Today: 27 September

Last night I had a dream that I was at my nan’s house early in the morning (I think I had stayed there and had not long been awake) when the doorbell went. In my gut I knew I wasn’t going to like who was at the door and I was right, it was my mother. As soon as I heard her voice I felt dread. She walked in and looked at me and I didn’t attempt to look happy to see her. I was not at all happy that she was there and felt as though she had planned this on purpose because she knew it was the only way for her to see me. I also knew that my time with my nan was now ruined. I don’t remember how old I was, but I think I was young because I felt like I had no control over this situation.

It happens to be my mother’s birthday today so I guess it’s no massive surprise that I dreamt of her last night but also I think there’s more to it because the house I am moving to soon is very near to my grandparents’ house and I was telling T the other day that I was a bit anxious that this would mean I would have to see my mother and her husband driving past my new house regularly on their way to my grandparents’, or that I would be reversing out of my drive and be let out by someone, only to find out its them. I told her it probably sounded silly but that I worry about that kind of thing because I don’t even want to SEE them when I don’t intend to (or him ever). T also pointed out that there would be a chance that I would be at my grandparents’ house and they turn up whilst I am there. She told me that if that happened I would be okay and I could simply say “hello” and then leave. Likewise she said if I was in the car I could simply put my hand up to acknowledge then or even wave (not enthusiastically obvs) and then drive off. I suppose it’s no real wonder I had that dream, that is a real-life anxiety at the moment. 

Today 3 years ago I passed my driving test (later in life than most people) and annoyingly that brings mixed emotions too. I did not book my driving test on my mother’s birthday on purpose, it was the date my instructor had offered and so I accepted. At the time I rarely saw my mother and I hadn’t told her that my test was booked for fear of failing and just to avoid the pressure I suppose. My mother had spent years and years telling me that I would never drive and that I would not be “a natural driver” like her and my sister. Her comments annoyingly put me off even trying for many years until I started to separate from her and book my secret lessons and test in. 3 years ago today, on her birthday, I took my first driving test and I passed. I passed with only 3 minors. I was so shocked that I had done it because I genuinely did not think I would have a chance. 

After I told my husband who was over the moon for me and who had been a huge source of encouragement, I told my mother. Initially she shrieked and seemed really happy for me but when I visited her later that evening for her birthday she said the following: “They probably passed you because you work in the City and wouldn’t actually drive that often”. 

That comment stung SO bad. It played on my mind for ages and ages. In fact, even today, 3 years later that comment hurts. That is my mother all over, she can put a dampener on the happiest of events or days. She always knew how to make me doubt myself or feel insecure. It was always the same. 

Today, 3 years since that day I am sitting at work and thinking how proud I still am of that day and to be honest how I still can’t believe I did it. I also thought that since that day, I have got married and in the next week or two, I will be completing on my house purchase with my husband. In some ways I can see that I have done well and achieved quite a lot since I distanced myself from my mother, though I know that sounds big-headed and I hate big-headedness.. but it does also make me a little bit sad that I’ve had to celebrate these huge events without a supportive and proud mother standing at the side-lines. I imagine people who have supportive mothers don’t even really recognise or register how nice that is (and rightly so, it should be something you take for granted), but for me today that feels a bit rubbish. 

My mother is currently on a two week holiday abroad and as harsh as it may sound, I am very glad for that. I am glad I don’t have to see her and I am glad that I haven’t had to decline another invitation from her which we both know I will not attend but that leaves me feel guilty regardless of knowing my reasons are valid. I keep hoping that my house does finally complete before she is home but I don’t really know why, because even if she were home from her holiday it isn’t like she would be offering to help me or popping over with sandwiches!! She never has. It just feels safer somehow if she is further away… somehow it feels like something could be ruined and that I would feel more anxious if she were around. Sounds mean doesn’t it? 

Just to put the icing on the cake, it happens to be my mother-in-law’s birthday on Sunday and we are going out for lunch to celebrate. We have a card, present and will sort a cake out etc. My mother-in-law is a kind lady and she deserves to have some fuss made out of her just like she does on Mothering Sunday, but it is a reminder of how different things could have been for me and my mother. 

One nice feeling at the moment though (to counteract the above!!) is that despite the sadness that occasionally creeps into my dream world or my conscious thoughts, the heart-breaking, life-altering pain has gone. Acceptance is well and truly here. The situation is sad but it is what it is and it is not and has never been, my fault. I no longer spend days occupied by thoughts of her or reading everything there is to read on Google about narcissists or narcissistic mothers. I don’t watch countless videos on YouTube about dysfunctional families or toxic parents etc. I know I am literally thinking and writing about her now, but on the whole she doesn’t take up much space anymore and that is a real relief. 

I feel pretty at peace with the fact we have very low contact and I do not feel burning anger over the situation. I don’t daydream about it being “fixed” like I used to. I don’t hope to hear from her either. I don’t feel that my low contact with her is some kind of punishment or revenge like it once was, I just feel safer with the distance between us. 

Obviously that’s not to say that I’ll never have moments of weakness again or never cry at how sad it is or at the “could have been’s”, but they are less and less frequent these days and even when they come, I do not act on them OR even want to act on them which shows a lot of growth and strength I think. 

Annoyingly I now feel like I am starting a similar process with my sister and honestly the bad thing about having “been there before” is knowing how painful it is and what a long, long process it is too. I suppose there having done it before at least allows me to have hope that it does get better – because it has done once before and at times, I never believed it could. 

I have been lucky enough to have not lost many close relatives in my life so far but I wonder if the feeling is similar. After the stages of grief and anger and denial and bargaining have been tired out, you reach a level of acceptance and understanding. It doesn’t mean that you are glad that person has gone (emotionally or figuratively in my case), but you are able to move on with your life in a way that isn’t so debilitating as it once was. Just a thought. 

I’ve been starting to think about how getting to this place re my mother is a sign that therapy really has worked – and in so many ways. The processing of the blocked grief, fear and anger but also of the kind of re-parenting I’ve had from T. I do notice how steady I feel these days and how much more secure I feel in relation to my relationships. T has just returned this week from a two-week break and in all honesty as much as I was looking forward to seeing her, I felt fine. I didn’t feel like I was desperate to see her or feel like I was counting down the days. I could have easily done another week. It felt this time more of a wish to see her because I care for her and less of an urgent need to see her to help me if that makes sense. That is also a nice feeling and one that makes me feel a little stronger about my sense of self. It has taken 5 entire years though and that feels like a lifetime! 5 YEARS of therapy….wow.

Pondering the above has made me feel that I don’t think I am going to need to continue having two sessions for much longer. I know that T has said before that even if I don’tneed two sessions a week, that I should let myself have them just to enjoy the holding and the conversations and all the lovely good stuff that therapy brings. I am also conscious that I am only just back after a break and as much as I currently feel this is a genuine feeling, perhaps this is my subconscious kicking out or something. Who knows, stranger things have happened and this does tend to be a similar theme when breaks are around so I am not intending to do anything about this just now… I am going to just sit and wait for a while. Hold still as T would say and “sit with it” for a while to see what comes up. I’m also aware that T would say I am pre-occupied with my house at the moment and so probably not properly “in it”. We shall see…. Obviously seeing T twice a week is not a chore or anything, it is nice but also there’s a part of me that would like to reach a stage where I am less reliant on her and not spending £320 a month on therapy LOL. T would literally hate it if she read that last sentence.. it would doubtless start a whole conversation about my health and wellbeing being more important than money etc which of course, it is. But let’s be honest, nobody wants to have to have therapy forever – especially twice a week. Yesterday me and T spent about 45 minutes discussing keeping chickens, guinea pigs, domestic hedgehogs and how she has a dog-pram (this still makes me crack-up!). The point being, whilst potentially therapeutic… not really actually therapy.. but I had nothing pressing to talk about. As ever, I totally believe that I still need to be seeing her once a week so I don’t think I am ready to be without her in the world. My dependency just feels.. lighter than it once did. Sometimes I look back on old blogs about my teddy bear (Frank) and about being jealous about her daughters or her talking about her mother or something else and I can’t even believe that was me!! It’s so weird.

Anyway, I am going to the gym to try and burn a few calories and stop writing every thought that comes into my head!

Have nice weekends everyone. X

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Scapegoat: Anger & Sadness

I need some blog-writing therapy today.  I am so tired that I can’t actually be arsed to write, but I really need to, so I am hoping this helps.

Last night I was playing on my phone as me and my husband drove back from a wedding quite far away. I was flicking through social media and not paying much attention until I clicked onto my sister’s Instragram page to see if she had put anything up and saw that apparently we were no longer “following” each other… I knew immediately that she had removed me/blocked me/whatever it is called but just to be sure I asked someone else if they could still see her stuff and, obviously, they could.

I was shocked and hurt.  Why had she done this and why now?

I haven’t heard from my sister in months, I blogged about what happened previously but in short she is angry with me for not attending a family bbq in the summer that my mother and stepfather arranged for my grandparents and extended family.  I also blogged back then about my reasons for not going (mainly my stepfather but also not wanting to be around the toxicity of them all being drunk and having to attend without my husband because my mother and stepfather hate him and he hates them).

I would like to say at this point that it was not an easy decision not to go, but in all honesty, it was.  I went camping with my husband and stepchildren instead and I was pleased with the decision I made. I was relieved and glad and, I’ll be honest, I was proud of myself for doing what I needed to do for me for once and for not being guilt-tripped into attending something for the sake of keeping the peace or avoiding conflict.  That may sound selfish but I am very low contact with my mother and completely no contact with her husband for a reason (many actually) and do not feel safe going to an event like that, particularly without my support system (husband).

My sister however… well, she thinks I am the worst person in the entire world for not attending and she can only see this through her own eyes.  I am selfish because my grandparents would have loved us ALL to be there and my personal favourite “they are going to die soon” and we won’t have the chance to do that for them again.  In other words, I have ruined their “dream” and now they will die unhappy because of me.  Powerful aren’t I?? *rolls eyes*. By the way, this whole me and death thing is a theme in my family.  My mother told me when I was younger that if I told my nan about the sexual abuse I suffered at the hands of my mother’s then boyfriend, she would have a heart attack and die.  My therapist often tells me “you are not that powerful Twink” and I have to repeat that to myself when the guilt over this kicks in now and again.

When my sister aired her disappointment at me, I told her that I did what was right for me and that whilst she had every right to be annoyed or upset about that, it was HER issue and not mine and I did say (in anger) that she had no right to contact me and say everything she was saying.

Months have passed since that happened and suddenly yesterday she has unfollowed/blocked me on social media.  WHY?

Anyway, I have felt very sad today. Very down and its made me reflect on and (over)think about so many things re her, mainly her, but also my mother, my entire family really and I guess in many ways I’ve felt a bit sorry for myself but the general feeling today has been how UNFAIR it all is.  I said to my husband earlier that I know I sound immature and childish saying that, “unfair” feels like a young word to me, but that I just can’t help it.. that is the feeling and I can’t change how I feel just because it isn’t mature enough.  I’ve learnt enough in therapy to know that denying your feelings really doesn’t get you anywhere.

The main thing eating away at me today is that I just want to have a nice, normal relationship with my sister. I would love to have the closeness that many sisters have and that I just do not understand why that is not possible.

With the risk of sounding like a narcissist myself, I have looked after my sister for her entire life.  I have cared for her since I was a child myself, literally. I have supported her through her spells of depression. I’ve rescued her from my mother’s rages – helped her when she has been suicidal and been there as an older sister for her to talk to, cook for and all the other stuff.  Then after literally years of that care, I don’t attend a flipping bbq and I’m cast as the worst person in the world and ignored for months and now, apparently I am so awful that she doesn’t even want me to see her Instagram photos!!! WHY?

There have been many times over these past months that I’ve wanted to contact her and try to sort this mess out, to fix it but T has advised me many times that my sister is used to treating me badly, being abusive or nasty and then not speaking to me for a while before I contact her and let it all go and repeat… she told me that I have always taken the role of mother and she’s been able to act badly with no repercussions and that now I needed to let her know very clearly, I will not tolerate her bad behaviour anymore and that I will not just let it all go without any kind of discussion or apology.  She advised me to let her come to me.  I told her then, that she wouldn’t. That she is the most stubborn person I know but she told me to wait it out.

I can’t decide if I am more hurt or angry today. I feel both things so strongly.  I could cry right now so there’s definitely sadness but I am also enraged at the unfairness of it.  It triggers an old wound in me of not being loved and of not being good enough and it triggers a current wound in me of being the flipping scapegoat despite not having done anything wrong.

She cannot see things from my point of view because she is different to me.  She had a difficult childhood too, in different ways to me. We had different issues to deal with.  She is too young to remember some of the worst things, she didn’t get sexually abused and not to sound braggy, but she had me protecting her and caring for her which I did not have.  BUT she was clearly affected by my mother’s lack of interest and love and it led to my sister’s depression.  Me being my mother’s project and golden child for a few years also stuck the knife in and made her feel rejected and left out and so, we both have our own insecurities and difficulties.  Sadly my sister is very strongly against therapy and so she has managed to convince herself that my mother is wonderful (and changed!) and that my mother’s husband is an amazing man and that altogether, the family is very lovely and very happy and that it is only me ruining things for them all.

My poor mother is so upset and hurt by me.. SHE is so upset and hurt by me and oh, did I mention that I’ve so upset and hurt my grandparents by not going to the bbq.  Ugh.

I am the scapegoat. I am the one with the problem. I am the one who holds a grudge and doesn’t “move on”.  I am the one who has been brainwashed by a therapist, a therapist who I “still” see when I should not.  I have forgotten about my own family and now only care about my husband and his.  I have been selfish and cruel and my sister just cannot stand a person like me, one with no morals.  My mother said recently that me and my sister have “very different priorities”.  What she meant by that was that my sister priorities her and my stepfather and my grandparents etc – …. and that I do not.

That’s true.. and there are many, many reasons for that.  Did my mother prioritise me when I was a child? No, she did not.  But that sentence would be seen as further evidence of me not “getting over things”, holding a grudge, not moving on blah blah and they would say things like “what is that therapist telling her because she clearly isn’t helping her to get over her anger at these perceived wrongs.  She’s brainwashed”.

I’m angry about how unfair this all is. I grew up feeling alone, unsafe and unloved. I was literally not safe.  My mother was selfish and only interested in men, she did not enjoy me, I was literally just a burden.  My entire childhood was a lonely, scary, awful time and now that I am finally an adult myself, trying to recover from all of those years… I am being scapegoated and hated because of my distance from my mother.  HOW IS THAT FAIR?

I know that everyone thinks they are innocent in arguments with other people but this feels so totally unjust that I want to scream.  I not only made it through my awful childhood but I acted as a bloody substitute mother for my sister for years and years and now she’s living with my mother and step-father playing happy families whilst they all talk about how awful a person I am.

My mother clearly is never going to be able to admit she was a shit mother.  She does not think she did a single thing wrong. Nothing that I felt growing up is valid, nothing.  I am deluded and made it all up. I need my “head testing” (literally her words).  That’s fine. I genuinely think I have made peace with that.  I no longer need her to be able to validate my pain because I have had it validated from T over the last 5 years of therapy and, more importantly I suppose, I validate my own pain now.  I remember how I felt and that is all that matters.  Whether she can ever acknowledge her mistakes and apologise no longer matters.  I have worked VERY hard to get to this point but my sister…. clearly I am not “there” yet because this has seriously stirred me up today.  She has a VERY short memory.. or she has an extremely good defence mechanism.

My husband said earlier that my sister is only “nice” to me if I do exactly what she wants me to do.  The second I say “no” to her, this happens. She says a load of nasty and unfair things to me and then disappears off……….. and eventually I chase after her because I miss her, because I want us to be sisters and possibly because I am still trying to “look after her” like she is my child because for so many years, she may as well have been.

I will never be able to do what my sister wants me to do which is to play happy families again.  My sister would like me to make up with my mother and stepfather, start going to my mother’s house again regularly, attend every family party and event and just do the things that she thinks I should be doing.  Instead I am difficult and selfish.

I will never be able to win. I will never be able to do what she wants me to do.  I don’t keep my distance to hurt or punish my mother – I just keep myself safe.  I do what is best for me and if that is selfish, well then I am selfish, but all in honesty I think I am just healthy.  For years I was a people-pleaser and a codependent, but now I am not and I am glad of that. My mother (and my sister) would like me to sweep everything under the rug and smile and get along with everyone but why should I? I can’t understand how my sister can remember our childhood and put it all aside like it doesn’t matter anymore. Maybe that is what I would have done had I not had therapy after all, until I had therapy I didn’t realise even half of the ways my mother had hurt me.  This is why my family think therapy is so awful.  Why uncover and validate all of your pain when you can just squash it down and drink yourself stupid every weekend instead?

Why fix dysfunctional patterns when you could just continue to repeat and pass on the hurt to another generation?  WHY take a look at yourself when there is always someone else to blame? Me being the problem in the family enables them to look squeaky clean because they are all fine – it is only me with the issue.  It definitely serves my mother to have my sister on her “side”.

The conflict remains. I miss my sister and I wish we could have a close bond but I cannot do what she wants me to do and I am so hurt and angry with her for treating me like a monster from simply protecting myself.  I wish she could understand that my mother refusing to validate, accept or apologise for anything in my childhood has caused me unbearable pain and appreciate my need to keep my distance.  I wish she could just respect my decision and love me anyway – without strings.  But she cannot.

Being the family scapegoat is horrible. It is lonely and feels grossly unfair. There is nothing I can do about it.  Challenging the family system is clearly an act punishable by rejection and isolation and that is very painful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreams

Friday night I dreamt of T. It was a strange dream and it wasn’t until I was out for a run Saturday morning that the dream suddenly came back to me. I actually stopped running suddenly as it flashed in my memory and I opened my phone to write a quick (illegible) note before it went away to the place that forgotten dreams go.

In the dream I was having a session with T but my husband was also in the room, though he was completely relaxed and just reading a newspaper with his legs stretched out. T told me that she used to do another job and said that she was so rich that she had more money than she could have ever spent. I was like 😲 wow!  I then picked up a glass of orange juice which was in front of me and drank it and just as I swallowed the very last mouthful, I realised that it was T’s juice and I was horrified and said to her “OMG I am sooooo sorry, I thought that was mine!” she didn’t seem too bothered and just said “So I see”.  I was mortified that I had done that, it was like I was just on autopilot and wasn’t thinking about what I was doing.

Looking around T had drawing stuff and sewing stuff everywhere. The room was messy and I remember thinking she was arty and had numerous hobbies. She went upstairs for something but didn’t come back for a very long time. Meanwhile I remember thinking how glad I was that T was able to see how I was around my husband in that I didn’t change and that I was completely myself.

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Then, last night I had another dream. This time about my mother. This one felt SO real. In it I had arranged to go shopping with my mother and when I met her she was with my Nan and my sister. She hasn’t said they were coming and I was a little bit annoyed because I felt a bit overpowered by them all (due to the fact they are all close and I’m almost estranged).

I remember walking around a shop feeling a bit nervous and then my mother said “right, you need to snap out of this now! Get your husband and come to my house Monday after work” – what she meant was that I had to start talking to her husband again and my husband also had to come along and make up with them both”.

I felt angry and said that I didn’t want to and that I did not miss going to her house or seeing her husband and said I was happy with the way things are. She was furious and shouted “Ohhh well as long as YOU are happy, that’s all that matters isn’t it?!” – being sarcastic. My nan and sister were standing behind her looking disapprovingly at me.  I snapped “see, this is what I mean. We can’t spend time together without something like this happening. I’m going, bye“. And off I went.

I then had an internal panic about how I would find my way home from where I was to my in-laws where I’m currently living and then I realised I had my car in a car park and was nervous about the drive. I remember thinking I should call my husband but thinking he was at work so I shouldn’t bother him and that I was an adult and should be able to work it out on my own.

In the dream I was shaking with anger and fear but I felt pleased I had been able to say what I needed and walk away.

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I felt fine, happy even, both yesterday and today and so the dreams didn’t seem to impact my mood like they sometimes do. I was grateful for that as I hate the feeling they can leave me with some days.

I assume I am dreaming about T because she is on a two week break and I actually quite like the dream because my husband was there and totally relaxed which I like to think is symbolic of how comfortable he is with me having therapy and also perhaps something to do with the fact that my husband would love to meet T and to be a fly on the wall and equally, I would like T to meet him.

I am not sure what the relevance was of me drinking her orange juice, but the feeling in the dream was that I had been SO relaxed and comfortable that I had done it without thinking and maybe that’s a nice sign of how relaxed I am now feeling with her compared to over the years.  Her telling me how rich she used to be was strange and I was so shocked but I wonder if this could be symbolic of how little I really know about her life.  For example not knowing what she is doing in her break and not really knowing anything about her past.

The dream about my mother on the other hand, well, that one isn’t so surprising or strange although the timing feels a bit odd as I haven’t thought about her consciously so it seemed a surprise in that sense.

The content of the dream however is so close to reality that it doesn’t surprise me whatsoever.  That dream could very easily play out and in actual fact, in recent months I’ve been so nervous about her blatantly asking (telling) me to pack it in and do what she wants – go to her house, see her husband, get my husband to suck up to them etc.  However as I have written recently, I have suddenly made peace with that fear in me and I now really know that I don’t want to do those things and so the panic I used to feel is no longer in me.

Perhaps the dream was my subconscious’ way of playing out the scene.  Trying it out for size.. preparing me for the real deal perhaps? Also the last time I saw her we went into a clothes shop and I felt the same nerves about her.  My psyche is clearly working some things through.

T would say that it demonstrated that I could stand up to her and walk away and survive it and that I would be okay. The world wouldn’t end etc.  But honestly, I don’t feel that worry and panic or fear at the moment anyway.  Still, it was quite helpful to have that dream because perhaps in the future a similar scenario will play out for me and I will have that memory to use for reassurance.

In real life, my mother text me earlier this week asking me how the house was progressing and said again how much she just cannot wait for me to move back closer to her and how she can’t wait to see me so much more.  This really is weird, I’ve said this before but I just do not understand her logic here.  I have lived ten minutes away from her for years now and now that I am temporarily further away its like she’s convinced herself that this is the only reason we don’t see each other more often. Like whhhatttt??? It’s so weird!!!

Last time she did this T said “that fucks with your head” which is true but when I asked T WHY she would think that or say that, T said she wouldn’t be surprised if she was just saying something for the sake of saying something or even saying what she thinks she should say.  It baffles me nevertheless, it isn’t like she would even come to my new house because she never does and never has and she wouldn’t now because of my husband.  Surely she isn’t going to expect an invitation for her and her husband to come and see our new place by way of offering an olive branch? God I hope not because that simply is not going to happen.  Perhaps she really does think that just because we will be living a new, exciting phase in our lives (having purchased our first home) that all the past will magically be wiped away and we will all play happy families again.  Oh dear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My analogy for when I am regressed

I came up with a very random analogy the other night to explain to my husband how I feel in the times that I suddenly “miss” my mother and I thought I would write it here so that in the harder times to come, I can read this and remind myself of what is happening.

I used a smoking analogy because my husband has recently quit smoking and so I hoped he would be able to relate a little more, this is what I said:

I explained that it is like when you’ve quit something (smoking, drinking, drugs – whatever) and you know that you are doing the right thing. You have all the facts, you know smoking is killing you, you know its costing a lot of money, you know it makes your clothes smell and ruins your taste buds etc and you are really, genuinely very glad that you have quit.  You are proud of yourself for quitting.  All is good.

Until all of a sudden, you are hit with this extreme craving for a cigarette.  Suddenly the need for a cigarette is urgent and although you know all of the logical stuff about health and finances and how disappointed you would be with yourself for caving, you can decide in a second to either disregard all of that stuff and just satisfy the craving with a cigarette… OR fight the craving.  Distract yourself by drinking some water or by brushing your teeth – whatever it is that you need to do.  You have a moment when it is so easy to go either way.

But gradually, over time, the cravings come less and less often (or maybe eventually stop altogether).  The fight was worth it! You are no longer addicted.  YAY!!!

I explained that it feels much the same way to me in relation with my mum at times.  I can be happy with the very limited contact we have. I can know that I am better off this way, know that it is better for me and for my peace of mind and yet randomly, every now and again I find myself in this regressed child-like place where suddenly all the logic goes out of the window and all that seems to matter is that I get my needs met (the needs often being this fantasy of having the perfect, loving mother stroking my hair and bringing me tea and stuff).

I can feel this really strong pull to go to her – to run to her and I have to decide which way I will go.  I can either, give in to this really strong craving to see her OR I can try to sit through the pain and wait for it to pass (which it will, it always does).

In those moments the choices are so hard.  The attachment pull can feel stronger than anything I’ve never known and I am sure it isn’t QUITE that deep for a smoker giving up their fags, but hopefully the analogy makes sense anyway.  In those moments you have a choice and all anyone wants to do when they have an addiction is make themselves feel better – back to “normal” and often we convince ourselves that the best and easiest way to do that is to just give in and deal with the consequences afterwards (or just put that out of your mind).

I am relieved that I am able to resist my “cravings” these days and I am able to just sit through the pain but I admit the pain hasn’t really got much easier.  When I am regressed like that, the pain is still horrendous BUT it doesn’t last as long as it used to and I am pleased to say that I do bounce back quicker then I used to.

However I do know that it is easy for me to sit and write this now as I am clearly in my adult head but when I am regressed and in my child state, none of this seems to really get through to me.  I write this anyway with the hope that it will… you never know.

I told my husband, T and myself to be quite honest(!) that until now it has felt like torture sometimes not doing what it felt like I wanted to.  There have been times when I have really wanted to just turn up at my mum’s house and see her face as she opens the door to me. I’ve had visions of all sorts of lovely, fantasy visits and I have stopped myself contacting her or going to her house or whatever just because of what T and my husband would say and think. I have had the intellectual knowledge that it isn’t a good idea and that she wouldn’t be able to really give me what I wanted but it wasn’t quite there in terms of my feelings – it still felt like torture and like I was not doing what I wanted to do.  That was a tough feeling to feel and in my regressed states I often used to think to myself “fuck what everyone else thinks I should do – this is my life and my mum!”.

And so that is why when I realised this week that it is MY choice and really and truly is what I want to do (or not do), that has made everything feel so much easier. It no longer feels like torture because it is my choice.

I explained the above to T yesterday on the phone and she said that although it felt like torture and although I was only doing it because of her and my husband, that their voices kept me safe.  She likened it to a child being told not to do something, for example not to touch the iron because it will burn them – it is only their mother’s voice that stops them doing that thing and even then, they might test it out and once they have really learnt it, they don’t do that thing/touch that iron anymore on their own accord.  Does that make sense? It did to me.

She thinks that the last visit with my mother a few weeks ago pushed me over the edge. Seeing her being so clearly angry and hearing her comment on me having put on weight etc was not nice. It really made me realise that she hasn’t changed and she really won’t ever change.  I said to T that obviously it wasn’t nice, but it did me a favour in the long run.

 

 

The way it is

I have to admit that my mind has been entirely consumed by all things relating to fertility and my potential thyroid/autoimmune disease lately and so my worries regarding my mum took a back seat, in fact I would go as far as to say that she wasn’t even in the car! Pretty understandable I think and actually, I’m glad. Thank god she isn’t overshadowing everything like she once would have. I think it probably also shows that my anxiety is improving because I’ve managed to compartmentalise and not try to worry about absolutely everything all at once.

Anyway I was bored at work today as my boss is on holiday and I flicked onto a forum that I am on and where I had written a post after seeing her last Sunday and found a new reply. I read the reply and agreed with everything the person had said which was basically that I was perfectly entitled to not see my mother at her house without my husband if I didn’t want to. She actually used the words “The Queen Is Displeased” which I felt hit the nail on the head. She said that my mother won’t ever be 100% happy unless everything is ok her terms and that isn’t a healthy and normal relationship. Also absolutely true.

It was only really as I read this reply and thought about my opinion/thoughts on it that I realised that this had taken a back seat. I think that when I have just seen her I have this sense of urgent panic about me – when I saw her a week ago today, it felt like I needed to prepare myself ASAP. A week on, clearly the urgency has gone. It sounds bad I know but it’s like the danger has subsided… she’s gone back to her place and I’m back in my place and it feels like the moment she would have said something has passed – for now – this time.

Does that make any sense?

Also it would be true to say that I’m incredibly impatient and impulsive and I’m often in a bit of a rush. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe that feeling is all in my head.

Maybe, but I’m not convinced.

Believe me when I say, my mum-dar is incredibly in tune after years of trying to predict her moods and stay safe – she was ANGRY!! She was well and truly pissed at me. She is fed up of having to come out of her house to see me. She’s pissed off that I won’t just “go back to normal”. Her patience with me is wearing VERY thin. Very.

And I’ve said this before I know, but the mum that I met at the garden centre 2 months ago (the one that seemed caring and gentle and cried when I left as she sobbed she loved and missed me) – where was that mum?

That mum (garden centre mum), she would have been pleased with ANY contact from me. A text even! Genuinely I felt that. But last Monday’s mum, she wasn’t happy with anything at all. I mean she did come I suppose, and she didn’t have to… but I could sense she didn’t want to be there.

I’m not sure how she can change so much, in a relatively short space of time. I suspect my (genuinely accidental) mention of going to my Dad’s bbq probably didn’t help. She’s always found my Dad a threat. She would never in a million years eveerrrrr admit that – but I see that now. She’s always been desperate that I need/love her more. Parent wars.

Anyway, back to the point – I thought to myself earlier that I really do need to try to get it straight in my own head my reasons why I won’t go to her house or see her husband. I need to get it straight in my head for my own sake – not for her’s. I will feel more relaxed and calm and at peace if I know what I’ll say to her. It means that when the time comes (which it will), I won’t go into a total meltdown, I’ll just be able to tell her my reasons.

And then I realise that I struggle to articulate my reasons to anyone and I mean anyone, I can’t tell my husband and I can’t even tell myself!

The best I could come up with was “I’ve got used to not going/doing those things and I don’t miss it/them”.

Or…

“I don’t know why really. I can’t explain it. I just don’t want to go on my own”.

I also said to my husband that it was simply because I didn’t want to have to pretend I had forgiven/liked my stepdad but my husband actually said “is it that though, or is that just an excuse?”.

Is that just an excuse?

I want to say no, it’s not… but yeah it could be I suppose.

T says I am just better at protecting myself and I’ve learnt not to be around people or in places that don’t make me feel good. That I’ve learnt to look after myself.

The thing that shocks me about all of this is that I have a real, genuine sense of being happy with things the way they are. That’s actually a huge statement for me. It seems like nothing typed onto the page amongst all the other written diarrhoea, but it’s actually massive.

I am happy with things the way they are.

I don’t want them to change.

I mean, 😮… when did that happen???

Anyone that’s read my blog for a while will probably know I’ve gone through moments/days/times where I’ve felt like I might die from the heartache of missing my mum. Of needing and wanting my mum. Of the void. Of the sadness, the guilt and I’m not even talking about historic pain – the most recent was only 8 weeks ago (post garden centre mum).

How has this happened? Is this real? Will it stay?

I have a real, genuine (sorry can’t think of any other way to describe this) feeling that even in those moments now, those moments when I want to be my mum’s little girl, I can still hold on to the knowledge/feeling somewhere in me that it’s not real or it won’t last – that basically, I’ll regret it if I do anything drastic.

T clearly knows that too, that’s why she always tries so hard to get me to “just sit with it”. She knows the feeling will pass and that I’ll be left regretting everything. Though I reckon in those times I put up a pretty decent argument 🤣 in fact I’ll go as far as to say that sometimes I think I convince MYSELF !!!

I never, never, ever thought I would feel like this and don’t worry, I’m not being cocky or naive here – I absolutely accept that I’ll probably relapse again (more than once) and feel like that heartbreak, agony, void-going-to-kill-me pain isn’t worth it and I’ll want to “fix” everything. And then I won’t again.

I wonder whether this is similar to how someone feels when they have given up alcohol or drugs after a serious addiction. Do they sometimes feel like they can clearly see and feel all the many good things that have come their way since they quit their vice – but then (less and less often) will they relapse? Or nearly relapse?? Genuine question – I don’t know.

I don’t hate my mum. I don’t even feel angry with her. I just feel …. that what we have these days is probably enough for me. That’s sad in a way, but it’s also soooooooooo much less painful than it used to me when I was constantly wishing for more.

The feels

I’ve wanted to write about the feelings I’ve been having regarding my mother over the last week or two but I’ve not really known how to explain the way I’ve been feeling or what I’ve been thinking and then on top of that, I’ve moved out of my house and into my in-laws and so I really don’t have much time (or space!) to be able to do so.

The problem with this is however, that I now feel a bit stressed and a bit …Ahhhh where it’s all inside and needs to be written out a little.

It’s also hard to write about feelings that change so quickly. Last Sunday I was crying and feeling SO much sadness and grief and was very much in my child state – last Tuesday’s session was the same but today as I say, being in someone else’s house, surrounded by lots of people and noise and mess… the feelings aren’t really “here” and so it all feels a little disjointed.

Basically last Sunday as I say I was feeling like a vulnerable child. The upcoming move was stressing me out and I had seen my mother a week previous which is when she cried and told me how much she missed me and wished she could see me more. I posted about that at the time so there’s a separate post for details. Her tears seem to have really made an impact on me, it was very hard for me seeing her cry. Seeing her tears and seeing her vulnerable possibly for the first time ever was horrible. Seeing her upset made me feel hopeful I think. I think it really ignited something in me and as I was feeling vulnerable and stressed about the move, it all got too much and by Sunday last week, I was crying and feeling like I really needed my mum.

When I went to my session on Tuesday I was so desperate to tell T all about it but I was also anxious and I was nervous that she would make comments about how my mother was playing games or wasn’t genuine and that I would feel angry or defensive etc. What actually happened is that I told T I had “apparently lost my mind and gone totally crazy” and I told her what had happened and how I felt.

T was kind, she seemed understanding and empathetic but she did make it clear that I was feeling vulnerable and child-like and that I really needed to try not to react and to try to just “stay still” and not do anything at the moment. In that session I cried. I really, really cried. I sobbed into my hands in a way that I’ve not for a very long time in therapy. I felt exhausted and I felt completely lost. I said things along the lines of “it doesn’t feel natural to have to to stay away from your mum” and I said that I hated myself for forgetting everything I had learnt but that the knowledge and facts felt so far removed from my feelings.

T said that she hoped I would take some comfort just from having spoken out the feelings and sharing them with T – from crying even. I thought to myself that was very unlikely. It was a really weird and shit feeling actually….. I was effectively being told to NOT do the thing I felt I wanted and needed to do in order to feel better. It felt unfair and it felt strange and cruel. I’m a way I guess it felt like punishment or something.

The next day unfortunately was moving day and so I didn’t have any time to process the feelings and I was stressed and overwhelmed.

By Thursday’s session I wasn’t really sure what I was thinking or feeling so when T asked me “where I was” with it all, I didn’t know. I said I wasn’t sure and that I guess I felt a bit numb to it all. I had kind of blocked it out. I told T that my mum had text me on move day and again the day after (that day) to ask how it went. T asked how that felt and I said it was weird really because it was more contact/effort than she had made for such a long time BUT it felt a little bit like she was doing it in order to get some sort of pay-off (mainly me going to her house to stay one evening)…..

I don’t know if this makes any sense to anyone else, it’s hard to explain but luckily T seemed to understand what I was saying.

Anyway Friday was my wedding anniversary and my husband and I went away for a night which was very much needed and was lovely. Today is strange as we are living at his parents’ house and his sister is here with her 3 kids and we don’t have a bedroom or anything and it’s hard today…. I don’t know what to do with myself and I’m feeling down about the baby stuff I posted about yesterday and ruminating about being here and missing my own house as well as the above…. I’m feeling just a bit stuck and frustrated and me and my husband have been bickering because of it which is such a shame after such a wonderful couple of days away. Bit of a crash landing.

I’m trying not to think about my mum too much because I am scared I’ll dive bomb back into those horribly painful feelings of last week. The neediness and grief like feelings – they were so horrible, honestly I didn’t know what to do with myself. T said it may feel like life an death and that’s so true. I felt like I could die if I didn’t go to her. Apparently that’s attachment and that’s what keeps babies bonded and attached to their parents/caregiver – she explained that is how children can desperately want to stay with their parent even if they are abused by them. We are programmed to attach to them for our survival and so I guess that goes some way to explaining why I felt as bad as I did.

I know that being realistic, going to my mum’s would mean pretending everything was fine and sweeping everything that has happened the last few years under the rug and I don’t want to do that. The alternative would be to hash it out and I really can’t even stomach the thought of that. My mum still doesn’t think she’s ever done anything wrong so where would that conversation end?

It feels like a waste. She’s there – I’m here. She seems to want a relationship and obviously so do I…. but it just isn’t that simple.

One thing I have just remembered is that when I was crying on Tuesday, T said “what do you hope to achieve?” (about me going to my mum’s house). I thought for a second and laughed and cried at the same time as I said I had no idea. T said the feelings had taken over and that I needed to try to bring the thinking/logic back a little to keep me safe.

So that’s that really….. I still feel a bit numb about it all. I’m worried that she will text me and ask me when I’m going because I’m still caught between half wanting to go and half knowing it’s not a good idea. I don’t want to hurt her and I know she’s got her hopes up. I also haven’t told my husband any of this…. he doesn’t have a clue how I’ve been feeling or about what I’ve said to my mum or about how badly I cried at T’s last week…..

I hate that any of this is real you know. I know that sounds like a stupid thing to say and maybe it sounds like a poor me but I do hate it. I wish so badly that it could be different.

Sitting with the grief

It feels like ages since I last blogged on here but I’ve just checked and actually it’s only 8 days.  I think it probably feels like longer because this is the first time in ages that I’ve got my laptop (craptop) out rather than just quickly posting something from my phone.  Today I’ve been reminded why that is, because the laptop has taken an absolute AGE to get to the point where I can type on here and even now it is so painfully slow that I’m surprised I’ve got this far.

Anyway.

I don’t have anything pressing to write about and nothing has “happened” with regards to my mother or anything.  In fact that is still the main thing on my mind – how nothing has happened with her for such a long time now.

I had my last session with T on Thursday afternoon until 9 July and that kinda snuck up on me as it often does.  In general I feel fine about the break, I feel emotionally stable and happy enough to “cope” as it were, but I just miss knowing she is there and that I will see her.  Annoyingly at our last session on Thursday I was hyperactive about a house I was viewing that evening and so blabbered on incessantly for the entire hour about moving and potential houses etc which felt good at the time but now feels like a waste.  T has told me before that nothing is ever a waste of a session, regardless of what we talk about because its what I need in the moment.  I do get that, but equally I feel like because I was so distracted about the house and I was feeling all happy and excited and hopeful, I took my time with her for granted a bit and now I feel I could do with seeing her to talk about proper stuff… does that make sense?

I’ve felt pretty good in general recently though. Yesterday I felt down, mainly because of house stuff and the pending panic that in 4 weeks time we have nowhere to live and there’s been absolutely no updates on our currently stalled chain in over 5 weeks now.  No exchange date agreed and obviously no talk of completion.  I’ve written this before but moving is a trigger for me and feeling unsettled is difficult for me nowadays after spending a lifetime feeing that way, and having had security for the last 5 years that I’ve been with my husband.  Anyway, it can’t be helped and T says I am tolerating the uncertainty well – which I am, mainly.

Today however I have opted to stay home whilst my husband runs the kids around for the afternoon and so I am sat now at home on my own and I guess the time and space is allowing some feelings to creep in and I feel like if I was to allow it, I could feel quite upset.  I can feel it trying to come to the surface even just since my husband and the kids drove off and again since I started typing this. On that note, as I waved them all off a while ago and then closed the door to come inside, I cried. I used to do that all the time but I’ve not done that in a very long time.  It sounds ridiculous I know, but every now and again, there’s something very triggering for me about waving them/him off. It shoots a pain across my chest and I cry instantly.  I don’t know why exactly, but I guess it must be something to do with feeling abandoned or something – even though it was  my choice to stay behind.

I am still finding it difficult that my mother has seemingly given up on me.  I guess the feelings about it come and go a bit and on the whole aren’t horrendous – especially compared to some of the grief I’ve felt over the past few years, but I admit it hurts and it is *there* even if a lot of the time I don’t give it much space to be felt.

There are two types of narcissistic mother: the engulfing mother and the ignoring mother.  Confusingly my mother was an ignoring mother until I got to about 17 years old, and then became the engulfing mother.  It is possible that now,  because I am not giving her what she wants and needs, she’s just reverted back to the ignoring mother.  Perhaps she’s dead angry with me and so she is trying to punish me by making me feel rejected and forgotten about knowing somewhere that it triggers my deepest insecurities.  Maybe she’s playing a game.  Maybe she just doesn’t give a fig.  I don’t know. I just do not know and really I suppose it doesn’t matter, does it?  But it does… unfortunately.

I automatically feel myself wanting to write/say to myself that I need to just accept it and move on but I also know that it is actually much better for me to let the feelings come and that they will pass quicker if I don’t try to fight them.  I need to let the wave of sadness and grief wash over me and I have to try to stay with the feelings but it is very painful when I do.  It isn’t the crushing grief I’ve felt before where I feel like I might die, and I’m not falling to my knees on the bathroom floor, but the pain is real and as ever with this thing, it isn’t the sort of thing you can talk to people about because the general population don’t have to grieve their living mother and don’t really understand narcissism.  It’s a lonely type of grief isn’t it?

It is also a really confusing type of grief because (and apologies for repeating myself) but I am the one who needed the separation from my engulfing mother.  It was me that pulled away and me who put in the distance for my own recovery and sanity, for my own protection BUT still, she’s gone from engulfing to nothing and what I wanted was something in the middle – something healthy.  Something “normal” or at least less painful and less damaging.  It seems there really is no choice.  Well, the choice is to be enmeshed with her or to be totally ignored.  I know that being ignored is the less of the two evils because being enmeshed is bad for me in so many ways; so I guess I am grieving the loss of the wish for normal.  Again.

Regardless of her motive, what she’s doing works.  I clearly still have work to do because it is still triggering me feeling so unimportant and feeling rejected and forgotten.  I feel like I don’t exist to her and that is still a very difficult feeling to handle even after all these years and all the work I have done.  Whether intentional or not, it’s clever because the automatic response to feeling these things is to “fix” it and get rid of that feeling by putting myself in her orbit! By basically begging for her love.  Maybe it would mean I would drop any set boundaries and decide that actually, I can go and drink with her at her house and let her abuse me and let her put ideas in my head about how my husband doesn’t love me and let her tell me I’ve let myself go physically or even just start slagging off my father and stepmother. Whatever it would be, that is the automatic place to go to rid myself of these triggered feelings of being unloved and forgotten and unimportant.

I don’t do that and I won’t do that of course.. which is progress but instead I just have to feel these horribly shit feelings and wait for them to pass.  That’s harder than it sounds sometimes.

I find myself wondering why it is that she suddenly decided to be like this (ignoring/non-contacting) because the last time I saw her I came home and cried all day because I wished she had wanted to stay with me for longer (there’s a post on that about mother’s day time (UK).  We even text later that evening about silly things and after a few drinks I had text her that evening asking that we went to a special bar soon for some drinks.  She had said yes and had suggested we did that for my birthday…. but for some reason from then onwards, she just dropped me.  Maybe she unconsciously or consciously got what she needed from me and she knew somewhere inside her that I was starting to come back and that was enough so she dropped me.  Maybe she knew I was starting to come back to her and so she thought that would be a good time to totally reject me in the hope it would make me beg more/try harder?  Maybe she didn’t feel anything at all and I just bored her so much at that lunch that she can’t be arsed to sit through another one? Knowing my mother she will also be thinking that I should be asking to see HER and not the other way around.  I sometimes wonder if I am being narcissist in saying that she hasn’t contacted me and that she hasn’t asked to see me when I am also doing those things… it worries me but then I think well it was me who initiated that mother’s day visit and so it is her turn if you like… though that makes me sound like I’m playing games, and it doesn’t feel like that to me.

I’ve also been off of social media for about 6 weeks or so now and she won’t like that.  That will really piss her off because it means she really has no idea what I am doing unless she asks and because she hates/has no interest in my life with my husband, my stepkids, my in-laws or my father & co, she won’t ask and so I’ve exhausted her free source of info.  It also takes away her stage for showing her disinterest/disapproval by purposely not “liking” my photos.  Hell, perhaps she even knows how much she was getting to me by ignoring my stuff and now she’s pissed I’ve effectively put up another boundary and stopped her getting to me that way too. Or maybe I am overthinking all of it.

But that’s the thing isn’t it, it makes you overthink it all. It makes you try to rationalise it. It makes you question their motives and their thoughts and feelings and it makes you spend countless minutes and hours or days even, playing all of these things through your mind until you end up stressed and upset and just feeling exhausted or overwhelmed or rejected…. like I do now!

My husband quite rightly tells me that I should try to take some freedom from the fact that I was just as exhausted and affected by her when she was constantly asking to see me or texting me and how I used to be anxious and panicky about what to say to her to say no and how I would upset her and then have to deal with all the guilt that followed it all. He said that at least she had stopped that and at least I had some relative peace.  He’s obviously absolutely right, but unfortunately it doesn’t stop the sadness that it basically shines a light on how little she actually loves me – because she has just gone.

I guess I find it hard to fathom how a mother would just stop bothering to see or contact her daughter.  Perhaps if she were to write out her feelings she would say she finds it hard to fathom how her daughter could stop bothering to see or contact her own mother(!) it feels like we are having some silent battle and that we both feel rejected and hurt and are both being defensive because of it.  It just all feels like such a bloody shame and such a waste! One day she will die (or maybe I will) and the other of us is going to be left having to work through such complicated grief.  Perhaps that person will wish they had more time and would decide to do things completely differently.  I dread that happening but I also know it really isn’t that simple. I can’t tolerate her engulfment, toxicity, negativity, bullying etc just because one day she might die but it seems that when people around us die, they turn into saints and all the bad is instantly forgotten and forgiven and then we are left with heaps of guilt.  I don’t want that either.

I guess this goes without saying really, but she lives ten minutes down the road. I wish we had a relationship where we spoke regularly and we popped over to see each other or we went shopping now and again or we met for dinner or lunch sometimes with our husbands. I wish we could talk about our feelings and I wish I could lean on her and talk to her about all the big things in my life – particularly about my struggle to conceive and about thoughts of adoption or house-buying. I wish I could have a mum to cuddle when I felt sad or who would celebrate my good news/achievements with.

But I don’t and today, that is very sad.

Love-Bombing & Giving back the projection

I wonder when I turned into the kind of person that found sneaking off to a coffee shop on my own for an hour, a treat. I wonder when it was that I swapped my absolute fear of being alone in public, of being looked at or judged, for sitting at a table with a snack and a cup of tea and finding it the most relaxing way to spend an hour. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I crave it!

So here I am, I’ve just been watching something on Netflix on my phone but I also had a craving to write so I thought I would quickly write here. It’s not quite satisfying the craving because in the perfect world I would be in a coffee shop nowhere near work and I would have my laptop and some comfort clothes on – but hey, I’ll take what I can and so my phone and my work clothes will have to do.

I’m feeling pretty good today. Work was stressing me out this morning but that’s just work stuff, not emotions or people or anything, literally paperwork. Russian visas to be precise. Ball. Ache.

I had therapy last night and told T some of the new things I had been thinking. I told her that I knew it didn’t sound like much out loud, but that my new thoughts felt huge.

I told her that I realised that my mother’s upset at my lack of attention/interest/love etc and that I realised that’s exactly how I felt all of my life growing up with her.

She agreed.

I explained that in a bit more detail and said I know it sounds like I’m being spiteful, but I’m not, I didn’t mean it like that – it’s not meant as punishment or anything. She said it absolutely did not sound like that at all.

She said “you’ve given the projection back”.

I didn’t really focus on that last night but it has been on my mind today because I clearly remember her saying a while ago that I needed to “give the projection back” when I was feeling desperately guilty. I had no idea what she meant to be honest. Hearing her say that last night felt good. Had I given it back?

I plan to speak to her about that in more detail in tomorrow’s session but I guess what she means is it isn’t me that should feel guilty, it’s her and so I’m refusing to carry that weight and I’m “giving it back” to her. Not that she would accept it … I guess that’s not the point.

I told T how clearly I can see her lack of empathy all of a sudden. I said the few examples I could think of immediately being 1) when I told her about the sexual abuse by her then boyfriend, 2) my operation when I was scared I had cancer, 3) when I confronted her about how I felt growing up. T already knows these stories and she knows all the details of what happened so she agreed with me. I said it was like all of a sudden I could really understand how awful her reactions were. I said I just keep trying to put myself in her position and imagining my stepdaughter telling me those things and how I just realised how shocking it all was in a way that I hadn’t before.

T agreed with me. Clearly she’s been thinking this way the whole time but I’ve taken a while (5 years!) to catch up.

I asked T is she had heard of the term “love bombing” in relation to narcissists and she hasn’t. I told her what I had been reading about it and what it meant and she seemed very interested. I told her that mostly everything I had read about love bombing was in relation to romantic relationships with a narcissist, but that I had put it into my context, with my mother and it had made sense. I explained that the inviting us to “forget it all and move on”, the invite to go to her house, the money she put into my bank account, the messages saying how much she loved me, how much she missed me, how I was her “daughter” etc were all part of this love-bombing. The idea being to confuse and guilt the receiving party into thinking the manipulator is actually lovely, to doubt your perception of them, to feel bad, feel guilty.

T understood straight away and agreed with what I was saying about my mother and her “love-bombing” and we both said how what usually follows is devaluation and then discard. Perhaps not discard with my mother, but devaluation for sure.

I said reading what I had really helped because it stopped me thinking that perhaps I was wrong and also I told T that I couldn’t help but feel I was being a horrible person thinking her “generous” gifts could be somehow “bad”.

Anyway, I have to go back to work now unfortunately so this is shorter than I would like it to be. Hopefully it made some sense anyway.

Some things

Things I need to write about.

  1. Today I found out that an old school friend has died. He was 30, recently married and had a 7 month old baby.  We haven’t spoken for years since college but it is such a shock and such tragic news.
  2. Therapy today – I only bloody saw one of T’s daughters for the first time.
  3. I never write about my relationship with my husband but I feel I need to write about some feelings I have right now regarding him/us.
  4. The money.

Okay so there isn’t much more for me to say about number 1.  The news is bloody tragic. It really has shocked me so much, I just cannot believe it.  In fact, I mean that quite literally – I don’t feel like I have taken it in yet, it doesn’t seem possible that someone I knew for all of those years who was on a very similar path to me is now gone.  Just like that.  I keep thinking about his wife and their baby and how someone gets through something so terrible.  I keep picturing his face which is really hard and it reminds me of how I felt when another of my friends died at 21 years old – both of these people were in our group  at school.  Both now gone.  21 and 30 – no age to die.  One through suicide and one through an accident.

Number 2
Well, I can’t quite believe this but I pulled up to T’s earlier and I had only been stopped a matter of seconds when I saw someone out of the corner of my eye near T’s house.  I looked up and saw it was one of T’s daughters coming out of her house, carrying a dog in her arms.  She had nothing on her feet and was wearing a tracksuit. She got into her car which was facing mine and I played around with my phone to hide my awkwardness.  I looked up a few times and she was still looking in my direction and then she got out of the car, and went back inside.  I can only assume she left something in her car, but I have no idea why she had to take the dog with her – perhaps to stop it running outside or something.

It was weird seeing her. In 5 years I’ve never seen her despite seeing her car outside most times.  I’ve seen what she looks like enough times because I used to look at her on Instagram but it was weird seeing her in real life and, I suppose it was the shock of seeing her right there when I have never had to see anyone before.

Obviously my paranoid mind was thinking all sorts of things.   Had she come out to get a look at me?  Was she coming out to look at me because she knew it was me who used to look at her social media all the time? Did she purposely wait until my session time? And then I started wondering if T doesn’t stop her from doing that kind of thing – I mean, clients who relate to their T in the way I do and clients with mother issues/attachment issues really don’t want to be seeing T’s children do they?

To my surprise, I didn’t feel any strong feelings about seeing her and T didn’t say anything about it or ask how I felt etc so either she didn’t know I had or maybe she just saw I looked happy enough and so thought she would avoid it? Who knows.

Onto number 3..

So I rarely write about my marriage and mostly that is because there really isn’t much to say.  We don’t have big arguments or anything and we get on very well.  The only time we tend to disagree is about my mother or possibly money (me wanting to spend it by going out to eat or booking a holiday and him wanting to save it for a house, baby, the future etc).  However…. I’ve been feeling some things lately which I suppose I’ve been kinda trying to ignore but they’ve been getting louder and then today I feel it even more.  At the same time however, a bit of me wonders if it is about him at all or whether I am transferring some feelings about someone else/something else onto him because it is easier or safer or whether I am using these things as an excuse or something…. I don’t know.

The first thing that started this off was that he doesn’t seem to want to have sex hardly ever anymore.  I know that can happen, that sometimes people go through phases etc but I started to feel a little bit insecure about it and when I made a few comments, he would get a bit stroppy or tell me he didn’t want to discuss it.  He always says he is tired and stressed from the day or I have been to therapy or whatever and so he’s started to only want sex on a Saturday morning when the kids are all here and it makes me feel on edge.  Not being funny but it isn’t exactly relaxing knowing there are 3 sets of ears potentially listening out or that any second there could be a knock on the door or whatever, yet alone the fact we cannot make any noise whatsoever and the fact that due to this there is absolutely NO romance involved in it whatsoever.

Anyway… as we are trying to conceive and have been for what feels like eternity, there are times when we have to have sex and that alone is not romantic let me tell you.  That has probably made me feel even worse because he will be brutally honest and say things like “God do we have to” or “Eugh, again?” and I’m like, yeah, I don’t particularly want to either mate.  You know? Without being too graphic, its got to the point on those fertile days where there is no foreplay or kissing or anything and its not for mutual pleasure if you get my drift. It is a job to do. Another chore and I don’t blame him for this one – we both feel the same. It would be easy to blame the whole sex thing on this but it is no different the rest of the month so that doesn’t really work.

Anyway, sex aside I just feel a bit neglected recently I suppose.  It is all such silly things but things like I will text him and he will read it and ignore me rather than reply.  He will come home every night and just sit on the sofa and play on his phone and he will often stay up later than me because he wants to watch something and I need to get to bed as I get up so early.. then the kids are here and obviously the dynamic is different again.

I know that he loves me and I’m not worried that he is going to suddenly want a divorce or anything so I’m not trying to dramatize anything… I just feel a bit… kinda lonely I suppose if that makes sense?  I guess it is upsetting because it has never felt like this before and so it’s probably pretty normal stuff, but it isn’t normal for our marriage you know?

Anyway, as I started to write this he phoned me to say he was staying late at work tonight and I found myself being really stroppy and short with him on the phone.  I couldn’t help myself and the second I hung up, I burst into tears because I felt guilty for being a bitch.  Even writing this now makes me feel so bad I’m crying again.

I can’t help but feel that my feelings have nothing to do with any of the stuff I’ve written above but it feels like it is… so I’m confused as to whether it is any of that stuff and genuinely I do feel bit taken for granted or whether I am using him as an excuse for my bad/sad/mad feelings.

Which leads onto number 4

It has been a week since “the money” thing.  I haven’t actually given it much thought the last few days but to be honest that is mainly because of Tuesday’s night’s session and all the feelings that kicked up/my new favourite hobby of distracting myself to block out thinking and feeling.

All of the main feelings of panic and anxiety etc have passed in relation to the money thing and now I just feel like I need to almost pretend it didn’t happen to make sure that I keep my boundaries and don’t get sucked into doing anything differently.  Yesterday at work someone was talking about how they have been fixing furniture and revamping old things and it reminded me that when I was younger, my mum went mad for “sponging” the walls and things.  In the early 90s that was a thing apparently! Anyway as I remembered it I wanted to text my mum and remind her and in my head we would have a laugh over it.. but then I realised I shouldn’t be encouraging contact and I shouldn’t do that now of all times when I don’t usually make any kind of small-talk because it would send out the wrong message wouldn’t’ it? And besides, it might then prompt her to ask to see me and then I would end up feeling stressed about that… so just not worth it.  So I didn’t.  But I wanted to and that kinda sucks.

I’ve touched on this previously already but I felt quite shocked and overwhelmed by the stuff I spoke about in my session on Tuesday by the time I got home and I told T that in today’s session.  She said she wasn’t surprised and that she had just been sitting there thinking about how I told the story/stories differently this time to before.  I didn’t ask what she meant by that but I am pretty sure what she meant was that previously I just told the stories and this time, I felt the feelings the memories brought up.  I know that I felt that to be the case.

I can sense that I’m not fully letting the feelings come at the moment – I’m probably scared of the intensity of them, but I keep thinking to myself that the things I went through were actually awful and that I’ve played them down my entire life.  Now all of a sudden those things feel big.  They feel traumatic and they feel very, very, bloody unfair (I know, I know).

It made me see that my mother really didn’t care about how much pain I was in back then and she still doesn’t.  This is a real obvious statement I know, but I can feel it at the moment whereas often when I say or write that, it is the logic – the obvious logic of her words or actions.  Feeling it makes it more real.  More shocking and more painful.

In one of her messages about the money she referred to our issues as being “some differences but that is life” and reading that sentence made me feel so angry.  Some differences?! I mean, way to play it down.  Those differences are my entire life experience!! My feelings.  My hurt and my pain.  For her to just say something that casual like our different views hurt.

Since that message I’ve thought to myself I wonder if she really thinks that way.  I wonder if she genuinely tells herself that; that we just have different views (I.e. that my view is she was a shit mother and I grew up feeling unloved and that her view is that she was a great mother who did the best she could and I have nothing to feel hurt by).  I mean.. even if you think you did your best, wouldn’t you want to hear your child out and wouldn’t you apologise anyway? Wouldn’t you hear your child’s pain and want to reassure them that THEY did absolutely nothing wrong and apologise over and over again?  Not her.  She just thinks its a “different view”.

As I write this I can feel the anger bubbling up inside me.  How can she minimise my pain like that? How can she not self-reflect at all and see that actually, her choices in life put me in some really shitty situations and that she was barely around and did not have any idea how I actually FELT about anything.  All she sees is that she was a “single mother” (who wasn’t actually ever single) and that she “had no help from either of your dads” and that “other people have it much, much worse”.  So defensive.

That right there is why things between me and her will never, ever be able to be improved.  She cannot or will not allow herself to put herself in my shoes and see how I felt growing up.  She cannot hear that I was lonely, scared, insecure, felt unloved etc etc… she just can’t.  I’ve told her twice now and both times she just kicked off and called me things.  Both times we stopped speaking for a period of time. I told her once that I didn’t want to talk to her unless she had had an epiphany and she told me it was me that needed one, not her – when I stopped all the nonsense.

Because she is a narcissist and all she cares about is her own feelings.  The lack of empathy being one of the main characteristics of a narcissist. Suddenly so obvious.

After I told her about what her boyfriend did to me and she had finished fawning about everywhere telling everyone how she blamed herself and how she couldn’t eat or drink (perleaseee), she said to me “Oh sorry, do we all need to sit around and feel sorry for you every day for the rest of our lives. Poor you!!”.  THAT is the level of empathy my mother has about her (then) boyfriend being a fucking paedophile.

Because like EVERYTHING else, we need to just forget it all and have no feelings about any of it. Ever.

Don’t have feelings. Don’t talk about it.  Definitely do not confront her.

What the fuck though?

This article says it well:

Lack of empathy is a trademark of narcissistic parents. Empathizing with your children is feeling what they are feeling and acknowledging those feelings. It is the art of compassion and sensitivity, as well as the ability to give moral support in whatever they are experiencing. You do not have to agree with them but you are there for them. You put aside your own feelings and thoughts for the moment and tune in to their emotional needs to attempt to understand where they are coming from and why. Instead of citing rules or trying to give advice and direction, try this empathy exercise instead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shocked?

I know this doesn’t really make sense but I left Tuesday’s therapy session feeling what I can only describe as “in shock”. I had told T about the dream I had Saturday night about being outside one of my childhood homes and the feeling it left me with all day on Sunday (feeling shit). We spoke about the dream and T said she felt there was something that I needed to “revisit” and I told her what the house meant to me, the things that happened there.

Time ran away as it often does in therapy and before I knew it I had spoken in detail about the sexual abuse stuff and the grooming, about how I felt that evening when I went to bed and how petrified I was when he came up the stairs and started sending me disgusting messages from the bathroom opposite my bedroom.

I had spoken in detail about the man that was violent and had started to physically abuse my mother and how I had found her on her bed naked and covered in the glass from the large mirror he had pulled off the wall and smashed onto her. How I had to get him out of our house. Again, how bloody scared I was.

I spoke about the times I ran away and where I went and what it was like when I went home again.

About how I lost my virginity in that house at a young age and how that guy dumped me and told my mother it was her he loved…

Blah blah… there is more but it’s going to end up retriggering me if I carry on. The point is, as the session wound up and I had a couple of minutes left I just sat in silence and found myself in a bit of a daze. I was just staring at the floor and was aware that T had two clocks which were ticking out of sync and suddenly seemed SO loud.

I usually hate the “awkward” silences but I didn’t have anything to say. I was feeling weird. After a pause T said “it seems like its washed over you” and I said “erm yeah I guess I’m just processing it all” and she agreed. Anyway, I left and in the car home I felt weird.

When I got home I still felt weird. I keep writing weird because I genuinely don’t know how to explain that feeling.

I sat on my bed for a minute and stared into space again. I felt the weight of the things I had just spoken about. I felt like my adrenaline was pumping through me and I felt anxious and kinda on my guard or something. I felt like I wanted to cry, but nothing was happening…

I felt so uncomfortable that I decided to distract myself and went and put the tele on and started to cook my dinner. Every now and again I would “remember” and feel that same feeling.

It was like… I was scared or anxious or shocked.

I had fleeting thoughts that lasted half a second where I thought “shit, that’s big” or “why the fuck do I feel sorry for her when she let all that happen to me?”. Then I would banish it all again.

When I went to get into bed I caught a glimpse of a photo on my bedside cabinet of my 3 stepchildren which was taken about 5 years ago. The 3 of them smiling and looking so young and cute and innocent and I thought to myself “oh my god I don’t even know how a childhood like that feels – one without fear or trauma”. It sounds awful but for half a second I hated them for that. Then I nearly cried again but didn’t – why weren’t the tears coming out? I could even feel the lump in my throat.

One thing T said in the session that has stuck with me is that in most cases of childhood sexual abuse from a partner of a mother, the mother is a narcissist. She explained that the men were clever and knew the mother would be so wrapped up in herself and that the child wouldn’t be protected, would be vulnerable. She said he was with her to “get” to me. That made me feel sooo sick.

She also said that although what he did was awful I had a close call. I know she’s right, it certainly could have been worse. I’m grateful they split up after that happened – though they did get back together a few months later and i came home to find him back in my house again. Luckily it didn’t last that time.

I’ve thought about this feeling a little since Tuesday though admittedly not a lot because it’s a horrible feeling that I find myself trying to block out. I think it’s shock.

I know that sounds weird but it’s like the severity of some of those things suddenly sunk in. Like I heard myself properly for the first time or something.

It FEELS awful. It never used to. How can you feel shocked about your own memories years and years after they happened?