The dream that knocked me for six

Ugh.

Last night I had the most horrendous dream. I remember there was arguing between my mother and I, and that my sister was very upset and begging me to make up with her. I refused to because she still hadn’t validated me at all and was still trying to act like nothing had happened.

Next, she had wrapped a rope around her neck and jumped into a hole of water in the ground (a bit like a small circular pond), she had tried to kill herself. Somehow, and I can’t remember how now, I ran and pulled the rope and my sister out and she was just about alive, I untied the rope from her neck and she collapsed onto me. She was sobbing and so was I, although I was so scared that I was shouting at her in anger, that I couldn’t believe she would do that. She was totally broken and now so was I.

I felt horrendous grief and fear and sadness but also so much guilt. If I had made up with my mother, she wouldn’t be feeling so desperate. I could have saved her from nearly killing herself and yet I was nearly the cause of her suicide!

I woke up from this dream in the night and was sweating and frightened but fell back to sleep somehow.

Today though…. well today has been so, so tough. I have felt such a sadness all day. I feel very low and lethargic. I feel like I could burst into tears at any moment. I’ve thought about my sister constantly as you might imagine.

I know it’s only a dream but god it’s had such a horrible impact on me.

So what does it mean? Is it symbolic of my fear that my sister really will do something to herself? I mean I wouldn’t say that was impossible as she has always suffered with depression (even though she currently claims she’s managed to put it all behind her…. cough!).

Is it symbolic that she wants or needs me to save her?

Is it symbolic of my guilt? My worry for her?

When she came over last week with her Dad and my fiancé asked her if she would still want a relationship with me even if I never spoke to our mother again she said something quietly like “oh god”. She cried a lot, several times. She clearly wants my mother to stop crying and she clearly wants all the drama and fighting to stop. She’s not alone.

Today I feel utterly defeated, low, fed up, depressed (not properly but you know). I feel so exhausted from everything.

I don’t have the energy for all of this. It’s messages that trigger me, cause me to feel such huge anxiety, play on my mind, make me feel scared and nervous. There’s seeing people who are intimidating and of course invalidating, there’s the guilt I feel towards the people I leave behind like my sister… there’s the guilt I feel (rightly or wrongly) towards my mother who, despite her abuse is so personality disordered that she has no idea what’s going on or what she has done – who, in her own way, in her own head, is grieving for me somehow…

and then there’s me grieving the loss of being able to “get” at my mother in the way I’ve always needed and wanted to. My grief that half of my so called family are so invalidating and turning on me for having feelings…

The fear every time the doorbell rings.

The fear that someone will die whilst this is going on and I’ll hate myself. Perhaps I feel it would be my fault… just like the dream.

It’s all just a bit too much for me today. Today it is just overwhelming me. Today I don’t feel like I can cope or that I have the strength to carry on.

And annoyingly, this weekend I had felt quite pleased that I had managed to proactively make plans. I saw friends, walked in nature, celebrated one of my brother’s birthdays, started packing my house, felt proud of my weight loss etc – my fiancé even said how well I was doing despite it all.

Today I’m not doing well at all.

Advertisements

Invalidation Hurts

I’ve thought a lot this weekend about invalidation and what it means to me.  Before going to therapy I hadn’t even heard the words “invalidation” or “validated”.  After a while I understood the meanings but to be totally honest, put them down to being airy-fairy therapy words and definitely not words that I would use myself.  Fast-forward 3 years or so and invalidation is a word that seems to be coming out of my mouth A LOT.

When I ended up having THAT row with my mother in October, what I wanted and needed from her was to be validated.  I was screaming (literally) for her to finally see and hear that I was hurt. That I had a lot of hurt and pain inside of me that I was desperate for her to see, acknowledge, apologise for causing and help me to heal from.  What I got instead was total invalidation.  She went on the attack and listed off my faults, invalidated me by making me feel overly sensitive and pathetic for having these feelings and then insulted me by saying I was crazy and needed sectioning as I was brainwashed (I guess this was gaslighting as it made me question my sanity).

A few days after THAT row, she text me to say how upset she was.  She sent a few long messages, all of which were totally invalidating.  One actually said “You say you had a bad childhood?” the tone of which instantly suggests it’s an opinion rather than a fact, and then a question mark like she’s questioning I could even SAY that!  She continued “but we always had a nice house and you didn’t go without much considering I was a single parent with no help from your dad“.  I should be grateful, after all I had a nice house (which is actually laughable as I moved at least 22 times before I was 16, doesn’t mention that I lived with 2 physically violent men AND a paedophile but hey, moving on…) she then goes on to blame my dad for not supporting her and the end result is that I should feel LUCKY rather than hurt.  As for the “didn’t go without much” well, that is questionable.  Personally I feel like I went without all of the most important things a child needs like love, protection and safety.

Next came the “Lets agree to disagree” text.  Because agreeing to disagree that I grew up feeling unloved, unlovable, faulty, wrong, broken, not good enough, ashamed etc are things you can just “agree to disagree” on aren’t they?  ABSURD.

Another few months later she sent an angry text and in it she listed all of the ways she “was always there for” me “unlike some” (this is another dig at my father). She went on to say that it couldn’t have been that bad as I didn’t move out when I was 16 and never go back. She then said in fact, I went home a few times and that they always let me return and helped me with most of the things I needed.  By that she will mean money, physically helping me move house and buying me things like an iron etc.

Then came her “goodbye” text which said she was no longer waiting to hear from me and would deal with that in her own way.  She told me to be happy and that she hoped I didn’t regret my decisions as time was precious.  She also made sure to get in a few shitty comments about how I could “believe what I like“.  This one very nearly worked, I did begin to seriously question if any of my pain and hurt was worth losing my own mother over.  Perhaps I really should be over it by now?

And most recently, a few days ago, she says she wishes she could “wrap her arms around me and hug away the pain and hurt” and that she will always be there for me, if and when I need her.

Every message stinks of invalidation.  The last one is clever though as on the surface, there’s some validation in it, right? She’s FINALLY, FINALLY seen that I even have hurt and pain?? I still find myself hopeful about that to an extent, but where is the acknowledgment of what that pain and hurt is about? Nowhere. So what is she actually acknowledging? That I have hurt and pain from somewhere/someone else? Or that I am mentally struggling at the moment? I don’t know but it’s not right I know that.

Then flying monkey who arrived Wednesday night – well, quite frankly that twat just invalidated my entire life.  He invalidated my experience of my childhood, my mother and my current adult feelings about it all. He told me to move on, draw a line under it, told me that I was an adult now (so I assume should grow up?).  It was horribly invalidating. He also told me that as he experienced a terrible childhood himself, he knew how I felt about certain aspects but that I should still “draw a line under it“.

My sister told me that my mother was very upset and crying all the time – so clearly her feelings were more important than mine. When I told her my boundaries for any future relationship between us, her response was that she didn’t understand the need for “rules” and got visibly annoyed and upset.  She said it was weird.  So now my boundaries were being ignored too.  Not to mention I told her NOT to bring her dad with her, yet she still did. How rude is that? Still gets my back up.

So there is the background to my recent experiences of being invalidated.  What I am struggling with at the moment is what I experience when this happens. I see red.  Like, a red mist. I become so very overcome with anger that I genuinely worry I won’t be able to control myself and this is SO unlike me. I have never been a particularly angry person, I would not describe myself as angry or aggressive and I am certainly not violent, ever.  But in these moments, I could totally lose my head.

I keep reading on forums, blogs and articles that the best thing to do is to not react. Particularly, not to react emotionally.  Keep calm, don’t “JADE” (Justify, Argue, Defend or Explain) yourself and to basically validate yourself so that it doesn’t get to you.

But I don’t seem to be able to do this yet.

Why has this become such a huge trigger for me? I mean, I guess looking back I’ve spent my entire life being invalidated so why now is that so completely unmanageable?

The other HUGE trigger for me at the moment is the comments on my therapy.  Flying Monkey Wednesday night compared my therapy to “a cancer eating away at you“.  My mother said I was “brainwashed with my therapist” my sister said “it’s gone to your head” and when on Wednesday, at the ambush, I implemented my boundary and said I would not discuss MY private counselling any more and neither would I allow it to be discussed or insulted again, I was met with such shock and confusion such as the wonderful “You are so angry, I’ve never seen you with so much anger and you are so defensive!”.

Who wouldn’t be????

So the two toughest things right now are the complete invalidation of my feelings but also the invalidation that 1) therapy is helping me and 2) that therapy is PRIVATE and not something I wish to hear their (negative) opinion on! oh and that it isn’t making me crazy.

I seriously need to try to find a way to handle this more effectively otherwise I’ll be in prison for murder.  One of the most annoying things about the reaction that it gives me is that I probably play right into their hands – “proving” that I am crazy and fiercely angry and aggressive.  UGH.

Invalidation for me means:

My feelings are wrong, bad, pathetic etc – causing me to feel ashamed
That I am “wrong” for “still” having these feelings – causing me to feel ashamed
Making me question my own sanity – am I crazy?
Feeling isolated – nobody else feels this way
Losing family – Mother, stepdad, sister, her dad, aunty.. who is next?

The only thing I am glad of is that all of this invalidating is making me angry and not doubt myself.  I guess that is a good thing? Hopefully this will be a work in progress and eventually their invalidation won’t matter to be at all.

Hopefully my own validation will be enough.

INVALIDATION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advice Please: Do I send the letter? (Edited comment at end of blog)

This Goodbye Mother letter is playing heavily on my mind.

I really think I want to send it. It is the only one I’ve ever wanted to send. The others helped just to write them but I always chickened out of sending them because I wasn’t yet ready for the consequences of her never speaking to me again.  Now it is different because I have finally accepted the truth and now I do not want to speak to her.

People on a forum I’m on (Out Of The Fog) have wisely advised me that sending the letter isn’t always a great idea.  Some people have suggested that it could be used against me, showed to people, put on social media and used as part of a fresh smear campaign.  Some people suggested I was wasting my energy sending it and some said it was good to write it but not to actually send it – that it was a wasted attempt at getting an answer or apology.

But here’s the thing

I seriously DON’T want a response.  I do not want a reply. I do not want a letter back or for her to phone me and ask for us to meet and talk.  I am done.

My reasons for sending it are as follows:

  1.  It feels like closure.  I am setting out MY side, uninterrupted and uncensored.  It is the total truth and I am telling MY story not fearing the consequences.
  2. Something about it feels like I am owning my power.  I don’t mean that in a narcissistic way but it feels like sending it empowers me more. Somehow it makes me feel less like a scared little girl and more like an empowered and strong woman owning her story.
  3. It prevents me feeling like I owe any further explanations for my no contact.  There cannot be any words of how she doesn’t know what she has done.
  4. I get the chance to respond to her lies – that I have lost my mind, gone crazy, been brainwashed, am obsessed with my therapist.
  5. I get the chance to say “no more”.
  6. I get the chance to tell her she is NOT invited to our wedding.
  7. I get the chance to give the money back – AND document it.

BUT… what I want to know is, what do you guys think? Do can you see the reasons I want to send it? Do you think it is a bad idea?

The only thing I am sure of is that the letter genuinely isn’t hoping for a nice, empathetic response. I am not expecting any of it to get through to her. It isn’t meant as punishment either.  I do get that I can know and own my truth and my story without sending it.. but I don’t want to feel any guilt that perhaps she doesn’t know how I feel fully or perhaps she will contact me soon or right before my wedding.. it kinda makes me feel like I get to end the whole situation in some way.

Comments?

[EDIT] – Thank you to everyone who has commented. I have read them all but am too tired to respond directly right now. I am going to bed now and will sleep on it but thank you all. I may not have wanted “don’t send it” to be the response but I am sure you are all thinking of me and so I need to listen to you all – as shit as that it.  Thank you x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sliding Doors

Has anyone seen the film Sliding Doors? I watched it when I was about 11 years old for the first time, I remember this clearly because there was a sex scene in it and I was watching it with my Nan and remember feeling extremely awkward!

The general concept of the film is about how life can go in different directions.  It begins with a story line of what happens when a character DOES make the train, and another storyline where the character DOES NOT catch the train.  From that point, their life goes in two different directions.

I have been thinking about this film today because I find myself wondering a lot these last few days how my life could have gone.  Not so much in general terms but specifically around the events with my mother and her NPD.  What would have happened if I had stayed the Golden Child and remained enmeshed with her – what would my life look like right now?

I’ve been reflecting on my life a lot since writing the Goodbye Mother letter and today I was thinking how the first 18 years or so my mother fell into the category of “Ignoring Narcissistic Mother” but when I became 18 and old enough to drink and smoke and go to clubs and date men and share clothes with her, idolise her… she fitted better in the category of “Engulfing Narcissistic Mother” – this is the stage where the control and enmeshment began.

Now what would have happened if I hadn’t met my current fiancé and started therapy? Would I still be enmeshed with her? Would I be a narcissist myself by now? Maybe I would have met another man but not started therapy and therefore never realised the dynamic I was in! Perhaps I would have met a narcissistic man or more of the same type I used to meet, emotionally unavailable.  Perhaps I would have spent my entire life trying to fix them and have the happy ending I never got with my mother.  It’s a sad thought.

The “storyline” I find myself in now is one where I am playing the starring role of “Narcissistic Mother’s Scapegoat”. I am not only her scapegoat mind, but also my sister’s who is playing the lead role of “Golden Child” and, not only that but I think potentially “Narcissistic Golden Child”.

scape

There are basically two roles you can play when you have a mother as narcissistic as mine.  The Scapegoat or the Golden Child (you could also be a lost child but there is only two of us).  The perks of being the Golden Child are that you have the narcissistic mother’s protection.  She will agree with you (in public at least), she will tell you that you are “just like her” and if she is anything like my own mother, tell you that you are in fact a “mini me”. Now considering how much she thinks of herself, this is meant as the highest type of compliment. The downside to being the GC is that you are not allowed to be your true, authentic self, have your own (differing) opinions on things or allowed to say no or argue with her.  You are no longer a different person, a person with differing interests, hobbies, thoughts etc – you are enmeshed and an extension of the narcissist.  Also just because you are picked as GC doesn’t mean you are no longer abused in any way, you still are, it is just much more subtle and hard to detect.  In my case when I was GC my mother would regularly tell me how I needed to lose weight or change my hair, do my make up differently, shop in different shops and become more fashionable – but she would tell you that she loved you and this was all for your benefit! She just wanted you to make the best of yourself!

The downsides to being the Scapegoat are many: The narcissist and whoever her enablers are, perhaps siblings or step-parents project anything and everything negative onto you.  YOU are the sole cause of anything bad in the family or in life generally.  You are trouble, evil, mentally unstable.  It is VERY hard to have a strong enough sense of self/self-esteem to not start to feel guilty about all this crap that you are told repeatedly is your fault.  There is the gaslighting, the narcissistic family will make you doubt yourself and your memories and version of events.  At some stage you do think to yourself, “shit, they can’t all be wrong can they?”.  You start to think that if ALL of them have one story and you have a different story… well, maybe it is you after all? That is tough.  The gaslighting is the stage I’m at right now.  Apparently this is really stereotypical for a narcissist when confronted but my mother (and sister) are telling me that I “have gone fucking crazy”, am “brainwashed” and that they are not sure “what is going on in my head right now”.  Gaslighting at it’s finest.   This causes cognitive dissonance.. BIG TIME.

There is inevitably the fear element as well.  I struggled with this BIG TIME.  The fear and the guilt were definitely my biggest struggles.  There is also something really hard about admitting that you, adult you, is scared of your parent.  I DID NOT want to admit that I was scared of her, of what she would say, what she would do, of upsetting her.  What would the consequences me? How would she punish me? It was all very illogical but the fear was real.

And lastly, the worst one for me at present – you are isolated and ostracised from anyone that enables the narcissist or is scared of them or perhaps equally as abusive as them.  I currently find myself watching to see which member of my family is next to be “disappointed” with me or cut me off. Narcissists cannot and do not accept people disagreeing with them. That truly is the ultimate betrayal to them.  You are on their side (yes pathetic) or you are against them and that is that.  You will be shocked at the amount of people who “side” with the narcissist, even ones that know stories or have seen evidence of their abuse in the past.  It is shockingly shit and nothing can prepare you for it.  My sister was my mother’s scapegoat for years until we swapped places and she used to suffer with depression because of it – yet she is very happy abusing me right now and ganging up with my narcissistic mother against me.

That is a long and bleak list of downsides to being a scapegoat I know but what about the perks?

Anyone who finds themselves in the role of the scapegoat will be naturally empathetic and sensitive.  The fact that they find themselves in that role shows that they are a truth-seeker and more importantly, I think, they have somehow held on to their authentic true self and believe me that is not an easy thing to do against a narcissist and her army.  But the clear winner here has to be the pure fact that the scapegoat escapes the dysfunctional family – they ESCAPE!! They get away from playing roles and being gaslighted or projected onto.  They escape the FOG – the fear, obligation and guilt.  They no longer have to be on guard or put on a mask, a fake self to try to stay safe around the narcissistic/dysfunctional family.  They can heal and finally be validated for all of their struggles and pain.  They can have a kind and empathic witness emotionally hold them as they navigate their way through all the grief and pain and begin to heal from the years of abuse.

I saw a meme today which said it should be called the “Escape Goat” rather than the “Scapegoat” which I think is perfect.

Anyway, I feel at peace today for all of the reasons above and other reasons which I find harder to articulate that I would never wish to swap roles and be the GC again. Never.  Being the Scapegoat is emotionally very difficult, it can be extremely lonely and draining but I honestly felt like something was missing from my life until quite recently – I spent my life unconsciously desperate for approval, for affection and to be told that I was good enough.  I was always trying to fill the painful mother hole/wound that was still raw as hell and now, all of a sudden, I am seeing things differently.  Now I am truly seeing and believing fully that it wasn’t ever me or my fault.  She has a personality disorder.  I was not too sensitive, too needy, pathetic, boring, stupid, fat, brainwashed or evil.

This sounds a bit egotistical but I feel like I must have more strength than I’ve ever given myself credit for or was even aware of myself.  I have (thanks to T) been able to fight against her abuse, lies and punishment.

I feel lucky in a strange way, not lucky that I had to go through any of it of course and I do still grieve for the fantasy mother and probably will for a long time, but my life could have gone the other way, like in Sliding Doors – I could have never got away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Mother… Smearing

So I haven’t got time to write a proper blog but needed to write this quickly…

I went to see my Aunty tonight, the one I’ve written about a lot recently, the one my mother is not longer speaking to because she was “being disloyal” to her by continuing to speak to me…. anyway, we obviously discussed everything and this is what I’ve just found out:

1) my mother has told everyone that I am obsessed with my counsellor and go to therapy 4 times a week.

2) that I think (and I quote) I am “so hard done by and had a terrible childhood” – sense the mocking tone of that: and lastly

3) My mother has told my Grandparents that I’m no longer speaking to her because I had such a terrible childhood and my grandparents are allegedly horrified, shocked and disappointed in me….

I have a lot to say about this and I’m having a lot of thoughts about it all. I can’t make much sense out of it at the moment but I’m starting to think that perhaps she genuinely doesn’t think she’s guilty of treating me badly when I was a child. Until now I thought she knew she was a shit mum but was just incapable of apologising, now I wonder if she truly doesn’t think she has anything to apologise for. (I know: wake up and smell the coffee).

At least I have some insight to her I suppose.

Trying to recover from the rupture

As 4pm drew closer today I began to feel more and more nervous. At ten to 4 I had to rush to the toilet where I got stuck for the entire 10 minutes (sorry for TMI)!. I watched my phone hit 4pm exactly and felt sick… I found T in my call list and pressed dial.

The phone rang just once or twice and then T picked up. I didn’t know what to say to her.  We said hello and then she asked me how I was currently feeling  had felt since I had sent her my email the other day.  In all honestly I wasn’t sure how I felt so I actually had to think about the answer to that question. I told her that her reply to my email had helped to lift a lot of the anger and pain and that knowing I would be talking to her today had also helped although I admitted that I was nervous and scared that it may end up making me feel more pain.

T told me that she had done some writing that she wanted to read to me to try to explain why she spoke differently to me and to other people. I was quite shocked at this, I’m not sure why but I think it’s something about the fact she had been thinking about it a lot and had clearly put a lot of thought in prior to this call.  Writing that now sounds obvious really doesn’t it? I guess of course she did.  Anyway, she begun to read to me and I can’t quite remember what she said but I do remember that I started to cry pretty quickly because what I “heard” at first was something that meant “some people need more love than others – than you do” and I cried because I thought my worst fears had come true. There really wasn’t anything she was going to say that was going to fix this rupture and there really was nothing she could say that was going to make me feel better, to enable me to trust her enough to be vulnerable with her again – to do the work with her anymore.

She said something about how she didn’t want to force herself and her love on me (as I heard this I thought to myself “it isn’t forcing when I want it”.) She said something about how my mother was an overbearing narcissist, that she didn’t want to repeat that for me and that she trusted me to show her what I needed.  She also said some things about how she worked using her intuition and that she truly believed that she was a good enough mother figure to me, and to all of her clients.  Now I got what she meant about my mother being an overbearing narcissist in one sense, but in another I was confused because my mother DIDN’T show me any love or affection so surely that isn’t the same? Surely that IS exactly what I need? There was so much being said and so many thoughts and feelings going on at once that it is hard to remember it all now.

She then explained how everyone she sees has different needs and said to me to think about my 3 stepchildren and how I would treat them all differently, but love them all the same amount.  She said you could have two children and one need a lot of reassurance and the other not need that so much. She said she worked using her intuition and was guided by me.  At this stage I was feeling pretty confused because, as I’ve already said, I understood what she was getting at, but I just kept thinking… yes, but I NEED you to show me love and affection so why won’t you do that??? If we all have different needs and I’m yelling at you because I want something (for my needs) then why aren’t you doing it?

I cried pretty constantly the whole time she was saying these things and then she asked me if I understood what she had said.  I told her I kind of did but kind of didn’t and she said it was okay if I didn’t fully get it at this moment in time, that perhaps I would in the future and that perhaps it would take more than just this one hour (someone had said this to me in a comment the other day and I am thankful they did as otherwise my expectations would have been too high – thank you).  I still felt rather disappointed and a bit deflated at this stage.  I could hear she was trying to make me feel better but it just felt a bit like what she was saying to me and what she was expecting me to feel weren’t tallying up somehow.  Like, was I missing something here?

She said that there was no denying it “was a monumental way to cock up“.  She actually admitted to me that when she realised what had happened, she had to phone a therapist friend of hers to cry to them! I felt instantly very guilty and sorry for her when she said this and said “oh nooo did you?” and before I could finish saying it she snapped quite abruptly “No! You do not feel guilty for that, I am not telling you that for you to feel bad about, but simply so that you understand that I did and do care very much“.  She said she knew instantly how deep this would have hit me and then said that the only reason she didn’t pry into how it had made me feel instantly and by text was because I was meant to be in session with her only a few hours later – until I cancelled.  She also added that being a therapist was a vocation to her and not just a job.  She said she really does get it and does deeply care, it wasn’t somethign she did simply to pay the bills.

I eventually said to her outright “I get that everyone has different needs and that you treat us all differently, just as I do my stepchildren, I get that.. but, I feel like I am always fighting to get someone to show me love and they never do and that IS what I want!” T said that it might feel to me like what I need is for her to show me lots of “gushing love” but that often what we think we need, isn’t actually that helpful for us.  She said that if she is working with someone who has had no love and affection from a mother and who has suffered childhood trauma and cruelty, that gushing them with love would be extremely damaging and painful for them.  My ears pricked up…  I questioned why and she said in the most extreme case, showering someone who has been loved deprived with affection COULD lead them to commit suicide. At this point I was listening intently but still confused and then she said this:

“Imagine a baby that is starving, literally starving and nearing death, extremely malnourished and very sick.  What you might think you need to do is to take the baby and feed it and feed it and feed it to make it better, to save it? But actually that would kill the baby!  What the baby would need is to be drip fed tiny bit by tiny bit until it built up a tolerance and could slowly adjust to having more food”…

Something about this image clicked in my head and really made sense… okay… okay, this was helpful – I told T this image was very helpful. She continued explaining and said that in my head I think I know what I need but that a lot of that was fantasy and built up using the fantasy that she is the perfect mother and that the perfect mother would and could never hurt me.  But that the fantasy was wrong.

I told T that it was so painful for me because so many times over the years I have got upset and complained to my mother that she never hugged me or told me she loved me or showed me any affection and my mother would shame me and tell me to grow up and tell me that I wasn’t a child and that I was pathetic.  I said it felt like the same thing was happening all over again – not the shaming so to speak, but like T was saying that she wouldn’t show me any affection even though she could have.  I told T that my mother was always very gushing with her men – just not me and the feelings were triggered by the text she sent me.

She said something again about being led by me and I said something like “but I have told you before that I sometimes find your emails lacking warmth and a bit cold and clinical!” and she said it was quite a while ago and said “lets not get too carried away, it is only an email sign-off, you do FEEL my love in many other ways – I know you do and I know that you have the capacity and capability to feel that love. Some people cannot feel it and need me to speak to them in different ways, in ways that might help it to get through to them. You feel my love here”.

Hmm…something about what she said made me feel ashamed. It felt as though she was saying “Jesus Christ, it’s a bloody sign off on an email!” and so I said that I understood that it was stupid and I was being irrational but she butted in and said she doesn’t think that for a single second, she said how much she understood the pain was very deep. She said every therapist’s favourite line… twice “This IS the work” with extra emphasis on the IS. I had to try not to chuckle.  She then spoke about “the frame” which I took to be a reference to the therapeutic frame, as in the guidelines or something? She said that it is expected and normal for me to want to bash the frame about and hit it and try to change it and it is her job to hold steady whilst I did that.  This gave me an image of a toddler who wants things it can’t have and kick and screams for them all the while the mother is calmly saying “no” but not shaming the child and, perhaps, validating the child’s pain? I don’t know, I could have this entirely wrong. I need to do some reading about the frame to fully grasp this I think.

[What I need to write next may offend/upset/annoy or possibly trigger those who have D.I.D or parts – I am not sure but I want to be cautious so consider this a warning if you want to continue reading].

T said that the person who the text was actually for was much more dissociated than I am and she said that sometimes she “doesn’t even bloody know I am here at all! I have to fight to get through to her to know I am there for her!”.  She then said I wasn’t that split and dissociative and that I did know she was there – that she only had to say something gently and I knew it, but that the other girl didn’t.  She said that working with parts was an entirely different way of working but that I wasn’t that split-off. She said that I was integrated.  (I questioned how true that was as she said it..).  She later said that the work I was doing was entirely different and that we were “nowhere near each other” whatever that meant.

I told T that I always secretly hoped I was her youngest client and that it made me special to her somehow.  She told me that it didn’t matter whether I was the youngest, oldest, prettiest or whatever.. that I was special to her just for being me.  She said that I didn’t need to “jump through hoops” for her.  I cried as she said this even though it felt a bit of a cliché you know like “you are special just the way you are”… but I think I believe her….. I think.  She said that I was working “beautifully” and was doing very well and that she admired me said I had plenty of courage even if I didn’t feel I did at times.  She said something along the lines of how the other client was in a very difficult place and that therapy was very difficult and unpredictable for her but for me, I may be struggling but i am progressing along very well.  I have mixed thoughts about this.

She told me that there was a space inside her that was just mine and that nobody else could ever take or come near because it was just for me and then said that she wondered if it felt a bit like finding out you were going to have a sibling when you were a child – others – someone else to share mum’s love and being really angry about it.  She said she wondered if it reminded me of when my sister was born?  I admitted when my sister was born I was terribly upset and jealous, having been an only child for 7 years, I was used to that and when I already had no love or affection another child surely meant I would have even less?! I’m not sure how accurate that fear was because it made not difference to the lack of love I got but it did result in lots of other feelings of insecurity and being forgotten or left-out.  It set me (and my sister) up for years of competing for her attention. The ultimate power-trip I guess. MEH.

She told me she had a lot of love and care for me and she said if I wanted her to sign her emails off “with love” from now on, that she would. I felt immature but thought to myself that it really isn’t the same when you ask someone is it? LOL and then she said …. I try to match your style in your emails to me… and I interrupted her and said, I had thought this only today.. when I re-read my emails to her, I always signed them off “Thanks, TT” and admitted that was rather formal, especially for me! I said I had done that because I was copying her style and she said she was following my lead!!! I did laugh at this.

I guess the main things I took from the call were that she thinks lots of affectionate words and gushing love is NOT what I need, even if I think I do… that she thinks I have the capacity to feel her love in many other ways and that some clients do not and that because I am in a constant state of hypervigilance, looking for perceived proof of being rejected or abandoned, that is why this hurt so much.  It did tap in to some very deep wounds of mine, mainly being unloved/unloveable and not special.  She said once or twice that I did not get to experience the good enough mother and that I was not taught that was allowed to feel angry and resolve something with her and that her love did not change for me if I did have those angry feelings.

Right now I have lots of words and thoughts and reactions to sit with and work through but I do already feel heaps better.  She reminded me that each rupture we get through is helpful and will build a deeper level of trust.  She said with each rupture that we successfully repair, I will gradually remember that things can be survived no matter how hard they get between us. I understood what she meant as she said this because the other day it seemed insurmountable and now it doesn’t.

Right now, believe it or not… whether she signs an email “with love” or just her name feels wholly insignificant… isn’t that funny? Or perhaps makes me a little crazy! Perhaps her reassurance has helped me to come out of my triggered place and back into a more rational and adult place? I’m not sure.  I feel hopeful but yet the remains of some sadness lurk below the surface, a bit like when you’ve got back together with an old boyfriend and you are glad but you feel a little fragile and kinda nervous and careful? on guard perhaps?? I dunno, it’s hard to explain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apologies, enmeshment & estrangement

I’ve been very busy at work today so I haven’t thought much about everything with my mum which is a welcomed break. I saw T last night and then dreamt about her, which was a pleasant change from the awful anxiety-inducing dreams I have been having most nights, although my mum was still in the dream a little bit.

In it, T had given me her gold watch to borrow and I was very touched that she trusted me with it. I wore it around my neck (don’t ask how that is possible) to make sure I didn’t lose it. We then sat at her computer inside her actual house and were mucking around doing something, we took a selfie and T laughed really hard and loud. Her children were in the house but not with us. We went 15 minutes over our session time and I was very happy with that.

Later in the dream I was at a party and there were lots of people my age there who I did not recognise, they were all friends with my mother. I was later speaking in a kitchen with my sister and my mother walked past and I debated ducking down and hiding at the side of the fridge so that she didn’t see me, but then decided I would look pathetic if she saw me hiding and so I stood firm (but was really hoping she didn’t come in the room or see me.

In my real session last night, I gave T her Christmas card and gift. I wrote in her card that I wished her a very happy Christmas and NY and said that ‘thank you’ would never seem enough. I also wrote a short note about what rose quartz symbolised and how it felt really relevant to give to her. I guess that the dream of her lending me her gold watch is related to that somehow. Perhaps I would like her to give me something (not necessarily buy, but give) so that I could feel connected to her. I guess that must be what it is about although I do already have Frank. As for the bit with my mother, that isn’t hard to work out because my mother is always befriending people my age and getting new friends which used to make me very jealous – why could she enjoy their company so much but not mine?

I have been reading a lot about enmeshment the last few days. I have gained a deeper understanding of how enmeshed my relationship with my mother was. Despite 3 years with T and reading all the books on narcissism that touch on enmeshment, I truly did think me and my mother ‘used to be close’… it sounds ridiculous to write now, but it was only really yesterday that I *really* understood we were never close. Never. We were truly enmeshed. I read an article which summed that up so well, it said things like ‘If you think you and your mother are best friends, if you tell her absolutely everything, if you run every decision by her, if you two share clothing, if you only feel okay about a decision if you know she would approve of it‘…etc etc and I was like *lightbulb moment*. Another step in the recovery.

It made me think, she thinks we used to be close and then I met my fiancé who took me away from her (and now blames T for this for brainwashing me) but really it’s because 3 years ago (coincidentally the same time I met my fiancé), I started seeing T and disconnected from my mother psychologically. I distanced myself emotionally – and soon after, I also moved further away geographically. Anyway, she probably thinks that if I was to “stop going over the past” (read if I stopped mentioning my childhood abuse), we could be ‘close’ again. She doesn’t understand that will never happen and it made me think, if she knew she wouldn’t want me back in her life anyway. She wouldn’t be happy with our relationship any other way and she will, I know for certain, always blame my fiancé for that (as well as T now it seems). She will take that with her to the grave I am certain.

Writing this reminded me that a year or so ago I was at her house, drinking with her as I did and said something nasty, she said to her husband “there’s our TT!” and then went on to say how I am not myself these days and THAT is what she isn’t happy with my fiancé about….. now I realise what she meant was, “that sounds more like me!” – isn’t that sad or maybe sick? Both?

This isn’t really related but I also remembered that only several months ago, she was saying how she hopes my sister’s boyfriend CRIED when she told him she was very upset with him for something he had done. She went on to say that she, and this is a quote. “Made all my men cry” and only then would she feel they had been suitably punished. She said if they didn’t cry, she would keep going. I told her there and then that she was sick – she shouldn’t have to reduce a man to tears to accept an apology off them. She laughed. She knew what she was saying was ridiculous and sick…or she found it funny. I don’t know. That’s all about humiliation right? Or propping up her ego?

Anyway, the fact is that we were never close really and the only way that “closeness” could come back is if I forgot everything I had learnt and went back to being the fake me who went there every weekend for drinks, who slagged everyone off and took her advice on every aspect of my life. In the process I would lose my fiancé and stepkids and my real self. So that’s not going to happen. RIP enmeshed me.

I’ve realised a lot this week that I focus far too much on what SHE might be feeling and what SHE might be thinking or saying. I realise I need to take the focus off of her and put it back on to myself. How am I feeling, what do I want? I questioned why I do that and I think it’s because I was conditioned to put her before myself and I was conditioned by fear. I needed to be one step ahead and suss out what she would be needing or thinking. I have to remind myself constantly, that’s not the case any more.

T told me last night that nothing can happen now. That I can say at any time I need more time or I have nothing to say… I told her I’m petrified of what comes next and when and how I’ll next hear something.

T said something like “what about giving yourself permission to stop that worry and just know that you’ll survive it whatever way it comes?” I kinda went into shock… errr sorry what? Is that an option? Is that possible? It all sounds so simple doesn’t it? But she’s right of course.

I told T that part of me feels guilty that I ignored/didn’t respond to her message. T asked me why and I said “because she meant it nicely”. T seemed surprised and questioned me “did she?”. I said “well yes, if someone sent that surely it’s meant in a nice way?” T said I was confusing normal people with a narcissist. I smiled sadly.

I read T my latest letter and made a joke about how it was letter 5000. T said to keep writing, that it gets the feelings out. I told T that whilst I had written in the letter that i needed an apology. I didn’t want to spoon-feed her with what to do. T asked me what I would do if I sent it and my Mum then said she was sorry? I said well, I would ask her what exactly she was sorry for to see if she had any idea but also said to T that I knew my mother would be very much like “you wanted an apology. You’ve got one – take it or leave it” and I would have to leave it

And so I realised (again) that I’ll never get a genuine apology. Even if she said the word sorry it wouldn’t be what I need it to be. I told T that I’m limited on how much I can handle that fact.

T said to me “If you never want to see your mother again you don’t have to. It’s not even like you could have a limited relationship doing something together you enjoy, because there isn’t anything is there?”.

She is right. I told T I want to say to her “what you want is a mini-you and I am not like you anymore.” She would deny it of course, but that IS what she wants.

It’s unfamiliar ground right now. I’ve never had this much space from her before. I’ve not had social media for about 3 weeks so I can’t see what she’s up to (which is a relief) and she can’t see what I’m up to (which is an ever bigger relief). I’ve not seen anyone that we are both close with so there’s been nobody to pass things between us…. I’ve ignored a message from her and I’ve never done that before. It’s brand new and it feels weird. Not bad though.

You would think the longer this goes on, the more I would miss her or want to fix things but the opposite is true. The longer this goes on the more I realise it can’t be fixed.

Did I really see my mother for the last time 6 weeks ago? Is that it forever?

When I left her house that night, I left angry, crying, shaking, scared and relieved but I never thought it was the absolute end. The beginning of NC. Of being estranged. But I think I am.

I’m not hugely sad by the way, I’m not sure how this reads? It’s more disbelief!

Another letter to Mum

(Not sent. Spontaneously typed on the train home).

Mum,

I’m writing this letter to you in response to your text on Friday.

I thought I should explain my feelings so that you understand why I am keeping the distance that I am.

You already know how I feel so I won’t go into detail about it again. I told you 3 years ago, I told you 6 weeks ago and again in the texts we exchanged a few days after that night.

I am not keeping distance because I am angry and hate you. However I do have some anger towards you.

The reason I am keeping my distance is as simple as this: whilst you are unable or unwilling to accept my pain, take some responsibility for it and apologise for that pain, I am stuck in that anger and can’t see a way for us to have a happy and healthy relationship.

Until I am no longer so hurt and angry, arguments like 3 years ago and 6 weeks ago will repeat themselves. And what’s more, the more you fail to respond in the way I need you to, the angrier I get and the probability is, the more regular those arguments will happen.

That isn’t fair on either of us.

So for me, until I feel differently I am trying to see how I can get rid of some of that pain and anger on my own. Without you doing that.

I haven’t yet given up the hope that you will have some sudden epiphany and see my pain for what it is: genuine sadness and not anything else like, baring a grudge or aggressiveness which is how I feel you see it. I don’t think you hurt me intentionally, but you did hurt me.

You can’t help the way you feel and you are completely entitled to your feelings of course: as am I. At the moment our feelings are too far apart.

I cannot push this under the rug any more. Mum, I have done that my whole life and I refuse to do so any longer.

I am sorry if you are sad or hurt, but so am I. This isn’t revenge just me being, once again, 100% honest.

So now you know how I feel.

Please do not respond unless you can offer me what I need because It will be pointless. I have thought long and hard about this letter and I mean what I say in it.

I do hope you have a nice Christmas.

A hair, a flood and a haunting

Last night I had another weird dream. It really annoys me that even when I go to sleep I can have dreams that keep me so anxious.  In last night’s dream my mother had emailed me to say she loved me (like she did in real life Friday night) and I had ignored it (like I have in real life).  What followed a few days later was another email which said something along the lines of “However….” and then went on to say that she needed me to sort out a hotel booking that I had made on their behalf because it was currently I my name. The “whatever” was meant to mean, I do love you BUT…..

I went to the hotel to try to sort out whatever the problem was but whilst I was there I had a sandwich and found a clump of hair in it, I tried to sleep in a bed whilst the room was haunted and the ghost threw toilet roll around it and I was petrified AND the sea had flooded a room and there was a leak from the ceiling.

Later in the dream I went to wake my fiancé up but he was sleeping at the bottom of a bed that my mother and her husband were asleep in so I had to be really quiet not to wake them.

I looked up the dream meaning for finding hair in your food, food and haunted room and found this:

To dream that there is hair in your food means that you are entangled in some emotional matter which you are not sure about how to get out of

To dream about being haunted indicates early unpleasant experiences and feelings that still haunt you.

If you dream about a flood, more likely than not you have recently felt overwhelmed in your life by something (or someone) that seemed like an uncontrollable force – one which left you feeling somewhat helpless, at their mercy, and victimized.

I guess that makes sense really.  I am clearly entangled in an emotional matter that I am not sure how to get out of, early experiences and feelings DO still haunt me and I guess the whole situation has made me feel a bit overwhelmed – although not at their mercy.  Perhaps that is why it was only one room that was being flooded and not the whole hotel. I think the dream shows my unconscious worries about having not responded to her text.  Perhaps I unconsciously think that not replying will lead to some disasters.

I feel pretty much the same as yesterday today, despite the dream but I did wake up feeling something.. I’m not sure what.  I had a few tears this morning, I just felt I needed to release them, I didn’t really have many conscious thoughts to accompany them. Just felt a bit sad I guess.  It snowed all day today so we went out for a walk in the snow, threw snowballs and made snow people (political correctness at its finest)! When we got home I felt the need to cry again, just a tiny bit, not a lot but I didn’t really have the space at the time so I didn’t.

I was scrolling through Instagram earlier though and my sister had put a photo on of her, my mother and stepdad all wearing scarfs and hats clearly in the snow.  The three of them were smiling.  The photo did have an effect on me, but I’m not sure what exactly. It wasn’t jealousy, I didn’t wish I was there with them, but it was odd. I guess because it is the first photo of my mum I’ve had to see in a while since I deleted my Facebook account.

A few hours ago my fiancé sat down next to me on the sofa and said “So, shall we talk about it?” I had been waiting and hoping we would but didn’t want to bring it up because I feel it is all I talk about lately! I told him as much.  He asked me how I was feeling about it all and I told him pretty much what I wrote here yesterday.  I said that I had some guilt about not replying – whether or  not I should.  That I still hadn’t let go of the need for her to take accountability and apologise – even though I knew that won’t happen.  I said that my reality is still that nothing has changed.  That 6 weeks passing didn’t make anything better or hurt less.  I still need an apology.

I explained to him that until she takes some responsibility for her mistakes and apologises to me, I am stuck in this angry place and I can’t have a healthy or enjoyable relationship with her whilst I feel that way.  It really is as simple as that.  Nothing really that I haven’t written here already.

He said that the fact is, before I started therapy 3 years ago, I was enmeshed with my mother which is why I told her absolutely everything, why I asked her what to do about everything and why I couldn’t imagine surviving life without her.  He said that starting therapy 3 years ago enabled me to separate from my mother in the way that children separate from their parents as a normal childhood development stage and that it was normal and natural the way I separated from her but because of the way she is, because of her narcissism it was a narcissistic wounding for her and she had to find reasons that I had done that (which obviously couldn’t be her) and so she blamed my fiancé.  He must be controlling and manipulative.  Fast-forward to now and it’s my therapist’s fault for brainwashing me.

He said that despite this, I was only 29 years old, that we were getting married next year, that we had built a lovely family together with his children and we had our house and our love etc. He said to me that if I hadn’t got myself to therapy, I may not have been released from the unhealthy enmeshment with my mother until the day she died, which could have been when I was in my 60s! I agreed and said I had thought this many times. I’ve read so many forums where people in their 50s or 60s had just realised they had a narcissistic mother (or father) and how grateful it made me that I had found this out whilst I was young enough not to let it take over my entire adult life. Thank God. We both agree that we wouldn’t have worked out if I hadn’t got this help, I would have been too triggered, insecure and jealous over things with his ex-wife and his children and I wouldn’t have enjoyed the security of a happy relationship the way that I am (thankfully) able to now. He basically said, “I know it is hard now, but it is so worth it for the rest of your life”.  Boy is he right.

I admitted that when the guilt comes it is normally because I imagine my mother upset and think that because of the narcissism, because she has a personality disorder, I feel sorry for her not understanding what she has done wrong, what she needs to apologise for… for feeling confused and upset that she’s “lost me” (obviously she might not feel any of those things!).  He couldn’t really understand that, he just said I had nothing to feel sorry for her about.

I said that I didn’t miss her – not her, her as a person but I was sad of course that I’ve lost my mother. As in, the archetype, the figure, the role.  That is so sad.  It just helps that the word mother, and my mother’s face in my mind are beginning to be separate and different things now.  No longer is that child’s craving for a mother about HER.  Does that make sense to anyone?

I told him what I said here yesterday, normally I am dying for a way to fix it all, to make it all go away and be better but I am not this time. I guess that is because I can’t un-know what I now know.  It can’t ever be “fixed” or “better”.

I don’t like not knowing what will happen next, that makes me fearful I think.. or something like that. I think that is what the dreams are about. What happens next? Will she start telling people her version of events? Will the flying monkeys contact me soon and start to pass on messages about her and what she is thinking and feeling? Will she directly contact my fiancé or something? I just don’t know and I don’t like that….. I’ve had it easy so far really I guess as she didn’t tell anyone and she didn’t contact me until Friday for 6 weeks. Ignoring her declaration of love may possibly change that.

I think Christmas will be hard for me.. I wouldn’t rather be there at her house, but being with my fiancé’s kids and parents for the entirety will hammer home that I don’t have that. There’s something about Christmas that makes that harder but having said that, I felt the same the last few Christmases’ and she was in my life.. I saw her… so really what difference does it make? It’s just that whole belief that the day itself is all about love and family when in reality, is that day any different from any other? really? Probably not.

On the note of actual Christmas, I haven’t bought her or my stepdad a Christmas present or card and that makes me uneasy.  Isn’t that crazy? Why would I have done? In the back of my head I keep thinking “I should get something just in case…”  how ridiculous is that? It just goes to show more fear in me doesn’t it? More fear that if somehow, by some miracle I saw them and had no material present to give, that she would be angry and I would feel awful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All The Feels

I’ve got all the feels tonight.

Last night when the kids arrived they had to follow the trail of chocolate money which lead them to advent calendars and their elf who was hiding in the fireplace with a letter for them. The letter spoke about things he had heard they’ve done over the year and spoke to each of them individually about their achievements etc. They all loved the note and were visibly very excited.

I sent last night’s blog to my T. I haven’t done that for quite a while. I sent it to her quite late, about 10.45pm and said that I just felt it would be comforting to send it to her even if she couldn’t read or reply. Much to my delight she replied very quickly saying she had read it all and then said:

Your blog is here with me and I have read it all.

Well done in doing so well this week in your new job, despite all the emotionally difficult stuff you are also having to deal with.

You are held in my mind even when you aren’t here and you were missed yesterday.

I am thinking of you this weekend and hope you have a good one.

Warmest wishes

I mean, how nice is that? I nearly cried when I read it and I’ve since read it about ten times. It makes my heart all warm and fuzzy.

Today we put our tree up and decorated the house with Xmas decorations. The kids loved it. Later me and my youngest stepson walked into town, we walked around some shops, got a few Xmas presents and had a Costa together. It was lovely. We chatted, laughed and took selfies, it felt so nice and easy going. There’s really something about walking with him, holding hands and chatting. It’s great.

Whilst we were in Costa, I did the standard adult joke of leaving the cream from my drink all over my face and acting like I didn’t know. His smile and laugh made me feel warm.

Later this afternoon we walked to the postbox to post his letter to Santa 🎅🏼 this was also so sweet. On the way home he asked I would sit in the back with him so I agreed. We had a little blanket across our laps and were singing along to the radio when a little band reached out. I held his hand all the way back to his mum’s house. So cute.

Despite everything else, those kids, my fiancé and T truly make me feel so much warmth and love and joy and hope. I am so grateful for those people being in my life.

On a less happy and warm fuzzy note, I found out earlier today that my Nan had a knee replacement op this week. I text my Nan to ask how she was feeling and she replied to say she was in a lot of pain but – wait for it… “you have had pain in your little life”… and then said how she was being looked after by my mother who is “the best nurse in the whole world” (she’s not a nurse she’s a clerk). Anyway, my Nan clearly doesn’t have a clue that we have fallen out and are not speaking. That’s my Nan and my Aunty then. Sounds like T’s theory was spot on!

Anyway, that’s it really. I just wanted to write that all out.