Katherine Mayfield is the award-winning author of a memoir about recovering from emotional abuse in her family, The Box of Daughter: Healing the Authentic Self. She’s also written several books on dysfunctional families, including Stand Your Ground: How to Cope with a Dysfunctional Family and Recover from Trauma. She blogs on dysfunctional families on her website, www.TheBoxofDaughter.com. Twitter: @K_Mayfield
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April 5, 2013 at 4:42 pm #31265Katherine MayfieldParticipant
Thanks for sharing your experience, Phil. Yes, I do have a hard time letting go and forgiving. I’m trying to see it as a process, doing a small step as often as I can. Letting go of the anger and resentment is easier than forgiving, but I think it’s an important part of the process.
I think you’re right that it’s an issue with boundaries. The difficulty I had was that from day one, my parents would not let me set boundaries. They were very rigid and controlling, and needed everything to be done their way. So when I grew up, even when I learned how to set boundaries, they just were not having any. I would have had to throw a tantrum or be violent in order to maintain a boundary, and I wasn’t willing to do that. I chose instead to talk my therapist’s ear off, and she was infinitely supportive, helping me make it through the rough spots.
I suppose it built character; at the very least, it helped me learn a heck of a lot about dysfunctional families so that I could write about them. : )
I’m glad you’re no longer in that relationship, and I hope you’re in a much better place now. I wish you all the best — you deserve it!April 4, 2013 at 5:31 am #30477Katherine MayfieldParticipant
I can totally relate to your feelings of grief and negativity — I have been there before! I think it’s really important to express feelings as they come up, and not deny them. It’s not easy, but it’s part of the process of growth and becoming more mentally healthy.
Here’s a suggestion which is off the emotional topic, but which I have found very helpful. I discovered a few years ago that when I eat most kinds of corn-containing foods (especially corn syrup, and a lot of foods contain high-fructose corn syrup), I get very depressed the next day. It may be a sensitivity or allergy, I don’t know, but the effects of corn on my system are very depressive.
This isn’t to say that we don’t also have difficult emotions, but you might investigate food allergies — you can Google “elimination diet” to find out more.
Wishing you peace….