Today: 27 September

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have nice weekends everyone. X

Scapegoat: Anger & Sadness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The feels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sister, Tina, Mother, Facebook….

Sister

This morning I was watching tele and I suddenly wanted to text my sister. I text her saying “I miss you” and a broken-heart emoji.  I sent it and panicked about what response I would or wouldn’t get…. luckily a few minutes later she replied and said “I miss you too”.  She replied again to say she couldn’t use her phone until 4pm and would text me later.

I went about the rest of my day and felt instantly lighter. Better. Happier.  I went to my session this afternoon (my last ever Thursday session) and spoke about it with T.  We pretty much went over the boundaries we had discussed previously.  T said she wasn’t sure whether my sister was going to be able to cope with the new boundaries but that time would tell.

This evening my sister text again and we made small talk which seemed to come to an end pretty quickly.  I text saying that I wanted to suggest a few things and went on to say that I wanted us to try to have a happy and healthy relationship but that we had to keep it totally separate from our mother etc.  She replied with a rather long message about how much I had upset her and listed various things I had done wrong… it was rather lengthy and ended with her saying that although she appreciated me contacting her, it was “still shit”.

I replied and said that I took on board everything she had said and said that I was very sorry for upsetting her.  I said I didn’t want to hash it all out because I didn’t think we would be able to agree, and the purpose of me contacting her was to hopefully find a way forward.  I said that I needed her to respect my counselling and not talk to me about it, unless it was genuine interest or for advice etc.  Unfortunately she hasn’t been particularly forthcoming or warm.  In the end I said that perhaps she needed some more time to think about what she wants to do and to contact me when she knew.  She didn’t reply to that.

I’m a bit gutted to be honest. Not overally surprised but disappointed.  I’m not really sure what more I can do or say. There were many things that I could have thrown back to her that she did and said that upset me, but I didn’t want to go down that path.. I was hoping that she would see I loved her, missed her and wanted to find a way forward but it doesn’t feel that is how she has received it. My fiance said tonight that perhaps she feels a bit like I did/do with my mother in that she needs to resolve the issues and have some validation and that she feels I am doing what my mother does, and am trying to just smooth things over.  I said I had hoped that by telling her I had taken on board what she said and by saying I was sorry, that would have helped… something my mother would and has NEVER done… maybe not.

Anyway.  I guess I will just have to wait and see. At least I have reached out I guess… the rest is really up to her.

Job/Tina

In other news, I left my job last Friday. I haven’t written much about that because so many other things have seemed more important.  On my last day, Tina called me into a meeting room in front of some of our colleagues. I was totally unprepared and so followed her into the room where she said she just wanted to say goodbye to me on my last day.  I thanked her and then she started to say she didn’t know what had happened between us (lies) and then cried and said “we used to be friends!”.  It was so uncomfortable for me as my nature instinct in those type of situations is to hug someone and tell them we can move on… but I didn’t.  I held strong and I said that I thanked her for wishing me well and then I left the room.  It was awkward as hell.  A few hours later, it was my leaving presentation.  My boss had prepared a speech and about 30 colleagues gathered around my desk to say goodbye to me.  Tina sat right at the very front, on the side of my boss’ desk (everyone else stood behind the desks).  It felt totally weird to me and I made a point of not making any eye-contact with her.  I can’t work out why she did that.  Why would you come to someone’s leaving presentation when you have fallen out on such a huge scale? When I’ve made it so clear that I do not wish to reconcile? Odd.  Anyway, tomorrow night is the leaving do for all of us who have left via the voluntary redundancy process and she will be there and I’ve been told she is bringing her best friend from outside of work… the best friend who she told me, hates me since I fell out with her.  So I can’t wait for that!!! NOT.

Mother

Regarding my mother, last night I was at my fiance’s parents’ house having dinner and I got a Facebook notification.  It told me that my mother had “liked” my photo.  WHHHATTT????

So, we haven’t had any contact whatsoever for an entire month, including bloody Facebook likes or anything… and then suddenly, randomly, she likes my profile picture.  That’s normal.  Not.  Obviously this started off the anxious thoughts of what does this mean, what is she doing, what is she thinking etc…. aghh like I need that right now.

So I did what any normal girl would do in this situation. I deactivated my Facebook account. LOL. Okay, so that is a bit passive aggressive right? But hey, I am telling myself it is a self-care exercise. I don’t want her doing that, I don’t want to see the photos from the party this coming Saturday and I didn’t want to/feel comfortable blocking about 20 family or friends in order to not have to see things that would annoy me. So there we have it.  I am only like, 12 hours in, but so far it feels quite good.

I still haven’t decided whether to write a No Contact letter or not but the closer to Christmas it gets, the more nervous I get. I don’t want to contact her at all – in any way but equally I don’t want to hear from her. Hah, if only I could have my cake and eat it.  T said that if I did write a letter, I should keep it non-committal in terms of how long the break would be for or when I would get back into contact with her.  She suggested I said something like “I need some space and time away from you and our relationship” (or something along those lines).  I told T that I have so many conflicting feelings and because I have learnt so much about narcissism, I understand that narcissism is just a big cover up for feeling very insecure and so that makes me feel a bit sorry for her.. I also said that if she grew up feeling like I did, I felt sorry for her.  T said that she could “have some sympathy for the boy Hitler used to be”.  She went on to say that I could have sympathy for the young girl my mother was, but that didn’t take away the things she did and does to me now.  I got what she was saying.

I explained to T that since I have understood the dynamic in our family  and I understood that I had made a fake self to “get” to her as much as is it is possible to get to a narcissist, it has made me determined not to go back to that fake self again.  I said to her that now I can’t do that and that the real me, the authentic me, has absolutely nothing in common with my mother at all… that I can’t see how we can have any kind of relationship at all. I’ve said it a hundred times already, but I just can’t see where we go from here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought Fuel and Irritation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mehhh.

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Contact to heal?

Sorry for how much I am writing at the moment. I imagine that my posts will be hard to keep up with because I am feeing so many different things so quikcly. I am writing them all down to help me process and understand them and also to document the whole thing.

 

I can’t heal whilst seeing or speaking to her.  I need to not think about her, be guilt-tripped by her, be sucked back in and hoovered by her, worry about how to respond to her etc…. Equally, I have no energy to be fake and sit and smile as she says things that offend, upset or irritate me.  It isn’t fair on her that I randomly rage at her and she gets a lifetime of anger and pain thrown at her in a few minutes.  [note that I feel a lot of guilt and shame as I type that sentence].

It isn’t right for me to do that. It isn’t a safe and healthy way of expressing my anger BUT neither is denying or repressing it for her benefit when that just means hurting myself.

So therefore, the best situation for both of us at the moment seems to point towards time and space without her to try to heal myself.  Will time apart actually enable me to do that? I don’t really know.  What I do know is that I am too emotionally reactive around her (especially when alcohol is involved) and the only way I see that being any different is to see if I can heal the pain I have enough that being around her doesn’t trigger me so much.  Who knows if that is possible or not.

She can’t, or doesn’t want, to see that I have any reason to have childhood wounds.  She doesn’t think she made any mistakes and therefore she can’t validate me.  She can’t acknowledge anything for me and she can’t apologise.  I used to think an apology was the only way I would be able to heal and feel better about anything.

Now I think I don’t need her to apologise to heal BUT I can’t try to heal myself and do all of the work involved with that whilst trying to maintain some sort of contact with her. Especially when the contact really only exists because of my sense of obligation and guilt.  I am convinced that trying to keep some form of contact with her at the moment is just slowing me down or keeping me stuck.  We stopped speaking just over 2 weeks ago and the amount I’ve processed and the amount of different feelings I’ve had in that time is amazing.

The only thing playing on my mind at the moment is when she will contact me.  My thoughts and feelings are changing daily – sometimes hourly at the moment and I feel a real sense of urgency to make a decision and come to some conclusion in case she contacts me and I don’t know what to do.  I keep telling myself that even if she does contact me, if I’m not ready, I don’t have to reply or I could tell her I need more time/space etc.  I am so aware of the child response in me that is screaming “Wooooahhh.. No! She would KILL me if I did that!“.  I am having to remind myself I am a 29-year-old woman with her own house, job, money, family – I CAN do whatever I want. She can’t DO anything to me anymore.  It’s shocking realising how young she keeps me in that way. I think to myself, what age would it be okay to do then? 40? 50? 60? I guess the answer would be never.

How well I’ve been programmed.

Is it an option that rather than deciding on contact OR non-contact forever, I could decide that I do need no contact FOR NOW? Is it an option to say that at least until after Christmas I don’t want any contact, or even just to say that until I contact you, I need to be left alone? I don’t know who that question is to, or exactly whose permission I am wishing I had…  I know I’m the only one that can make these decisions but it feels too big for me to do alone.

If I did EXACTLY what I wanted right this very moment the outcome would be that I had AT LEAST until after Christmas and New Year before I had to think about contacting her/or being contacted by her.  That contact would only be made when I decided I wanted it, if I decided I wanted it.  That this whole decision-making process and worry of hearing from her was totally removed and that Christmas involved being with my fiance’ and his family for Christmas without having to tell my Mother that I had changed my mind and wasn’t spending it with her after all – without feeling the fear or the guilt about that. Oh and all of this would have absolutely no impact on my Grandparents, in fact, they don’t know about it at all.

In my heart I want to go NC…

Today’s thought is this: In my heart I want to go NC.  In my head I am too scared to deal with the consequences of that, mainly, upsetting my grandparents.

This realisation came to me after talking to my fiancé last night about our wedding and the reality of that day without my mother and stepdad in it. I know that it wouldn’t only be them two that no longer came, it would also include my sister and her boyfriend, possibly my step-siblings and their partners, aunts and uncles, possibly cousins and, the hardest of all, my grandparents.

There is a chance that my grandparents would come, although I am not entirely sure about that BUT what I think would happen is that my Nan would make me feel such intense guilt and sadness at how upset SHE was on behalf of my mother (feeling sadness for her daughter). I don’t want to make my nan feel like that, I really don’t and what’s more, I don’t want to have to hear all the shame-inducing and guilt-tripping things she would no doubt say in attempt at getting us back together.  She would mean well, but all that would happen is that she would get upset and I would end up defending myself or feeling invalidated and getting angry. I really, really, REALLY want to avoid that situation.

Equally however, I don’t want to live my life in FOG (fear, obligation and guilt) and possibly more importantly, I no longer want to dance to her tune. I am done with acting the good girl, faking it out to please her or even just smiling and not biting until I get home where I then spend hours crying and going over all the shit things she has said or done, or even just feeling the emptiness of the relationship and lack of connection. I don’t want that anymore.

So where does that leave me?

In my dysfunctional family, you can have a HUGE argument, say awful things and then at some stage, my mother would decide to act like nothing had happened at all. The event would not be acknowledged and I would be expected to just play along. I did that 3 years ago after our first huge argument (where I confronted her with childhood stuff for the first time – I had just started counselling and found out she is narcissistic). This time, I am not willing to do that but equally I have realised that talking won’t get us anywhere because we see things far too differently for there to be any kind of middle-ground or compromise.  My mother would have me believe that acting like nothing had happened and carrying on was some kind of forgiveness – that if you didn’t do that, YOU had the problem and were harbouring bad feelings unnecessary (and cruelly) but now I see it as denial and a refusal to take any ownership for her part in things.  (I am SO glad I have got to this point at last!).

I read an article this morning on the way to work which said that the daughter of the narc mother felt she was in “Low or No Contact Purgatory” where she wasn’t prepared to make a decision to go no contact so she just did nothing. I can so relate to that feeling at the moment! She wrote “I just did nothing, I didn’t call her and she didn’t call me” – oh hi! How similar are our stories right now?!

My sister and I aren’t speaking still and the sad fact is that my sister has been “promoted” to golden child in the years since I made a conscious effort to limit my contact with my mother and to emotionally distance myself. She has changed so much and it is so sad to see her exhibiting narcissistic tendencies.  We argued the night I fell out with my mother, in fact it is what started the arguing off in the first place, she is now very much “on my mother’s side” so I know that if I go totally no contact, that I won’t have her in my life either. I never imagined my sister wouldn’t be in my life.. she is meant to be one of my bridesmaids (not that she has shown the slightest bit of interest in the wedding)… it is very sad.  I also know that at some stage when she feels depressed next, she may possibly come to me and my fiancé and she will want to discuss my mother and slag her off to us…. I do worry about that and I worry about how a relationship between us would realistically work when she would tell my mother everything about me and my life – even if I asked her not to. That is just the dynamic with my mother and she will want to keep her elevated place with her in-between the depression phases.  I don’t like that one bit, but I sadly understand it. My sister is unable to remain neutral or not to involve herself, she just will.

My mother triangulates with me and my sister and always has. My mother taught me and my sister not to have a healthy relationship. She taught us to slag each other off to her to gain some perverse approval… she has told me so many times that HER mother hates her getting along with my aunty (her sister)….she has told me so many times how she LOVES it when me and my sister get along. That is a giant head-fuck because it is a lie.  Maybe my Nan does dislike it, but she also hates it.  Dysfunction repeating itself…

It is sad but the longer there is no contact, the less I want to return. It’s why I have some weird hope that she doesn’t contact me (maybe ever?) so that I don’t have to do the dirty work and that I don’t have to be the bad guy. Maybe I wouldn’t lose my sister or my grandparents if it were my mother that made the cut.  It’s some kind of fucked-up shame that won’t happen (what a strange sentence to type!).

Just like the article I read this morning says, my mother doesn’t want me to talk about my childhood. She wants me to “move on” – basically she wants me to shut up and not upset her or what people think of her. I can’t do that anymore. In that article there was an image of a letter and it read:

“Thank you for your voicemail Sunday night. I’m sorry I haven’t had chance to call you back. I am working on some personal issues regarding my emotional health and I am requesting time away from our relationship while I work on improving myself. When I am finished I will let you know.  During my time of reflection and work, I do not want to receive any calls from you. Of course if there is any kind of emergency I will let you know and ask that you do the same. 

Please understand this is about my emotional health and well-being. During this time I will be working on letting go of some of my unrealistic expectations. It is important to me that I give myself the opportunity to repair my self-esteem so that I can continue to work on being less emotionally reactive during our encounters. I also am working on eradicating negative internalized messages into positive ones. This is what I am choosing for myself right now because I have come to an understanding that I need time to heal.”

I thought this letter was wonderful. The only concerns I have is that it makes it sound as though I am owning/accepting 100% of the “blame” or “fault” and that doesn’t sit comfortably with me. But I guess it is the least controversial way out.  Is it telling her too much to say that I would be working on my self-esteem or my unrealistic expectations? I mean, it is the truth but….?

That’s where I am with it all today (so far!).

 

Article referred to and quoted from: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/fridaynightheretics/2015/09/breaking-up-with-mom-part-1/ Part 1 and Part 2