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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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