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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreams

Friday night I dreamt of T. It was a strange dream and it wasn’t until I was out for a run Saturday morning that the dream suddenly came back to me. I actually stopped running suddenly as it flashed in my memory and I opened my phone to write a quick (illegible) note before it went away to the place that forgotten dreams go.

In the dream I was having a session with T but my husband was also in the room, though he was completely relaxed and just reading a newspaper with his legs stretched out. T told me that she used to do another job and said that she was so rich that she had more money than she could have ever spent. I was like 😲 wow!  I then picked up a glass of orange juice which was in front of me and drank it and just as I swallowed the very last mouthful, I realised that it was T’s juice and I was horrified and said to her “OMG I am sooooo sorry, I thought that was mine!” she didn’t seem too bothered and just said “So I see”.  I was mortified that I had done that, it was like I was just on autopilot and wasn’t thinking about what I was doing.

Looking around T had drawing stuff and sewing stuff everywhere. The room was messy and I remember thinking she was arty and had numerous hobbies. She went upstairs for something but didn’t come back for a very long time. Meanwhile I remember thinking how glad I was that T was able to see how I was around my husband in that I didn’t change and that I was completely myself.

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Then, last night I had another dream. This time about my mother. This one felt SO real. In it I had arranged to go shopping with my mother and when I met her she was with my Nan and my sister. She hasn’t said they were coming and I was a little bit annoyed because I felt a bit overpowered by them all (due to the fact they are all close and I’m almost estranged).

I remember walking around a shop feeling a bit nervous and then my mother said “right, you need to snap out of this now! Get your husband and come to my house Monday after work” – what she meant was that I had to start talking to her husband again and my husband also had to come along and make up with them both”.

I felt angry and said that I didn’t want to and that I did not miss going to her house or seeing her husband and said I was happy with the way things are. She was furious and shouted “Ohhh well as long as YOU are happy, that’s all that matters isn’t it?!” – being sarcastic. My nan and sister were standing behind her looking disapprovingly at me.  I snapped “see, this is what I mean. We can’t spend time together without something like this happening. I’m going, bye“. And off I went.

I then had an internal panic about how I would find my way home from where I was to my in-laws where I’m currently living and then I realised I had my car in a car park and was nervous about the drive. I remember thinking I should call my husband but thinking he was at work so I shouldn’t bother him and that I was an adult and should be able to work it out on my own.

In the dream I was shaking with anger and fear but I felt pleased I had been able to say what I needed and walk away.

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I felt fine, happy even, both yesterday and today and so the dreams didn’t seem to impact my mood like they sometimes do. I was grateful for that as I hate the feeling they can leave me with some days.

I assume I am dreaming about T because she is on a two week break and I actually quite like the dream because my husband was there and totally relaxed which I like to think is symbolic of how comfortable he is with me having therapy and also perhaps something to do with the fact that my husband would love to meet T and to be a fly on the wall and equally, I would like T to meet him.

I am not sure what the relevance was of me drinking her orange juice, but the feeling in the dream was that I had been SO relaxed and comfortable that I had done it without thinking and maybe that’s a nice sign of how relaxed I am now feeling with her compared to over the years.  Her telling me how rich she used to be was strange and I was so shocked but I wonder if this could be symbolic of how little I really know about her life.  For example not knowing what she is doing in her break and not really knowing anything about her past.

The dream about my mother on the other hand, well, that one isn’t so surprising or strange although the timing feels a bit odd as I haven’t thought about her consciously so it seemed a surprise in that sense.

The content of the dream however is so close to reality that it doesn’t surprise me whatsoever.  That dream could very easily play out and in actual fact, in recent months I’ve been so nervous about her blatantly asking (telling) me to pack it in and do what she wants – go to her house, see her husband, get my husband to suck up to them etc.  However as I have written recently, I have suddenly made peace with that fear in me and I now really know that I don’t want to do those things and so the panic I used to feel is no longer in me.

Perhaps the dream was my subconscious’ way of playing out the scene.  Trying it out for size.. preparing me for the real deal perhaps? Also the last time I saw her we went into a clothes shop and I felt the same nerves about her.  My psyche is clearly working some things through.

T would say that it demonstrated that I could stand up to her and walk away and survive it and that I would be okay. The world wouldn’t end etc.  But honestly, I don’t feel that worry and panic or fear at the moment anyway.  Still, it was quite helpful to have that dream because perhaps in the future a similar scenario will play out for me and I will have that memory to use for reassurance.

In real life, my mother text me earlier this week asking me how the house was progressing and said again how much she just cannot wait for me to move back closer to her and how she can’t wait to see me so much more.  This really is weird, I’ve said this before but I just do not understand her logic here.  I have lived ten minutes away from her for years now and now that I am temporarily further away its like she’s convinced herself that this is the only reason we don’t see each other more often. Like whhhatttt??? It’s so weird!!!

Last time she did this T said “that fucks with your head” which is true but when I asked T WHY she would think that or say that, T said she wouldn’t be surprised if she was just saying something for the sake of saying something or even saying what she thinks she should say.  It baffles me nevertheless, it isn’t like she would even come to my new house because she never does and never has and she wouldn’t now because of my husband.  Surely she isn’t going to expect an invitation for her and her husband to come and see our new place by way of offering an olive branch? God I hope not because that simply is not going to happen.  Perhaps she really does think that just because we will be living a new, exciting phase in our lives (having purchased our first home) that all the past will magically be wiped away and we will all play happy families again.  Oh dear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My analogy for when I am regressed

I came up with a very random analogy the other night to explain to my husband how I feel in the times that I suddenly “miss” my mother and I thought I would write it here so that in the harder times to come, I can read this and remind myself of what is happening.

I used a smoking analogy because my husband has recently quit smoking and so I hoped he would be able to relate a little more, this is what I said:

I explained that it is like when you’ve quit something (smoking, drinking, drugs – whatever) and you know that you are doing the right thing. You have all the facts, you know smoking is killing you, you know its costing a lot of money, you know it makes your clothes smell and ruins your taste buds etc and you are really, genuinely very glad that you have quit.  You are proud of yourself for quitting.  All is good.

Until all of a sudden, you are hit with this extreme craving for a cigarette.  Suddenly the need for a cigarette is urgent and although you know all of the logical stuff about health and finances and how disappointed you would be with yourself for caving, you can decide in a second to either disregard all of that stuff and just satisfy the craving with a cigarette… OR fight the craving.  Distract yourself by drinking some water or by brushing your teeth – whatever it is that you need to do.  You have a moment when it is so easy to go either way.

But gradually, over time, the cravings come less and less often (or maybe eventually stop altogether).  The fight was worth it! You are no longer addicted.  YAY!!!

I explained that it feels much the same way to me in relation with my mum at times.  I can be happy with the very limited contact we have. I can know that I am better off this way, know that it is better for me and for my peace of mind and yet randomly, every now and again I find myself in this regressed child-like place where suddenly all the logic goes out of the window and all that seems to matter is that I get my needs met (the needs often being this fantasy of having the perfect, loving mother stroking my hair and bringing me tea and stuff).

I can feel this really strong pull to go to her – to run to her and I have to decide which way I will go.  I can either, give in to this really strong craving to see her OR I can try to sit through the pain and wait for it to pass (which it will, it always does).

In those moments the choices are so hard.  The attachment pull can feel stronger than anything I’ve never known and I am sure it isn’t QUITE that deep for a smoker giving up their fags, but hopefully the analogy makes sense anyway.  In those moments you have a choice and all anyone wants to do when they have an addiction is make themselves feel better – back to “normal” and often we convince ourselves that the best and easiest way to do that is to just give in and deal with the consequences afterwards (or just put that out of your mind).

I am relieved that I am able to resist my “cravings” these days and I am able to just sit through the pain but I admit the pain hasn’t really got much easier.  When I am regressed like that, the pain is still horrendous BUT it doesn’t last as long as it used to and I am pleased to say that I do bounce back quicker then I used to.

However I do know that it is easy for me to sit and write this now as I am clearly in my adult head but when I am regressed and in my child state, none of this seems to really get through to me.  I write this anyway with the hope that it will… you never know.

I told my husband, T and myself to be quite honest(!) that until now it has felt like torture sometimes not doing what it felt like I wanted to.  There have been times when I have really wanted to just turn up at my mum’s house and see her face as she opens the door to me. I’ve had visions of all sorts of lovely, fantasy visits and I have stopped myself contacting her or going to her house or whatever just because of what T and my husband would say and think. I have had the intellectual knowledge that it isn’t a good idea and that she wouldn’t be able to really give me what I wanted but it wasn’t quite there in terms of my feelings – it still felt like torture and like I was not doing what I wanted to do.  That was a tough feeling to feel and in my regressed states I often used to think to myself “fuck what everyone else thinks I should do – this is my life and my mum!”.

And so that is why when I realised this week that it is MY choice and really and truly is what I want to do (or not do), that has made everything feel so much easier. It no longer feels like torture because it is my choice.

I explained the above to T yesterday on the phone and she said that although it felt like torture and although I was only doing it because of her and my husband, that their voices kept me safe.  She likened it to a child being told not to do something, for example not to touch the iron because it will burn them – it is only their mother’s voice that stops them doing that thing and even then, they might test it out and once they have really learnt it, they don’t do that thing/touch that iron anymore on their own accord.  Does that make sense? It did to me.

She thinks that the last visit with my mother a few weeks ago pushed me over the edge. Seeing her being so clearly angry and hearing her comment on me having put on weight etc was not nice. It really made me realise that she hasn’t changed and she really won’t ever change.  I said to T that obviously it wasn’t nice, but it did me a favour in the long run.

 

 

The way it is

I have to admit that my mind has been entirely consumed by all things relating to fertility and my potential thyroid/autoimmune disease lately and so my worries regarding my mum took a back seat, in fact I would go as far as to say that she wasn’t even in the car! Pretty understandable I think and actually, I’m glad. Thank god she isn’t overshadowing everything like she once would have. I think it probably also shows that my anxiety is improving because I’ve managed to compartmentalise and not try to worry about absolutely everything all at once.

Anyway I was bored at work today as my boss is on holiday and I flicked onto a forum that I am on and where I had written a post after seeing her last Sunday and found a new reply. I read the reply and agreed with everything the person had said which was basically that I was perfectly entitled to not see my mother at her house without my husband if I didn’t want to. She actually used the words “The Queen Is Displeased” which I felt hit the nail on the head. She said that my mother won’t ever be 100% happy unless everything is ok her terms and that isn’t a healthy and normal relationship. Also absolutely true.

It was only really as I read this reply and thought about my opinion/thoughts on it that I realised that this had taken a back seat. I think that when I have just seen her I have this sense of urgent panic about me – when I saw her a week ago today, it felt like I needed to prepare myself ASAP. A week on, clearly the urgency has gone. It sounds bad I know but it’s like the danger has subsided… she’s gone back to her place and I’m back in my place and it feels like the moment she would have said something has passed – for now – this time.

Does that make any sense?

Also it would be true to say that I’m incredibly impatient and impulsive and I’m often in a bit of a rush. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe that feeling is all in my head.

Maybe, but I’m not convinced.

Believe me when I say, my mum-dar is incredibly in tune after years of trying to predict her moods and stay safe – she was ANGRY!! She was well and truly pissed at me. She is fed up of having to come out of her house to see me. She’s pissed off that I won’t just “go back to normal”. Her patience with me is wearing VERY thin. Very.

And I’ve said this before I know, but the mum that I met at the garden centre 2 months ago (the one that seemed caring and gentle and cried when I left as she sobbed she loved and missed me) – where was that mum?

That mum (garden centre mum), she would have been pleased with ANY contact from me. A text even! Genuinely I felt that. But last Monday’s mum, she wasn’t happy with anything at all. I mean she did come I suppose, and she didn’t have to… but I could sense she didn’t want to be there.

I’m not sure how she can change so much, in a relatively short space of time. I suspect my (genuinely accidental) mention of going to my Dad’s bbq probably didn’t help. She’s always found my Dad a threat. She would never in a million years eveerrrrr admit that – but I see that now. She’s always been desperate that I need/love her more. Parent wars.

Anyway, back to the point – I thought to myself earlier that I really do need to try to get it straight in my own head my reasons why I won’t go to her house or see her husband. I need to get it straight in my head for my own sake – not for her’s. I will feel more relaxed and calm and at peace if I know what I’ll say to her. It means that when the time comes (which it will), I won’t go into a total meltdown, I’ll just be able to tell her my reasons.

And then I realise that I struggle to articulate my reasons to anyone and I mean anyone, I can’t tell my husband and I can’t even tell myself!

The best I could come up with was “I’ve got used to not going/doing those things and I don’t miss it/them”.

Or…

“I don’t know why really. I can’t explain it. I just don’t want to go on my own”.

I also said to my husband that it was simply because I didn’t want to have to pretend I had forgiven/liked my stepdad but my husband actually said “is it that though, or is that just an excuse?”.

Is that just an excuse?

I want to say no, it’s not… but yeah it could be I suppose.

T says I am just better at protecting myself and I’ve learnt not to be around people or in places that don’t make me feel good. That I’ve learnt to look after myself.

The thing that shocks me about all of this is that I have a real, genuine sense of being happy with things the way they are. That’s actually a huge statement for me. It seems like nothing typed onto the page amongst all the other written diarrhoea, but it’s actually massive.

I am happy with things the way they are.

I don’t want them to change.

I mean, 😮… when did that happen???

Anyone that’s read my blog for a while will probably know I’ve gone through moments/days/times where I’ve felt like I might die from the heartache of missing my mum. Of needing and wanting my mum. Of the void. Of the sadness, the guilt and I’m not even talking about historic pain – the most recent was only 8 weeks ago (post garden centre mum).

How has this happened? Is this real? Will it stay?

I have a real, genuine (sorry can’t think of any other way to describe this) feeling that even in those moments now, those moments when I want to be my mum’s little girl, I can still hold on to the knowledge/feeling somewhere in me that it’s not real or it won’t last – that basically, I’ll regret it if I do anything drastic.

T clearly knows that too, that’s why she always tries so hard to get me to “just sit with it”. She knows the feeling will pass and that I’ll be left regretting everything. Though I reckon in those times I put up a pretty decent argument 🤣 in fact I’ll go as far as to say that sometimes I think I convince MYSELF !!!

I never, never, ever thought I would feel like this and don’t worry, I’m not being cocky or naive here – I absolutely accept that I’ll probably relapse again (more than once) and feel like that heartbreak, agony, void-going-to-kill-me pain isn’t worth it and I’ll want to “fix” everything. And then I won’t again.

I wonder whether this is similar to how someone feels when they have given up alcohol or drugs after a serious addiction. Do they sometimes feel like they can clearly see and feel all the many good things that have come their way since they quit their vice – but then (less and less often) will they relapse? Or nearly relapse?? Genuine question – I don’t know.

I don’t hate my mum. I don’t even feel angry with her. I just feel …. that what we have these days is probably enough for me. That’s sad in a way, but it’s also soooooooooo much less painful than it used to me when I was constantly wishing for more.

therapy in the park & inner calm

I want to write whilst I have a moment, living with 8 people in the in-laws house without a bedroom doesn’t allow for a lot of time to sit and contemplate one’s inner-thoughts yet alone allow for time to actually write them down! So whilst I am at work on this lovely Friday afternoon without much work to do, I thought I would grab the opportunity. 

I spoke to T on the phone yesterday as is my current routine since the move. To be honest I wasn’t really looking forward to it because I find it difficult to think of enough to talk about on the phone. I don’t really know why that is because I certainly don’t have that issue when there with her face-to-face, but there we go! Anyway, since the move to the in-laws I drive myself to a local park to speak to T where I can be alone and not overheard and me and my husband have taken to calling this TITP – Therapy In The Park, which has kinda stuck and I quite like it ha ha.

So yesterday’s TITP was way better than I had imagined it would be. I’m not entirely sure why, but as I settled down to speak to her, I realised that I felt a real sense of happiness and calm (which is VERY surprising considering everything). During our hour-long phone conversation, I felt light-hearted, fun, happy and just light… we laughed quite a lot and I felt totally and utterly unfiltered like I wasn’t thinking at all about the words forming in my head before they fell out of my lips – I just said stuff and laughed and it was just great. Before I knew it the phone session was over and I was fine with that in the sense that I had nothing pressing to talk about and I felt… whatever it is you feel after a good therapy session.. perhaps contained? – anyway we hung up and I felt myself literally smiling (probably made me look like a freak in public on her own grinning) and I went for a stroll around the park and took some photos and sent one to T showing her the view and telling her that I could get used to TITP. She sent me a quick message back and I smiled and put my phone away. 

Now nothing about that sounds particularly interesting I know, but the feeling I got was new… and if not new, then not common enough to feel “normal” or be taken for granted. It was nice. Really nice. I would quite like to tell her this but I wouldn’t have a clue how to explain it and I don’t want to analyse it or over-think/over-talk it and ruin it, so I am just writing it here to note it down for myself really. 

Regarding my mother..

I wanted to write another update about where I am with things regarding my mother after the other week’s complete meltdown. I still can’t believe how much that got to me, how much it shook me and how utterly distressed and desperate I felt.  

I feel so much better now. So, so, so much better.  

I seem to have found a bit of a middle-ground though and I’ve not gone straight back to how I was before the meltdown occurred in that me and my mother have exchanged more messages in the last few week than we had for about a year(!) but I am finding them nice, but not drastically important, and I’ve lost that awful, sudden need to see her which feels safer. At the same time her messages aren’t making or breaking my days and I am not consumed by the content or anything… it’s hard to explain. Yesterday we exchanged some messages about random things – she sent me photos of her new lounge and her garden and spoke about some events she has coming up etc and I spoke about how I am excited for a wedding next week and mine and Hubby’s apt at the fertility clinic etc. I was slightly nervous that she might ask me when I was coming to stay with her, but she didn’t and so I didn’t need to worry about what to say and how to say it which was a relief. 

I was telling a friend about how I felt the other week and about how upset I was in my session and she said to me “Well I have to admit that if one of my kids didn’t speak to me or want to see me, I would be very upset too” (her kids are also adults) and I found myself saying back to her “Yes but the difference is that if one of your kids didn’t want to see you and you had nothing to do with them or their wife, you would be sitting around trying to figure out what had gone wrong/what you had done and how you could make it better wouldn’t you?” – she agreed. I then said “the difference is, my mum has had years to do that but all she seems to come up with is that she’s never done anything wrong and that it is just all down to my husband and how he has manipulated me and poisoned me against her”. 

The words came out of my mouth and it was like I *heard* them and surprised myself at my own understanding (weird I know). I realised as I said it that it was absolutely true. I knew it before and I know it now, but I didn’t *feel* it the other week. The other week when I was completely and utterly drowning in the child part of me’s hopes and dreams and wishful thinking, none of that felt remotely important. I was willing to turn a blind eye to everything – all of it – in exchange for the love of my mother. I was utterly desperate to be looked after and nurtured and protected et. It felt bigger than everything. It felt HUGE. The logic had detached from the feelings and I couldn’t hold both at the same time.  

Now, at the moment I find myself in this weird no-man’s land really. I question if I am a little numb? (I am not sure). The way I feel is that I can see/feel/remember all the bad stuff yet feel no anger about it and also I can understand the wants, needs and wishes of the child but nowhere near enough to want to actually try and get them. I have no intention of going to stay at her house or of turning up at her door crying or begging her for the chance for us to start again or any of that dramatic, movie-type stuff that I was imagining. I just feel…. nothing really… just like I am here and I can see both sides of it equally but without being affected by either. 

I am not sure if that is a good sign of having balanced myself back out (potentially more so than before!) or whether I am actually numb because the pain of the other week was too much. Who knows? It sure feels better this way though. I feel calm inside and I am not caught up in the stress and anxiety of being angry with her, being hurt by her lack of contact or dreading seeing her or whatever.. I just feel like we can have a few messages about normal stuff which is genuinely fine… but I am not being guilt-tripped or attacked and I am not dying for more or using her messages to boost me up….. it just is what it is and it is actually fine. For now at least.

What happened rocked me in a massive, massive way. I am still shocked by the hugeness of the pain I felt but I am so, so glad that it has passed and that I am okay. I am wondering whether that is likely to happen again? Is it part of the process or was it me falling off the wagon so to speak? Has it helped in some weird way? Who knows!

Oh and to end, this made me laugh…. My mother said yesterday that she had started to read a book my sister recommended. She told me the name of it and so I downloaded it at the park yesterday and I’ve been listening to it since. The book is hilariously funny and extremely crude and rude and shocking in content, BUT that didn’t surprise me. What surprised me is this….. the girl who is narrating the story in first person/diary-entry style, is a young girl. This girl is having therapy…………. This girl is having therapy………………HA. My mother and my sister LOVED this book about a girl in therapy – it makes you die doesn’t it? The two people most adverse to anyone having therapy. Hilarious. Anyway, I am yet to see if the therapist is painted as some manipulating, evil, money-grabber (I sincerely hope not), but we shall see. It is interesting to me because as neither of them have a clue what therapy consists of and as they both clearly have their own fantasies (as T would say) – this book may be changing their opinion.. or confirming them!!

 

 

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.

Sitting with the grief

It feels like ages since I last blogged on here but I’ve just checked and actually it’s only 8 days.  I think it probably feels like longer because this is the first time in ages that I’ve got my laptop (craptop) out rather than just quickly posting something from my phone.  Today I’ve been reminded why that is, because the laptop has taken an absolute AGE to get to the point where I can type on here and even now it is so painfully slow that I’m surprised I’ve got this far.

Anyway.

I don’t have anything pressing to write about and nothing has “happened” with regards to my mother or anything.  In fact that is still the main thing on my mind – how nothing has happened with her for such a long time now.

I had my last session with T on Thursday afternoon until 9 July and that kinda snuck up on me as it often does.  In general I feel fine about the break, I feel emotionally stable and happy enough to “cope” as it were, but I just miss knowing she is there and that I will see her.  Annoyingly at our last session on Thursday I was hyperactive about a house I was viewing that evening and so blabbered on incessantly for the entire hour about moving and potential houses etc which felt good at the time but now feels like a waste.  T has told me before that nothing is ever a waste of a session, regardless of what we talk about because its what I need in the moment.  I do get that, but equally I feel like because I was so distracted about the house and I was feeling all happy and excited and hopeful, I took my time with her for granted a bit and now I feel I could do with seeing her to talk about proper stuff… does that make sense?

I’ve felt pretty good in general recently though. Yesterday I felt down, mainly because of house stuff and the pending panic that in 4 weeks time we have nowhere to live and there’s been absolutely no updates on our currently stalled chain in over 5 weeks now.  No exchange date agreed and obviously no talk of completion.  I’ve written this before but moving is a trigger for me and feeling unsettled is difficult for me nowadays after spending a lifetime feeing that way, and having had security for the last 5 years that I’ve been with my husband.  Anyway, it can’t be helped and T says I am tolerating the uncertainty well – which I am, mainly.

Today however I have opted to stay home whilst my husband runs the kids around for the afternoon and so I am sat now at home on my own and I guess the time and space is allowing some feelings to creep in and I feel like if I was to allow it, I could feel quite upset.  I can feel it trying to come to the surface even just since my husband and the kids drove off and again since I started typing this. On that note, as I waved them all off a while ago and then closed the door to come inside, I cried. I used to do that all the time but I’ve not done that in a very long time.  It sounds ridiculous I know, but every now and again, there’s something very triggering for me about waving them/him off. It shoots a pain across my chest and I cry instantly.  I don’t know why exactly, but I guess it must be something to do with feeling abandoned or something – even though it was  my choice to stay behind.

I am still finding it difficult that my mother has seemingly given up on me.  I guess the feelings about it come and go a bit and on the whole aren’t horrendous – especially compared to some of the grief I’ve felt over the past few years, but I admit it hurts and it is *there* even if a lot of the time I don’t give it much space to be felt.

There are two types of narcissistic mother: the engulfing mother and the ignoring mother.  Confusingly my mother was an ignoring mother until I got to about 17 years old, and then became the engulfing mother.  It is possible that now,  because I am not giving her what she wants and needs, she’s just reverted back to the ignoring mother.  Perhaps she’s dead angry with me and so she is trying to punish me by making me feel rejected and forgotten about knowing somewhere that it triggers my deepest insecurities.  Maybe she’s playing a game.  Maybe she just doesn’t give a fig.  I don’t know. I just do not know and really I suppose it doesn’t matter, does it?  But it does… unfortunately.

I automatically feel myself wanting to write/say to myself that I need to just accept it and move on but I also know that it is actually much better for me to let the feelings come and that they will pass quicker if I don’t try to fight them.  I need to let the wave of sadness and grief wash over me and I have to try to stay with the feelings but it is very painful when I do.  It isn’t the crushing grief I’ve felt before where I feel like I might die, and I’m not falling to my knees on the bathroom floor, but the pain is real and as ever with this thing, it isn’t the sort of thing you can talk to people about because the general population don’t have to grieve their living mother and don’t really understand narcissism.  It’s a lonely type of grief isn’t it?

It is also a really confusing type of grief because (and apologies for repeating myself) but I am the one who needed the separation from my engulfing mother.  It was me that pulled away and me who put in the distance for my own recovery and sanity, for my own protection BUT still, she’s gone from engulfing to nothing and what I wanted was something in the middle – something healthy.  Something “normal” or at least less painful and less damaging.  It seems there really is no choice.  Well, the choice is to be enmeshed with her or to be totally ignored.  I know that being ignored is the less of the two evils because being enmeshed is bad for me in so many ways; so I guess I am grieving the loss of the wish for normal.  Again.

Regardless of her motive, what she’s doing works.  I clearly still have work to do because it is still triggering me feeling so unimportant and feeling rejected and forgotten.  I feel like I don’t exist to her and that is still a very difficult feeling to handle even after all these years and all the work I have done.  Whether intentional or not, it’s clever because the automatic response to feeling these things is to “fix” it and get rid of that feeling by putting myself in her orbit! By basically begging for her love.  Maybe it would mean I would drop any set boundaries and decide that actually, I can go and drink with her at her house and let her abuse me and let her put ideas in my head about how my husband doesn’t love me and let her tell me I’ve let myself go physically or even just start slagging off my father and stepmother. Whatever it would be, that is the automatic place to go to rid myself of these triggered feelings of being unloved and forgotten and unimportant.

I don’t do that and I won’t do that of course.. which is progress but instead I just have to feel these horribly shit feelings and wait for them to pass.  That’s harder than it sounds sometimes.

I find myself wondering why it is that she suddenly decided to be like this (ignoring/non-contacting) because the last time I saw her I came home and cried all day because I wished she had wanted to stay with me for longer (there’s a post on that about mother’s day time (UK).  We even text later that evening about silly things and after a few drinks I had text her that evening asking that we went to a special bar soon for some drinks.  She had said yes and had suggested we did that for my birthday…. but for some reason from then onwards, she just dropped me.  Maybe she unconsciously or consciously got what she needed from me and she knew somewhere inside her that I was starting to come back and that was enough so she dropped me.  Maybe she knew I was starting to come back to her and so she thought that would be a good time to totally reject me in the hope it would make me beg more/try harder?  Maybe she didn’t feel anything at all and I just bored her so much at that lunch that she can’t be arsed to sit through another one? Knowing my mother she will also be thinking that I should be asking to see HER and not the other way around.  I sometimes wonder if I am being narcissist in saying that she hasn’t contacted me and that she hasn’t asked to see me when I am also doing those things… it worries me but then I think well it was me who initiated that mother’s day visit and so it is her turn if you like… though that makes me sound like I’m playing games, and it doesn’t feel like that to me.

I’ve also been off of social media for about 6 weeks or so now and she won’t like that.  That will really piss her off because it means she really has no idea what I am doing unless she asks and because she hates/has no interest in my life with my husband, my stepkids, my in-laws or my father & co, she won’t ask and so I’ve exhausted her free source of info.  It also takes away her stage for showing her disinterest/disapproval by purposely not “liking” my photos.  Hell, perhaps she even knows how much she was getting to me by ignoring my stuff and now she’s pissed I’ve effectively put up another boundary and stopped her getting to me that way too. Or maybe I am overthinking all of it.

But that’s the thing isn’t it, it makes you overthink it all. It makes you try to rationalise it. It makes you question their motives and their thoughts and feelings and it makes you spend countless minutes and hours or days even, playing all of these things through your mind until you end up stressed and upset and just feeling exhausted or overwhelmed or rejected…. like I do now!

My husband quite rightly tells me that I should try to take some freedom from the fact that I was just as exhausted and affected by her when she was constantly asking to see me or texting me and how I used to be anxious and panicky about what to say to her to say no and how I would upset her and then have to deal with all the guilt that followed it all. He said that at least she had stopped that and at least I had some relative peace.  He’s obviously absolutely right, but unfortunately it doesn’t stop the sadness that it basically shines a light on how little she actually loves me – because she has just gone.

I guess I find it hard to fathom how a mother would just stop bothering to see or contact her daughter.  Perhaps if she were to write out her feelings she would say she finds it hard to fathom how her daughter could stop bothering to see or contact her own mother(!) it feels like we are having some silent battle and that we both feel rejected and hurt and are both being defensive because of it.  It just all feels like such a bloody shame and such a waste! One day she will die (or maybe I will) and the other of us is going to be left having to work through such complicated grief.  Perhaps that person will wish they had more time and would decide to do things completely differently.  I dread that happening but I also know it really isn’t that simple. I can’t tolerate her engulfment, toxicity, negativity, bullying etc just because one day she might die but it seems that when people around us die, they turn into saints and all the bad is instantly forgotten and forgiven and then we are left with heaps of guilt.  I don’t want that either.

I guess this goes without saying really, but she lives ten minutes down the road. I wish we had a relationship where we spoke regularly and we popped over to see each other or we went shopping now and again or we met for dinner or lunch sometimes with our husbands. I wish we could talk about our feelings and I wish I could lean on her and talk to her about all the big things in my life – particularly about my struggle to conceive and about thoughts of adoption or house-buying. I wish I could have a mum to cuddle when I felt sad or who would celebrate my good news/achievements with.

But I don’t and today, that is very sad.

What My Mother And I Don’t Talk About: Rug-Sweeping by Twinkletoes

I have recently started listening to the audiobook of “What My Mother And I Don’t Talk About: Fifteen Writers Break The Silence”.  I haven’t got very far yet but the few stories I have listened to are extremely moving.  Some of these stories are about things that caused a complete breakdown between mother and (adult) child and some are about the wonderful close bond between them.

It got me thinking, like most things I see or read about the relationship between mother and adult children.  I could relate to a lot of things in one of the stories in particular and so the last few days I’ve been thinking.  What would my “essay” say in this book?  What would my story be about me and my mother?  What “theme” would I go with?  What particular element of “our story” would I focus on?  I mean, for everyone who’s essay appears in this book, they have had to focus in on one element haven’t they.  In every family and every relationship there are many, many things which either make or break it – not just one thing.

Would I focus on how I felt as a young child with a mother who was so disinterested and neglectful?  Or would I focus on her narcissism and enmeshment of me as an 18 plus year old?  Perhaps I would focus on her reaction to finding out I had been sexually abused by one of her boyfriends?

The thing is, SO many things have led to where we are now.  Where are we now? That is what I ask myself, where are we now?  I don’t really know the answer to that either.  Trying not to say where I am, with it all but where WE are is difficult and one of the reasons it is so difficult is, as the book says, we don’t talk about it!!

My mother’s speciality is to sweep things under the rug.  Anything uncomfortable, anything that is in any way difficult or might result in feeling anything is a no-go area.  I never even realised this until a few years into therapy.  She is a rug-sweeper and so she does not want to talk about anything.

One of the writers in this book says something similar about her mother and said that her family were so good at sweeping everything under the rug… until they wasn’t and they fell over it and I can relate to that in so many ways.

Somehow (probably due to all the therapy) I don’t like doing this and I want, need even, to talk about things.  If I look back to about 2 years ago I was still seeing my mother and drinking with her (bad idea) despite also really realising and feeling(!) a lot in therapy to do with her and my childhood and I was trying desperately to hold both at the same time.  A recipe for disaster.

I admit that I went through a phase of going to her house and trying to prove to someone – possibly myself – that I was above it all.  Above her perhaps.  That somehow I could learn all of the things I was learning about all of the ways she hurt me and still sit and drink with her.  I found myself starting to question things she said, starting to correct her or ask her to repeat herself or to answer a question she was clearly avoiding.  It was like I could suddenly see some of the dysfunction and I wasn’t going to let her get away with it anymore.  Looking back, I was being hugely passive aggressive.  I sat there smiling sweetly but I was ready for a fight. I was almost secretly willing her to say something abusive, something nasty, just so I could respond in a way I had never responded before. Just so I could scream in her face that I wasn’t going to take it anymore. That I was DONE.

At the time, I told myself I was being mature by being able to handle her in a different way. I didn’t realise how angry I was.  I think I was trying to show myself, my husband and my therapist that I was strong now.  Perhaps I was kidding myself because deep down I knew that the alternative was to not see her or to continue being treated badly.  I didn’t want either of those things.  Maybe this was a bit of the bargaining phase at play.

Anyway one day I got my chance and I took it.  An argument erupted which ended horribly.  She said some unforgivable things to me that night which I will never be able to forget.  One of them being that I was mentally unstable and needed to be sectioned.  I called her “an evil bitch”.  Then she phoned her husband who was upstairs asleep and he came downstairs ready to fight me, got all up in my face and started to shout and swear at me and then kicked me out of their house.

As I left their house I was shaking like a leaf.  I was crying uncontrollably in fits and starts. I felt so empowered and yet so devastated in equal measure.  What had I done? What had I said?  But also, I felt so proud of myself.  I had finally spoken a lifetime of pain.  I had stood up to her in a way that neither of us thought I ever could.  It was a night that I’m sure neither of us will ever forget.

In my mother’s true form I didn’t hear anything from her for about a week.  Then she sent a text to say she was “so upset” and wanted us to make it up.  The problem is that my mother’s idea of “making up” or “sorting things out” is for me to apologise TO HER, or for us to pretend nothing ever happened and that nothing was ever said.  We do not TALK about it.

I refused to go along with this for the first time in my life and that resulted in 6 months of no contact.  In those 6 months she sent 2 or 3 text messages, 2 of them being sent on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.  Her messages said that she loved and missed me.  Her messages made me feel awful.  They tapped into the child in me who desperately missed her mother and wished her mother did love and miss her.  But I held firm because I just couldn’t do any more of this rug-sweeping.  I mean, I had told her that I grew up feeling completely unloved; a burden (amongst many other things) – those were not things I could just put back in a box and lock up forever more.  They were out now.  I had said them out loud.

A year ago I made contact with her in order for her to attend my wedding.  That took a LOT of debating.  For all the reasons I wanted her there; I didn’t.  I worried what it would mean for us going forwards? Would it be seen as yet more rug-sweeping?  At the same time I felt too guilty to exclude her from the biggest day of my life and I worried I would live to regret it and so she came to my wedding.

Whether I regret inviting her or not I can’t really decide.  My wedding was 9 months ago now and I still can’t decide.  Her presence didn’t add anything good to my special day, in fact I tried (and mostly succeeded) to block her and her husband out because they were both so disinterested and angry-looking all day, BUT perhaps her absence would have been harder and perhaps her absence would have allowed all sorts of perfect fantasy scenarios to fill my head which may have taken up more room than her presence did.

The morning after my wedding everyone was meeting for breakfast at 9am. I woke up as a newlywed and stared at my new husband and our wedding rings and felt the happiest and safest I had EVER felt in my life.  I felt like I had a home now. Something I had never felt.  We reminisced about our Big Day and got ready in our bridal-suite, stopping to smile and kiss each other.  Everything was heaven.  And then I got a text message from her, it was early, maybe 7am and it said that they had left my wedding venue and had gone home…….to pick up their dog.

I blocked the feelings in that moment and didn’t really care.  My husband reacted to it more than I did.  He was pissed.  I didn’t really care and even felt glad because I didn’t want the awkwardness of seeing her and her husband after seeing their miserable faces all day the day before and I had been anxious about having them in a small room with my Dad’s family.  I focussed on that relief and I focused on all the good, loving and kind people around me.

About 2 days later I was sat at home as my husband napped on the sofa, I was looking on social media at all the lovely comments and “likes” on our wedding snaps and I noticed a distinct and obvious lack of anything from her.  Not one. Nada.  She had however put up a post about her new car (and a photo of her posing with it).  She had also commented and “liked” other people’s photos taken at my wedding; for example one of my sister and her boyfriend and another family member.  She commented “beautiful!” on one photo. But not on a single one of my wedding photos.

I snuck out into the garden so my husband didn’t wake and I cried so much. I was so hurt.  Not just, as it might seem on the surface, because of the photos on social media, but because of the whole thing.  It had finally caught up with me and it hurt so much. So bloody much.  It’s also a hard time to feel like your heart is breaking because you’ve just got your happy-ever-after and you want to focus on THAT feeling, not this one and obviously well-meaning friends and family tell you not to worry about the ONE person who isn’t happy for you when so many others are.  That is easier said than done when that ONE person is your mother.

I saw my mother about 6 weeks after my wedding day which was about the soonest I could tolerate seeing her after it all and she did not mention my wedding AT ALL.  Nothing. No mention of how I looked or my dress, no mention of the venue or the flowers or the bridesmaid’s dresses, the speeches.. nothing.  I still remember however I took real pleasure in booking the table under my new married name and telling the waiter loudly as she looked confused for a nano-second.  It was my little “fuck you” moment.

As I write this, it has been about 9 months since my wedding day and just over a year and a half since “that” night where it all came out and I told her what I really felt.  She still tries to rug-sweep even now.  Every now and again she will send me a text message as though everything is just lovey between us.  Sometimes she will invite me to something which I think we both know I won’t be accepting; for example a few months ago she invited me and my husband to her house to have drinks with her and her husband.  I declined and told her the truth why.  It is too late for that.  We cannot just sweep everything under the rug and pretend nothing has ever happened.  I dared to say it – again.  Her response?  Okay – sad face emoji.

She may as well have typed “how dare you refuse to rug-sweep!!”.

It has taken a lot of therapy, a lot of time and a LOT of confusion and tears to get to this stage but now I have given up the hope that anything will ever be different.  It used to hurt me so deeply that she didn’t love me enough to want to talk about it properly – to try to sort it out.  To apologise and to move on.  Slowly I am coming to the realisation that it isn’t really about me at all, she just cannot tolerate feelings and she cannot believe or admit to herself that she has ever done anything wrong or caused any pain.

The relationship between my mother and I now is pretty empty. It is superficial.  Sometimes this brings great pain, but mostly I accept it and time is a great healer.  The more time passes, the more I am adjusting to this.  It has been one hell of a process going from neglected, unloved child to enmeshed young adult to this – whatever “this” is, but I am doing fine.

The message I would want to get across in my “essay” if I could, would be this: sweeping everything under the rug does not work.  It might be uncomfortable talking about things, but is it any less uncomfortable than losing someone you love completely? I don’t think so. But also, you cannot force someone to talk – or to listen – who does not want to and sometimes you have to let them go – if only emotionally. And that you will be okay in the end.

 

 

Then. And Now.

THEN

Growing up, you were everything.

When I was a little girl I thought you were the most beautiful person in the entire world.

You always smelt of perfume and hairspray.  I would watch you admire yourself in the mirror.  I used to wish that you would admire me the way you admired your reflection.

I used to like watching you get ready to go out because it seemed to make you happy.  But I never wanted you to go.

One time I begged you to let me come with you but you played a cruel trick on me letting me ‘go out’ to the garden after letting me use your lipstick and perfume.  I never forgot how I felt in that moment.

Little did I know then, as a 5 or 6 year old, that that feeling would become more and more familiar to me.  More familiar even than your face.

 

You were at your happiest when you were away from me.  That was clear.  I wanted to make you happy so badly that I would go wherever you told me to go without argument.  But I never wanted to leave you.

You wanted to leave me though.

It was almost worth going for – seeing the happiness spread from your eyes to your mouth if someone offered to take me with them for a day, a weekend or a week.  It didn’t matter who it was.  The pleasure I saw on your face was everything.. until I realised that the pleasure was coming from escaping from me.

My heart would hurt as I left my home. My mum.  My world. It was so confusing seeing you smile so sweetly, so happily as I left you.  How does a child so young handle such feelings?

I was so small and thin.  I had bright green eyes like cats and long, knotty hair which ran down my back.  My “little pony” nightie and soft textured Barbie doll came everywhere with me.

I learnt that your happiness was more important than mine.

I suppose that it shows how pure a child’s love is.  So unconditional.  At an age where I should have been naturally selfish, I learnt that I would rather be heartbroken, hurt or scared than you be angry or unhappy.

 

I don’t have many memories of us together when I was a child.  I have no memories of picnics or parks.  No memories of cuddles or games.  I wish I did.  I wish we had baked cakes together.  I wish that you read to me.  Most of all, I wish you wanted me.

 

A year or so later you went to hospital and came home with another little girl.  A sister for me you said.  I cried and cried at the fear this little girl would take you away from me.  I cried even more when everyone else came over and walked right past me to see you and the new little girl.  I felt invisible.  I was scared.

Me, you, the new little girl and your boyfriend moved into a new house together.  The house felt big. It had stairs.  I got a swing and for my tenth birthday you said I could have a bike AND a bouncy castle party with friends from my class.  I was so excited.

A week or so later you told me I had to keep your secret like a big girl.  The secret was that man you were kissing.  The man who kept telling me we would go swimming and to theme parks.

When we went home that night it was dark and I got into bed.  I remember my quilt cover had 102 Dalmatians on it. It was blue and it felt new from the pack.

The shouting began.  Then plates and glasses were being thrown and smashed. I was scared.  I hid under my blanket and then you came upstairs and told me to get in the car NOW!! I asked if I could bring my blanket.

So much happened.  He was gone and a new man replaced him – just like that.  He wasn’t kind the new man.  He was angry.  He never did take me swimming.  He was scary.  He breathed so loud.  He shouted so much. I cried but I looked after my baby sister.

I moved schools again.  We moved house again and again and again… and then he was gone and a new man replaced him and repeat and repeat and repeat.

 

The thing that never changed was the fact that you were happiest when you were without me. I so rarely saw you but when I did, you were cold and angry.  I still loved you so much. I would do anything to make you happy.

One time I had an accident and my head was bleeding really badly. I wondered if I might die.  You said you couldn’t handle blood so someone else had to sort my head out.  I wondered if I died you might love me more.

 

Life continued to change, never the same for long.  New men, new houses, new schools, new people.  I got older. I saw you less.  You never seemed happy to see me – unless I was leaving.  That is a very painful memory to have.

 

NOW 

Now I am older than you were then.  I could have a 5 or 6 year old child;  but I don’t yet.  Maybe one day my baby will sit and watch me get ready in the mirror like I used to do with you, but I will always admire my child more then my reflection in the mirror.  I will not send her away.

My happiness and my smile; the glint in my eye will come from lifting her from her cot,, from picking her up for a cuddle or watching her play happily.  NOT from watching her leave.

The funny thing is that these days, now, you think it is ME who is cruel because I don’t like to see you as much as you would like me to.

Make no mistake, it isn’t that you want to see me.  That you love or miss me.  You just want me to want you like I used to.

Now you want me to put your happiness before my own like I used to do.  Like you taught me to.  Now I put myself first.  Good girl gone bad.

Now I fight back for that 5 year old child who lives inside me.  Now I smile when I look in the mirror too, not at my reflection like you did, but at her because now she feels loved.

 

You abused your power and now you have none.

Now I leave you – the thing that you always wanted and yet, now you cry.

It is too late.

I don’t see you as everything anymore.

I don’t think you are the most beautiful person in the entire world now.

 

But you still smell of perfume and hairspray;
and you still admire yourself in the mirror.

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking the habit

I was just thinking about my Mum, or rather I was just thinking about how little I’ve been thinking about my Mum.

That probably sounds weird.  What I mean is that my mother used to take up such a lot of my head space on a daily basis and it just occurred to me that I barely think about her at all these days.  I was about to type “for ages” but then I remembered that when I saw her last, the day before Mother’s Day, I was pretty upset afterwards and wishing things could be repaired so I guess it isn’t actually that long, but on a day-to-day basis, there is definitely less “Mum noise” going on.

It sounds sad.  It is sad I suppose, but I feel a bit like I’ve just got used to things being the way they are between us.  I feel so used to her not being in my life anymore that I barely give her a thought.  I so rarely see or speak to her that it has become normal.

I say this in a positive way in that I am not feeling the utter grief that her absence was causing me.  It reminds me a bit of how at the beginning I still really wanted to go and drink with her at weekends, despite everything I had been through with her and despite everything I had learnt in therapy.  Eventually the more I didn’t go – the less I thought about it.  I guess in a way it is like breaking any kind of habit.  You have to do something a certain number of times to make a habit and then you have to NOT do something a certain number of times to break a habit.  A bit like quitting smoking perhaps?  I appreciate this sounds really weird considering the subject is my mother. I am quitting my mother LOL.

Perhaps this is another example of me blocking things out and being in denial but I like to think (I hope) it is actually just me readjusting to life the way it is now.  The way it has been now for several years.

When I get upset about my mother these days it tends to be more out of the total inability to understand how she didn’t have certain feelings towards me when I was young.  For example, the things I wrote about in the post I wrote at Easter.  After I had spent time cooking a large roast dinner for everyone, decorating the table with little chicks, hiding Easter eggs in the garden and going to play with a frisbee in a field – it hit me that I missed out on so many simple things and it upset and frustrated me because I can’t understand how it isn’t automatically inbuilt in a mother to want to do those simple things.  The sad feelings seem to be more things like that now whereas they used to be a lot about the here and now: what she wasn’t doing now.

The invitation to this “family bbq” is still playing on my mind though.  Actually it is one of the things I was looking forward to speaking to T about tonight. I’ve had about 11 days to think about it and I still haven’t come to a decision.  If I am totally honest with myself I think deep down I know that I shouldn’t go.  I think I know that going is potentially setting myself up for a fall.  I think that my reason for wanting to go is based on the child’s hope that it will be this perfect family event which I have spent my life wanting but knowing deep down that it won’t be.  It will be a heavily drink fuelled excuse for a piss up.

Going without my husband will make me feel nervous and on-edge.  Seeing my mother’s husband after his behaviour before and at my wedding is not something that I want to do and I feel I would have to be civil.  Whilst I appreciate that I am able to be civil with someone, I just don’t want to have to be civil to him.  I don’t want to argue with him either; I would just rather not have to see him at all.

I feel a sense of guilt and obligation about going because it is being hosted at my grandparents’ house.  I already know that if it was being held at my mother’s house I wouldn’t go. Perhaps that was a clever tactic, or perhaps it is more about hosting it somewhere it is easier for my Grandad to be now that he struggles to walk.

I think if I am honest, I feel a sense of obligation that if I don’t go, everyone will think badly of me. I feel a sense of guilt that my Grandparents would be upset.  I also know that I shouldn’t do anything out of obligation or guilt, but mix this obligation together with the child part of me’s wishful thinking and it makes it very hard to say no to.

I can’t help but feel that going to this bbq would make me complicit in this big fabrication of playing happy families.  I feel that it would send out the message that people can treat each other terribly and hurt each other irreparably and yet we can sweep it all under the rug without any conversation or attempt to repair anything and pose for family photographs where everyone is smiling happily.  Despite knowing this, seeing the photographs plastered all over social media still have the ability to make me feel jealous.  It’s all very confusing.  I imagine T would say that the adult me doesn’t want to go but the child part of me (the ever-hopeful child) wants to go in the hope that something will be magically repaired.

I recently asked my father’s opinion on this (him and my mother have been divorced for 28 years and they hate each other) and he said he thought I should suck it up for my grandparents’ sake.  He asked “how would you feel if you didn’t go and your grandad died a few weeks later?”.

Ouuchhhhh.

Naturally I answered to say that I would feel guilty.  He then added that I would then attend his funeral and his wake where all the same people would be and then I would have missed the opportunity to see them all under good and happy circumstances.

The thing is though, this is the same person who makes me feel terrible for not attending things he wants me to come to, so I’m not sure how much of this to take to heart.  Though what he said has been playing on my mind.

A month or so ago there was an event to celebrate my aunt getting the all-clear after having cancer and I was not invited.  I thought to myself that whilst not being invited hurt a bit, I knew I would have said no if I had of received an invite.  The only real difference about this bbq is that my nan and grandad are being thrown in the mix (and like I said above, it is at their house). Funnily enough these are similar feelings to the ones I had about my wedding when I hadn’t invited my mother or her husband.

Despite all of the confusion above, I don’t really have any thoughts about seeing my mother there, other than to know she would like it if I went (obviously it makes her look better doesn’t it having both her daughters there).  But I don’t feel a pressing need/want to see her or dread it either.

I’m a bit tempted to plan a camping trip with my stepchildren and go away for the few days over this Bank Holiday weekend so that I am occupied and having fun with safe people.  But I worry I will end up being away and then feeling really sad and left out and then be stuck miles away and feeling resentful.

I was just about to finish there when it crossed my mind that as my pattern during therapy breaks seems to be that I detach when I know there is going to be a break.. perhaps that is what I do with my mother to.  When I last saw her I was desperately sad to “fix everything” and now I am writing about how unattached and unaffected by her I am.  I probably know that if I go I am likely to feel the full effect of all those feelings again and I don’t want that and yet it explains the complete confusion about whether or not go to if I am suppressing the horribly painful feelings that I feel after seeing her of wishing things were better.