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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A hair, a flood and a haunting

Last night I had another weird dream. It really annoys me that even when I go to sleep I can have dreams that keep me so anxious.  In last night’s dream my mother had emailed me to say she loved me (like she did in real life Friday night) and I had ignored it (like I have in real life).  What followed a few days later was another email which said something along the lines of “However….” and then went on to say that she needed me to sort out a hotel booking that I had made on their behalf because it was currently I my name. The “whatever” was meant to mean, I do love you BUT…..

I went to the hotel to try to sort out whatever the problem was but whilst I was there I had a sandwich and found a clump of hair in it, I tried to sleep in a bed whilst the room was haunted and the ghost threw toilet roll around it and I was petrified AND the sea had flooded a room and there was a leak from the ceiling.

Later in the dream I went to wake my fiancé up but he was sleeping at the bottom of a bed that my mother and her husband were asleep in so I had to be really quiet not to wake them.

I looked up the dream meaning for finding hair in your food, food and haunted room and found this:

To dream that there is hair in your food means that you are entangled in some emotional matter which you are not sure about how to get out of

To dream about being haunted indicates early unpleasant experiences and feelings that still haunt you.

If you dream about a flood, more likely than not you have recently felt overwhelmed in your life by something (or someone) that seemed like an uncontrollable force – one which left you feeling somewhat helpless, at their mercy, and victimized.

I guess that makes sense really.  I am clearly entangled in an emotional matter that I am not sure how to get out of, early experiences and feelings DO still haunt me and I guess the whole situation has made me feel a bit overwhelmed – although not at their mercy.  Perhaps that is why it was only one room that was being flooded and not the whole hotel. I think the dream shows my unconscious worries about having not responded to her text.  Perhaps I unconsciously think that not replying will lead to some disasters.

I feel pretty much the same as yesterday today, despite the dream but I did wake up feeling something.. I’m not sure what.  I had a few tears this morning, I just felt I needed to release them, I didn’t really have many conscious thoughts to accompany them. Just felt a bit sad I guess.  It snowed all day today so we went out for a walk in the snow, threw snowballs and made snow people (political correctness at its finest)! When we got home I felt the need to cry again, just a tiny bit, not a lot but I didn’t really have the space at the time so I didn’t.

I was scrolling through Instagram earlier though and my sister had put a photo on of her, my mother and stepdad all wearing scarfs and hats clearly in the snow.  The three of them were smiling.  The photo did have an effect on me, but I’m not sure what exactly. It wasn’t jealousy, I didn’t wish I was there with them, but it was odd. I guess because it is the first photo of my mum I’ve had to see in a while since I deleted my Facebook account.

A few hours ago my fiancé sat down next to me on the sofa and said “So, shall we talk about it?” I had been waiting and hoping we would but didn’t want to bring it up because I feel it is all I talk about lately! I told him as much.  He asked me how I was feeling about it all and I told him pretty much what I wrote here yesterday.  I said that I had some guilt about not replying – whether or  not I should.  That I still hadn’t let go of the need for her to take accountability and apologise – even though I knew that won’t happen.  I said that my reality is still that nothing has changed.  That 6 weeks passing didn’t make anything better or hurt less.  I still need an apology.

I explained to him that until she takes some responsibility for her mistakes and apologises to me, I am stuck in this angry place and I can’t have a healthy or enjoyable relationship with her whilst I feel that way.  It really is as simple as that.  Nothing really that I haven’t written here already.

He said that the fact is, before I started therapy 3 years ago, I was enmeshed with my mother which is why I told her absolutely everything, why I asked her what to do about everything and why I couldn’t imagine surviving life without her.  He said that starting therapy 3 years ago enabled me to separate from my mother in the way that children separate from their parents as a normal childhood development stage and that it was normal and natural the way I separated from her but because of the way she is, because of her narcissism it was a narcissistic wounding for her and she had to find reasons that I had done that (which obviously couldn’t be her) and so she blamed my fiancé.  He must be controlling and manipulative.  Fast-forward to now and it’s my therapist’s fault for brainwashing me.

He said that despite this, I was only 29 years old, that we were getting married next year, that we had built a lovely family together with his children and we had our house and our love etc. He said to me that if I hadn’t got myself to therapy, I may not have been released from the unhealthy enmeshment with my mother until the day she died, which could have been when I was in my 60s! I agreed and said I had thought this many times. I’ve read so many forums where people in their 50s or 60s had just realised they had a narcissistic mother (or father) and how grateful it made me that I had found this out whilst I was young enough not to let it take over my entire adult life. Thank God. We both agree that we wouldn’t have worked out if I hadn’t got this help, I would have been too triggered, insecure and jealous over things with his ex-wife and his children and I wouldn’t have enjoyed the security of a happy relationship the way that I am (thankfully) able to now. He basically said, “I know it is hard now, but it is so worth it for the rest of your life”.  Boy is he right.

I admitted that when the guilt comes it is normally because I imagine my mother upset and think that because of the narcissism, because she has a personality disorder, I feel sorry for her not understanding what she has done wrong, what she needs to apologise for… for feeling confused and upset that she’s “lost me” (obviously she might not feel any of those things!).  He couldn’t really understand that, he just said I had nothing to feel sorry for her about.

I said that I didn’t miss her – not her, her as a person but I was sad of course that I’ve lost my mother. As in, the archetype, the figure, the role.  That is so sad.  It just helps that the word mother, and my mother’s face in my mind are beginning to be separate and different things now.  No longer is that child’s craving for a mother about HER.  Does that make sense to anyone?

I told him what I said here yesterday, normally I am dying for a way to fix it all, to make it all go away and be better but I am not this time. I guess that is because I can’t un-know what I now know.  It can’t ever be “fixed” or “better”.

I don’t like not knowing what will happen next, that makes me fearful I think.. or something like that. I think that is what the dreams are about. What happens next? Will she start telling people her version of events? Will the flying monkeys contact me soon and start to pass on messages about her and what she is thinking and feeling? Will she directly contact my fiancé or something? I just don’t know and I don’t like that….. I’ve had it easy so far really I guess as she didn’t tell anyone and she didn’t contact me until Friday for 6 weeks. Ignoring her declaration of love may possibly change that.

I think Christmas will be hard for me.. I wouldn’t rather be there at her house, but being with my fiancé’s kids and parents for the entirety will hammer home that I don’t have that. There’s something about Christmas that makes that harder but having said that, I felt the same the last few Christmases’ and she was in my life.. I saw her… so really what difference does it make? It’s just that whole belief that the day itself is all about love and family when in reality, is that day any different from any other? really? Probably not.

On the note of actual Christmas, I haven’t bought her or my stepdad a Christmas present or card and that makes me uneasy.  Isn’t that crazy? Why would I have done? In the back of my head I keep thinking “I should get something just in case…”  how ridiculous is that? It just goes to show more fear in me doesn’t it? More fear that if somehow, by some miracle I saw them and had no material present to give, that she would be angry and I would feel awful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I smell a rat

I’m not sure what I am thinking or feeling right now. I am hoping that just sitting down to write will help me tap into my unconscious and help me to figure it out.

As per my post last night, written in a hurried and frenzied state, my mother finally broke the silence and sent me a message. She sent it at twenty to eleven on a Friday night which would mean she would have been drinking for several hours by that point. I know this because my mother spends EVERY Friday and Saturday night drinking. Before I wised up, I used to go there every Friday and drink with her as she verbally tore me apart or told me what to do about my latest life drama. I was totally enmeshed and felt I needed her for my very survival. Probably still stuck in the child feelings I guess? I wasn’t being my true self, I wasn’t being ME, I was using a fake persona, I had tried to be more like her. I didn’t realise at the time that is what I was doing, but hey, hindsight and all.

I read her message by accident. I was already talking on WhatsApp to someone else when her message came through and I clicked on it without even realising until I read the words and then my heart fell. I panicked. I freaked out big time. I burst into tears, my head hurt, I felt a surge of sadness, anger and guilt all at once and felt like my head could explode. I’m not even exaggerating. The tears oddly stopped rather quickly and I felt numb. I tried to work out how I was feeling and numb was all I could tap into.

The thoughts and observations that ran through my mind were things like – She said she loves me! She said she misses me! Then, still no accountability or apology… She’s probably drunk and playing the victim crying to her enabling husband… If I don’t reply now she’s seen I’ve read it, I’ll look bad and give her more to play on. Eugh. Why now? I don’t want to deal with this.

Something else I couldn’t help but think about was that I finally made the decision to spend Xmas Day with my fiancé’s parents – a decision I’ve written about recently that I’ve been putting off and off for the entire 6 weeks me and my mother didn’t speak. I had to fight a lot of guilt and fear to get to that stage and the very day I make the choice, she texts. Total coincidence I know, but feels like she has a camera on me or something. That isn’t the first time I’ve said, felt or written that either.  It’s scary. It’s like they can sense when we move a bit further away or something and they know when their contact will make the most significant impact.

I put my phone on the floor, on some clothes so it didn’t vibrate and wake me up should she text again and fell asleep.  I had a dream and I can only remember the main thing in it was a rat. I seem to remember I was sat on a bench with my youngest stepson and I could hear a noise but couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. I looked down and there was a rat nibbling away at something and I freaked out!! Later in the dream I was somewhere else and paranoid and looking out for possible rats. I am a big believer in hidden messages in dreams, I do think if you pay attention to them, you can see what your less conscious thoughts are, so I looked up the meaning of dreaming about rats and the general consensus is about a person’s character being sneaky or betraying you somehow.

The first thing to think about is whether you or someone you know is behaving unethically in a situation in your life,” suggests O’Connor. “You often hear the expression that someone is a ‘rat,’ meaning he is untrustworthy or has betrayed someone.

What do rats represent to me? Well, I am scared of them – just like my mother.

I was paranoid there would be rats around me – Possibly a symbol of my fear of seeing my mother around.

I wasn’t aware of the rat being there until I heard it and spotted it – a bit like how I felt last night when that text came through totally unexpectedly.

Anyway, moving on from my dream. How do I feel about it today? I genuinely don’t know. I haven’t had much time to think about it all as the kids are here but I feel better than I thought I would. I feel better than I think I would have done a few weeks ago. The instant reaction was that I was triggered instantly into wanting to believe her words.  Her saying she loved and missed me being things I’ve spent forever wanting to hear, feel and believe. The other instant trigger was guilt. Guilt that she was upset, guilt that she would know I had read her message and ignored it… guilt knowing that would upset her further.

Then more rational thinking kicked in where I was annoyed that the message only spoke about her. “I” miss you and “I” love you.  I wished there had been some accountability and an apology but I do know logically that is never going to happen.  I guess there is still a part of me that can’t quite let that go.

There was a bit of anger that this is what she does. No matter how big the row, or how severe the topic, it is always swept under the rug and never dealt with. Okay, so the love you, miss you thing is a new tactic, but it doesn’t deal with the reason we aren’t speaking does it. It doesn’t offer some kind of resolution or attempt at apologising… it feels to me like it’s undertone is “Just so you know, it is you that is creating the silence and distance, I am still here for you and still love and miss you”…… I don’t know if she realises that or whether it is unconscious but that is how it feels. It’s clever because I did instantly think to myself “So she wasn’t not talking to me…. it was just me not speaking to her was it?” but I know that isn’t true.

I’ve questioned why has it taken 6 weeks for her to send that? I have believed for a while now that she didn’t think I would be able to stick to it for long and that I would “come running back”.  Maybe she thought it would be eating me alive not speaking to her and I would either apologise or try to sweep it all under the rug like she does – and I’ve done neither thing.  Perhaps it is in attempt at resolving things (ignoring things) as Xmas is closing in on us.

I guess that for her she doesn’t think she has done anything wrong, doesn’t think she needs to apologise for anything and so saying she loves and misses me is all she can do.  Perhaps it helps her to sleep at night thinking that it is ME that is choosing to ignore and hurt her. Choosing to reject her love.  I am being the bad, grudge-baring daughter who has been brainwashed my her fiancé and her therapist.. who has “so much bad feeling” towards her for no reason that there is nothing more she can do other than to send the occasional message of love so that I know she’s still there for me, when I’ve stopped this ridiculousness and woken up to the reality that she is in fact, perfect and a great mother.

I’ll admit that there is a bit of me today that is thinking, if I ignore this message, that will really upset her, yes, but it will shock her. I’ve NEVER been able to ignore a sign of love or affection from her. If I shock her enough, perhaps it will force her to look at herself harder or make her realise that I really am going to need an apology and that I really am not going to come running back apologising.  I hate myself for thinking like that because I know that narcissists cannot empathise and that they are unable to be accountable or genuinely apologise.  I mean, surely a normal mother would be able to look back and say, I should have done better, I have regrets and I am willing to do whatever I need to in order to make it up to my child? Or is that me living in a fantasy land? I never really know.

Imagining ignoring a message of love from my mother would have sent me spiralling a while ago. There is definite improvement in that I don’t feel full of fear today…. but I am not entirely comfortable with the fact I haven’t replied.

So, what happens next?

What do I want to do about it? As a few people said last night, I need to take my time with this and let things percolate a bit. I know that. My fiancé told me to do whatever I really want to do.  He said “I know it isn’t as simple as this, but if you want to text her, then text her and if you don’t? then don’t!”.  He then asked me outright, do you want to? and I said no.  So for now, not responding is my choice of action.  Who knows how I might feel in hours, days or weeks.

I’ve written it a million times already, but the only way I see the possibility of having a relationship with her is her admitting she fucked up and her apologising genuinely.  Being truly remorseful. So without that, there really isn’t any relationship left. Her not taking accountability or apologising and validating my lifetime of grief, pain and rejection leaves me stuck in anger with her. Anger that I can sometimes hide and sometimes attack her with.  It wouldn’t be an enjoyable or healthy relationship for either one of us.

This happened 3 years ago. It happened again 6 weeks ago. Next time I fear it would happen much, much quicker, days or weeks perhaps.  I am much less able to tolerate it than I was then. I’ve done a lot more healing than I had then.  I was stuck in a deeper level of fear then. Saying that, visualising being sat at her house with her and her twat of a husband makes me feel sick – so there’s a long way to go.

The thing I find confusing and surprising is that normally a resolution would fill me with joy and hope and I don’t feel either of those things with her. It sounds utterly selfish but if I got that validation, acceptance and apology, it wouldn’t make me happy that I could now rebuild a relationship with her, it would be for the child inside me. It feels like it would enable my healing process to speed up – I know that isn’t necessarily true – but since when were feelings ever logical hey?

If you’ve made it this far without wanting to shout and scream at me “You stupid girl! She will never do thatttttt!!” then I take my metaphorical hat off to you because I am sure I would have lost patience by now.  Thank you for reading and supporting me through this, it’s a relief to be able to write here and not be judged.

TT x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Sister Heartache

This post is about me and my sister.

In my session last night, I read my blog about the dysfunctional relationship with my sister and what I had figured out at the weekend.  I read the blog easily until the end where I read about the nice memories I have with her when we were younger and then I felt a lump in my throat.

I told T “it is such a shame” and then began to cry a little. T agreed that it was a huge shame and that my mother had caused this dynamic, not me. I said I knew that but that I felt so sorry for my sister. In my head when I said those words, my sister was no longer 22, but about 6.  God the pain I felt in that moment. The shame, the guilt, the sadness. It was horrible.

I said to T “I should have helped her, I was so horrible to her, she must have felt so alone” and then I just broke down in floods of tears. I cried from the bottom of my heart in that moment. I felt ashamed of myself and felt such a loss of what cannot be repaired.

T, rather passionately, said to me that none of this was my fault. She said that I couldn’t have known, that I was caught up in this dysfunction and that I had no way of understanding any of this myself.  She spoke rather urgently so I gather she understood how much shame and sorrow I was feeling. Nothing she said really took the pain away.

I said to T “She hates me. She has always really hated me and I didn’t even realise!!”.  T said it wasn’t that she hated me but that it was misdirected anger towards my mother.

T said she imagined I just wanted to read that blog to my sister and to make her understand. I said I absolutely did but that it was pointless because my sister wouldn’t believe it or understand some of it.  T said that she wouldn’t be able to yet.  T suggested that one day my sister may realise the dysfunctional dynamic just like I had done, but I told her I wasn’t hopeful.  I said that my sister had finally gained what she thinks is my mother’s love and that she wouldn’t be wanting anything else.  T said she may realise when she starts to feel how toxic and fake it is, that she doesn’t get fulfilled in the way she may think she will. I appreciate what T was saying, but I don’t agree. I told T “I wish I was as optimistic as you“.

I said to T that it all felt so hopeless. It feels too late for me and my sister. I said that I have always felt so protective over her but that she won’t feel that at all and that hurts.  It is so sad that my mother has taught us that the three of us can’t all be getting along at the same time. Someone is always the bad guy. Drama/Relationship Triangle stuff.  There are 3 positions in the triangle, Victim, Rescuer and Prosecutor and my God, how true that is for my family.

Right now my mother is the Victim, my sister the Rescuer and me – the horrible persecutor and its painful because all I can do, all I have the power to do, is to remove myself from the triangle.  And that means leaving my sister there to play out her role(s).

I told T that I have felt such resistance and anger at my sister the last year or so but that now, I felt so much pain for her and pain for my own loss of having a healthy relationship with my sister.  As I said to T, things could have been so different. Something I find myself writing and saying more and more these days.

“I can’t save her”.
“No, you can’t”

I said to T that I had seen a photo of me and my sister a few days ago taken on Christmas Day in about 2013.  The photo is of me and my sister stroking the family dog wearing matching onesies. I said to her that you can’t even see our faces in the photo, but that I loved the photo.  I told her I would love nothing more than to have a healthy relationship with her. We could be close. We could be best friends.. but the reality right now is that we can’t – that isn’t possible.

T suggested I text my sister and said something like “I hope you had a nice holiday. I have been thinking of you”.  I was surprised she suggested that and was slightly taken aback.  I said I could, but that my sister is so argumentative and aggressive nowadays (since she’s become Golden Child) that it wouldn’t get me anywhere. I said I knew that my sister would reply to say “Well you upset me when you said X, Y, Z and you were so horrible to mum and mum is so upset” etc… and that would just annoy me.  T said I could do without that drama right now on top of everything else. I agreed.

T said that if I was able to speak to my sister, I would need to tell her that our relationship was separate to the relationship with our mother.  That we should be able to have a relationship regardless of whether I am speaking to my mother or not and vice-versa. She said I would need to put in some strong boundaries that we did not discuss things my mother has been saying – that she didn’t tell me anything at all.  I agreed but said to T that as ridiculous as it is, there is a part of me that wondered what we would speak about if it wasn’t our childhood or our mother. That is all we’ve ever really done!

T said we could still talk about our childhood but that we just don’t talk about things my mother is doing or saying now.  That I would have to tell my sister not to repeat anything we spoke about, anything I am doing etc. I said I doubted my sister would want to do that because she wouldn’t want to risk her newly promoted place as Golden Child.

T suggested that I sat on this for a while and thought about it. She said I would figure out what I needed to do when the time was right.

I said to T that when I got engaged in August, I was so disappointed with her reaction (or lack of more accurately).  T said that she was too envious to be happy for me.  I said I got that now but why? T said that there may be an element that I have escaped whilst my sister is still there, still stuck in the dynamic.  I said but he doesn’t need to be! She could escape it herself.  I said to T, I had imagined when I was planning my wedding that my sister would be really involved.  That she would be helping with the plans, planning the hen do and coming shopping for bridesmaid dresses! I wanted her to be the chief bridesmaid and I guess now, upon reflection, this was me saying “look how much I love you!“.  Stupidly I thought she knew that, but since discovering the childhood dynamic stuff, I guess she had too much displaced anger for me to feel that love plus the additional anger that I could have “saved her” and chose not to.  If only it were that easy.

I said to T that despite all of this, and that I felt stupid for even admitting this, there was a part of me that would feel really guilty if I reached out and contacted my sister whist I wasn’t speaking to my mother.  I said I knew that was insane.  T said I needed to feel and speak about those feelings and that we could keep talking about them.  That I didn’t need to act on them. I nodded.

I told T, my sister is totally unable to move forward with me and that she keeps on going on about how out-of-order I was for not missing a counselling session when she wanted me to.  T said it isn’t really about that, that is just my sister’s excuse. It is much, much deeper than that. I said I knew that now, but that my sister didn’t and so how do we get past that?

Eugh. What a mess.

 

narc siblings.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teddy 

Yay, I’m getting a teddy! And not just any teddy, my T has agreed to buy me one to use as a transitional object for the break (this time next week is my last session for a week). 

I can’t wait to meet him/her. 

I’m so excited!! 

Oh I mean, my inner child is excited. Obviously adult me isn’t at all bothered…. 😂

What have I done? 

Sorry for the overload of posts from me today but I am feeling rather desperate as I write this one.

I was walking home tonight playing that new song I found earlier in the week which makes me think of my T.  I was smiling to myself, listening to the words very carefully.  I thought to myself how weird the client/therapist relationship is because I think about T so much lately.  So much that I’ve related this wonderful song to her and I highly doubt that people do that for their mothers (which is how I think I view her).

This made me think, could the way I feel about T right now be similar to that of falling in love? You know that initial honeymoon phase where you are elated and excited and they are just wonderful.  Where you can’t see anything you don’t want to see.  When you want to be wtih them all of the time and you are totally preocupied by them.  I know I’ve been guilty in the past of being so hopelessly in love (so I thought) that I’ve managed to relate all sorts of mushy music to the way I was feeling about the boy .  Yes uber cringe, I know. And I am now doing the same with T.

I was thinking about some of the words in the song which were “Once I was younger, now I am older” and I thought that this will be how I feel when I’ve finished my therapy in that I will have emotionally developed and grown – aged in that way (as well as aged in years obviously).

Somehow this thought conjured up an image in my head of the day I passed my driving test and how excited I was to tell her.  That image was quickly replaced by another, which was T coming out of her office to look at the car I had brought. My first car.  I had never seen T outside of that room so it felt a bit awkward, but good too.  Thinking of this event now seemed so lovely, particularly when I then remembered the contrast between the way T responded and the way my mother responded. My mother “joked” that I had only passed my driving test because the instructor knew I worked in the City and so wouldn’t be on the road much.  She also said that my car was a heap and turned her nose up at it.  [It is a heap, but it is MY heap and that hurt].

As I had these thoughts and images and as the song played, I felt a lump in my throat. I didn’t cry, but I could have done very easily.  I already knew how much I thought of her, but all of a sudden she was just vital to my existence in a bit of an excessive way.  I don’t want to use the word obsession, but I’m so preoccupied by her.

What a lovely story … yeah.. until this.

So I did what any nutcase would do. I went home, sat on the toilet for a wee and decided to Google her.

WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?????????????????

I Googled her and I found her on the BACP page – I found her full name (which I had pretty much guessed anyway) and her address, which I already knew because her office is attached to her house.  No harm done.

I then decided to click on the address which then told me who else lived there….. the names of a man (wahhh!!) and 2 girls – clearly her daughters (*sobs*).

My heart dropped when I saw that and I don’t know why because I already assumed she had 2 daughters.  I guess there is a difference between thinking something and knowing it. The tiny shred of hope – gone.

My crazy time wasn’t up. I then went onto Facebook to look for her and for both of the girls. I found pages for them all instantly. I even had mutual friends with one of them which tells me we’re very possibly the same age.  My T had commented on one of the girl’s profile photos and that made me feel shit. The comment said the photo was lovely and natural and had two kisses. I’ve never had kisses on her emails – I know, obviously.   Also my T has changed her Facebook name to her first name and middle name, I assume so that she is harder to find in case one of her unhinged patients feels the need to stalk her online!

I didn’t stop here even though I felt like my heart had stopped.  I was clearly distressed at this stage, why didn’t I stop?

I then found links to her husband’s Facebook page! Luckily for me his account is very private. Oh and also I saw T’s front room in one of the pictures.

What the hell is wrong with me? I feel awful. I feel guilty for snooping on T. Not only T, I may be able to reason that away, but for snooping on her children, on her husband and her private space. Eugh Jesus.  I have done similar things in the past with boyfriend’s and their exes. I have done it enough to know it is a VERY BAD IDEA.

How did this escalate so quickly? From a nice song, to memories of T being wonderful to me being a spy.

What was I looking for? What did I want to find? Would it have made any difference if she had been single or had only one daughter… or maybe if she had a son as well or instead? I don’t know.

I guess if I am brutally honest then her having a son or sons would possibly be easier for me to stomach because it wouldn’t be so easy for me to compare and relate to the fact that I am one of two daughters. That I could have been one of her’s instead?

I get that searching for your T tends to be about seeking a connectio,  but honestly, how much more bloody connecting do I need? I’ve seen her twice this week where it’s been all about me. I’ve had to email her a few times and one of those times was only this morning. Clearly looking at her children is about comparing myself to them.

We have spoken many times before about how I feel I dissapeer if others are involved. My mum didn’t see me because of all of the men she surrounded herself with. My Dad remarried and had 3 children and then lost contact with me and I have ended up with a man that has an ex-wife and 3 children.  We have spoken about how I do not feel “held in mind” when I am not physically with people and so I think the proof of the husband and daughters feels so painful for the same reason. Third parties equals no TT.

This is one blog that I absolutely will not show or tell T about. I would rather die from the shame, guilt and embarassment first.

It’s like I’m never satisfied. I am so greedy.

Why have I done this to myself?

The Grazed Knee Analogy

On Thursday I told T that when I left her on Tuesday night I was very upset.  She asked me how I knew I was upset and I said “well, because I was crying”.  She repeated back at me “you cried” and I noted that I felt a bit uncomfortable with her saying those words.

I’ve noticed lately that I said I felt “miserable” when I actually meant I felt angry and now I said I felt “upset” rather than just saying I cried. I wonder why?

T didn’t seem particularly surprised by this.  She said that at the moment I am really dipping in and out of “it“. What does she mean by “it“?  I don’t know but I imagine she meant “the work” as she calls it.  She said I go in “it” a bit, then back out again.  She said “you need to go at your own pace, you can’t rush it” and I thought – are you implying I am trying to rush or are you saying you understand why I am being slow? What was the comment meant to mean…nothing like over thinking things hey? Welcome to my brain.

I told T that I was really struggling at the moment with not being able to pinpoint a reason for my tears.  I said I wasn’t sure what exactly I was crying about.  T looked quite surprised and said almost sarcastically “you don’t think you have a reason to be crying?” and I quickly said that I didn’t mean I didn’t have anything to cause me to cry, just that usually you know exactly the reason. For example you might cry because you had an argument with a friend or because your boyfriend was an idiot… but when you are just crying after therapy with no proper “reason”.. that feels different and for me, hard and scary. T said that just in the last session alone there was “enough to cry about for weeks”….. was there?

She said that she thought perhaps when I was a child and I grazed my knee or cut myself as children do, that perhaps my mother could deal with the tears about those sort of upsets.  She quickly added that she didn’t mean to imply that she was particularly caring and warm, but that the tears were not punished because she could physically see the cause of the upset.  BUT if I were to cry about something emotional, something without a physical and obvious bruise – no actual blood so to speak, that is when she demanded a reason why and would get angry and blame, shame and embarrass me.

I had never thought about this before but it rang true immediately. I thought for a moment and told T that sounded very possibly true.  I did agree that there certainly wasn’t ever any kindness even with grazed knees, but perhaps there wasn’t the shaming and anger.  I can’t remember any particular instance which would have been helpful and that the two more major physical hurts I had as a kid she couldn’t handle because of the blood.

I told T that when I was a young child I was very small and very skinny and my legs were always covered in bruises. I said that my mother used to make me wear knee-length socks to cover them and T said that I even had to hide my physical bruises and that I was taught they were something to be ashamed of. I said yes I guess so. She said that my mother couldn’t tolerate any imperfections of any sort and so the bruises had to be hidden and I had to be perfect.  I agreed but said she allowed my teeth to be awful which didn’t fit the perfect image.  I said that as a baby and child she gave me Ribena in a bottle instead of milk and that it rotted all of my teeth.  I said they looked horrendous and that when I was about 11, I had 6 teeth taken out at once under GA and then another 4 taken out at 13 before my brace was fitted. I said that they were perfectly straight after wearing the brace for over 3 years but then my dog chewed my retainer and she wouldn’t replace it because she said it was too expensive.  I told T that my mother’s teeth were not very nice – they weren’t straight or white and so perhaps that is why she didn’t care about mine (nobody can be different to a narcissist).

Somehow this conversation made its way to me talking about what her ex-boyfriend did to me. I won’t go into detail here but basically he groomed me and then was physically “inappropriate” with me (T’s words) and it scared me. A LOT.  I was only 14 at the time and he was someone I trusted, my mother’s boyfriend and about 45 years old.  I was petrified and didn’t do anything about it. I didn’t tell any adults – only my two best friends and I swore them both to secrecy.

I told T that for some reason, I had this strange fantasy that one day I would tell my mother what he had done to me and that something would be magically fixed.  That it would make things better.  I think now I understand that I was hoping she would see the damage that had been done to me (“physically” as in, he physically touched me) which perhaps she would accept a bit more than the emotional damage that she couldn’t see that I had been feeling for years (the grazed-knee analogy).

Unfortunately that did not happen. What happened was the opposite. She eventually (not initially) accused me of making it all up. I was not validated in any way. She made the whole thing about her – how upset she was, how she couldn’t eat, how she couldn’t sleep.  I was told not to tell anyone else, especially my grandparents as they would “have heart attacks and die”… you get the point.

I said to T that I wish I had never told her because it didn’t make anything better, it just made it all much worse.  T said that there is the pain of the event and what he did and then there is the pain of knowing you can’t turn to your caregiver for safety and comfort because they can’t help you and then eventually (10 years later) you tell her in the hope that it is going to fix something and … it doesn’t, it makes it worse.

I said to T that the whole thing was totally fucked up anyway because when I broke the news to my mother she went to wake her sleeping husband up to tell him.  But the thing is, he already knew. I had confided in him one drunk night and he had told me never to tell my mother because she wouldn’t be able to handle it.  Yep….. it was about her. So when she “told him” he acted shocked and horrified and then came downstairs to where I was sitting in floods of tears and acted his arse off like a soap star that this was new information.  He even sat there asking me questions that he already knew the answer to……. wtf? I see now he was scared of my mother like I always have been.

As usual I did the good girl thing and kept my mouth shut.  I really, really wanted to tell my mother over the coming weeks and months that he knew. The only thing that stopped me was that she never believed me about anything else and I had my entire life history of her taking her latest bloke’s side, so would this time really be any different? Clearly not.. I fought against that dilemma for a long time.

T was listening attentively and seemed to agree with my feeling that it was all very fucked up.  She seemed sympathetic despite knowing this stuff already.

Then……

I told T something that sounds very strange.

I told T that when I was younger I used to imagine telling my mother about this sexual abuse on my wedding day.  I know, I know.. please don’t ask me why my wedding day because I have absolutely no idea.  T seemed confused and seemed to be trying to find some sort of link – as did I but without any luck.  I said perhaps it was because I was then going to be “off her hands” and grown up or something? I said that the nearest thing I could compare it to was this – you know when you are watching a film and a couple are about to get married but right at the very last-minute one of them tells the other at the back of the church that they’ve had an affair at some point…..that they had to come clean, that the other person had to know the total truth before they committed to the other person? I said it was just like that.

T said that would suggest that I had done something wrong. I said yes, it does sound that way saying it out loud. T said it almost sounded as though in the fantasy, I was marrying my mother.

We discussed this for a while and I felt embarrassed because I know it sounds very odd and I wish I could tell you that I’ve somehow worked it out and understand the deeper meaning but unfortunately I can’t.  I still do not know. It’s very messed up.

T asked whether my mother had any beliefs about not having sex before marriage or anything like that? If I had been drinking I would have literally spat my drink out at that suggestion. I said absolutely not and laughed – my mother was the complete opposite of that. Sex was something that she did A LOT of and sex was encouraged on me at a young age.  It certainly wasn’t that.  T said she knew it wasn’t in line with her characteristics but said that sometimes people have these sorts of beliefs despite the way they act themselves.

I’ve thought about it a lot today. Saying it out loud felt weird.  Writing it here for you to read feels uncomfortable but I am hoping that going over it will help me to figure it out somehow. I am actually still surprised I told her this knowing how odd it sounds.. it just slipped out.

Why would you imagine as a child that the day you would tell your mother that her (then) boyfriend had sexually abused you would be your wedding day, at the back of the church?

Bursting my bubble

I went into my session yesterday feeling okay. I was feeling a bit annoyed that my excited-ness had worn off (thanks to T). T asked me how I was and I said I was “good”. She always smiles when I say this as if she doesn’t believe me. I think that’s because she’s very aware, as am I now, that I am a people-pleaser and I was taught that fine and good thanks were the only appropriate responses to that question.

When she smiles at me like that I always try to elaborate and so I said “well, I’m not as excited as I was on Tuesday”. She seemed to know this and said “ah, it feels as though the bubble has been burst a bit?” I said yes it did.  She asked me how that felt and if it was her that had done that. I said yes, she had brought me back to earth and it was crap. She smiles and said “what a bitch I am” in a playful way and I laughed and said “yeah, you’re so out of order”.

T then asked seriously, did it feel I was right or wrong? I said she was right but that was annoying.

I told T that several times I’ve had an exciting “revelation” and it feels she ruins it. (This all said playfully although honestly).

I said it hadn’t felt I was intellectualising but that it was clear I was. T said there was nothing wrong with that and that sometimes it helps us to be able to cognitively understand. I agreed.

T said she had noticed that it seems when I’ve had enough of the feelings – when perhaps they’ve become too much, that’s when I will read.  This intrigued me as it wasn’t something I had noticed about myself. T said that it’s like I need to give myself a break and so I switch off the feelings part and read and deal with things cognitively/intellectually. I found this quite enlightening. Also, I do like it when T out rightly tells me something like that, it’s nice to have some feedback and to know what she thinks about me/what she observes from the other couch.

She asked how I was feeling now about it all (i.e. about my mother). I said it was making me feel sick. T asked in what way and I said it was making me feel physically sick. T asked what exactly was bringing that feeling on and I said the realisation of the fact I was completely brainwashed. That I had never known (obviously) and that it was all so disgusting. T understood and said it was extremely sick. I said “it’s wrank” – which is odd koz it’s not a word I ever use lol!

T asked if I was feeling sad and I said no. I wasn’t crying at all. I said I just felt angry. T repeated “you are in touch with your anger” and I said yes I definitely was. This is a good step for me because anger hasn’t been something I’ve felt much in therapy.

I said that I was re-reading a book called “you’re not crazy, it’s your mother!” And that I had read it when T had first explained narcissism to me but this time it was even more amazing. I said there were just so many examples of things my mother did/does it was really quite shocking. T agreed it was shocking.

I told T what I had written about yesterday and repeated what I have written there.  T told me that it isn’t surprising and that actually, it was quite clever because I had to use the tools that I had.  T said that some daughters of narc mothers report memories of their mothers being really kind to them when they were poorly and so would regularly get “sick”.  I said that my mother was awful when I was unwell. She already knew this but for background, my mother used to make me clean up my own sick as a child whilst I was still being sick because she “couldn’t handle sick or blood”. A few years later she trained to be a health care assistant and has worked in the hospital for the last 12 years where she has to clean patients, bag up dead bodies and all sorts.  So just my sick and blood it seems.

I told T that I had text my younger sister to tell her about the book and said I had screen-shotted a section on scapegoats and the golden child because it summed up the dynamic of me and my sister growing up and I hoped it would help her. I’ve realised that in my teen years at some point o started to try to identify with her for her approval and at the time I was “promoted” into golden child position. This therefore meant that from my sister’s point of view, I was the lucky one and that she felt left out.

I wanted my sister to realise that me and mother were not “close” I was just enmeshed with her. Anyway, it fell on deaf ears unfortunately and she told me that going over the past wouldn’t help her and that she is “sure mum will upset me one day too but…” and I realised I was fighting a battle I would not win and so just accepted that we needed different things. It’s a shame.

T told me that at least I had planted the seed and that she would come round in her own time. She said I am further on than she is but said it is hard for her because she is living with my mother every day and I am not. I agreed. T said how hard it is when you can see it and you are seeing your family being sucked in.  I agreed. I said that since I had distanced myself from my mother, my sister was now “golden child” and so she would be enjoying that not understanding it all. I said to T that as soon as I received her reply I worried what she would do with this information.. keen to keep her golden child status what if she told my mum about the book or something? T said it didn’t matter really but obviously the thought filled me with terror.

We spoke again about the fear my mother provokes in me – I said that my boyfriend had told me to really think about what I was so scared of and that I really wasn’t sure. T said that it was a trigger back to childhood and the fact that she genuinely was very scary.  I said she was.  T said I have absolutely no doubt that your mother was an extremely frightening woman.  I said she was but that I keep telling myself I am an adult now, she can’t do anything but T said it isn’t as easy as that, the fear is deep set.  I agreed.  I liked this because it made me feel less pathetic for being an adult who was scared of upsetting her mother.

(conversation changed for a while onto my boyfriend’s mediation with his ex-wife although I was keen not to let this take up too much of my session. T said something nice though, she said “I have really noticed a big change in you and how you deal with [ex-wife’s name].  She said that I was much more able to see her as a separate person to myself and my boyfriend and not feel so threatened by her and their past.  That was lovely to hear because I feel the difference too, it used to be all-consuming).

We spoke about my mother again and I shocked myself at what came out of my mouth. I said that I knew this was a horrible thing to say, but… sometimes I think it would be easier if she were dead. I said that I know that is an awful thing to say, and I wasn’t for a second wishing she would die, but that it would mean I didn’t have to live with the constant fear, the guilt, the worrying about being ostracized from my family and everything else. I wouldn’t have to have the internal fight of being too “on guard and aggressive” when I see her, or run the risk of being sucked back in.  Lucky T seemed to know what I meant and didn’t look at all shocked or offended. She said that there are many, many daughters of narcissistic mothers who would think/feel the same thing.  She said she understood what I meant and that it would enable me to get on and heal without things constantly getting in the way.

I told T that what I am struggling with is how to be around her now. I said that I can’t help myself, I feel feisty. I am on guard, I like to try to catch her out on her inaccuracies.  I like to call her out on her shit and that I know I shouldn’t but I can’t help it! T said it’s because I am so angry with her. I agreed.  I said that at the moment she is not “liking” anything I put on Facebook when it has anything to do with my boyfriend or his family and that it was making me laugh and was becoming a bit of a game.. I said I know, I know, not healthy.  T said the best way to be around her was to act “benign” to not react. She said that was the best place to be in. I said that was difficult! T understood. I said that my book suggested letting the whole conversation be about the mother because they love that and it gets you off the hook too, I said I can’t, it feels so wrong to do that and T said I didn’t have to do anything that made me feel uncomfortable.  T said that she understands the temptation but it’s what follows that is the problem. The rage that I will get in return, she said it is not worth it.

I told T some of the awkward/inappropriate conversations that were had on Saturday. I will put some here for your amusement.

  1. I told T that on Saturday evening my sister told my mother that she didn’t like it when she came downstairs in the morning when her boyfriend stayed (my sister’s boyfriend that is) without a bra on. My mother likes to come down wearing a strappy pj top and no bra.. she has her nipples pierced.. its pretty cringe because her nipples are VERY prominent and obviously my boyfriend and my sister’s boyfriend both find this very uncomfortable. They don’t know where to look! My mother said it was her house and she could do what she wanted and that it was their problem if they didn’t like it and that they should grow up. My sister tried to get me to back her up and I just said that personally I make sure I put on a bra when I am around my step kids. My mother would not accept there was anything wrong with what she did. Anyway, it was a very inappropriate and awkward conversation that is probably pretty amusing to read about!
  2. My mother’s friend said she hated wearing a thong. My mother said she had only worn a thong once and that she went to the toilet and forgot she was wearing it and so wee’d all over it and had to throw it away…… gross. Not exactly normal conversation for my boyfriend and my sister’s boyfriend to have to listen to!

*******[THIS SECTION CONTAINS SOME SEXUAL REFERENCES]*******

Me and T said how there was such a lack of boundaries. T said that my mother tried to sexualise me at a very young age. This is something we have spoken about a few times before. I said that when I was about 16, I used to go to clubs with her and she would try to set me up with men who were her age.  T asked if anything happened with these men and I said no, luckily. I used to get scared and disappear off or hide in the toilets until they lost interest.  T said she couldn’t tell where she ended and I began.  We discussed how my mother liked me/my sister to know she was having sex. She used to always leave her door wide open so we would have to see and she was VERY loud about it, like really OTT loud (think porn video)… she was once having sex on the stairs and when I came home and shouted at her, she told me it was her house and I should move out if I didn’t like it.  All things normal parents just do not do.  I said that it reminded me of NYE one year, about 5/6 years ago now where I told her that her loud, open door’ed sex was upsetting me and she went ballistic and we rowed and told me at least she was desired and again, if I didn’t like it I could move out.  We didn’t speak for about 2 weeks after this argument and I lived with her so that was awkward.  T said that she should have felt extremely embarrassed but she didn’t and T said she was a bit of a voyeur. I said I can only think that she likes us to know how fancied she is because I can’t think of any other reason for it?

****** [SEXUAL REFERENCES END] *********

I said to T that I could be wrong, but I am pretty intuitive when it comes to my mother, that I think she is trying to “teach me a lesson” the moment. I get the feeling that she is using a bit of reverse psychology by not asking to see me, not liking my statuses, not contacting me etc in the hope that I will “realise what I am missing” or something. I said obviously I could be way off, but I would not be at all surprised. T said I could easily be right.

I said that she has gone through most of the stages set out in my book such as the victim thing (my daughter doesn’t want to see me) playing the victim, she’s tried to split us up by causing that big argument that time, using hoovering by sucking me in (briefly this worked), she is now doing the whole smear campaign thing of telling everyone that my boyfriend is controlling and manipulative.. so I wouldn’t be surprised. T warned me that she may well be about to “up the anti” and that I should be very careful.  She said that some narcissists even attempt suicide as a way to guilt their daughters back in! I said this isn’t something my mother would do, but I will be careful.

 

What is the worst she could do? – Leave.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AGHH.

Inner-strength

It’s Monday morning, about 11am as I start to write and I’m at work reflecting on the weekend. I am feeling quite good really. I still have this new feeling of strength. It is quite hard to explain but it’s like I have this new lease of life, a new inner strength and feeling that I will survive and I will grow and that I will not be defeated.  It isn’t a feeling I’ve ever had before but I like it.

I have therapy tomorrow night and I am looking forward to going and sharing this with my T. I nearly emailed her at the weekend to let her know how I was feeling. I thought to myself that she might like to know that I was feeling determined and not in a bad way, then I questioned whether it was really for her, or for myself. Perhaps I just wanted to share my feelings with someone and who better than T? But I didn’t… I talked myself out of it because it felt a bit self-obsessed to think that T would benefit from me telling her before my next session.

I feel like for the first time in my life I really believe that my parents’ shortcomings weren’t about me. Such a simple statement to write, yet such a huge piece of knowledge to feel.

It still feels as though me saying out loud at my last session that neither of them can deal with my feelings somehow slotted together loads of pieces of a puzzle and I finally saw the full picture.

I’ve been reading a book over the weekend called “Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents” and it is very enlightening. I wish I could read the entire thing in one go because I am kinda obsessed at the moment and keen to understand as much as I can – I always get like this with new feelings/knowledge.

Anyway, over the weekend I saw both parents.

I went to the party (the one I only got invited to on Tuesday evening via my uncle). I obviously saw my dad and his entire side of the family. I was nervous on the way there and felt quite sick about it. I had promised myself that I was going there as a strong, independent woman and not a child that was fighting for her daddy’s love. I wanted to go there with my head held high, I wanted to prove to them as much as myself that I don’t need to be the victim, I don’t need to get drunk and cry, I don’t need to try and get through to him and I did exactly that. It felt as though I had gone with fresh eyes. I saw my dad, watched how he interacted with me, with others.  I noticed quite how awkward he is around me. I really saw and felt the emotional disconnect but for some reason, it didn’t hurt. It is sad for sure, but I just saw the situation for what it is.  For whatever reason he can’t emotionally connect with me.  I watched everyone going into a photo booth for pictures and a few hours into the evening asked my Dad if he fancied having a photo with me, he said yes (I imagine he didn’t feel he could say no but whatevs), we both put on silly props and pulled silly faces for the pictures.  I have kept the print out and it’s a nice memory.  In the past I wouldn’t have asked my Dad to go and have a photo with me, I would have watched him in there with my brothers and felt left out and jealous, but the new me decided if I want something from him, I am going to have to ask because he just isn’t capable of thinking about these things.

Towards the end of the night the subject came up of my future wedding (reason being that my separated aunty and uncle were both at the party and my dad was saying how awkward that must have been). I told my Dad that me and my boyfriend probably wouldn’t have a huge wedding day and had been discussing having a small registry office ceremony with closest family only and then a party in a hall. I told him that way we avoided awkward table plans, meals, speeches etc etc.  I said he could avoid my mum and stand at the other side of the hall if he wanted to! He said that he worried about my wedding day because of my mother. I said my mother was two-faced and would be nice to him on the day so he didn’t need to worry about her.  He said that he did worry because if anyone kicked off, it wouldn’t be him, it would  be her. I told him he didn’t need to worry about that.  He said that he knew she wouldn’t want him there and he worried about what that would mean for me.  I said if he didn’t feel comfortable walking me down the aisle or giving a speech then he didn’t need to. I told him if he didn’t even want to come then he didn’t have to, I wouldn’t force him.  He said that he would walk me down the aisle if I wanted him to (well, durr?) but that he did not want to do a speech. He said he hates speeches.  I felt disappointed but told him that was fine.

Clearly most father’s would want to do a speech at their only daughter’s wedding day, but you know what? What would he say anyway? So it’s a shame but not a surprise. It seemed quite symbolic to me really. I kept my strength and my smile and we all shortly left the party at the same time. I text him after to say that I had enjoyed seeing him and that I loved him.  He said the same thing back. I have thought since that perhaps I shouldn’t have text to say I love him but it’s done now and I’m not trying to be punishing so ….

On the way home I dropped in to my mother’s because she is the only parent I know in the world that is always up drinking with friends at gone midnight on any given weekend. She was there with her husband, a friend and my sister and her boyfriend.  We stayed about 2 hours I think.  It was okay, there wasn’t any drama it feels a bit like groundhog day when I’m there – all the nights there are the same. Alcohol fuelled surface level chat.  I only went there to shut her up.

I felt very on my guard which I often do, but more so because of the things she’s been saying about my boyfriend. I secretly willed her to say something to me so I could defend him/us but I knew she wouldn’t because she wouldn’t dare say anything in front of him. She did her usual fake niceness to him and that made me angry. So fickle and fake. Then we left and went home (we usually stay but didn’t because of everything that’s been said behind our backs).

She seemed angry with me, I just got that vibe from her and since then I put a status on facebook last night about how it was mine and my boyfriend’s 3rd year anniversary and it’s got a lot of “likes” from friends and family – but not from her which has amused me.  It’s a very different tactic from her because as I say, she is usually so fake and puts on the display that everything in her life is hunky dory so I am surprised by this yet I actually prefer it.

I’ve thought since that I wish she would just stop being so passive aggressive and backstabbing and just confront me. How hard would it be for her to say to me that she misses me and that she feels it is down to my boyfriend? At least I would have the chance to tell her she is wrong. Even if understand now that she doesn’t really miss ME, she just misses the enmeshment of having the previously very dependent and emotionally weak me “need” her. I don’t need her anymore and it’s killing her.  I would like to say I feel sad about that but at the moment I don’t. It is her own doing.

I am unsure why I feel so much more anger and aggression towards my mother than I do my father – they are both shit in different ways and both have made me feel very lonely and unlovable growing up… might need to think on that.

My boyfriend seemed very quiet and unhappy yesterday morning. I asked what was up a few times but he said nothing was wrong (it clearly was). I left him a while then went to give him a cuddle and tried to speak to him again but he maintained that nothing was wrong so I told him to stop being passive aggressive then – either tell me what’s wrong or stop being stroppy.  Eventually he opened up and said that he just struggled being at my mother’s the previous night. He said he feels very “trapped” there and obviously it is hard for him to go there knowing she’s been slagging him off.  Equally I guess he wants to go there with me because he wants to protect me and he knows that if I go alone, she will attack me.  I told him I totally understood.  He said it’s just such a horrible place to be. He said the conversations are “f*cked” up and that she is just awful. I agreed.  He said that it was so hard for him because I seemed “to be having a great time!”.  He said that I was laughing and drinking and he couldn’t understand it.  I told him that is only because I was just going through the motions. I knew we wouldn’t be there long so I just nodded along with whatever tripe she was talking.  I said that at the end of the day, she is never going to change – there is nothing I/we can do about it, it is just the way she is and so I guess I just know what to expect. I don’t have any expectations or hopes for her at the moment, I feel so little towards her, even the guilt has melted away and so I guess I just took it on the chin more than I used to.  He said he guessed so. He said he felt as though he had a “emotional hangover” from having to go there. I understood that.  I feel bad for him, it is asking a lot to take him there knowing what she is saying about him.  I did say to him that if he finds it really tough, perhaps he should confront her himself? He didn’t really answer that. I don’t know how to make this better for him really…

So it all went okay. I am glad I got through it feeling the way I do. I hope this feeling lasts. It feels so much better than the previous feeling I’ve had of being downtrodden, depressed and hurt.   I’ve felt like that for long enough now. I never even thought this feeling would be possible, it hadn’t even crossed my mind previously to try something new.

I know that it is sounds aggressive, but I feel like this is my chance to “win” to take some control back. I want to recover and heal and I want to feel my true feelings. The anger, the hate, the pain all of it and then I want to be released from the old feelings. They’ve taken all of that away from me for long enough.   The pair of them are nothing but emotionally crippled fucktards.  Thank god I went into therapy

Ooh ps, read this link: it is very helpful if you have emotionally immature parents like me  –

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/new-harbinger-publications-inc/parents-who-drive-you-cra_b_7511242.html