Invalidation Hurts

I’ve thought a lot this weekend about invalidation and what it means to me.  Before going to therapy I hadn’t even heard the words “invalidation” or “validated”.  After a while I understood the meanings but to be totally honest, put them down to being airy-fairy therapy words and definitely not words that I would use myself.  Fast-forward 3 years or so and invalidation is a word that seems to be coming out of my mouth A LOT.

When I ended up having THAT row with my mother in October, what I wanted and needed from her was to be validated.  I was screaming (literally) for her to finally see and hear that I was hurt. That I had a lot of hurt and pain inside of me that I was desperate for her to see, acknowledge, apologise for causing and help me to heal from.  What I got instead was total invalidation.  She went on the attack and listed off my faults, invalidated me by making me feel overly sensitive and pathetic for having these feelings and then insulted me by saying I was crazy and needed sectioning as I was brainwashed (I guess this was gaslighting as it made me question my sanity).

A few days after THAT row, she text me to say how upset she was.  She sent a few long messages, all of which were totally invalidating.  One actually said “You say you had a bad childhood?” the tone of which instantly suggests it’s an opinion rather than a fact, and then a question mark like she’s questioning I could even SAY that!  She continued “but we always had a nice house and you didn’t go without much considering I was a single parent with no help from your dad“.  I should be grateful, after all I had a nice house (which is actually laughable as I moved at least 22 times before I was 16, doesn’t mention that I lived with 2 physically violent men AND a paedophile but hey, moving on…) she then goes on to blame my dad for not supporting her and the end result is that I should feel LUCKY rather than hurt.  As for the “didn’t go without much” well, that is questionable.  Personally I feel like I went without all of the most important things a child needs like love, protection and safety.

Next came the “Lets agree to disagree” text.  Because agreeing to disagree that I grew up feeling unloved, unlovable, faulty, wrong, broken, not good enough, ashamed etc are things you can just “agree to disagree” on aren’t they?  ABSURD.

Another few months later she sent an angry text and in it she listed all of the ways she “was always there for” me “unlike some” (this is another dig at my father). She went on to say that it couldn’t have been that bad as I didn’t move out when I was 16 and never go back. She then said in fact, I went home a few times and that they always let me return and helped me with most of the things I needed.  By that she will mean money, physically helping me move house and buying me things like an iron etc.

Then came her “goodbye” text which said she was no longer waiting to hear from me and would deal with that in her own way.  She told me to be happy and that she hoped I didn’t regret my decisions as time was precious.  She also made sure to get in a few shitty comments about how I could “believe what I like“.  This one very nearly worked, I did begin to seriously question if any of my pain and hurt was worth losing my own mother over.  Perhaps I really should be over it by now?

And most recently, a few days ago, she says she wishes she could “wrap her arms around me and hug away the pain and hurt” and that she will always be there for me, if and when I need her.

Every message stinks of invalidation.  The last one is clever though as on the surface, there’s some validation in it, right? She’s FINALLY, FINALLY seen that I even have hurt and pain?? I still find myself hopeful about that to an extent, but where is the acknowledgment of what that pain and hurt is about? Nowhere. So what is she actually acknowledging? That I have hurt and pain from somewhere/someone else? Or that I am mentally struggling at the moment? I don’t know but it’s not right I know that.

Then flying monkey who arrived Wednesday night – well, quite frankly that twat just invalidated my entire life.  He invalidated my experience of my childhood, my mother and my current adult feelings about it all. He told me to move on, draw a line under it, told me that I was an adult now (so I assume should grow up?).  It was horribly invalidating. He also told me that as he experienced a terrible childhood himself, he knew how I felt about certain aspects but that I should still “draw a line under it“.

My sister told me that my mother was very upset and crying all the time – so clearly her feelings were more important than mine. When I told her my boundaries for any future relationship between us, her response was that she didn’t understand the need for “rules” and got visibly annoyed and upset.  She said it was weird.  So now my boundaries were being ignored too.  Not to mention I told her NOT to bring her dad with her, yet she still did. How rude is that? Still gets my back up.

So there is the background to my recent experiences of being invalidated.  What I am struggling with at the moment is what I experience when this happens. I see red.  Like, a red mist. I become so very overcome with anger that I genuinely worry I won’t be able to control myself and this is SO unlike me. I have never been a particularly angry person, I would not describe myself as angry or aggressive and I am certainly not violent, ever.  But in these moments, I could totally lose my head.

I keep reading on forums, blogs and articles that the best thing to do is to not react. Particularly, not to react emotionally.  Keep calm, don’t “JADE” (Justify, Argue, Defend or Explain) yourself and to basically validate yourself so that it doesn’t get to you.

But I don’t seem to be able to do this yet.

Why has this become such a huge trigger for me? I mean, I guess looking back I’ve spent my entire life being invalidated so why now is that so completely unmanageable?

The other HUGE trigger for me at the moment is the comments on my therapy.  Flying Monkey Wednesday night compared my therapy to “a cancer eating away at you“.  My mother said I was “brainwashed with my therapist” my sister said “it’s gone to your head” and when on Wednesday, at the ambush, I implemented my boundary and said I would not discuss MY private counselling any more and neither would I allow it to be discussed or insulted again, I was met with such shock and confusion such as the wonderful “You are so angry, I’ve never seen you with so much anger and you are so defensive!”.

Who wouldn’t be????

So the two toughest things right now are the complete invalidation of my feelings but also the invalidation that 1) therapy is helping me and 2) that therapy is PRIVATE and not something I wish to hear their (negative) opinion on! oh and that it isn’t making me crazy.

I seriously need to try to find a way to handle this more effectively otherwise I’ll be in prison for murder.  One of the most annoying things about the reaction that it gives me is that I probably play right into their hands – “proving” that I am crazy and fiercely angry and aggressive.  UGH.

Invalidation for me means:

My feelings are wrong, bad, pathetic etc – causing me to feel ashamed
That I am “wrong” for “still” having these feelings – causing me to feel ashamed
Making me question my own sanity – am I crazy?
Feeling isolated – nobody else feels this way
Losing family – Mother, stepdad, sister, her dad, aunty.. who is next?

The only thing I am glad of is that all of this invalidating is making me angry and not doubt myself.  I guess that is a good thing? Hopefully this will be a work in progress and eventually their invalidation won’t matter to be at all.

Hopefully my own validation will be enough.

INVALIDATION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Ambush and The Text

I have wanted to sit and write for days, particularly today but I have felt way too tired to actually do it.  It is ten to 7 now and I still feel like I could fall asleep as I type this but I also really need to get some thoughts and feelings out of me and onto the page in the hope it helps me to feel a bit less stressed out.

On Sunday my sister text me asking if she could come over to my house, to talk to me and my fiancé because she felt “shit” about our falling out.  I was shocked but pleased that she asked this and told her I was very glad and that yes, of course she could. We made plans for her to come over Wednesday evening.  An hour or so later she text saying that she had seen her dad (for info, not my dad) and that he had a Christmas gift for me and my fiancé and so could he come along.  Instantly I worked out that he must be the person behind her asking to come over, as clearly my mother wouldn’t encourage us to get along – she would hate that.  I responded kindly but said we should sort our issues out alone first, and that we could make plans to see him the following week.  She replied saying OK.

Wednesday night came around and I was feeling a bit apprehensive about my sister’s visit.  The doorbell rang just as I was dishing up our dinner and so my fiancé went to let her in, however the next voice I heard was her dad’s “I hope you don’t mind me coming along” and then my sister’s voice saying “I’m staying at Dad’s”.  I was not impressed by this at all and I was (probably naively) totally unprepared for him being there and so felt a bit nervous and on the back-foot.  I felt annoyed with her for going against what I had said and inviting her dad anyway.

They came in, made small talk whilst we finished our dinner and then we made them each a cup of tea.  My fiancé then went outside to have a cigarette.  The second he went outside, her dad said to me “Right, look here, I have come over because I need to have a word with you. I am very concerned by your behaviour recently. I respect that this is your house and so you have every right to tell me you don’t want me to carry on”.  I think I probably rolled my eyes at this because I knew instantly the tone of the conversation was going to be “look here, pack it in’ and I wasn’t wrong.

He then started to say, “I do understand that counselling helps some people to deal with demons and their feelings about certain things but…” and I showed my frustration by rolling my eyes and a deep sigh. I was angry already.  He then said “counselling is like a cancer, it will eat away at you from the inside”.  He said it was “a scar that I was picking at needlessly and needed to leave alone”.

ANGER.

I then stopped him and said, I think we will stop this conversation here and wait for my fiancé to come back into the house because I think it is rather unfair that you’ve come over to my house, against my wishes and then waited for him to leave the room so you and my sister could gang up on me and start attacking my very private business, MY counselling which was none of his business.  I guess I was a bit rude at this point because I had reached new levels of frustration and I was so unprepared and shocked that I guess my anger was coming in as self-protection, rightly or wrongly.

My fiancé walked back inside and he spoke directly to him and said I was just saying that I need to have a talk with Twink about her behaviour and actions recently and that I am very concerned for her – is that okay with you? My fiancé said he was happy for us to have a conversation but would absolutely not tolerate any arguments.  He agreed. He then carried on his rant about counselling, I repeated it was none of his business – he then looked me up and down raising his eyebrows and said “What is wrong with you? I have never seen so much anger in you! You are so defensive!”.  I snapped back at him, yes I was angry and defensive because he had come into my home and started to insult and attack my private things that he “knew nothing about!”.

It went from bad to worse after this point. He said he had been speaking to my mother (well, durr) and how she had told him what I had done and said recently – that we hadn’t spoken since October and that I was so brainwashed and angry and defensive blah bah blah.. he started to tell me  how I needed to “draw a line under it and move on”.  He went on to say all the usual crap about how he knew I “didn’t have the best childhood” but that I was now an adult with my own family so it was time to stop this nonsense.

He said I had to have my mother at my wedding. That even if I invited her to my wedding and then never spoke to her again, then that is what I should do. I asked him why? Why should I? For whose benefit? I then told him, in a pointless attempt at justifying myself, that my mother had been badmouthing my fiancé for months behind our backs saying that he was controlling and manipulative and that I wasn’t the real me, that I wasn’t happy.   He said well she may or may not have said that and I said well my sister and my aunt had told me and I know she said it because since we have fallen out, she’s implied it herself in messages! I also said when I used to go to her house, she would wait until my fiancé was out of the room and would look at me and say “so how are things really? implying that I was putting on a happy front for his sake.  She would tell me that he didn’t love me, that if he did we would be married by now, have had children by now. She said he would always end up going back to his ex and that his children would always come before me (which is totally wrong in her view – as demonstrated by my childhood!).

His response? “Well your nan said some nasty things about me when I was married to your mum, just ignore it” – Errrrr how about no? He also then said to my fiance something about “his wife” and I angrily corrected him by saying “EX wife!”.  How rude.

He then said to my fiancé “How do you feel about having her mother and stepfather at the wedding?”.  My fiancé answered very sarcastically “Oh well yes I would LOVE to have people like that at my wedding!”.  Her dad, visibly annoyed said “be serious” and he said that no, he absolutely did not want them there.  My sister’s dad’s response to this was…. “Well the day is about Twink anyway, not you!”.  How fucking rude. I corrected him but he spoke over me and disagreed.

My sister then piped up and said to me “Mum has been crying every day for months now, you’re not the one having to deal with that. It’s okay for you, you don’t live there but I do!” (so effectively: make up with her for my sake).  She went on to say that our nan was ill and our aunty having radiotherapy and that poor mum couldn’t take it.  She then said “Mum spoke to me about the abuse stuff (this is a reference to the sexual abuse I suffered at the hand’s of her then boyfriend that does not get mentioned – EVER), she continued “and it’s not that she doesn’t believe you, BUT…” I widened my eyes and thought I may well smack her in the face depending on her next sentence.  My fiancé jumped in and said very firmly “Be very careful what you say next!” and she then burst into tears and covered her face.

Her dad interjected and said that sometimes people are in denial and that my mother may know it happened, and believe me but not want to face it and that I just needed to accept and understand that. I shouted back at him, why do I have to just accept that?? I burst into tears and said you have no idea how it feels to tell a parent that you’ve been abused for them to say they don’t believe you.  You have NO fucking idea.  He shouted back at me that actually, he did know how I felt and that I knew nothing about his childhood and he was actually abused in many ways.  I cried hard and said why is everything about me letting it go, me accepting it, me getting over it – why is nobody at my mother’s house shouting at her to deal with it, to apologise??!!

He said I know you want an apology from your mother but.. and I interrupted him and said you told me on the phone Xmas Eve that you fully understood why I needed and wanted an apology from her AND what’s more, you told me you haven’t spoken to your own mother for 20 years for the same reason!!! I called him a hypocrite and he said it was… “different”.  I sarcastically laughed and said of course it was.

I  told him he was unbelievable considering he has slagged my mother off for my entire life and yet here he was, fighting her battles for her. I can’t understand it. He said he wasn’t that he was trying to help. PAH!!! He also denied ever slagging her off – gaslighting?

At some point in all of this I said firmly that I was no longer willing to discuss my therapy or my relationship with my mother.  He seemed totally miffed by this.  My fiancé then said to my sister, okay so Twink’s rules are that she wants to have a relationship with you and that she wants you two to not discuss your mother or her counselling.  Can you do that? My sister said she doesn’t believe sisters should have “rules”.  I said well very clearly WE did because look at the mess we are in!!! My fiancé said to her, what are your rules for Twink?? She just cried again and said it was weird and that it was all shit.

My fiancé then said to both of them, IF Twink never speaks to her mother again, IF that is what she decides to do, and that is none of our business, will you still be able to have a relationship with her? He asked my sister first who said yes instantly.  He then asked her dad who hesitated and said “well, I’m not sure.. I” and I sneered, unbelievable.  This sudden loyalty to his ex-wife who left him for another man, took away every single possession he had, stopped him seeing his daughter (and me) and told us both how he physically beat her repeatedly – causing us to be petrified of him was now saying he wasn’t sure he could have a relationship with ME because of my private row with her. WTF???

After a bit more invalidating he stood up and said “come on, we are going” to my sister and off they went.  I’ve not heard from them since.

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When they left, I broke down into tears but I was angry not sad. I was furious in fact. My entire body was tingling and my legs were weak. I was hot. It is the angriest I think I have ever felt in my life. How dare he?! I felt utterly attacked, ganged up on and invalidated.  The invalidation (now that I even know what that is) is the hardest thing I am up against at the moment. I am being invalidated from every angle and it is awful. You spend your life blaming yourself for being unlovable or faulty somehow, get yourself to therapy and dig deep, do some hellishly painful work – you fight against the defences that you’ve put up and finally realise it wasn’t you – that there was a lot of dysfunction and narcissim for example… and then everyone tells you to shut up and that you are wrong again. It’s mind-fucking.

There is such an obvious lack of empathy and care for my feelings about the way I have felt growing up – and now as an adult.

I was furious with my sister for going against me saying not to bring him and bringing him anyway. That is so unfair.  Ignoring me saying no and bringing him anyway because she wanted back-up. I’d understand that if she was a child herself or even if it was my idea to invite her over where she may feel ganged up on, but it was her suggetion and I took it at face value that it would be the 3 of us and that she would resepct my wishes. What a boundary invasion. I have some compassion for her, I know she just wants everything cleared up and she clearly thought her dad would help but boy was she wrong, he just made everything much worse.  I give her credit however for saying she would still have a realationship with me even if I didn’t ever speak to my mother again  but although I belive her, I doubt how possible my mother would make that.

I told my fiancé that I was so very disappointed. He had been good to me when I was younger, I have nice memories of normal days out and beds made up on the sofa for us to eat sweets and watch films.  He was my bit of normal.. I mean Christ, the guy applied through the Courts for custody of me!! He knew my mother was shit.  I once ran away from home and hid out at his house and he let me stay there telling me I never had to go home again if I was that unhappy there.  He always referred to me as his daughter – he tells everyone he has two daughters and I am not even his daughter.  What happened to all of that? Disappointed doesn’t do justice to my feelings but it’s the only word I can come up with.

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So, after all of this, as if that wasn’t enough whilst I was out with my old work friends last night I checked my phone which had been in my bag for hours and there was a message on the screen from my mother.

Oh God.

I opened it and read what she said and I felt so weird. I don’t know the feeling exactly. I guess I felt some kind of relief that she had finally acknowledged I had hurt and pain but frustration that she still wasn’t relating any of that hurt or pain to herself.  I found the message weird, it wasn’t like her at all. She spoke of wrapping me in her arms and hugging me – the thing I have wanted my ENTIRE LIFE.  A mother’s warm embrace. A protective and loving cuddle.  Protection, safety, love, nurturing.  She even signed the text off with how she loved me billions and included the word “Mum”.  Again, not something she has ever done before. It was like a different person had written it.  Confusion.

So I did what any normal, healthy person would do and drank myself into oblivion resulting in me being sick on the way home and again when I got into bed and getting 3 hours sleep.  Yeah, not a good move and one I feel pretty ashamed about today.  I know better than that.  I did what she does and tried to drink my feelings away and ignore it all.  I’m trying not to be too hard on myself, we all make mistakes, I won’t do it again that’s for sure.

I’ve been trying to work out what the text is about.  It has confused me. I kind of know in my head that it is just another, a different, tactic to try to get me back.  She’s tried ignoring me, sending aggressive and nasty messages, telling me she is walking away now and to effectively have a nice life.. and now this. This is probably the worst of them all because it’s like it is dangling a carrot of empathy and validation and affection in front of me saying “come back and I will be affectionate and I will give you everything you’ve ever wanted and needed” and yet, it isn’t genuine because I can’t help but feel that 1) she’s gone from attacking me for being brainwashed to this and also although she acknowledges my hurt and pain, she makes no attempt to make that better in any meaningful way – like telling me she is sorry for example.  So where/who does she think this hurt and pain has come from? I wonder if it’s a dig at my mental health? Is she trying to say she knows I am in a bad place mentally and wants to make me better? Therefore telling me again that I am crazy and wrong and brainwashed????

I can see that the use of the word mum in the text was just for effect. Like she is reminding me of her status in my life. MUM.  She who should be obeyed.  Your MUM, the one that loves you most etc etc….

Clearly the fact the message came the day after the pathetic ambush/intervention thing is no coincidence. I mean, my sister’s Dad admitted he had been speaking with my mother and so he was being a flying monkey – doing her bidding for her.  Like everyone does.  But what did he say??  I imagine that he said I am clearly not right, that I was extremely aggressive and defensive and she will be saying “see, I told you, she is unwell”.  What happened to the nice girl?

AARRRGGHHH God that makes me so angry. It’s the injustice of it. Somehow I have become the villain and she the victim.  It feels as though someone says they were abused in some way or hurt somehow and the response is, we need proof or she didn’t mean it but the real villain simply says “it wasn’t me, I didn’t do it” and everyone goes “okay, we believe you”.

It really hurts. It is VERY confusing and as I said to T today, it is seriously exhausting. I feel so done in from it all. I just want to be left alone and there is constant shit coming from all angles.

The only thing I am pleased about is that I must have got stronger because I was able to stick up for myself, able to set my boundaries regardless of people’s reactions to them and what’s more important I think is that I have not wanted to give in to keep these people happy.  If anything, it’s just made me more angry and more determined.  The dysfunction is so clear and it’s awful.  I know it is a very childlike statement but it is all so unfair and all I keep thinking is that nobody is genuinely looking out for me in this – it is all about keeping up appearances, keeping my mother happy, giving people an easy life and basically that I am upsetting the balance and so need to shut up complaining.  How does that happen? Proper victim blaming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She doesn’t want me to thrive

The fact is, she doesn’t want me to thrive. She doesn’t want me to be independent, confident or authentic. She doesn’t want me to have a happy relationship or marriage. She is jealous of those things because she isn’t them/doesn’t have them.

She’s never liked any of my boyfriends because they threaten her. They threaten her because she always knew if I met someone dependable and reliable, I would move away from her and she couldn’t tolerate that.

She now tells herself and everyone else that will listen that my fiancé is controlling and manipulating me because she can’t bear that I’m “gone”. I’ve grown up and I have my own life. I have my own house, family, relationship and it has no drama. I therefore don’t go to her house every weekend crying into my wine whilst she tells me what to do and say.

She always planted seeds of doubt in my head when I saw her. She used to tell me that he didn’t love me, that if he did, he would have proposed by now. She said he would never divorce his (now) ex-wife, that he would always go back to her, that he would always put me last – behind his kids and that I would hate being a stepmother. She told me often he wouldn’t want any more kids and that he was lying to me to keep me. She even said he has probably had a vasectomy that he hasn’t told me about and would tell me when it was too late. She said this again when we were struggling to conceive last year. She said there was nothing wrong with me – it had to be him. She said this even after he had his sperm tested and had a good and healthy result.

She doesn’t like me being a good stepmum because she hated being a mother. Why should I be able to enjoy it when she couldn’t? Why should I be good at it when she failed so terribly?

She doesn’t like my best friend – she says she doesn’t have tome for me anymore and that now she is a mother, she is only interested in her mummy friends. This is not true. She doesn’t like me having a reliable friendship because she has (lots of) fake and artificial friends. People that flock around her for parties and drinking, but nobody that is genuinely by her side throughout thick and thin because she uses people only when it suits her and people sooner or later get fed up.

She doesn’t like me having a relationship with my father because she claims he was a terrible father who didn’t care about me one iota when I was younger. He tells me a very different story that she told him I didn’t want to see him. I also believe that she needed me to keep her good and turn him bad because you can’t love both her and someone else. She had to have full control.

Also, she didn’t have a relationship with her own father (possibly because her Mum used the same tactics, who knows?) and so I couldn’t have a good relationship with mine because that wouldn’t be fair to her.

She let me stay home from school all the time in exchange for doing housework. I wonder whether that is because she didn’t want me getting a good education, becoming more intelligent than her and potentially getting a good and well paid job? Maybe that would threaten her.

She hates me having counselling – obviously. She tells everyone my fiancé and my therapist brainwash me. I don’t have my own mind and these can’t possibly be my decisions. Is that to protect herself or because she knows how easily manipulated and brainwashed SHE made me?!

Christ even when I passed my driving test she said the examiner only passed me as I wouldn’t be on the road often. I couldn’t have earned that pass. I couldn’t have that independence, that achievement.

All of these things I’ve known before…. but now it’s like I’m slitting them together and can see the bigger, clearer picture.

So on my wedding day when I’m standing there making my vows to the one that makes me happy and who truly encourages me to be the real me, she will not be welcome. And neither will her flying monkey lapdog who tries to intimidate me and do her dirty work for her – allowing her to play the poor, innocent victim.

What kind of mother wants to hold their child back?

The kind that feels inadequate and less than herself – despite the fake self cover up that’s taken her over. The narcissistic defence trying to fool herself and everyone else.

If only she could dig deep and feel her own pain and get some help this may be a different story.

She doesn’t want me to thrive.

Sliding Doors

Has anyone seen the film Sliding Doors? I watched it when I was about 11 years old for the first time, I remember this clearly because there was a sex scene in it and I was watching it with my Nan and remember feeling extremely awkward!

The general concept of the film is about how life can go in different directions.  It begins with a story line of what happens when a character DOES make the train, and another storyline where the character DOES NOT catch the train.  From that point, their life goes in two different directions.

I have been thinking about this film today because I find myself wondering a lot these last few days how my life could have gone.  Not so much in general terms but specifically around the events with my mother and her NPD.  What would have happened if I had stayed the Golden Child and remained enmeshed with her – what would my life look like right now?

I’ve been reflecting on my life a lot since writing the Goodbye Mother letter and today I was thinking how the first 18 years or so my mother fell into the category of “Ignoring Narcissistic Mother” but when I became 18 and old enough to drink and smoke and go to clubs and date men and share clothes with her, idolise her… she fitted better in the category of “Engulfing Narcissistic Mother” – this is the stage where the control and enmeshment began.

Now what would have happened if I hadn’t met my current fiancé and started therapy? Would I still be enmeshed with her? Would I be a narcissist myself by now? Maybe I would have met another man but not started therapy and therefore never realised the dynamic I was in! Perhaps I would have met a narcissistic man or more of the same type I used to meet, emotionally unavailable.  Perhaps I would have spent my entire life trying to fix them and have the happy ending I never got with my mother.  It’s a sad thought.

The “storyline” I find myself in now is one where I am playing the starring role of “Narcissistic Mother’s Scapegoat”. I am not only her scapegoat mind, but also my sister’s who is playing the lead role of “Golden Child” and, not only that but I think potentially “Narcissistic Golden Child”.

scape

There are basically two roles you can play when you have a mother as narcissistic as mine.  The Scapegoat or the Golden Child (you could also be a lost child but there is only two of us).  The perks of being the Golden Child are that you have the narcissistic mother’s protection.  She will agree with you (in public at least), she will tell you that you are “just like her” and if she is anything like my own mother, tell you that you are in fact a “mini me”. Now considering how much she thinks of herself, this is meant as the highest type of compliment. The downside to being the GC is that you are not allowed to be your true, authentic self, have your own (differing) opinions on things or allowed to say no or argue with her.  You are no longer a different person, a person with differing interests, hobbies, thoughts etc – you are enmeshed and an extension of the narcissist.  Also just because you are picked as GC doesn’t mean you are no longer abused in any way, you still are, it is just much more subtle and hard to detect.  In my case when I was GC my mother would regularly tell me how I needed to lose weight or change my hair, do my make up differently, shop in different shops and become more fashionable – but she would tell you that she loved you and this was all for your benefit! She just wanted you to make the best of yourself!

The downsides to being the Scapegoat are many: The narcissist and whoever her enablers are, perhaps siblings or step-parents project anything and everything negative onto you.  YOU are the sole cause of anything bad in the family or in life generally.  You are trouble, evil, mentally unstable.  It is VERY hard to have a strong enough sense of self/self-esteem to not start to feel guilty about all this crap that you are told repeatedly is your fault.  There is the gaslighting, the narcissistic family will make you doubt yourself and your memories and version of events.  At some stage you do think to yourself, “shit, they can’t all be wrong can they?”.  You start to think that if ALL of them have one story and you have a different story… well, maybe it is you after all? That is tough.  The gaslighting is the stage I’m at right now.  Apparently this is really stereotypical for a narcissist when confronted but my mother (and sister) are telling me that I “have gone fucking crazy”, am “brainwashed” and that they are not sure “what is going on in my head right now”.  Gaslighting at it’s finest.   This causes cognitive dissonance.. BIG TIME.

There is inevitably the fear element as well.  I struggled with this BIG TIME.  The fear and the guilt were definitely my biggest struggles.  There is also something really hard about admitting that you, adult you, is scared of your parent.  I DID NOT want to admit that I was scared of her, of what she would say, what she would do, of upsetting her.  What would the consequences me? How would she punish me? It was all very illogical but the fear was real.

And lastly, the worst one for me at present – you are isolated and ostracised from anyone that enables the narcissist or is scared of them or perhaps equally as abusive as them.  I currently find myself watching to see which member of my family is next to be “disappointed” with me or cut me off. Narcissists cannot and do not accept people disagreeing with them. That truly is the ultimate betrayal to them.  You are on their side (yes pathetic) or you are against them and that is that.  You will be shocked at the amount of people who “side” with the narcissist, even ones that know stories or have seen evidence of their abuse in the past.  It is shockingly shit and nothing can prepare you for it.  My sister was my mother’s scapegoat for years until we swapped places and she used to suffer with depression because of it – yet she is very happy abusing me right now and ganging up with my narcissistic mother against me.

That is a long and bleak list of downsides to being a scapegoat I know but what about the perks?

Anyone who finds themselves in the role of the scapegoat will be naturally empathetic and sensitive.  The fact that they find themselves in that role shows that they are a truth-seeker and more importantly, I think, they have somehow held on to their authentic true self and believe me that is not an easy thing to do against a narcissist and her army.  But the clear winner here has to be the pure fact that the scapegoat escapes the dysfunctional family – they ESCAPE!! They get away from playing roles and being gaslighted or projected onto.  They escape the FOG – the fear, obligation and guilt.  They no longer have to be on guard or put on a mask, a fake self to try to stay safe around the narcissistic/dysfunctional family.  They can heal and finally be validated for all of their struggles and pain.  They can have a kind and empathic witness emotionally hold them as they navigate their way through all the grief and pain and begin to heal from the years of abuse.

I saw a meme today which said it should be called the “Escape Goat” rather than the “Scapegoat” which I think is perfect.

Anyway, I feel at peace today for all of the reasons above and other reasons which I find harder to articulate that I would never wish to swap roles and be the GC again. Never.  Being the Scapegoat is emotionally very difficult, it can be extremely lonely and draining but I honestly felt like something was missing from my life until quite recently – I spent my life unconsciously desperate for approval, for affection and to be told that I was good enough.  I was always trying to fill the painful mother hole/wound that was still raw as hell and now, all of a sudden, I am seeing things differently.  Now I am truly seeing and believing fully that it wasn’t ever me or my fault.  She has a personality disorder.  I was not too sensitive, too needy, pathetic, boring, stupid, fat, brainwashed or evil.

This sounds a bit egotistical but I feel like I must have more strength than I’ve ever given myself credit for or was even aware of myself.  I have (thanks to T) been able to fight against her abuse, lies and punishment.

I feel lucky in a strange way, not lucky that I had to go through any of it of course and I do still grieve for the fantasy mother and probably will for a long time, but my life could have gone the other way, like in Sliding Doors – I could have never got away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have no more fight left today

This is a warning that I am having some kind of melt down right now and this post is likely to be full of anger and rage and sadness and Christ knows what else. Maybe stop reading now if you are feeling delicate yourself.

I don’t know what’s happening but I am having a really horrible body reaction to how overwhelmed with anxiety, stress and anger I am feeling. I’ve never felt anything like it. My heart is beating out of my chest, my body is tingling and feels weak, I feel sick, my stomach is going crazy and I feel kind of dizzy and spaced out.  A minute ago I felt like if I took a sip of the very large glass of wine I have poured, I might be sick.  My entire body is triggered or something. It feels AWFUL.

If you have been reading lately, you will know the background around the shit storm that is happening at work.  Yesterday I was offered a new position within the company and I felt such intense relief that I could get out of that department and away from those two girls making me feel so shit. At 8pm last night, I got a call from a woman in HR to tell me that she couldn’t agree to me leaving until a replacement had been found and that it would take at least a month.  I totally broke down on the phone to her. I sobbed. I was unable to speak. I totally lost it.  She obviously needed me to tell her what has been going on and so I did, I didn’t have much choice by that stage and so I was honest. I told her how those two girls had been making me feel and that I couldn’t do that for another month and that actually, I seriously would have to leave the firm if that was the case. That wasn’t meant as blackmail – I really would have left.

Luckily once she witnessed the state I was in on the phone, she agreed I could leave my current team this Friday for the Xmas break and start my new department on 2 January.  I came off of that call utterly broken, but relieved.

Today I went into work, which believe me is not easy at the moment.  The 2 girls didn’t speak to me, nothing new there, but I felt more awkward than ever because I knew they probably knew. Later I was called into the head of the department’s office. He is a cold man at the best of times and he wasn’t very supportive. He asked me what was going on, I told him in brief detail that the department wasn’t for me and that it wasn’t working out.  He said “you seemed happy enough at the xmas meal last week” which REALLY pissed me off. What was he implying? That I am lying? Making the whole thing up? I snapped back at him “That was two weeks ago and last week was awful”.  He was blank-faced and even when tears began to fall down my face and I couldn’t get my words out, he just glared at me.  I felt like dying.

When the “meeting” was over, I left his office and the 2 girls were directly outside the room (which by the way is glass so they would have seen me and probably heard me which is just great..).  I walked to the bathroom where I, yet again, collapsed into tears.  I didn’t ever want to come out.

I then got a text message from my ‘aunty’.  She isn’t my blood aunty, but has been in my life since literally the day I was born. She was like a second mother to be growing up. I used to stay at her house all the time with her two boys who I refer to as my cousins.  My mother used to go off gallivanting with her latest bloke and I would stay there for weeks at a time. She was always so loving to me, I’ve always, always loved her.  Anyway, she said she needed to speak to me.  I knew instantly this had to be about my mother because she doesn’t often text me and she never says she “needs” to speak to me. Initially I thought she was going to be a flying monkey and was going to tell me my mum was upset or something and my back was up.  I was wrong.

I spoke to her on the phone at lunch time and what she had to tell me was that she has fallen out with my mother on a HUGE scale because my mother told her she is not to speak to me anymore. I can’t even believe I am typing this.

My aunt was very honest, she admitted that initially when this happened, which was apparently about 6 weeks ago, she said she rarely spoke to me and my mother said to her “If you speak to TT, please tell me” and she admitted that she agreed with that.  Well, you may remember it was this aunt’s birthday party a few weeks after me and my mother fell out and I knew I couldn’t go unless I wanted to see my mother, so I text her to say I couldn’t make it because of what had happened to the kids, and because I had fallen out with my mother and that we weren’t speaking.  She replied at the time to say she was shocked to hear we weren’t speaking and that she was sorry I couldn’t make it.  Well, she also admitted, she sent those messages to my mother when she next requested evidence of our communications.

Apparently my mother then rang her Friday night just gone to ask her if she had spoken to me and she told her that she had text me recently to say she was sick with the flu, but would send me some dates that we could get together as soon as she was better (this was because I asked when I could see her as I couldn’t make her party).  Apparently with this, my mother went APE SHIT at her and they ended up having a really horrible argument on the phone where my mother told her she should be loyal to her and not to me and that she does not expect her to speak to me at all.  I don’t know exactly what else was said but my aunty said that she told my mother she had done nothing wrong and that my mother wasn’t having any of it.

My aunt said she slept on this argument and then Sunday sent my mother a very long message which said………. wait for this…. that she thinks she needs to learn about sexual abuse and the implications it can have because she thinks this is where all the issues started.  That the fact my mother couldn’t and didn’t handle me telling her what happened to me is the start of our problems and said to my mum, that the same thing happened with her and her mother when she spoke out about her own sexual abuse. GOBSMACKED.

She said the message wasn’t aggressive or nasty or blaming, but that she said in it, she thinks if my mum were able to help me deal with it in a better way, we would be closer and that she thinks my mum’s reaction to me telling her what had happened has caused the anger and resentment in me which has led to this huge fall out between us.  I interjected here and said that our problems go way further back than that abuse.  I was 14 when that happened, she had been hurting me since the day I was born.

She then told me she doesn’t know why exactly we fell out. I laughed – literally. Funny that! So I told her the truth. The argument began by me confronting her about what she has been saying to my aunt and to my sister about me and my fiancé, which my mother furiously denied and called my aunt a liar.  She told me if I believed her over my own mother, I could get out of her house. I told her she then went on to tell me I was brainwashed and needed sectioning and all of the rest of it.  My aunt, understandably was gobsmacked.

Anyway, the very long story short is that we realised (well, she did) that my mother wanted to keep us apart so that aunt didn’t find out that the row was about the fact my mother had been caught out.

Apparently my mother never replied to my aunt’s text on Sunday. I’m genuinely very surprised at that because my mother ALWAYS has to have the last word. She told me she doesn’t think they will ever speak again now. I told her I think she might be right.  That’s two people in the last few months that have called my mother out on being a fuck up of a mother. Me and now my aunt. She will be steaming angry.

My aunt said that she does believe my mother is extremely upset that we aren’t speaking and that she will miss my wedding. I told her, well, if she would rather not speak to me again or come to my wedding than take a look in the mirror and admit her mistakes and apologise for them – then whose fault is that? She agreed.

My aunt also told me that a mutual friend of hers and my mother’s had been to see her since this and also said she should stop seeing me for my mother’s sake and that she had said to her she absolutely wouldn’t do that. This mutual friend apparently said to her, “She was a really terrible mother though, I know”.  She apparently said that repeatedly in front of my aunt, and her husband. Shame she doesn’t tell my mother that too.

I told my aunt that my mother was acting like a fucking dictator. Who does she think she is telling her who she can and can’t talk to? EUGH. Thank God she didn’t just comply with my mother. No wonder my mother hasn’t replied to her, she will have cut her off now as she is no longer compliant and enabling.

It’s a shame that not everyone stands up to my mother. My sister won’t see me now either and I know why.  She’s been promoted to golden child and is loving the attention she is getting. Little does she know she’s just been recruited as another rescuer. Someone to give my mother all the narcissistic fix she needs. To tell her how nothing is her fault and that me (and my aunt now) are horrible abusers who she is best off without.  It is only a matter of time before I get a message to tell me she wants nothing more to do with me “because of the way I am treating mum”.  I will link to this page when that happens.

I feel bad for my aunt. She will be feeling so shit right now. She won’t want to lose my mother’s friendship. She has been discarded now she is no use to my mother. It’s actually a GREAT thing but she won’t feel like it is right now, of course.  She’s put up with so much from my mother over the years, I did ask her why she is still in her life anyway. She then told me she would have to “return the lovely bracelet”…. what bracelet? Apparently a few weeks ago my mother gave my aunt an engraved bracelet which said “friends forever”….. clearly it should have said “friends forever.. as long as you do what I say”.

I brought my sister a present this morning. A necklace with an elephant on that symbolises love and a special gift box and gift bag which had stars on it which reminded me of our favourite bedding we had as kids at her dad’s house.  Now I’m not sure whether to send it to her or not, I mean… she clearly doesn’t want to be in my life now anyway. Will it be seen as emotional blackmail? Will it be sent back to me? Ignored? I don’t know what to do.

And then there’s the absolute fuck up with T.

After that wonderful phone call I went back to work and saw T had sent me a text. The text wasn’t for me. It was for Sonia. WHO THE FUCK IS SONIA? Now, accidents happen, mistakes happen – especially when using technology but the problem is, that the way T speaks to Sonia is NOT how she speaks to me.

Firstly “Dearest Sonia”….. then normal therapist shit and then… “Much Love”. OUCH OUCH OWWWW OWWW OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

Two tiny and simple words that somehow sliced through my heart.

Well this triggered me instantly of course. Why does she like, sorry LOVE, Sonia and not me? Why is she so warm to her and not to me? Why doesn’t she say things like that to me? How old is she? Why does that even matter? I don’t know.

I know this is totally illogical and irrational and totally immature, but I always hoped it was ME that she liked best. Maybe loved… I always hoped it was ME she had a soft spot for and that I was the only client. For some reason I want to be the only young client – mother/daughter fantasy I guess?

Anyway it fucking hurt and I text her to tell her she had sent it to me by mistake and she replied so casually saying oh yes it did, sorry, see you tonight.. and I thought PFFTTT no you won’t.

And so I cancelled my session.

I have NEVER cancelled a session. Ever. Not once in 3 years, not even for genuine illness.

In fact, my session should start in exactly 5 minutes and I have absolutely no fucks spare to give.

On top of the shit with work, the stuff with my mother and aunty, my sister and everything else, this really was the final nail in the coffin. I just can’t take any more today.  I know that sounds very victim like and poor me and I hate that but… that’s the absolute truth. I feel like if I let myself, I would have some sort of breakdown. I’m not sure I would be able to pick myself up from it very quickly.

I know T sent the text by accident. I know that. (Please God if you comment, don’t say that, I know it I promise) but it has made me feel like she is fake and she doesn’t like or love me in the way I had tricked myself into believing she did. Certainly not like she loves Sonia.

Maybe my attachment system has been activated and I’ve gone into flight mode by not having my session, I can see that at some point in the future, days or weeks, I will be over this enough to talk to her about calmly, but today is not that day and today’s session shouldn’t have been about that and it would have had to be. Not going isn’t about punishing her, it’s about trying to protect ME.

I’ve had enough of fighting this week. I feel mentally exhausted.

On that note, it’s dead on my session time. I bet she thinks I will still be there. I bet she doesn’t believe I won’t go. I pray she doesn’t phone me because I just can’t speak to her. There is no more fight in me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought Fuel and Irritation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mehhh.

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

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

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

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

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