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.

 

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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

 

 

Ah, Sweary McSwearison

So I had my session last night and a long-lost friend turned up with me – anger.  Well hello anger, it’s been a very long time! Where have you been hiding?

Further to my last post on Monday (see Pity Party), I had another disappointment last night and it happened just as I sat outside my T’s waiting for my appointment to start. I received an invitation from an uncle on my Dad’s side of the family inviting me to my cousin’s engagement party… this coming Saturday (as in like 3 days away).  I thought that seemed a bit odd so text one of my brothers to ask if he was going and he replied to say that they “all were”…. I felt so gutted it was like another punch to the stomach. Yet another event my Dad hadn’t mentioned to me, another thing to feel disappointment over and obviously it hasn’t come at a good time on top of the holiday business and the stuff my mum’s saying to my family etc.  I was already feeling let down and hurt and this just felt like yet another thing….. but in terms of timing, I guess it couldn’t have been much better because I walked straight into T’s room and for the very first time when she asked “how are you?” I said…

“Angry”.

I expected her to look shocked but she actually didn’t.  She just asked why.  I said there were a few things – well two, my dad and then my mum.

I told T all about the holiday thing and then the party thing and I then told her about the stuff my sister had told me my mum had been saying about me and my boyfriend. I shocked myself as at one stage I swore, in fact twice I think and I just don’t do that in front of T.

I told her that I didn’t want to play the poor me card too much but felt so angry that I got such a shit deal from both parents, surely one of them could be decent?! T told me that it isn’t a “poor me” and that I am perfectly entitled to feel hurt, anger, sadness and disappointment in these things and that it really is very unfair. She apologised at one point and said how sorry she was that I had to deal with this (I wasn’t really sure how to handle that because it isn’t her fault is it?) but the thought was nice.

We went through all the details, I cried a few times but I was crying whilst being very angry. I soon developed a banging headache which tends to happen when I am angry or stressed or upset in therapy.

T said she imagines I just want to get my Dad and shake him – I said I do. I said he is just so unobtainable. I said it doesn’t matter what I do, there is no getting through to him. I ignore him – he doesn’t seem to care.  I shout at him – he gets defensive and then I don’t hear from him for a long time (years).  I cry to him – he gets defensive… it just doesn’t seem to make any real difference.

I said to T that what pisses me off (I actually said this, so proud!) is that he is completely unaccountable for his actions. He just cannot have a conversation with me, admit some fault and apologise – never.  He just can’t do it and I get left with knowing this and having to hold it all in and then times like this it makes me feel like I’m going to explode with rage!

T said she understood and said how unfair and frustrating it was. I agreed it really was.

We then moved to my mother. I told her the things my sister told me about how she said my boyfriend is controlling and manipulative and how it is all his fault that I don’t see her etc… T laughed at this and said it was such a blatant projection. I agreed.

I said it is ridiculous, all these people in my family that all go on about how they never see me yet not one of the idiots EVER texts or phones me to see how I am – none of them EVER invite me to their house or out for lunch/dinner whatever yet I am always the bloody bad guy, how does that even work???? I said I am so fed up with it.

I said that its stupid. I am a grown woman with my own mind, I have my own car – if I wanted to go and see my mother, then I would!! I said that I told my sister this and said to her, can you blame me for not wanting to see mum? When I see her she always insults me, attacks me, upsets me, slags off my boyfriend or attacks him verbally like last time.  My sister had absolutely no idea what I was referring to when I said this. I said, the row when we were last there about the baby thing? She was totally oblivious.  This made me laugh because it told me that my mother clearly knew she was in the wrong because trust me, if she thought she was in the right, the whole world would have known about it!

I told my sister what had happened and she was shocked and said she wasn’t surprised.

My sister said that her and my mother had got into a huge argument and my mother had shouted “what is so bloody special about him??” (referring to my boyfriend).  Apparently my sister said to my mother that she pushes people away and then once they’ve gone, she guilt trips them for not being in her life. I completely agreed with this.

I told T that I am so angry about it all but at the same time I feel like I should be “over it”. I said I am not ten years old anymore yet I feel it sometimes. I said I shouldn’t still need mummy and daddy’s approval, it is stupid.  T said that I didn’t and haven’t dealt with or processed the feelings from when I was a young girl and so I need to deal with them now. She said to me, this pain you are in now as an adult, imagine how you felt as a child? It would have been just awful.  I said well I don’t understand it now so I wouldn’t have had a clue then.  T said well, you do understand bits of it, it is just painful. I said that I might understand elements, like for example the fact my mother is narcissistic and that she projects stuff and that she is manipulative and controlling etc… but I still don’t fully understand it, but I guess by the word understand I actually mean that I just cannot accept it… I’m not sure.

I told T that sometimes I want to line them all up – my mother, my father, my Nan, my sister and I want to just scream and scream at the all from the top of my voice!!! T said she bets that I want to kill them. I laughed.

T kept telling me that none of it is about me. I am not the reason or the cause for the way they act but I told her it is very hard to believe that because I am obviously the only common denominator.  T said she thinks my father is a very weak man who just buries his head in the sand and said this is probably why my mother was able to be with him all those years ago (30 years now).

I said it hurts that my dad just forgets about my existence and T said she doesn’t think he does, but gets it feels that way. I said it does feel that way because there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to contradict that thought.  I don’t hear from him, he doesn’t maintain contact.  T said he really should make more effort and I said yes he should, but I don’t want to be a chore to him, I want him to want to see and speak to me like most people do with their children! Agghh.

T said that she can’t help but wonder whether my Dad just sees my mother when he looks at me.  That he can’t separate us and because my mother hurt him so much all those years ago, he can’t handle a relationship with me. She said she thinks his lack of effort and “forgetfulness” are quite passive really.

I said regarding this party Saturday that I am so pissed off about it that it makes me want to push him away and be sulky about it but that the only person that ever hurts is myself.  I have thought about this sentence since my session and surprised myself that I said this – this wasn’t something I thought through, I just said it… interesting thought.

I told T that another of the things that my sister said was that now that I’ve “rekindled” things with my dad I’m suddenly seeing him “all the time” and he hasn’t been there for my entire life so that has hurt her.  I mean it’s factually incorrect anyway, but what is the point?

Oh yeah and another thing was that my mother gave me some money in January when she bumped into me, boyfriend and stepkids. It is my sister’s view that if I “don’t like mum” then I shouldn’t be taking the money from her and I should be returning it.  I said why should I? I don’t ask her for money, if she decides to do this once every 6 months or so, then why shouldn’t I keep it?  T said if it made me feel better I should return it but I said it doesn’t.  Perhaps it should, but it doesn’t. I don’t care about it and I don’t care about doing “the right thing” or whatever.  She gives money because she can’t give love and so I will take it (I know this sounds very nasty but its almost a stubborn reaction on my part I guess).  T said the problem is that the money comes with a price – it isn’t a gift, it’s like she then expects something in return. I said tough shit.

T said that this stuff is huge. She said it is very painful and she said that I needed to be able to feel this stuff, to think things and not shut myself down for “feeling sorry for myself”.

T said it is all “very fucked up” and I agreed. It truly is.

T said that she can understand how some daughters of narcissists end up going completely no contact and I agreed. I said to her, if that ever happens for me it will be as a result of this guilt making because the guilt used to make me feel awful but now it is wearing thin and the guilt making is the cause of this anger I am feeling.

I am so fucking fed up of being everyone’s poxy scapegoat. I have had enough of it.  They can all go and fuck themselves.

 

 

Session Tuesday 4th April

Hi everyone,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Guilt, Acceptance, Denial?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am baffled.

Is blame even important?

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

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

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

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

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

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

All comments and thoughts welcomed!!

 

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