Scapegoat: Anger & Sadness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

I have no more fight left today

This is a warning that I am having some kind of melt down right now and this post is likely to be full of anger and rage and sadness and Christ knows what else. Maybe stop reading now if you are feeling delicate yourself.

I don’t know what’s happening but I am having a really horrible body reaction to how overwhelmed with anxiety, stress and anger I am feeling. I’ve never felt anything like it. My heart is beating out of my chest, my body is tingling and feels weak, I feel sick, my stomach is going crazy and I feel kind of dizzy and spaced out.  A minute ago I felt like if I took a sip of the very large glass of wine I have poured, I might be sick.  My entire body is triggered or something. It feels AWFUL.

If you have been reading lately, you will know the background around the shit storm that is happening at work.  Yesterday I was offered a new position within the company and I felt such intense relief that I could get out of that department and away from those two girls making me feel so shit. At 8pm last night, I got a call from a woman in HR to tell me that she couldn’t agree to me leaving until a replacement had been found and that it would take at least a month.  I totally broke down on the phone to her. I sobbed. I was unable to speak. I totally lost it.  She obviously needed me to tell her what has been going on and so I did, I didn’t have much choice by that stage and so I was honest. I told her how those two girls had been making me feel and that I couldn’t do that for another month and that actually, I seriously would have to leave the firm if that was the case. That wasn’t meant as blackmail – I really would have left.

Luckily once she witnessed the state I was in on the phone, she agreed I could leave my current team this Friday for the Xmas break and start my new department on 2 January.  I came off of that call utterly broken, but relieved.

Today I went into work, which believe me is not easy at the moment.  The 2 girls didn’t speak to me, nothing new there, but I felt more awkward than ever because I knew they probably knew. Later I was called into the head of the department’s office. He is a cold man at the best of times and he wasn’t very supportive. He asked me what was going on, I told him in brief detail that the department wasn’t for me and that it wasn’t working out.  He said “you seemed happy enough at the xmas meal last week” which REALLY pissed me off. What was he implying? That I am lying? Making the whole thing up? I snapped back at him “That was two weeks ago and last week was awful”.  He was blank-faced and even when tears began to fall down my face and I couldn’t get my words out, he just glared at me.  I felt like dying.

When the “meeting” was over, I left his office and the 2 girls were directly outside the room (which by the way is glass so they would have seen me and probably heard me which is just great..).  I walked to the bathroom where I, yet again, collapsed into tears.  I didn’t ever want to come out.

I then got a text message from my ‘aunty’.  She isn’t my blood aunty, but has been in my life since literally the day I was born. She was like a second mother to be growing up. I used to stay at her house all the time with her two boys who I refer to as my cousins.  My mother used to go off gallivanting with her latest bloke and I would stay there for weeks at a time. She was always so loving to me, I’ve always, always loved her.  Anyway, she said she needed to speak to me.  I knew instantly this had to be about my mother because she doesn’t often text me and she never says she “needs” to speak to me. Initially I thought she was going to be a flying monkey and was going to tell me my mum was upset or something and my back was up.  I was wrong.

I spoke to her on the phone at lunch time and what she had to tell me was that she has fallen out with my mother on a HUGE scale because my mother told her she is not to speak to me anymore. I can’t even believe I am typing this.

My aunt was very honest, she admitted that initially when this happened, which was apparently about 6 weeks ago, she said she rarely spoke to me and my mother said to her “If you speak to TT, please tell me” and she admitted that she agreed with that.  Well, you may remember it was this aunt’s birthday party a few weeks after me and my mother fell out and I knew I couldn’t go unless I wanted to see my mother, so I text her to say I couldn’t make it because of what had happened to the kids, and because I had fallen out with my mother and that we weren’t speaking.  She replied at the time to say she was shocked to hear we weren’t speaking and that she was sorry I couldn’t make it.  Well, she also admitted, she sent those messages to my mother when she next requested evidence of our communications.

Apparently my mother then rang her Friday night just gone to ask her if she had spoken to me and she told her that she had text me recently to say she was sick with the flu, but would send me some dates that we could get together as soon as she was better (this was because I asked when I could see her as I couldn’t make her party).  Apparently with this, my mother went APE SHIT at her and they ended up having a really horrible argument on the phone where my mother told her she should be loyal to her and not to me and that she does not expect her to speak to me at all.  I don’t know exactly what else was said but my aunty said that she told my mother she had done nothing wrong and that my mother wasn’t having any of it.

My aunt said she slept on this argument and then Sunday sent my mother a very long message which said………. wait for this…. that she thinks she needs to learn about sexual abuse and the implications it can have because she thinks this is where all the issues started.  That the fact my mother couldn’t and didn’t handle me telling her what happened to me is the start of our problems and said to my mum, that the same thing happened with her and her mother when she spoke out about her own sexual abuse. GOBSMACKED.

She said the message wasn’t aggressive or nasty or blaming, but that she said in it, she thinks if my mum were able to help me deal with it in a better way, we would be closer and that she thinks my mum’s reaction to me telling her what had happened has caused the anger and resentment in me which has led to this huge fall out between us.  I interjected here and said that our problems go way further back than that abuse.  I was 14 when that happened, she had been hurting me since the day I was born.

She then told me she doesn’t know why exactly we fell out. I laughed – literally. Funny that! So I told her the truth. The argument began by me confronting her about what she has been saying to my aunt and to my sister about me and my fiancé, which my mother furiously denied and called my aunt a liar.  She told me if I believed her over my own mother, I could get out of her house. I told her she then went on to tell me I was brainwashed and needed sectioning and all of the rest of it.  My aunt, understandably was gobsmacked.

Anyway, the very long story short is that we realised (well, she did) that my mother wanted to keep us apart so that aunt didn’t find out that the row was about the fact my mother had been caught out.

Apparently my mother never replied to my aunt’s text on Sunday. I’m genuinely very surprised at that because my mother ALWAYS has to have the last word. She told me she doesn’t think they will ever speak again now. I told her I think she might be right.  That’s two people in the last few months that have called my mother out on being a fuck up of a mother. Me and now my aunt. She will be steaming angry.

My aunt said that she does believe my mother is extremely upset that we aren’t speaking and that she will miss my wedding. I told her, well, if she would rather not speak to me again or come to my wedding than take a look in the mirror and admit her mistakes and apologise for them – then whose fault is that? She agreed.

My aunt also told me that a mutual friend of hers and my mother’s had been to see her since this and also said she should stop seeing me for my mother’s sake and that she had said to her she absolutely wouldn’t do that. This mutual friend apparently said to her, “She was a really terrible mother though, I know”.  She apparently said that repeatedly in front of my aunt, and her husband. Shame she doesn’t tell my mother that too.

I told my aunt that my mother was acting like a fucking dictator. Who does she think she is telling her who she can and can’t talk to? EUGH. Thank God she didn’t just comply with my mother. No wonder my mother hasn’t replied to her, she will have cut her off now as she is no longer compliant and enabling.

It’s a shame that not everyone stands up to my mother. My sister won’t see me now either and I know why.  She’s been promoted to golden child and is loving the attention she is getting. Little does she know she’s just been recruited as another rescuer. Someone to give my mother all the narcissistic fix she needs. To tell her how nothing is her fault and that me (and my aunt now) are horrible abusers who she is best off without.  It is only a matter of time before I get a message to tell me she wants nothing more to do with me “because of the way I am treating mum”.  I will link to this page when that happens.

I feel bad for my aunt. She will be feeling so shit right now. She won’t want to lose my mother’s friendship. She has been discarded now she is no use to my mother. It’s actually a GREAT thing but she won’t feel like it is right now, of course.  She’s put up with so much from my mother over the years, I did ask her why she is still in her life anyway. She then told me she would have to “return the lovely bracelet”…. what bracelet? Apparently a few weeks ago my mother gave my aunt an engraved bracelet which said “friends forever”….. clearly it should have said “friends forever.. as long as you do what I say”.

I brought my sister a present this morning. A necklace with an elephant on that symbolises love and a special gift box and gift bag which had stars on it which reminded me of our favourite bedding we had as kids at her dad’s house.  Now I’m not sure whether to send it to her or not, I mean… she clearly doesn’t want to be in my life now anyway. Will it be seen as emotional blackmail? Will it be sent back to me? Ignored? I don’t know what to do.

And then there’s the absolute fuck up with T.

After that wonderful phone call I went back to work and saw T had sent me a text. The text wasn’t for me. It was for Sonia. WHO THE FUCK IS SONIA? Now, accidents happen, mistakes happen – especially when using technology but the problem is, that the way T speaks to Sonia is NOT how she speaks to me.

Firstly “Dearest Sonia”….. then normal therapist shit and then… “Much Love”. OUCH OUCH OWWWW OWWW OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

Two tiny and simple words that somehow sliced through my heart.

Well this triggered me instantly of course. Why does she like, sorry LOVE, Sonia and not me? Why is she so warm to her and not to me? Why doesn’t she say things like that to me? How old is she? Why does that even matter? I don’t know.

I know this is totally illogical and irrational and totally immature, but I always hoped it was ME that she liked best. Maybe loved… I always hoped it was ME she had a soft spot for and that I was the only client. For some reason I want to be the only young client – mother/daughter fantasy I guess?

Anyway it fucking hurt and I text her to tell her she had sent it to me by mistake and she replied so casually saying oh yes it did, sorry, see you tonight.. and I thought PFFTTT no you won’t.

And so I cancelled my session.

I have NEVER cancelled a session. Ever. Not once in 3 years, not even for genuine illness.

In fact, my session should start in exactly 5 minutes and I have absolutely no fucks spare to give.

On top of the shit with work, the stuff with my mother and aunty, my sister and everything else, this really was the final nail in the coffin. I just can’t take any more today.  I know that sounds very victim like and poor me and I hate that but… that’s the absolute truth. I feel like if I let myself, I would have some sort of breakdown. I’m not sure I would be able to pick myself up from it very quickly.

I know T sent the text by accident. I know that. (Please God if you comment, don’t say that, I know it I promise) but it has made me feel like she is fake and she doesn’t like or love me in the way I had tricked myself into believing she did. Certainly not like she loves Sonia.

Maybe my attachment system has been activated and I’ve gone into flight mode by not having my session, I can see that at some point in the future, days or weeks, I will be over this enough to talk to her about calmly, but today is not that day and today’s session shouldn’t have been about that and it would have had to be. Not going isn’t about punishing her, it’s about trying to protect ME.

I’ve had enough of fighting this week. I feel mentally exhausted.

On that note, it’s dead on my session time. I bet she thinks I will still be there. I bet she doesn’t believe I won’t go. I pray she doesn’t phone me because I just can’t speak to her. There is no more fight in me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Approval and Boundaries

I dreamt last night that my stepdad was chasing me through a house or a building of some kind and was going to physically beat me up if he caught me.  I remember being face to face with him with my back to a wire fence and him screaming at me that I always play the victim.  The next thing that happened was me consciously thinking to myself:

“Why do I care if I have her approval or her love? I can approve of and love myself.  I don’t need her to do that”. 

I remember thinking this clearly but can’t work out if I was asleep or coming to consciousness.  Either way, it has stayed with me.

I keep thinking about it because it seems so obvious and so simple.  Why does this feel like a revelation of some kind? a new idea, a new realisation? It surely can’t be because I’m pretty sure I have read nearly ever book published about healing from parental/maternal narcissism and surely that must be a theme throughout, right? Speaking of books, only yesterday I purchased “Children of the self-absorbed” by Nina W.Brown – from the amount of books, blogs, articles and so on that I read, I am clearly still hoping for something I haven’t already read to sink in at a newer, deeper level or something. The books pretty much say the same thing I suppose, but I read them (and sometimes re-read them) for validation and encouragement I guess?

Only last night I found myself on Google for hours reading about ‘Cutting out toxic parents’, ‘Going No Contact’ and even, ‘My daughter has cut me out her life’.  Yep, I was even reading the things my mother might be reading. (I’m not actually sure who I am trying to kid thinking my mother would be reading anything like that, but there we go)… it’s like I wanted to be prepared for the types of things she might say but all I read was a lot of poor you’s aimed at the mother’s whose awful children had rejected them – nothing, obviously, about self-reflection or anything like that.

Anyway the point is why do I need her approval? Why has this been such a huge thing for me? Perhaps something has shifted for me which is making it hard to understand but today I seem unable to feel the pain not getting her approval has always given me. That is odd isn’t it? Where has it gone? Perhaps because of all of the work I’ve done in and out of therapy I have strengthened my ‘self’ enough that I am starting to feel the benefit of having some approval towards my self – something I clearly didn’t used to experience at all… is that what is meant to happen?  Perhaps it is because I feel as though I have T’s approval, my fiance’s approval, his kids’ and his parents’ approval? Maybe its a mixture of all of those things.  Perhaps it is from the type of re-mothering T gives me.

It has been a month now that we have not spoken and (as I have already written) I came off of Facebook about 3 days ago and as cheesy as it sounds, I feel better for having done that already.

I haven’t had to see my mother’s stupid check-in’s, photos or statuses and my aunty’s party was last night so I haven’t had to see all the fake smiles of her and my stepdad.  Saying that, yesterday I text my aunty to tell her I couldn’t make it.  I told her that me and my mother were not speaking and that we hadn’t done for a month.  She had no idea which I admit annoyed me a bit because if my mother really cared that my aunty had told me the things my mother had been saying about me and my fiance, then surely she would have confronted her? At least spoken to her about it in some way? But no, obviously she hadn’t and she was attending her party as if everything was normal.  Can she not see that would annoy me? I guess it comes back to the same thing that she doesn’t think about how I would feel – she cannot empathise with someone else.

Deleting Facebook is the best thing for me right now. There is so much envy and anger inducing crap on there sometimes.  I feel kind of empowered at having removed that link from her.  Now she truly can’t see what I am doing in any way. Not herself, or via her friends or other family members.  I like that.  That feels much better.It feels almost like I’ve taken some power back.  I just hope it doesn’t encourage the direct contact.

I think I can feel a bit of anger in me as I think about this approval stuff. Why the hell do I need approval from someone like her? We are such different people. In fact, if she DID approve of me, then I would probably be doing something very wrong!! I don’t live my life like her. In fact, it is hard to believe we are related at all, yet alone mother and daughter.  I need to focus on the fact that I know I am a good person. I am kind and thoughtful and loving.  I try to show my fiance and stepchildren love. I try to show them that I care about them.  I am not perfect – I am flawed like we all are and yes, I have times where I am selfish, greedy or stroppy, but on the whole I know I am a decent person.

I can understand why the child in me has always craved approval from her mother – I can see that, I can understand that so I don’t want to make it sound like I am belittling that in any way and perhaps it is with hindsight from therapy that I am able to release the need for the approval? Either way, maybe this need for approval has lessened because we aren’t speaking or seeing each other. Perhaps that is what having no contact can do for me? Maybe if I found myself back in her house that need would come flooding back. Who knows.

In other news my sister replied to my messages Friday night when I was at my leaving party.  24 hours later. Her messages didn’t go down well. They effectively said that she doesn’t like the language I was using (as in the phrases/terminology – not swearing) and that we shouldn’t need ‘ground rules’ and that she didn’t think there was an issue at all between me, her or my mother and so she was confused where this had come from. As I was at my work party I just ignored them and last night I knew she would be at the party with my mother and co and so I didn’t reply yesterday either as I imagined them all discussing me and my messages.

If I am totally honest I kind of feel a bit like I am fighting a losing battle. I feel like I made the contact with her when clearly she wasn’t going to. I have heard her out, apologised for anything I did that upset her and then made some new suggestions for how we can have a healthier relationship going forwards.  All she has done is bring problem after problem and now is complaining at my language and basically saying she doesn’t agree or understand why we might need boundaries regarding my mother.  She claims she “has always done that anyway so I don’t understand why that issue has come up now“…. I mean that really is the biggest lie I’ve ever heard.  Excuse me whilst I sound like a child but where is my apology? Where is the warmth or the gladness that I made contact and that she also would like to have a healthy relationship with ME too? Where is the meeting me halfway?

Eugh. I dunno, I feel really annoyed by her and having just spoken this through with my fiance, he is trying to encourage me to just text her in a few days or whenever and ask how her weekend was or send her a text as I usually would. I told him, she doesn’t work like that. She is still clearly being aggressive and standoff-ish and that I feel like I’ve reached my limit of being the one trying to do the work here.  Where is her effort? Why not just say ‘Hi, thanks for reaching out to me first. I really am glad you did. I appreciate your apology and I am also sorry for the hurtful things I said to you. I think the new suggestions are a good idea and I agree they will enable us to get along much better from now on’.  Done. Simple. Why drag out the drama needlessly?

I will also admit that her comment about my use of language/words has really pissed me off and the reason for that is that in my mind, that has been said between my mother and her. That feels like my mother’s words and it feels like another dig about my therapy because they are not used to me wanting to put in boundaries.  I didn’t use the word boundaries for that exact reason, but the effect has been the same.  I guess this makes me angry because my mother said I had changed and that therapy had made me worse and that I had been brainwashed and I feel like my sister agrees with her and me trying to put in some boundaries is making her question why I am doing that – basically the undertone being ‘this is therapy stuff – you don’t do this, this isn’t you – you have changed.. therapy is brainwashing you’.  Of course that is my fantasy and I could be totally wrong so maybe this is just my insecurity. For some reason I feel real strong irritation and anger about this point.

Sometimes I want to scream at them both “Yes I’ve fucking changed! That tends to happen after 3 years of therapy, reading hundreds of books, thousands of articles and blogs.  I have got healthier. Now I won’t accept all the shit I used to – now you have to treat me in a way that makes me happy otherwise I will not participate at all.  Yes I have changed and you say that as a bad thing but its the best thing I’ve ever done.  Yes I have changed and you don’t like it but that is YOUR problem – not mine.”

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Oh wow, super aggressive me, not sure where that came from! I know that the ways I have changed are for the best. I know that the changes I am making are healthy and so my mother, stepdad or sister thinking otherwise really shouldn’t bother me, should it? But it really bloody does.  It’s that ugly duckling feeling again that often rears its head.    I have read today that it is quite common for people to react with anger if they are not used to you setting boundaries. I’ve also read that anyone that doesn’t respect your boundaries is the one with the problem.  But if she genuinely believes she has always done that, or even if she doesn’t believe that but is willing to change it, why not just agree so we can move on?

Why does everything have to be such a battle? Is it really as simple as people being threatened?

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Sister, Tina, Mother, Facebook….

Sister

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

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

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

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

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

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

Job/Tina

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

Mother

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Sister Heartache

This post is about me and my sister.

In my session last night, I read my blog about the dysfunctional relationship with my sister and what I had figured out at the weekend.  I read the blog easily until the end where I read about the nice memories I have with her when we were younger and then I felt a lump in my throat.

I told T “it is such a shame” and then began to cry a little. T agreed that it was a huge shame and that my mother had caused this dynamic, not me. I said I knew that but that I felt so sorry for my sister. In my head when I said those words, my sister was no longer 22, but about 6.  God the pain I felt in that moment. The shame, the guilt, the sadness. It was horrible.

I said to T “I should have helped her, I was so horrible to her, she must have felt so alone” and then I just broke down in floods of tears. I cried from the bottom of my heart in that moment. I felt ashamed of myself and felt such a loss of what cannot be repaired.

T, rather passionately, said to me that none of this was my fault. She said that I couldn’t have known, that I was caught up in this dysfunction and that I had no way of understanding any of this myself.  She spoke rather urgently so I gather she understood how much shame and sorrow I was feeling. Nothing she said really took the pain away.

I said to T “She hates me. She has always really hated me and I didn’t even realise!!”.  T said it wasn’t that she hated me but that it was misdirected anger towards my mother.

T said she imagined I just wanted to read that blog to my sister and to make her understand. I said I absolutely did but that it was pointless because my sister wouldn’t believe it or understand some of it.  T said that she wouldn’t be able to yet.  T suggested that one day my sister may realise the dysfunctional dynamic just like I had done, but I told her I wasn’t hopeful.  I said that my sister had finally gained what she thinks is my mother’s love and that she wouldn’t be wanting anything else.  T said she may realise when she starts to feel how toxic and fake it is, that she doesn’t get fulfilled in the way she may think she will. I appreciate what T was saying, but I don’t agree. I told T “I wish I was as optimistic as you“.

I said to T that it all felt so hopeless. It feels too late for me and my sister. I said that I have always felt so protective over her but that she won’t feel that at all and that hurts.  It is so sad that my mother has taught us that the three of us can’t all be getting along at the same time. Someone is always the bad guy. Drama/Relationship Triangle stuff.  There are 3 positions in the triangle, Victim, Rescuer and Prosecutor and my God, how true that is for my family.

Right now my mother is the Victim, my sister the Rescuer and me – the horrible persecutor and its painful because all I can do, all I have the power to do, is to remove myself from the triangle.  And that means leaving my sister there to play out her role(s).

I told T that I have felt such resistance and anger at my sister the last year or so but that now, I felt so much pain for her and pain for my own loss of having a healthy relationship with my sister.  As I said to T, things could have been so different. Something I find myself writing and saying more and more these days.

“I can’t save her”.
“No, you can’t”

I said to T that I had seen a photo of me and my sister a few days ago taken on Christmas Day in about 2013.  The photo is of me and my sister stroking the family dog wearing matching onesies. I said to her that you can’t even see our faces in the photo, but that I loved the photo.  I told her I would love nothing more than to have a healthy relationship with her. We could be close. We could be best friends.. but the reality right now is that we can’t – that isn’t possible.

T suggested I text my sister and said something like “I hope you had a nice holiday. I have been thinking of you”.  I was surprised she suggested that and was slightly taken aback.  I said I could, but that my sister is so argumentative and aggressive nowadays (since she’s become Golden Child) that it wouldn’t get me anywhere. I said I knew that my sister would reply to say “Well you upset me when you said X, Y, Z and you were so horrible to mum and mum is so upset” etc… and that would just annoy me.  T said I could do without that drama right now on top of everything else. I agreed.

T said that if I was able to speak to my sister, I would need to tell her that our relationship was separate to the relationship with our mother.  That we should be able to have a relationship regardless of whether I am speaking to my mother or not and vice-versa. She said I would need to put in some strong boundaries that we did not discuss things my mother has been saying – that she didn’t tell me anything at all.  I agreed but said to T that as ridiculous as it is, there is a part of me that wondered what we would speak about if it wasn’t our childhood or our mother. That is all we’ve ever really done!

T said we could still talk about our childhood but that we just don’t talk about things my mother is doing or saying now.  That I would have to tell my sister not to repeat anything we spoke about, anything I am doing etc. I said I doubted my sister would want to do that because she wouldn’t want to risk her newly promoted place as Golden Child.

T suggested that I sat on this for a while and thought about it. She said I would figure out what I needed to do when the time was right.

I said to T that when I got engaged in August, I was so disappointed with her reaction (or lack of more accurately).  T said that she was too envious to be happy for me.  I said I got that now but why? T said that there may be an element that I have escaped whilst my sister is still there, still stuck in the dynamic.  I said but he doesn’t need to be! She could escape it herself.  I said to T, I had imagined when I was planning my wedding that my sister would be really involved.  That she would be helping with the plans, planning the hen do and coming shopping for bridesmaid dresses! I wanted her to be the chief bridesmaid and I guess now, upon reflection, this was me saying “look how much I love you!“.  Stupidly I thought she knew that, but since discovering the childhood dynamic stuff, I guess she had too much displaced anger for me to feel that love plus the additional anger that I could have “saved her” and chose not to.  If only it were that easy.

I said to T that despite all of this, and that I felt stupid for even admitting this, there was a part of me that would feel really guilty if I reached out and contacted my sister whist I wasn’t speaking to my mother.  I said I knew that was insane.  T said I needed to feel and speak about those feelings and that we could keep talking about them.  That I didn’t need to act on them. I nodded.

I told T, my sister is totally unable to move forward with me and that she keeps on going on about how out-of-order I was for not missing a counselling session when she wanted me to.  T said it isn’t really about that, that is just my sister’s excuse. It is much, much deeper than that. I said I knew that now, but that my sister didn’t and so how do we get past that?

Eugh. What a mess.

 

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Another family dynamic identified

I spent some time reading about siblings from narcissistic mothers today.  I have figured out some more stuff about my family dynamic.  More eye-opening and rather painful/sad stuff.

I read about how in a family with a narcissistic mother, one child will be picked as the Golden Child and one will be the Scapegoat.  The Golden Child is picked as the most reliable source of narcissistic supply and tends to be the most similar to the narcissistic mother.  The Scapegoat therefore, is the outcast and gets far less attention.  They feel rejected.

In my case, this created sisterly rivalry between me and my sister.  2 sisters competing for the mother’s attention and love and only 1 of us getting it… or so it would have seemed at least.  This leaves the Scapegoat feeling intense jealousy towards The Golden Child.  To the Scapegoat, it is as though she is forgotten and the Golden Child gets a different mother.

For me and my sister, I was the Golden Child.  At least that is what my false-self had led us all to believe.  I morphed into what my mother needed me to be: her.  I would sit and drink and smoke with her.  I would dress how she told me to, God, I wore her clothes! I would do my make-up how she told me to, say what she told me to. I would go to clubs with her, talk about friends and family with her and agree with her always.  I even used to do her dirty work for her and dump her boyfriends for her!

To my sister, the Scapegoat, this would have looked like I was so similar to my mother – that therefore, she was so different.  Alone.  Because of the age difference between me and my sister, she couldn’t join in on a lot of this.  I wish she could know what a good thing that was. She felt left out and not as favoured.  When she voiced this, my mother would say that it wasn’t her fault my sister was too young to drink or go to clubs.  My sister never smoked, never drank.  She was different to her… to me.

The morphed me then went a step further.  My mother got a boob job and told me how I needed to have one like her.  So I did.  My mother loved this and I guess my sister probably hated this so much.  The supply that must have given my mother!

My sister decided she didn’t want a boyfriend for a few years, something which was totally foreign to my mother. My mother would tease her and say she was gay.  My mum always had a string of men, one after the other; sometimes more than one at a time.  And so I always had a boyfriend too! Another thing that my mum couldn’t relate to my sister about.  I provided endless drama with my ridiculous and disastrous relationships.  I told my mum WAY too much and would be at her house every single weekend crying over my latest failed relationship, drinking and smoking with her whilst she counselled me.  Naturally I was thankful and she got her well-needed supply.

You would think then that I would have been happy? But I wasn’t.  None of this was my real self. It was the false self that I had created in order to get some sort of approval from my mum after years of having nothing from her.  Also, just to create more of a headfuck, she would randomly befriend someone my age and they would become the best thing since sliced bread. One of these girls even moved in with us.  I hated her. I got so jealous – but I guess that is what taught me what I needed to become to get to her.

My sister would sometimes get upset and tell my mum how she felt.  Obviously my sister didn’t want me around.  I guess she probably hated me. I feel stupid that I’ve never realised this! My sister became pretty individual. She got lots of tattoos, piercings, she dyed her hair bright colours, pink and blue.  She developed a very funky sense of style.  Come to think of it, my sister calls herself a Wildflower on her social media bios.  I guess I understand why.  That must be how she felt.

Come to think of it, she pretty much did the opposite of my mother – and me.

Sometimes she would complain to my mum that she craved a normal family. She would say how she wanted a family night in with board games or a film with a chinese or a trip to the cinema with my mother.  My mother would say that she was pathetic and immature. That she needed to grow up.  My sister would go away angry and upset. My mother would slag her off to me and I learnt not to say the same things.  I would (shamefully) agree with my mother that our family just wasn’t like that.  How I wished it was.

My sister sometimes shouted at my mother that she didn’t know her at all. That she didn’t know her favourite colour, food or song.  My mother used to look completely flabbergasted at those comments.  My sister was right. She was clearly voicing that my mother couldn’t see her.  She didn’t.

My sister has suffered from depression since she was a young teenager.  I guess from growing up feeling rejected, unloved and unseen. Luckily she has a good and present dad in her life and she moved in with him for some years which would have helped a little at least.

What my sister will never understand, or perhaps believe, is that I have grown up feeling the same was as her.  It wasn’t until 18 or maybe 20 that my morphing into her took off. Until then, I had many years of being constantly told I was boring, dull, a boffin.  I was called Saffy from Absolutely Fabulous and humiliated.  She made it clear to me that I was a nuisance, in the way and not liked or loved.  I was in the way. I got in the way of her men, her social life and her sex.  Although that didn’t actually stop her!

So often when I was young I would be asleep in bed at home – alone and she would come home with loads of people to have a party. The music would suddenly come on very loud, and the house would fill up with strange men, drugs, drink, smoke and sex.  I hated it.  On the occasions when I would ask her to turn it down or tell her to be quiet, that they had woken me up, she would humiliate me for being so boring and tell me to go and read a book (God, it sounds like a scene from Matilda doesn’t it?!).  She would ignore me and carry on regardless. I hated it so much.  She always said the same thing – my house, my rules.  Whilst you are under my roof.. blah, blah, blah.

My sister probably won’t remember this, but I looked after my sister EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I looked after her when I was a kid myself. I fed her, bathed her, put her to bed. It was me that read her stories or tucked her in when she cried at night from nightmares.  We did help each other.  I have some nice memories with her actually.  We always shared a room and would play like kids did occasionally.  We used to make food from paper and pretend to run a cafe, we would play with dolls, make up dances.  Her dad used to take us both on holiday and we would have a nice time with him.

It is so sad that this all became so twisted. Yet again, things could have been so very different.

And now it has all changed again. Now my sister is the Golden Child and I am the Scapegoat.  Because of the work I am doing in therapy and the fact I have detached from my mother, my sister now has what she thinks she has wanted her entire life – my mother.  If only she knew.

I guess the only difference now is that I don’t want that place like my sister always did.  I feel so sad for her.  The anger I felt for her has subsided as I write this tonight. I know I can’t save her.