It’s not about the therapy break!!!!

I was pretty desperate for last night’s session to come. I had stomach issues all day Monday and Tuesday and after spending all day Monday crying in the toilets at work, by last night I was really in need of some T time.

I walked in, sat down and brought Frank out of my bag. I sat him on the sofa and T commented on the fact I had him with me. I told her that as it was our last week before her 2 week holiday, I wanted to bring him with me to keep her “fresh” on him somehow. T used the subject of her holiday to tell me that she thought my email to her on Friday may have actually been an attempt to “keep her good for the break”.  I didn’t write about that email, but for background I had emailed her Friday morning to tell her I felt some sort of shift in my recovery and said that I felt very strong, optimistic and thanked her for making it all possible.

I kind of internally rolled my eyes when she said this and thought to myself “why can’t I just have been happy? Why does there have to be an unconscious ulterior motive?” but I didn’t say anything. T said she thought that perhaps if I let her know I was feeling good and was thankful to her – then the break would be easier and I wouldn’t worry about her going away and potentially not coming back if I was angry with her.  I told her that I didn’t think so, no. I genuinely felt very happy at the time. She said she didn’t doubt that possibly I did in that moment, but that similar to a bipolar episode when you are that “up” you can’t feel anything low at all – it keeps anything sad, hard, tough etc well and truly away and that it is often short-lived. She said she thought that when she read my email but thought to herself “let’s see if it holds”.

I jumped in here and said “and then you got my email on Monday” (the one where I said I was extremely sad post mother stuff). She laughed.

T said a few more things and then said she thought that potentially my mother got me in touch with my anger and that perhaps it was aimed at her for going away. I told her no, it wasn’t. I told her again that I felt okay about the break and that right now I was just preoccupied with the mother/narc stuff that was going on.

She said something else about the break/how I was probably angry with her… and I could feel myself getting a bit wound up. I looked away and thought to myself just grin and bear it, she will move on soon… I clearly can’t persuade her its nothing to do with the break. With that she said “what’s going on right now?”.

As soon as she said that I felt something in my body, it was quick and I’m not too sure what it was although on reflection today I think it was frustration. She said “are you angry?”… I paused and then said, I’m just upset and then began to cry a little.  I think looking back I was getting angrier and angrier because I felt like she wasn’t listening to me. I had said it wasn’t about the break over and over again and yet she seemed determined it was. I am always open-minded when she makes suggestions and she may even be right somewhere unconsciously but what am I meant to say if I can’t feel it??? It was irritating me because I felt like I was holding in sooooooooo much stuff from the weekend and needed a release so badly that this was wasting precious session time.  I think that perhaps I also felt like the blog I sent her Monday about how utterly sad I felt, how disappointed and how much grief I was feeling wasn’t being respected or acknowledged or something..

I can’t really remember what I said or what she said and the order of things but we discussed what happened with my mum Saturday night and I told her how the evening played out. Thankfully we moved on from the bloody break-anger at last. A while later I found myself really crying my eyes out with T encouraging me to get it all out and feel the release.  I cried a lot, I felt totally exhausted and wiped out.  I told  T that I just “hate it. I hate her sometimes so much” in a small, childish voice.  She said “of course you do, that is normal, that is okay”.

We went over lots of mother stuff and she told me that I would never win with her or with a narc in general and that the only way to stop this happening was to not engage. She acknowledged that it was understandable that I got sucked back in and suggested that next time I go to give a boundary away (like when I changed my mind about her birthday weekend which I am now regretting) I listen to the other voice in my head that says to hold off and wait and see for a while longer. I told her that I actually did have this voice in my head at the time and that I purposely went against it. I told it to be quiet. She looked sad for me and said that perhaps next time I would listen to it more, that it would be stronger.

She told me to keep myself safe during her break meaning don’t see my mum. I told her that I won’t and that the next time I will see her is the dreaded birthday weekend away. We spoke about that for a while and she suggested some ways that I could make it more manageable. She also told me that I did not have to go but clearly I feel like I do have to.  We spoke about that for a while and T said “you are so scared of her” (not in a mocking way) and I thought to myself how I hate it when she says that because I want to tell her she is wrong, but that I knew she wasn’t.  See, I can be objective!

I told T that I was worried whilst away on her birthday weekend she would invite people to our wedding in front of me again and that I had very nearly sent her a text yesterday to say I did not like what she did at the party (inviting people in front of me). I told her I didn’t send it but that I had wanted to.  T said perhaps wait and see if she does it again or that perhaps it should be done face-to-face.  T also suggested if she did it again, I should aim my response to her and say something like “Mum, the guest list is up to me and fiancé, thank you” but I said that would make me look bad and embarrass whoever the other person was.  I said it would also show her up and she would hate that. Hate that I wasn’t complying with her and hate that I would show her up and looking “rude”.  T suggested I spoke to her before that weekend and said to her ahead of time please do not do that so that if she did, she already knew what my response would be.

Conversation moved on to work and I told T that I had found out that redundancies were going to be announced this week for my job role and that I had found out they were considering accepting voluntary applications. I told her I suspected the announcement would be Friday afternoon as that seems to be the way they do things that might cause a reaction, they tell you and then send you home so that you don’t cause too much disruption to the firm. She asked me how I was feeling about it and I said I was anxious and couldn’t decide whether I wanted to apply for voluntary redundancy or not.  I told her my reasons for and against it and said that obviously a huge pull factor was escaping Tina.  It really would sever the contact between us for good. No need to see each other anymore at all and that was very attractive to me.

When I drove home I had some tears in my eyes as I thought to myself how kind, soothing and maternal I found her. How I wish when I looked in my mother’s eyes I had that same warmth instead of such an evil, coldness.  Her eyes pierce my soul sometimes. I thought to myself how much I love it when T laughs – like really laughs, sometimes she laughs loudly and throws her head back and it makes me warm inside.

So, I now have one final session with her, tomorrow afternoon and I have no idea what I want the focus of that session to be but I am not looking forward to it if she talks about the fecking break. I keep questioning myself is it that? Am I in denial? But its infuriating when you aren’t in touch with something that she so clearly thinks I am feeling – what am I meant to say to that?

I worry she is right and that it will all hit me as I leave tomorrow’s session. I know it sounds rather dramatic, but right now I am not at my strongest emotionally and I feel drained and I need tomorrow to be good, to be connecting and I absolutely can’t handle that pain of leaving her that sometimes kicks in on top of everything else. Perhaps I am compartmentalising I don’t know.

Oh and on a totally different note, I wondered to myself today if I sometimes self-sabotage. I was thinking that on Saturday when I decided I quite fancied some drinks that evening (with mother), I did have a voice in my head that said “you are really strong right now, you’ve just had a big shift in your therapy and the day with the kids has been great – why potentially ruin all of that?” and I just ignored it and said back to it that it would be fine (because I am so strong ….) Gah.  I also thought to myself that this has happened several times. I get to a good place and then I make contact to see her and it ends in tears – this is half the reason I was so annoyed with myself for falling into her trap again..  I have the knowledge there, I have that voice there trying to make me question my motives and I sometimes go against it.  I wonder why I do that.

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Narcissistic hoovering 

I’m still wrapping my head around the events from Saturday night and the things that my fiancé said on Sunday about it.  I know I am a little preoccupied with it, but it had such a strong effect on me that I can’t help but try to make sense of it a bit more until it lessens its hold.

So far this is where I am at.

Ever since T told me that my mother suffered from NPD, I have made conscious efforts to keep her at arm’s length. I’ve distanced myself from her physically and emotionally. It has been hard because the only way I’ve really been able to do this, to keep that distance emotionally, has been to be on high-alert and I guess, feel angry – perhaps unconsciously.  For a long time when I saw her I felt highly defensive and have been known to be a bit passive with her.  I told T this once and said I was constantly on the look out for digs from her, insults and sometimes when she tripped herself up with lies I would make a point of questioning her.  T said it was anger then, she was right.

Then for a long while I totally switched off my feelings that I grieved for that relationship and felt “over it”.  I wrote a few months back that when T told me I still had hopes for things to be different with my mum, I got angry. It made me want to scream at her “NO I DO NOT!!!”. I reflected at the time that perhaps I was protesting too much.

Then I got engaged. I Facetimed her with my fiancé to tell her the news.  She reacted as predicted with screams etc. but it didn’t feel particularly genuine (although I don’t know if that’s me always assuming the worse or what)… the next day she sent balloons and flowers.  She didn’t tell the whole family, she let me do it – I was surprised. I was pleased.

I was allowed to tell everyone myself, she didn’t make it all about her or tell anyone at all – I thought this is good, she isn’t reacting as I predicted. This was part 1 to me being fooled.  The next thing to happen was that me and my fiancé met her, her husband, my Nan and Granddad for lunch one day.  When we walked towards them at the pub, I had hoped for a bit of a special greeting = maybe they would clap when they saw us or something but it was very normal. I was slightly disappointed secretly but not surprised. She didn’t really mention the engagement, she didn’t ask to see the ring or anything….. BUT she behaved herself well enough at the lunch and I left feeling like it had gone successfully.  Part 2.

I then secretly went to a wedding dress shop without her and found “the dress”.  I loved it and knew it was what I wanted but didn’t feel I could make any decision without her. The shop assistant suggested that I Facetimed her so she could see me in it. I did and she cried. My mother CRIED at me in my wedding dress. I felt so emotional that I cried too and I couldn’t believe she had reacted like that. The shop assistant and my sister-in-law told me how lovely my mum’s reaction had been – how I must have her all wrong (grrr) and I stupidly fell for the tears. I felt instant guilt that I hadn’t invited her to come along – after all, she reacted so well. No insults, digs, no comments that would upset me somehow…… she even PAID for my dress, in full!!!! Part 3.

The next day, she sent me a text to tell me she had transferred money (£2,000!) into my bank account. I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked and we discussed it because I didn’t think she could afford it, told her she didn’t need to etc. – I then thanked her (as did my fiancé). I was chuffed. An hour later she asked me if I was inviting someone and I replied to say no. She replied “well, that is awkward” and I thought this could be the start of it all…  I thought to myself then that I shouldn’t spend that money yet as I may need to offer it back if the money comes with a price but she didn’t kick off like I thought she would and she didn’t refer to the fact she had sent me money…. I did feel obligated but I wanted to keep firm. Part 4.

I then made an appointment at the dress shop and we both took a day off work to go and show her my dress. She cried again (I didn’t because it didn’t feel very genuine to me) and then we went for lunch afterwards. She was fine, it wasn’t the stuff dreams are made of but she behaved herelf. She even brought me my veil and a necklace that I was going to buy myself. Part 5

Me and my fiancé saw her about a week later for dinner at her house, she was on good form – good behaviour and because it was a work night, she didn’t get drunk and we left by about 9pm – another successful night! Part 6.

That leads us to Saturday where it all fell to shit. As soon as I saw her I felt it. The change had happened. The closest thing I can relate the feeling to was that I picked up on her anger. She seemed angry or jealous or both. I’m not quite sure. I’ve already written about the specifics of that evening so I won’t go into that again here.. the point is, by Saturday I had been hoovered back in.  I had been fooled that things were finally different. I foolishly thought that because the last month had been “normal” that we had somehow turned a corner where we could maintain a healthier relationship! and then I was rather brutally proved wrong.

I’ve gone over the specific events again and again since then and I think I’ve put most of them down to a lack of attention towards her, too much attention towards me and my fiancé (engagement related), her anger that me and my boyfriend were paying my aunty and uncle attention and genuinely getting along well with them (because she HATES him and constantly slags my aunty off too) and the fact that I was having a better time than her.  But I could be wrong.

I obviously don’t know what was going on inside her mind. The fact that when we got in the car to leave, the first thing she said was “[Uncle] is still a total wanker isn’t he?” to which her husband agreed and me and my fiancé blanked.  She then went on to say how close she was with my other cousin (other side of the family who wasn’t there) and how that cousin wishes she were her mum. I am pretty sure that was said to either spark envy in me or to remind me that she was attractive and wonderful and that it was only me that couldn’t see that.  I didn’t bite.  Her inviting a couple to our wedding who we do not know (and would never invite) I think was her attempt at seeing if she could still have that power over me – testing to see if I would still allow her to do that – if I would let her do what she wanted or not and her complete lack of response at me telling her we had a wedding fare on Sunday I put down to either a lack of interest and an unwillingness to pretend she cared for my sake OR jealousy.

I get the distinct impression that she hates my happiness. My happiness makes her unhappy. That is a bitter pill to swallow and one that is hard to fully comprehend. Not just my happiness, but anyone’s.  She seemed irritated that me and my boyfriend liked my aunty’s new bathroom, that we said how cool their garden was (she even said “I don’t think so – it was better before”).  It made me question, were the tears when I was in my wedding dress about how proud she felt seeing her little girl grown up and happy OR envy related?

Anyway, I feel annoyed with myself that I let my guard down because I had boundaries in place with her that I removed when I (clearly) got sucked back in… I allowed myself to be hoovered back.  I did things/said things that would make her happy – I knew it as I did it but told myself that it was okay this time “because she really was behaving”.  For example, it is her 50th birthday in a few weeks and she has invited the whole word to a weekend away “clubbing”.  I told her we could only go for the Saturday day and overnight and not the entire weekend as she had wanted. I knew it had displeased her considerably but remained firm. I didn’t even want to go but was trying to remove any further drama.  When I got sucked back in recently, I told her me and my fiancé could now come Friday and Saturday – I knew she would be happy about that and she was.  Now I am regretting it hugely.  Lesson learnt.

She also told us thta she had got us tickets to a festival recently. We didn’t know anything about it and she said “didn’t I tell you?” – well it turns out to be on my aunty’s 50th birthday. As that came out that evening she said “Oh no, you are joking! We are all going to this festival!!!”.  I have no doubt it was done on purpose. But we had said we would go.. now what! ?

I feel as though the right thing to do now is to put the boundaries back in. Reinstate the physical and emotional distance and learn my lesson that just because it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck..  doesn’t in fact mean it is one. It’s a hard lesson to learn but I guess an important one.

So now I guess I keep my distance again…. I stay away from her again until I have to see her (at her birthday now) which I am dreading. I have to go, it will be all about her – which, let’s face it is nothing new! She will be drunk and she will have all her flying monkeys there – all the family and friends that think she is the bee’s knees and all those (especially the cousin I refer to earlier) telling her how beautiful, clever, funny she is.. buying her special 50th birthday presents.. she will be absolutely LOVING the spotlight and attention and maybe that will keep any anger or jealousy away from me.. BUT I am now back to feeling angry and dissapointed and hurt and stupid and all the other things from allowing myself to be fooled and so I feel like I’m back to square one of feeling defensive around her and probably becoming passive when she does and says things that are stupid or blatant lies. I will struggle again as she is so fake towards the people she regularly slags off (like uncle for example) and will not enjoy myself at all. It’s a potentially dangerous position for me to be in because the unfairness of it all mixed with alcohol and all these people who think she is great (add for extra annoyance the “your mum misses you so much”) and it makes me want to kill her.

Clearly I wouldn’t actually do anything like that – but it does make me so angry that I find it VERY hard to bite my tongue. VERY HARD and that is the worst thing that I could do because last time I reached my limit and exploded (3 years ago) all that happened was that I “proved” my mother right – apparently she had told everyone how jealous, angry, nasty I was .. and so my explosion confirmed to them all that my poor mother was, in fact, the victim.

 

 

 

 

What goes up…. 

I feel really down today. I’m sad, really sad. I have fought the temptation of not going to work the whole journey so far because I can feel in my entire body, in my bones, a really intense need to cry. To sob. 

I’m slightly surprised because I felt very strong on Friday, I even emailed my T to tell her that I felt a huge shift in my recovery. I meant every word. Now I feel like some sort of crazy person for being such a yoyo of emotion. Up one day and down the next, such extremes. 

It feels as though it’s been a while since I felt this sadness. It’s heavy. It’s in my body and in my brain. I feel like I’m so weak and so tired yet physically I’m standing and trying to keep going. It’s so tough. 

The reason for the sadness is this. Last night my fiancé told me that the reason he was quiet/down all day was due to how difficult he found Saturday evening (gathering at my aunt’s house with my mother). He said it’s just all so toxic and dysfunctional and that he always feels so on edge. He also said he finds it so twisted that everyone is so clearly slagging each other off and so and so hates x and x hates y…. he said that me and my mother were clearly trying to wind each other up and he found it very tough as he was constantly waiting for it to all kick off. He also added that it’s always a high-pressured environment to drink as much as you can and he doesn’t like that. 

Now, today I can honestly say that everything he said is right. It’s all true but what happened when he said this to me last night was that I felt attacked and I became very defensive and emotional. 

I felt like he was saying my whole family were fucked up. That everyone is toxic and that the environment is always drunk-fuelled and dysfunctional. I felt like that said something about me. That was a dig about ME. The thing is, all of those statements are sadly true. But why did I feel it was a reflection of me? I don’t know. 

His statement about how me and my mother were clearly winding one another up angered me because I felt he wasn’t “On my side”. I felt as though he was saying I was a bad as her. I also felt defensive because although yes I admit I probably did become a little passive aggressive, it was only in retaliation and deep down, inside me, I was so hurt and disappointed that situation was happening. Again. 

I see today that I was beginning to be sucked back in to her. I rather foolishly started to think things had maybe begun to change! I had seen her a few times recently, more than I have for a very long time and she had behaved well! I thought that it was my new boundaries and her finally not being able to push me around that was making our time together much more tolerable….. I was wrong. 

I feel so stupid. 

On Saturday night she did various things that upset or angered me and as I wrote yesterday, I had tears as I went to sleep and I wasn’t sure what the tears were for. I do now. 

I hate to admit that there is still a part of me that needs her mother. I hate to admit that she has left me feeling so grieved again. I hate myself for falling into the trap again and I hate her for not being who I want her to be. 

More objectively I can also see that it’s understandable for me to occasionally slip back into thought processes and that of course the child in me still yearns for her mother. I can also see that she is who she is and that I shouldn’t hate her for that because it’s only using up my energy. I need to learn to accept her for who she is and I thought I had. But I haven’t. 

Friday I felt as though I was at the top of a mountain and today I feel like I’ve fallen and I’m completely covered in rocks and I’m struggling to get out. 

I did become passive aggressive with her and I did do/say things to wind her up – I should have. The reason I did that was because she had (yet again) hurt me so deeply and disappointed me so much. She triggered my hurt and angry inner child and my inner child reacted from that place rather than from an adult place. 

I told my fiancé that he sounded righteous and obnoxious and that he made it sound like my entire circle were all distorted and fucked up and even said to him that I can’t spend my entire life only being around him, his parents and his kids! I realise today that I said that because I’m so jealous. I want so badly to have some “normal” family, some normal gatherings and I won’t ever have that. 

It isn’t righteous when it’s true is it. 

And today all of this and more things that I don’t have the words for are pulling me down and making me feel so much sadness and so much anger and so much disappointment. 

Empaths & Narcissists: Wising up

Hi all, happy Sunday.  I’ve been having a lot of inner-dialogue today so thought I would take some time to sit and write and clear my brain out a bit.

I feel pretty good really although busy in my brain.  The main thing occupying my brain space at the moment are thoughts about empaths and narcissists.  I’ve been Googling a lot about the toxic and dysfunctional attachment they have with each other, or more accurately, myself as empath and the narcissists in my life.

I’ve been doing my usual Googling, looking at quotes on pintrest and reading books to help really cement things in my brain and I’ve learnt a lot of stuff.  I have never really read much about empaths and what they are but I now see that I fit that label very well.

As an empath I pick up on other people’s emotions VERY quickly and easily. I can feel their emotions and I have clearly internalised growing up that it is my job to make those people feel better. To be some sort of healer or something.  I am highly sensitive. I care what other people think about me to excess. I have some sort of antenna for mood changes, facial expressions and various other things that other people probably don’t notice.  I now understand that the purpose of being so aware of these moods/emotions is basically that I have lived constantly hypervigilant.  Always living in fight or flight mode – it was for my own protection! My unconscious plan was that if I stayed alert, I would be able to quickly eradicate any perceived danger from someone who was dangerous (someone who is angry or upset that could cause me harm) and that I could learn to “fix” whatever the problem was for them, I would then be safe again. Hence why I am such a people-pleaser.  It was actually a clever defense mechanism but one that I now need to stop using.

All throughout my life I’ve been called “sensitive” and “needy”. My mother and my ex work friend (hereafter to be named “Tina”) always told me I was overly sensitive and made it clear that was a character flaw, however…… from what I now understand, that is exactly how they liked and needed me to be! If I wasn’t such an empath, if I wasn’t so “sensitive” then I wouldn’t have been able to provide such a wonderful source of narcissistic supply for them. Isn’t that ironic?

Moving on to them, the narcissists in my life – they are attracted to empathetic, people- pleasers like me because we provide them with everything they need to feel good about themselves.  Narcissists are not empathetic people, they do not have the ability to put themselves in other people’s shoes, they are not kind and considerate and they need a lot of admiration. They crave everything that an empath happily provides. So unfortunately its a sick kind of win/win situation.  Everyone’s happy.. right? Unfortunately yes, until the empath wises up to whats going on and gets some boundaries OR the narcissist decides to discard of  the empath through boredom and moves on to a new source of supply.

Narcissists come in all shapes and sizes and the two I am writing about, my mother and Tina are very different types. My mother is your more stereotypical narcissist, she is loud, a know-it-all, she is always trying to be the centre of attention, she is fake, a chameleon, she thinks she is beautiful and cares VERY much about material possessions. She is selfish and bossy and she does not care what people think of her because in her eyes, she is the creme de la creme.  Add to that the fact that she is my mother and she had a lot of control over me, plus she had all of my life to train me to please her properly.

The way that my mother controlled me was mainly by her never giving me her approval or love. She was emotionally (and physically) absent and unloving. I never felt good enough for her and so I would do and try literally anything. Every now and again, I would get a very tiny snippet of approval as a reward and I would then know what I needed to do more of .. except it was like she dangled a carrot that I would never reach.  This “approval” made me invent a whole new “self” a fake personality that was much more like her. Luckily that didn’t last and the real self is still here and fighting to get back out. Unfortunately my sister is now at this stage and is clearly becomming more and more sucked in to narcissisim herself for the same reason… our mother’s approval. It’s sad.

Tina on the other hand is a more covert narcissist. She is not physically that interested in her appearance, in fact she is obese. Her narcissism comes from her ability to play the victim card very well. She makes you feel sorry for her. She makes you want to look after her or make her feel better about her miserable life but yet, confusingly at the same time, she makes it clear that she is above you, better than you somehow and much more knowledgeable and well put together than you are. She controlled me by playing on my people-pleasing need and used to guilt-trip me into keeping her happy.  If I did not keep her happy then I would pay the price of her guilt-tripping me (look how sad I am already, are you really going to leave me like this?), making me feel I was being extremely selfish (after everything I have done for you?) or by being more passively aggressive by not talking to me for hours/days and sulking very obviously by slamming and banging things and muttering barely audible things under her breath.  She did also outrightly tell me I was selfish and “rude”.  Tina kept me in a down position. She kept me weak and vulnerable and needy. She kept me small.

And so I spent the last 8 or so years trying to keep her happy at my own expense – as an empath I had no boundaries and I didn’t know where I ended and someone else began. I genuinely didn’t realise that it wasn’t my sole purpose in life to make everyone else feel better! I didn’t even consciously know that I did this.

Its sad actually that I ever attracted Tina in the first place because what drew me to her was how different to my mother she was!! Little did I know she was actually going to be the same (in a different but toxic way).  Tina was bundles more maternal than my mother was, she had children and she doted on them. She spoke about them all the time and she sold me this story of what a wonderful mother she was. It was everything I ever wanted and so I wanted in on that. She called me her “adopted daughter” and I called her “work mum”.  Now I realise how sadly sick that was.

So, here I am now 29 years old, nearly 3 years into some pretty intense therapy for “insecurity in relationships” which actually turned into therapy for attachment based issues, having a narcissistic mother, childhood trauma of various types and other things that I am only just learning about… but I feel genuinely relieved, pleased and, dare I say it? proud that I am understanding all of this for the first time. I am seeing it through clear eyes for the first time in all its distorted, murky, twisted, sick dysfunction and it feels weirdly empowering.

This is what I’m thinking today. I am an empath – I accept that 100% and that being an empath doesn’t make you this sweet, innocent, perfectly nice girl it actually makes you give away your power. It makes you weak and vulnerable. It means you have no self-esteem and you rely on everyone else to tell you who you are. That is not good. Being an empath is a weakness, not a strength.

My mother, and Tina (and my old friend who I’ve previously written about that I walked away from last August) are all narcissists which yes, does make them all selfish and abusive to varying degrees BUT I allowed them to be that way. It is ME that let them have that power over me and ME that encouraged their control to continue.  I accept that too, I own that. [I guess I have slightly more sympathy for myself where my mother is concerned because I was a baby and child who knew no different but hopefully you know what I mean.

So I now understand what part I play in all of this and in life generally I guess. I also understand what parts they play and that means I can change it. I’ve now ended two friendships with narcissists that were bad for me and bad to me. They are now out of my life and the guilt for friend 1 has totally and completely gone. The guilt for Tina is lessening every day, particularly this weekend since I’ve read and understood all of this stuff, it’s really helped to ground me. It is very hard to undo everything you’ve ever known, and it has clearly taken me nearly 3 years of therapy to get to this stage which sounds INCREDIBLY slow doesn’t it? but I think I needed that long to get my head around this, to fight through my defences and to really accept all of it enough to be able to look at it more objectively and change it.

My mother continues to be a hard case to crack, clearly she is never going to be as easy as friend 1 and Tina – there is a lot of deeper stuff involved with her, but one thing that is helping is to know it isn’t actually about me at all. It truly isn’t – I see that now and that takes the sting out of things so much.

On that note, I was with her last night at a gathering at my aunt’s house. I sensed as soon as I saw her some sort of aggression or anger or something. It’s very hard to describe, I can sense it on her. It may be in her eyes or something.. I can FEEL it (see, empath me!) and I acknowledged that to myself. During the course of the evening she got visibly worse, probably helped by alcohol.  By the time we had left the gathering she:

  1. Completely ignored me when I told her me and my fiance were heading to a wedding show today. She literally went “umm” which in my mother’s language means “I couldn’t give two fucks”.
  2. She later called me by another girl’s name who she is friends with. That girl wasn’t even there.
  3. She clearly got jealous that I was having a good time and dancing to the music that my uncle was playing and so turned his music off and replaced it with what “everyone else wanted”. She then told me “it isn’t all about you!” which irritated me beyond belief at the time because I had nothing to do with my uncle’s choice of musi, but today I more clearly see the blatant projection of how it is actually “all about HER”.
  4. She then invited two people to my wedding in front of me! People we had only met once, a year or so ago who absolutely would not be invited to our wedding. I couldn’t believe the front of her. I am not sure whether it was done to get a reaction from me and enjoy my night, because she was visibly irritated by my enjoyment – or – whether she just invited them because she thinks she has the right.
  5. And lastly, on the way home she told me how at a party recently her and my cousin (who I dislike BECAUSE of my mother – long story) were talking together for hours and hours and how she wished my mum was her mum. She literally said “she loves me and said she just wishes I was her mother because we are so close“.  It riled me up so much at the time but today it makes me laugh. What a pathetic attempt at making me jealous! That cousin gives her everything she needs. She showers her with admiration and affection and they are “close” yes, very.. I would go as far as to say dangerously enmeshed. Good luck to them, rather her than me!

So, watch this space. I am making changes and I am feeling good about them. A new me is in the making.

removing toxic ppl

this is the part wherecant change ppl

stage 4 boundaries

Some links that I found helpful:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/emotional-freedom/201602/10-traits-empathic-people-share

https://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/06/the-toxic-attraction-between-an-empath-a-narcissist/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judith-orloff-md/are-you-an-emotional-empa_b_697483.html

 

 

 

An update

Ahhh finally I am writing.. I’ve been desperate to write for what feels like an eternity but we’ve been away on holiday with the kids and I’m only back to work today (not that I’m typing this up at work…. Honest!).

The Holiday and the stepkids
So first of all, the holiday with the kids was a success. I was worrying needlessly about my stepdaughter and all the issues that arose the last few weeks and it seems the excitement of the holiday took over any other issues and she was good as gold with me the whole trip. I think it may have done us the world of good to be around each other for those 4 days, day and night and perhaps it reassured her that I wasn’t suddenly going to change – that her Dad wasn’t going to change and that life was very much carrying on as normal.  So I am really relieved about that.

There was a slight downer when my fiancé was leaving to take the kids back to their mother’s house when she ran straight out and got into the car without saying goodbye to me (this also happened last weekend)… I always find this difficult. My fiancé said to me “did she say goodbye to you?” and I said no. He told me to go and open her car door and say goodbye but I said no – why should I chase her like that? It is just uncomfortable and awkward then.  He told me I was cutting my nose off to spite my face but I disagreed.  As they drove off down the road, I waved as usual and heard him say “you could at least wave couldn’t you?” and so I closed the door and burst into tears.

I was crying because of the shit way the holiday had ended. For me the lack of her saying goodbye and the lack of any of them saying they had a good time (maybe even a thank you?) was upsetting and disappointing. I felt like I had put so much effort into making the holiday fun for everyone, not to mention being a general maid, chef, photo-taker and all the rest of it and it felt upsetting that it didn’t end with a nice hug goodbye and a thank you/I enjoyed it…

Mid-cry I thought to myself perhaps that isn’t the only reason I’m crying.. what else could it be? Could it be because I would miss them? Is it something else? I’m still working on this but me and T touched on it last night in therapy and she thinks that there is a trigger somewhere because this often happens to me at the door. There is something in them all driving off and “leaving me behind” that I struggle with and I also often cry when I leave myself, for instance I’ve cried when I’ve left therapy a few times now and I’ve also cried when leaving my Dad’s and my Nan’s in the past few years (as well as my Dad leaving my house).

Me and T also discussed the fact that it could be that the reason she doesn’t say goodbye to me is because she finds it hard to say goodbye because it’s difficult for her leaving. I hadn’t ever thought of this before because she always seems to rush off but T told me to remember how I felt when I had to go home after being at my Nan’s for a weekend and I thought about that and found it quite a surprising thought.  She said that sometimes kids/people have to turn something bad or ruin something in order to make it easier to leave it… she said it was worth thinking about.  T also said that she wondered if when I cried, I was carrying something not only for myself but for them/her too.

I told T that the youngest boy had said to me that afternoon that he couldn’t wait to see his mum. I admitted to T that it hurt when he said that and that I felt stupid for feeling that way – of course the kid missed his mother. T said that it is hard for me because I take on that mum role when I’m with the kids and particularly after 4 days and nights of being “mum” I told her I knew it was silly for me to take it personally and said I had to remind myself of how I feel when T has been away and I can’t wait to see her again – she nodded and said that was a good way to think about it.

Thinking about it now, perhaps it was also some sort of jealousy that his homecoming would be nice and welcoming and homely and mine never was? Its possible.

Work and my ex-friend
In other news, I sent the email as per my post a few weeks ago now. I didn’t and have not received a response which I am actually very grateful for BUT it hasn’t been smooth sailing unfortunately.  The Monday after I sent the email (on the Friday night), she began walking by me staring at me for ages (like holding my gaze with dirty looks for 5-10 seconds at a time, not just a quick look) – she would shake her head when she passed me at work and would tut and turn her nose up at me if I was in her eye line… I was struggling with this but didn’t react at all as per T’s advice (and all of that on the internet).  I wasn’t sure this was going to stop and so I made a note in my work book of every time she did something, when and who was there and I coincidentally had my appraisal at work and so I did tell my supervisor what was going on.  She told me to monitor it and said she would be happy to speak to her for me if it was becoming difficult. I said I was going away for nearly a week and so I hoped the time apart would help – it’s my first day back today and I haven’t seen her yet so we will see.  HOWEVER..

However, she decided to email our mutual friend who is currently off on maternity leave about the whole situation and needless to say, it isn’t an accurate or truthful description of what happened but her “side” of it which is full of inaccuracies… In the email to our friend she says that she waited weeks for my huff to “blow over” and that eventually she sent me her email to find out what was going on. She claims that when I got engaged, she came into work and congratulated me, said my ring was beautiful and said how happy she was for me (the only truth in that is that she did say the word congratulations – but with a very straight-face and she walked off instantly).  She then said that THAT evening I blocked her on Facebook (not true – I had blocked her a week previous).  She said to our friend that she is very hurt by my words, that she would never treat someone like that and that I said I “don’t need her anymore” (I didn’t say that).

She later went on to say to our friend that when she returned to work from mat leave, she would need to draw up a rota for the days our friend would lunch with me and the days she would have lunch with her!!! Firstly that is a stupid thing to say but secondly it made me laugh because it just shows you the whole point of our row – the woman is obsessed with lunch breaks and who will be with her. She then made a comment of “if she is still here then because she had signed up to an agency a few weeks ago”.. which was a pretty shady thing for her to 1) tell our friend as it was private but 2) write from her work email address particularly considering redundancies are rumoured.

Anyway, my friend has told her she doesn’t want to say too much and doesn’t want to get involved which is good of her and I’ve told my friend that she should tell her she doesn’t want to hear any more if she carries on because it isn’t fair on her. Our poor friend isn’t even back until May next year!

That aside, she has been going to lunch with various other women here at work (all funnily enough people she’s disliked previously) and one of them are no longer acknowledging me – probably I assume, because she believes her victim story. It really is no skin off of my nose but I will admit the whole thing is very exhausting.

Dream – Baby
And as a non-important side note, I had a dream on Monday night that I had a baby girl. She was wrapped up warm in a blanket and I absolutely adored her. Her name was Kia and in the dream this seemed to relate to chicken kiev somehow! haha don’t ask me why although I had eaten garlic bread that night!

In the dream I touched her face gently and she started to “talk” in baby language and laugh, it melted my heart and I felt happiness and love like I never have before. I was so proud to be her mum and I had so much love for her. I woke up remembering this dream VERY vividly (still do actually) and had wanted to talk to T about it last night but ran out of time. I wonder why I am dreaming of having a baby and feeling those feelings so intensely – I am wondering what that symbolises but have a feeling its to do with the kids and holiday stuff somehow. How can I feel something so strongly from a dream that I’ve never felt in real life? It is so strong!!

Still climbing the mountain

Hi everyone!

I haven’t been on WP for a few weeks because I had something wonderful happen…… my boyfriend proposed to me on Wednesday 9th August and I’ve been in a bit of a bubble of happiness ever since and all things rings, engagement and wedding related have taken over my brain! I hope everyone is okay and will play catch-up with your posts as soon as I can.

In the meantime I wanted to write today about the struggles I am having despite this glorious news with (ex)work friend and with my younger sister (I’ll write about my sister in a separate post as this is long).

You know the background regarding ex work friend already but its been another couple of weeks so here is the latest: On the day I came into work following my engagement, lots of colleagues gathered around my desk lots of them screaming and hugging me with excitement (it was so lovely!), she walked over without me having seen her coming and said with a very neutral face “congratulations”.  She then immediately turned around and walked off cue awkward silence from the people at my desk!

It was a mature thing to do in the circumstances I guess, but awkward nonetheless. That was our only communication since the day we fell out until Tuesday lunch time when I received an email from her. I’ll paste it in here only removing any names:

“Okay, I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re done and I’m okay with that, but I am quite curious to know what it is exactly that you’re pissed off with me about.  I understood that you were pissed off because of the email I forwarded to [colleague] – I understand that and apologise.  To be honest, I didn’t really read your email properly and it was a genuine mistake, which is why I didn’t understand what you meant when you emailed me saying “Why did you send that?”  I literally had to check what I had sent to understand what you meant.  Anyway, it was a genuine mistake and you know that I wouldn’t do something like that on purpose – not to you or anyone else for that matter.  I would’ve thought that you knew that, being my ‘friend’. 

Anyway, I knew you were pissed off with me by the fact that you’ve given me the cold shoulder, the silent treatment and have even taking to walking the long way round to go to the kitchen/loo/lift to avoid passing my desk.  There has been no communication from you whatsoever (apart from the odd work-based contact).  To top it all off, you’ve blocked me on Facebook but not only me but my daughter and [her best friend] as well (that hurt by the way –  why [daughter] and [her friend] have been brought into whatever this is I don’t know, but it didn’t go down too well, as I’m sure you can imagine).

To be honest I thought it would all blow over because you’ve done this before (the silent treatment/cold shoulder act because I’ve said or done something to piss you off) but as the days – and weeks –  have passed I’ve come to the conclusion that there may be more to this than an erroneously sent email because surely you can’t be that pissed off about an email to warrant this treatment?  So I’ve waited for you to let me know, to no avail. 

So, could you please show me the courtesy of telling me what it is I’ve supposed to have done (apart from the email)?   I would have thought that our ‘friendship’ would at least have meant that you would’ve approached me and told me why you were so pissed off, and maybe even go so far as to give me the benefit of the doubt.  Instead I’ve had nothing from you whatsoever – just avoidance. 

You don’t get to treat me like this and think it’s okay.  Because it’s not.  I deserve better.  At least have the balls to tell me why you’re behaving this way. I don’t want anything out of this – I just want to get things cleared up and to move on.  If it means we’re done, then that’s fine – I’m okay with that (in fact I’d prefer it), but we can still be civil and grown up.”  

I wasn’t expecting that email AT ALL and so it did throw me – the familiar body feelings came back instantly and with the same intensity as always. The feeling is like nerves, it makes my entire body tingle and my heart beat fast – its definitely fear. I hate that she can have that effect on me but I understand thanks to T that its got a lot of “mum stuff” in it – going against authority and not just doing what the other person wants immediately scares me. I try to have compassion with myself in these moments. I read her email several times and thought about my reply, I bashed a response out within minutes which was quite angry and defensive but I didn’t plan to send it. I then went out for a walk to get a sandwich and to try to calm myself down a bit.

Later I sent her email to T for her advice and when I spoke to T that night, she told me to take my time with a response. I was surprised that she thought I should respond at all but she said she felt not responding would give her more ammunition to make me out to be the BBITW (biggest bitch in the world)…. She gave me some pointers such as saying “I agree with you that”.. to a few things she said such as I agree with you that you deserve to hear my side of things…. I agree with you that our friendship has run its course and I agree with you that we should remain civil in work.

She told me to take my time and remember I had no urgency to send my response. This is something I’ve really come to notice, that when I get some sort of communication from someone, my mother, her, whoever I do feel like I HAVE to respond quickly.  T asked me why and I said I wasn’t sure but with her it is the worry of what she will do if I do not respond quickly enough.  T asked me “what is the worst that can happen” and I laughed and said that made me feel a bit pathetic – I know logically she can’t really “do” anything but that the feeling was in me.  T said of course it was, that I have been against this stuff all of my life. She said she didn’t say that to try to underplay how I felt, but that she hoped it would help to ground me a little when I felt scared or nervous.

T advised me not to bother defending myself too much but to simply give my reason and then set my boundaries being that the friendship was over and that I would not respond to any further emails. She said to put that in because although it wouldn’t stop her from sending anything, it gave her notice that whatever she sends will be ignored.  I liked this advice because I really do not want to have to send more replies – this one is hard enough!

Here is what I plan to send:

“Thanks for your email. I agree that you deserve to hear my side of things and so here it is:

My feelings are that when we became friends about 8 years ago I was a very different person. The dynamic of our friendship was in-keeping with who I was then – and I feel I have changed and grown and that I am no longer able to manage certain behaviours from you because of this.  The main areas of contention for me are what I view as your possessiveness over me (particularly regarding lunch times), your guilt-tripping if I do not do what you want me to do and being made to feel as though I owe you something for having been a friend to me.

This has been something that has, over time, become more and more difficult to manage and tolerate and I think that because of this, it began to grow as a resentment and I began to feel obligated to do things that you wanted, despite my own feelings, due to how you would react/respond if I did not. It began to feel like emotional blackmail if I am honest, and that isn’t something I wish to deal with any longer.

I feel if I do not keep you happy I am “punished” either by you not speaking to me, sulking, making comments that I am  rude or selfish or along those lines (sometimes disguised as “jokes”), leaving our chat conversations immediately, saying to other people that you would expect more from me “after all you have done for me” etc.  It has grated on me for a very long time until I have now reached the point where I just cannot take it anymore, it has taken the joy out of our friendship.

I feel that those things are not okay in a friendship between two adults and this is another problem – I do not feel you treat me as your equal, but as a child – and a child that deserves to be told off or punished for what you view as “bad behaviour” even down to me looking at my mobile phone during my lunch hour.  I think in hindsight, I used to allow all of this treatment because I knew no different and thought it was normal, but I no longer want to accept people making me feel bad – regardless of who they are.

I have no wish to become enthralled in tit-for-tat or exchanging cruel words. You have said your piece, and now I have said mine and so I am letting you know that I will not be responding to any other messages.

I agree with you that our friendship has run its course and I also agree with you that we should be civil and professional.”

T thinks that my reply is good in that it gives her the closure she has asked and that I take ownership by saying that it is ME that has changed – she said it is truthful but not cruel. I hope that is true because it feels nasty even though I am not saying anything that is not true – I try to remember that my feelings cannot be wrong, they just are.

I’ve decided to send it after work hours tonight, and from my personal email account to her personal email account to keep it away from work. I also hope that the weekend will give her time to digest what I say and try to prevent any instant (abusive) reaction in the workplace! T has also said that this will help me in future if things really get tricky with her and I end up having to get help from management at work – I can demonstrate that I’ve tried to keep this out of work as much as possible.

So… now I’ll have to wait and see how she responds. I am nervous I won’t lie. I worry she will respond very aggressively and I predict that she will be absolutely outraged at what I’ve said. She has a lot of information about me and knows my weak spots and I think she will say some very painful things. I imagine they will consist of how selfish I am, how I have changed – not for the better.. how I am cold and ruthless and various other things.

I told T that I am not very good at being able to separate my truth from an allegation and so people’s words do hurt me. She said that is because I’ve been hurt this way and said that growing up, I was always the scapegoat for people’s shit and that as a child I was unable to know what was and wasn’t true about me – that my mother projected stuff onto me and this stuff taps into that. Being selfish is always something I’ve found particularly painful and I am convinced that is what she will call me. She called me selfish and rude enough when we were friends!

I am trying to tell myself that setting boundaries and not doing 100% of what someone else wants DOES NOT make me selfish, but it is a fight still. I hope that one day I have the ability that so many other people seem to have of just letting these things roll off me.

T has also warned me that she may do a total 360 to what I expect and apologise and that I need to think about how I would deal with that. That totally threw me – I can’t imagine it, but it’s an easy way of getting me back on side isn’t it and an easy way of making me look bad because if I then don’t accept her apology, she can tell everyone that too…………. I just need to remember that it is possible to accept and thank someone for an apology without that meaning normal service has to resume.

I feel like I’m climbing a huge mountain and I’m right near the top but that the worst is yet to come.

Laughing At My Anger

Last night I had a dream about a lady at work. In the dream I was shouting and screaming at her, really going for it and I was clearly extremely angry and upset.  She however, was smirking the entire time, looking down on me as though it was amusing her to see me loosing my shit.  Eventually after a lot more screaming I totally lost it and I slapped her across the arm really hard.  

She looked almost pleased that I had lost it to such an extent and just looked at her arm and then me and walked away.  I fell to the floor in a heap of exhaustion and distress and sobbed as though I was dying. A few minutes later the police turned up and took me away, all the while this lady just smiled in a kind of psychopathic way. 

I told T about this dream at this afternoon’s session and we spoke about it at some length.  T said that she felt this was more of a memory.  Elements of that dream really did happen in my childhood and actually more recently than that.

In the dream the lady did not attempt to soothe me. She didn’t try to calm me down or help me in any way.  In fact what she did was humiliate me in my pain, laugh at the agony I was so clearly in and purposely provoke me in my anger until I did something “bad” or undeniable that I could then be punished for.

When I tried to explain the part of the dream where I was absolutely distraught and on the floor in a crying mess, I said to T that the way I was crying and the way I was feeling in the dream was exactly how I feel when I experience the regressed emotional flashbacks or attachment pain stuff. Stuff like last week when I didn’t want to leave and I had such a deep longing for her – or more accurately, for “the mother”.

I said for what could easily be the gazillionth time that I can’t find the words to explain this pain to her because any word I use feels minimising of my pain, but that even the image is accurate.  Every time I write about really feeling the full force of pain inside me in those moments, I often write that I would fall on the floor in a heap and almost die from the agony I’m feeling and that is exactly how it was in the dream only I was watching from a third person’s perspective – hence it feels like a flashback of sorts.

I told T a memory that when I was a young child, maybe 5 or 6, I was very, very angry.  I was told to shut up over and over again but I would not let it go. I guess the fact that I wasn’t being acknowledged, helped, soothed or even the fact that my mother (and another guy) were not trying to help me at all and the fact that they laughed at how exasperated I was getting just made me want to explode and so they locked me in a room and I bashed the door with a hairbrush over and over and over again. They just totally ignored me until I had cried myself into a sleepy pile on the floor.  Eventually they let me out and I was told off.  I remember that story from that perspective but I’ve also been reminded of this “funny story” by the man that was there at the time many times in my life. He often says how much of a brat I was and that he had never seen someone so young, so very angry.  He laughs as he tells people (usually new boyfriends) that they locked me in a room and I bashed the door repeatedly with the hairbrush. I used to laugh along and cringe a bit, but now the story makes me feel sick and hurts my heart. That was no way to handle an upset and angry child. I was probably angry and crying out to be noticed because my mother could only see the men in her life, not her daughter.

I wonder now if that was the day I locked my anger away and if that was the day I realised there was no point in getting angry because it would never help me get my mother’s attention.  Or perhaps anyone’s.

More currently, in November 2014, about a month after T taught me about narcissism and told me she thought my mother was severely narcissistic or suffered from full blown NPD, I was at my mother’s house and was a little bit tipsy.  I had found out that evening that the murderers that killed a colleague of mine had been sentenced and so was possibly emotional (that is my mother’s excuse for my behaviour anyway).  Anyway, some family members were there and one of them started talking about my boyfriend and saying some negative things about him that had clearly been said by my mother and I snapped at him that it sounded like something he had been told. He denied it but it was no use, the conversation gradually heated up and then I burst into tears and said how fed up I was of my mother badmouthing my boyfriend (story of my life) and from that point on, it/I erupted.  My mother and I ended up in the bathroom where I spat a whole lifetime of questions of why she was the way she was – why she never told me she loved me, why she always put men first, why she never acknowledged the csa and various other things. Needless to say, she wasn’t accountable for anything at all and gaslighted and invalidated me in true narcissistic style.  I was, like in the dream and like in the hairbrush story, totally raging (from a very hurt place) and not being listened to or helped in any way.  My mother then went into victim mode and cried her poor me’s and the family all rallied around her.  A cousin and my step dad began telling me how awful I was and how amazing my mother was and I screamed back at them that they were blind and that it was nothing to do with them, it was between me and her.  My cousin then stepped in and said I was lucky to have a mother like her and then my cousin and aunty cuddled my mum.  So I left. I just walked (stormed) out (in a furious and crying mess) and walked to my flat where I lived alone and I fell on the floor in desperation and loneliness and cried my heart out on my own – as usual.

Me and my mother didn’t speak after that night for about two weeks until one morning I was playing on my phone on the toilet, and she text. I opened the message hoping for an apology but it just said something along the lines of “Hi darling, I hope you are well? Would be nice to see you soon!“…

WTF??

Mindfucking.  I wasn’t far enough into my recovery to understand all of this in the way that I am writing about it now, but the point is – anger and my mother only serves to make you the bad guy. Like in the dream.

I told T that in past relationships, that tended to be rather volatile and up and down (because I was an insecurely attached girl dating avoidant men – durr!!) if we were arguing and someone laughed at me, that was it – I saw red and totally lost the plot. Luckily for me, me and my boyfriend do not argue like that and so that horrible side of e hasn’t come out for a long time. But it’s there – laughing at my pain is a no-go area.

And more currently still, there is work (ex) friend.  I can see the parallels in her and my mother now and I can see the parallels in the dream and what is going on with her at the moment too.  In true narcissistic style, she is smear campaigning all over the workplace She is telling people that I am ignoring her and she has no idea why, that she is devastated blah, blah, blah and clearly that can evoke some anger.  I think anyone would feel some frustration when someone who has been emotionally hurting them manages to make themselves look the victim.  When they lie, gossip, twist truths and try to ruin what people think of you it is incredibly unfair and anger tends to be born from the feeling of unfair does it not?  The smear campaign is a deliberate attempt at damage control in their favour – it is to try and cover up or prevent any attempt you might have made, or try to make, of exposing them for what they truly are and what they have done.  At this stage they start to play the victim and that will bring them some new sources of supply as people fall for the lies and they then use that new supply to make you jealous. To show you what you are missing.

Next up I will be on the receiving end of her rage and given how volatile she is anyway, I don’t doubt that will be ugly.  T warned me that I will be made to look like the biggest bitch that walks the earth and that I just need to ensure I do not take the bait. Do not react to anything AT ALL no matter how grossly unfair.  She said it won’t stop me wanting to “put a few F’s into her” but to do that in session with her.

The persecutor wants to wind me up until I do something undeniable just like in my dream when I eventually slap the woman who is smirking at my pain.

Fu**ing narcs.

 

She’s upped the ante

Oh Wow.

So I got to work this morning and things were manic. I’ve been covering our coordinator for the last week as I always do when she is on holiday or unwell and that means I am the person that allocates cover for staff that are unwell or on holiday and means I am the go to person for the support staff and sort out capacity and answer any queries etc. I was rushing around helping one of our lawyers with some urgent work and I saw work friend in my peripheral vision. As I said yesterday I am trying to just stay out of her way at the moment as I have no intention of trying to be the one to fix this latest spat again. So I kept my head down and looked at the piece of paper I was holding.

She then (very loudly) tutted, sighed and made a comment along the lines of “Oh for Christ’s sake” and I just ignored it and carried on with my work.

An hour later she “Replied To All” to an email I had sent to the entire department. This included lawyers and support staff. She replied to all to ask something which she thought I had not dealt with and in my eyes, tried to make me look bad again. She could have emailed only me (or phoned me, or asked me face to face).  I was furious and so I replied only to her and told her nothing was needed because it had been dealt with. I wanted to tell her never to do that to me again, but thought better of it. Trying to keep our spat separate from work – unlike her.

I then went to lunch an hour ago with two of my other friends and we were sitting at a table eating our lunch when she appeared in the canteen. Obviously this made me feel very awkward and tense (nervous if truth be told!) because I didn’t want to ask her to join me because we are not talking and I am keen to actually resolve our issues and not just do the usual sweep it under the rug thing… she then proceeded to slam her food tray down on the table right next to us and pull out her chair loudly to make a point. She then sat there on her own and began to eat her lunch.

I felt SO uncomfortable because not only was she sitting on her own which made me feel guilty, she was so close she could hear everything I was saying which is just awkward and made me feel as though I couldn’t relax even at lunch. Like it isn’t bad enough getting things shouted out at me when I am walking to the bathroom at work! Anyway I decided to try and ignore my feelings and so just carried on eating and talking to the others.

A few minutes later she jumped up from her chair, causing the chair to shriek across the floor, slammed her food on a tray and stormed over to my table where he stared at me in a way only your mother could – a total look of disapproval and anger and shouted (literally shouted) “REALLY??? REALLY?????????” then stormed off.

The “Really?” was clearly her way of voicing her disapproval and anger at me not inviting her to join our table. She is now back in victim mentality and knowing her as well as I do, she will probably now cry and tell anyone at work that I am ignoring her for no reason and excluding her, forcing her to sit alone at lunch time. I will be made to look like the bad guy as always.

I am so sick of this. I try so hard to fight against my feelings of just smoothing things over for the sake of keeping the peace, but I don’t want to be emotionally blackmailed like this anymore and so I am trying to stay true to myself and stick to my feelings that if she wants to join me for lunch, we clearly need to resolve our differences first and have an adult discussion – not at work and not in front of other people.

She needs to stop making me feel obligated and guilty if I don’t see her and playing on the fear that she knows I feel not knowing when she will ignore me or huff and puff or verbally shout at me.

She needs to separate our friendship from work and stop with the emails and she needs to respect the role I am in when I am covering this coordinator and respect that as everyone else does (i.e. when she decided she was unwell the other day and couldn’t come into the office, she should have told me, but she didn’t because she feels she is older and therefore has no obligation to tell me – despite the fact that she DOES tell the actual coordinator when she is here and she is younger anyway!!).

It isn’t much to ask is it?

So now what do I do? I am now feeling even more tense and nervous and awkward – the atmosphere is awful as you can imagine. All of this is intolerable, I do not want to be in this position and I do not want to feel I have to sort things out just to avoid feeing bullied at work. She is 53 for goodness sake.

Get Out Of Jail Free Card: Toxic Friendships/Relationships

I don’t know if anyone remembers me talking about my work friend a while ago, the lady who is in her mid-fifties that gets very angry and sulks if I don’t go to lunch with her? Well, earlier this week before things went to shit with T, she did it again. The story itself is pretty long and boring so I won’t bother to go into that, but she is currently doing her usual sulking and ignoring me thing which is seriously pathetic! Anyway, me and my boyfriend have just been out to lunch together and we were talking about it and it just made me realise a few things very clearly.

I am suddenly so aware of the amount of friendships and relationships I have had over the years with toxic people or people who are dysfunctional to me somehow. I realise that I attracted these people because it was a familiar dynamic to me. For example I was used to being put down and taken the piss out of by my mother and so I attracted a narcissist as a best friend for 8 years right up until she gave me the perfect get out of jail free card last August. One down.

I then started to realise that work friend is also unhealthy and I realised a while ago that she was also attracted to me for similar reasons. She isn’t out-rightly abusive like the other friend was.  She wouldn’t call me names or tell me I looked ugly BUT she does demand my constant attention and if I choose to do something other than see her, I do get punished. Emotional blackmail.

I found myself saying to my boyfriend today that I was secretly quite enjoying the fact she hasn’t spoken to me since the beginning of the week because I felt relaxed and able to do what I wanted to with my lunch hours at work without feeling guilty or without having to be the subject of her aggression when I walked past her desk (she has previously shouted things out to me as childish as “OH BYE THEN!!!” if I walked past her desk in front of other colleagues which is just pure cringe.

I told him that I was enjoying the silent treatment she was giving me this time and he asked “how long can she carry that on for though?” and I said I didn’t know but she is extremelly stubborn and has never apologised before. She usually blames it something that maks it impossble to argue with (usually that it was the anniversary of someone’s death) and so it gets swept under the rug. He then asked “how long can you carry that on for?” and I said I would quite like to carry it on indefinitely – if only that was possible.  I told him I had thought about how nice it would be if I were to get a new job and be free of her and also said that I’ve imagined what it would be like if she were to leave herself.  I have no doubt that I would feel so much happier every day at work (I know this makes me sound like a cow).

My boyfriend made a comment about how many people like this I have in my life and how he found it rather amazing and I explained that, actually, it isn’t a surprise at all – that was my normal and these two friends of mine were, at the time, exactly what I wanted and needed. People who kept me down, kept me in my place, kept my self-esteem non-existent and kept me dependant on their approval.  I was programmed this way! All things I was used to with my mother. I attracted two more women, both in their fifties (like my mother) who acted in very similarly abusive ways – one just more subtle than the other.

We chatted about this for a while and he made a jokey comment about “who was next” meaning who was next to get “cut” from my life. I think he was joking although I do wonder if there is a little bit of worry about it being him one day in the back of his head. It will never be him because he is so genuinely kind and loving to me. I’ve never felt love and acceptance like it in my entire life. Still, it must make you worry a little when your girlfriend is in therapy for years and you see her change and make adjustments to what she will and will not put up with – and when that includes actual people – it must be a bit scary, right?

scissors

The thing is that I am linked to the two that are left: bitchface (mother) and work friend in ways that make escape very difficult.

With bitchface there are all sorts of difficulties there, family ties, taboo and possibly (although I find this hard to even write at the moment), POSSIBLY a tiny bit of hope that hasn’t quite gone awayyet that she will suddenly get better (I know, I know..).

With work friend, I have to see her EVERY DAY. I have to walk past her desk constantly every day to get to the bathroom and to get to the kitchen – to leave the office – everything. We also have to communicate about actual work now and again but that is easy because we have email and so that helps.

The point I am trying to make is, I feel kinda stuck with this unhealthy “friendship” and as awful as I feel saying this, if I didn’t work with this woman, I would absolutely not consider her a friend. I would not meet up with her and I imagine the polite texts that would no doubt be exchanged if one of us left our current job, would pretty quickly stop… until we no longer spoke at all. I feel equally as mean saying that I live in hope that something like that happens to free me from it.

Now I imagine reading that you are probably thinking that I have a massive victim mentality but I don’t mean it like that, I don’t mean it as a “poor me, what can I do” just I feel I am limited in what to do about it without causing great difficulties and heaps of guilt and awkwardness at work. Does that make sense?

I’ve written previously about my weird fantasy that my mother would do something so awful that I could cut contact with her and walk away without guilt – without having to try to get my family or family friends to understand. I know this isn’t going to happen because the abuse my mum put me through is over now (well in that I am an adult and in therapy)  – that all the undeniably bad things she did have already happened and nobody did “see” that ….  but it doesn’t stop the get out of jail free card fantasy that I have about it.

I know it is so cowardly but I wish they were all as easy as removing my ex narc friend from my life. I say easy now but obviously it wasn’t easy at the time at all. I went through lots of grieving for the friendship and felt heaps of guilt and sadness and doubt – but now I see very clearly that it was a very big step for me in terms of healing and removing one of the abusive people from my life.

What makes it so hard with the two that are left is that you can’t talk sense into these people.  They do not think they are doing anything wrong – who am I to moan having put up with it for so long? There are no “you did X and it made me feel like Y” chats to have with them.  One I am trapped into seeing because of taboo and family and the other because I have to see and work with her every day.

So what happens next then?

I guess the only “escape” is to strengthen my personal boundaries (hate that word) and start to make it more clear what I will and will not accept.  I guess that in time, they have to accept that I have these new boundaries or perhaps I will lose my appeal – either way I guess I am a winner LOL. I’m just wishing there was an easier way out – I guess its my own feelings I am trying to hide from, wishing there was a way not to have to feel the fear, the guilt, the sadness and everything else – fast-tracking to the end. If only things were that simple eh?

With work friend, I’ve got better at sticking to my guns. When I tell her I am not having lunch with her and she gets angry or sulks, I’ve stopped responding to her – I used to apologise or defend myself and enter into conversations about it which I no longer do. I state what I am doing and that is it, BUT unfortunately it does still get to me and as much as I hate to admit it, I do still feel the fear. I feel intimidated and nervous when I will then see her or walk past her desk not knowing if I will be ignored or shouted at…… I know it is abusive and childish behaviour but it doesn’t stop me feeling that internal panic – fast beating heart etc.  It’s a proper body reaction. So with that in mind you can imagine what subconscious fear I have in going against bitchface!!!

I guess I just have to find a way to sit and feel the fear, the anger, the sadness, the guilt and not take the easy way out. I guess I need to get brave.

I put on a good front that I am brave and confident but I am not and she/they both know that. They both play on that. I am desperately trying to get stronger and healthier and they are both desperately clinging onto my legs trying to pull me back down.

keep you down

Sometimes when I realise the impact having a narcissistic mother has had on me it still shocks me.

I can only just allow myself to think and write these thoughts without fear of being punished or judged because I understand that I am not a bad person, I am allowed to think “nasty” or “bad” things because we all have these thoughts. I am no different and nobody is perfectly nice and good all of the time. Yet I still find myself saying “I feel bad but.”, “I know it sounds horrible but…” which I guess is still me saying “please don’t tell me I am bad for this.. but“……….

the saga continues…

brave

 

Related posts for background: Life without the narcissist friend, outgrowing roles, emotional blackmail 

Where am I in healing from my mother wound? 

How am I feeling about her at the moment? 

Where am I in this journey to heal from the mother wound – of being an unloved daughter of a narcissist? 

I don’t know. 

This is the thing, everything is so confusing in this recovery. It all seems to overlap and intertwine, nothing seems clear cut and obvious, nothing is easy to articulate or process. I think that’s what makes it harder. You make progress in one aspect and then you fall back in another. 

I often wish someone would give me some sort of map of recovery, so I could see what stages there were, which stages I had “completed” and which stages were yet to come. I question myself why? Why do I want that? and I think the answer is that I want to know I’m getting somewhere and I need to know there’s an end in sight somewhere – the feeling that this pain and confusion is never-ending is too much to take. 

It’s like peeling a very large onion. You learn something (that she’s a narc for example) a layer comes off as you take that in and you learn what that means. That takes years and then your understanding and awareness deepens a bit and you learn something else, maybe that you feel guilty for thinking badly about her – you explore that, where that comes from and why and another layer comes off. This goes on and on. 

I have no idea how many layers I’ve peeled off this onion now, but it feels like a hell of a lot and it feels as though its scarily never-ending. It’s the fear of what’s to come and how much more pain is yet to make its way into my heart. 

My latest realisation this week is how scared I am of her. I knew I was scared of certain things, but this week I’ve seen and felt the true strength of this fear in a way that I’ve never “seen” before. It’s shaken me up a bit to be honest. 

Was that small child as scared as this? I mean, if I’m this scared with my adult knowledge, life experience and safety, how the hell did a helpless child feel who had to live with her night and day? The answer is that the child made it her fault. Mummy was good – she was bad. And that’s stuck. I don’t know what’s worse. 

She couldn’t get away. It makes me feel sick. 

So I’ve been asking myself, what exactly am I scared of? 

I just don’t know the answer. I guess it’s just the way my inner child has been programmed. It’s not a conscious thought process. The way I reacted and how easily I was triggered Wednesday was excessive – she was dangerous. The way I felt and the way my body reacted Saturday evening before going to her house tells me I was very scared. 

I know logically there is nothing to be scared of. I’m an adult now – I no longer need her for survival. I don’t need her approval now. I have my own life, house and family and I don’t even have any warm feelings towards her – I dislike her and I HATE the lack of connection between us and how raw that feels to me. 

Avoiding her for as long as possible seems the best and safest option. 

Yet I now have the option to cut her out completely and yet I choose against it? Why? The truth is (and it’s hard to even admit this), that it’s for her sake. 

I see her for her sake. To keep her happy. How fucked up is that? I don’t see her because I miss her or because I enjoy her company. I subject myself to the anxiety before visiting her, the false-self during my visits and then the pain and sadness that follow the day after when I inevitably cry and mourn a little more the difference between what I want and what I have. 

It’s like self-punishment. I punish myself for her gain over and over again. 

I know that T, my boyfriend and probably my readers will be thinking that I don’t need to do those things, that I don’t owe her anything and that it’s probably infuriating to read – yet the idea that I could live without her seems impossible. Which again makes no sense because she does nothing for me!!! What would I miss other than the apprehension, anxiety and fear? 

I think perhaps I’m scared of her ability to manipulate me and how easily she can do it. 

I’m scared she will suck me back in without me realising. 

I’m scared she will turn me bad – make me do and say things that are not really me as I morph into the people-pleasing me I used to be with her. 

I’m scared she will ruin my life. She will damage my relationship with my boyfriend, with my other family members, with friends or my boyfriend’ family…. and why? Because she can and because she has done before. The risk is real. 

I’m scared of what could happen if we got into an argument. Of what I would do or say. Yet there’s a part of me wishing for an excuse to let rip and have an excuse to break ties. 

I’m scared of having to feel the depths of my feelings about her. 

I’m still scared I’ve got it all wrong even though logically I know i haven’t. 

I’m still scared that everything else in my life is borrowed and that I may find myself alone one day and need her. That ultimately she’s the only thing I’m guaranteed to “keep”. 
I don’t like her and I don’t like who I am around her. It’s all too fake. I feel I loose touch with myself when I am there and it’s scary how naturally that happens, how quickly and how effortlessly. 

I don’t feel love for her as a daughter “should” and I can’t handle the disconnect that’s recently become so obvious. That hurts me deeply. 

The denial has left (for the most part) and the harsh reality that’s left is frankly sickening. 

I find myself caught in cycles of self-pity, mourning and grief, anger then depression. 

I wish I could go back in time with this new knowledge and grow myself up properly, differently. I wish I could save my inner child from the feelings I had to endure. I wish someone could save me from enduring them now too.

So much damage has already been done, what more am I scared of? Family relationships have been ruined. Family members think things about me that aren’t true because of her and I’m dealing with that – though it’s a struggle because it’s unfair – I’m learning to accept that’s how this is going to go, I’ve given up the fight. 

I don’t need anyone’s approval anymore. I don’t want her’s and if I can’t get my Nan’s or my sister’s or whoever else’s then so be it. 

But I do want to get to a place where I fully support myself. Where I have less doubt and far less fear. When will I feel strong on my own?

I’m only uncovering the truth, my truth and yet I feel like I’m being deceitful in doing so. I’m sick of the blame being on my shoulders. I keep telling myself, if she wanted me to speak nicer about her, she should have given me nicer things to tell.. 

It all comes down to the fact that I am hurt so very deeply by her. My heart physically breaks when I’m in touch with these feelings. It feels like it will be eternal. I can’t intellectualise this away. It’s not possible. My mother is too self absorbed and selfish and narcissistic to love me how I needed and still need to be loved. I didn’t have the mum I needed – or deserved and I never will. 

How do you heal that hole in your heart? 

Why didn’t I get that? I’m learning it wasn’t my fault, I’m believing this, slowly… yet I need explanations. I need logic to help me accept it and there isn’t any. I have to feel this to loosen its hold. 

I know it’s not true, but it feels like I’m the only daughter who wasn’t loved by her mum and dad in the world. It feels so acutely personal. 
There’s grief, sadness, anger, hate, disbelief and it’s all muddled up and confused. 

People talk about me setting boundaries with her that would enable a more beneficial relationship between us and there is nothing I can think of that would enable this to happen because as awful as it sounds, it’s not boundaries I need, it’s an entirely different mother. 

Sure I could suggest we meet at a different location, a restaurant for example so it’s less on her territory. I could lay down the law and ban certain subjects of conversation etc but none of this seems appealing to me because none of those adjustments would give me what I need. It doesn’t feel as though a middle ground is achievable or even wanted. 

So what, I would rather put myself through this self punishment than even try and apply helpful boundaries? Yep. How distorted is that?! 

In an ideal world, she would do something so undeniably awful to me that I could evidence and then I’d cut her off forever. Nobody could think badly of me because “look what she did!!” They wouldn’t be able to take her side, they wouldn’t pity her and I would be guilt-free. I could finally cut the ties and walk away with my head held high. Some readers may be thinking that she’s already done that in so many ways and you’d be right, but none of it is easy to prove and even she isn’t able to admit any wrongdoing yet alone apologise to me. So there’s still that doubt that I have it wrong. That I would be making a huge mistake. 

Then there’s all the people that tell me I should try to emphasise with my mum and understand that she loved me the only way she knew how, that clearly she has wounds herself that affected her parenting ability and then the guilt is back in my hands – it’s me in the wrong again. 

Tell me this gets easier please? I feel like I could drown in the confusion and pain this brings.