?

It does help me to realise that she really won’t ever change. It also helps me to realise that the way she is, the ways she acts all come from a place of hurt. That makes me hurt for her, I know the hurt very well. I guess it is only a coincidence that I turned out more on the codependant side of things and she turned out more narcissistic – it could have  easily gone either way for both of us.

Surely it is healthier for me to feel empathy for her (yet keep my boundaries) than it is for me to be consumed in hate and anger forever isn’t it? Surely if I stay angry and hateful towards her forever then she still has a great hold over me? Today, right now, I feel like I have gained a stronger sense of self, I feel like I know it wasn’t me or my fault that she never loved me how I wanted to be loved.  I understand that nothing I could have done would have ever made that different – nothing at all and that really helps.  That releases so much of the shame. I can be kind to myself now, I try to stay supportive and kind to myself and my inner child rather than copy the negative and hurtful words that I heard growing up. I feel like I am slowly becoming more confident and more able. I am working so hard to right the wrongs.

As you can probably tell from reading the above, I am not completely sure whether how I am feeling today is a permanent state of mind and I am open to the fact that perhaps this is some sort of denial or repression or something invented by me to make things easier to tolerate but I am writing it out anyway because regardless, it IS how I feel today and so in the end, it is still part of the journey towards recovery one way or another.

All comments and thoughts welcomed!!

 

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Tug of War

tug of war

NOUN

  1. a contest in which two teams pull at opposite ends of a rope until one drags the other over a central line.
    • a situation in which two evenly matched people or factions are striving to keep or obtain the same thing:
      “a tug of war between builders and environmentalists”

My mind feels full up today. I can’t quite grab hold of any particular thought and work it through enough to clear any space but all sorts of things are rattling around in there. I don’t feel peaceful – neither do I feel massively upset, I just feel the opposite to rested and very confused and uneasy.

I have spoken to my friends today about what happened between my mum and my partner on Saturday evening and they are all saying the same thing – that I can’t be to blame for their argument. That they are both adults and it is down to them, but that it wasn’t really my mum’s business and perhaps I could have told the pair of them to shut up.

I think because of the problems it caused it has left me confused and feeling a bit in the middle. Whenever I argue with my other half it leaves me feeling very detached and uncomfortable. It always takes me a while to warm back up and not feel this way so that won’t be helping. He is really angry with her and earlier on referred to her and my step-dad as “pinky and perky”. I tried to explain the situation as I saw it, very calmly but he closed the conversation down pretty quickly I think because he disagrees and didn’t want to carry on the argument today.

I think what a lot of it comes down to is this:

He hates her. He has never liked her. He has heard all the stories of the ways she has hurt me growing up and has heard the things she has said to me about him and is convinced that she just wants me back for herself and because she blames him for me going low contact with her, she likes to find any weaknesses in him/our relationship and insert the fears into my head. He also sees me dealing with some really horrific things in my therapy trying to heal from her abuse and can’t then see her in any other light. I can’t blame him for that at all I would be the same. He sees it that she did that Saturday night because I was clearly upset – it did cause a row between me and him AND what is worse for him, I then defended her to him when we argued by saying that he is a big boy and could handle that conversation himself. I also said that I agreed with some of her points but that if he was that pissed off with her, he should phone her himself and they can discuss that without me.

Maybe she genuinely feels it isn’t right that I should have to work full-time with a baby when most people don’t have to. Perhaps she genuinely feels it isn’t fair when his ex-wife still doesn’t work and her youngest child is nearly 9 years old but that I would have to work in order for him to make child maintenance payments to her.  Maybe she genuinely wants what is best for me and therefore wanted to argue this with him and try to prove her point that it is wrong for him to suggest I would have to work full time – particularly when I have spent the last 3 years looking after his children and making lots of other sacrifices in life to enable him to finance us living together whilst he paid the mortgage in its entirety for the last 3 years for his ex-wife and her new partner to live scott free. Admittedly none of this is her business or her row to have. Or maybe she just found a conversation that my other half doesn’t like to have (because he is a private person and because he knows she is likely to stir things up somehow) and she found something that me and him were not united on. She found a topic that me and him hadn’t discussed between ourselves and once she saw the shock on my face and saw my reaction towards him, jumped on the bandwagon and did succeed in stirring the pot. Making me insecure or doubtful of him could therefore mean that I start to lean on her again, like I used to – therefore I would “pick her” instead of him.

Lots of maybe’s and no definitive answers of course.

My mum is obviously not a normal, healthy mother – she is seriously narcissistic and therefore her “love” isn’t genuine. It isn’t normal mother-daughter love we are talking about. I know that. The reason for her wanting to “protect me” if you can call it that, is probably all down to a power struggle. Wanting to win me back – probably for her own narcissistic supply. But I cannot deny that having her fighting for me felt nice. I know that makes me sound messed up, but if you had a mother that made you feel like you couldn’t ever do anything right, that you were always in the wrong and then one day she starts to “defend” you – you might feel the same way too. This is why I think I’ve gone back into the denial phase. She has managed (in part) to suck me back in. I think they call it hovering. Although she hasn’t suceeded completely, because I am still trying to be objective and can see her floored reasons for this and I haven’t turned her good and him bad which I might have done once.

Likewise, my other half could have found a way to end that conversation. He didn’t need me to rescue him. His anger yesterday was misdirected at me. His anger was for her and he shouldn’t have taken it out on me (I did tel him this). I think he had my best interests at heart, because he wouldn’t want me to work full-time with a baby if we had any other option. He wasn’t saying it to be nasty and he probably gets sick and tired of me moaning about how unfair things are because of him having an ex-wife and children to pay for when he cannot do anything about his past – and perhaps he wouldn’t even if he could because otherwise his children wouldn’t even exist. I think the fact that he hates her so much fuelled their argument. I think the fact she hates him right back made it worse.

I think that despite what they were actually saying to each other, the underlying message was “I will get Twink on my side – I will win her” because they are in direct competition for my affections. Neither wants to lose and both for very different reasons.

The harsh, really shit reality for me right now is that at the moment, I still feel like “she’s my mum” and have something in me wanting to protect her… even though the evidence is stacked against her. Even though I’ve been hurt so badly from her. Even though I’ve wanted to shake her before because of the pain she’s caused me….. I think I’ve had some sort of tiny glimpse at how painful it will be to really feel the pain of this and so I’ve jumped backwards into denial and bargaining instead of acceptance.

I just sat there and froze hoping they would sort it out and leave me out of it – but it didn’t work out like that.

I can totally understand my other half’s frustrations, I really can.. I just wish someone could see this from my point of view. Even if I am going backwards in my recovery, that happens sometimes, it doesn’t mean I will be stuck in this stage forever, but that must be very hard to accept when your with someone who is doing that. How difficult it must be for my other half to see me potentially falling for her games – if that is what they are. I know he really does have my best interests at heart, but for some reason it is harder to believe because I live in doubt that he really loves me even though he’s never given me reason to doubt him. Another legacy of the narc mother perhaps.

 

Excuse the obscenities but.. how fucking fucked up.