Forum Replies Created
Your reply fills me with joy. In my head, I’ve been using the word Love in relation to you for quite a while… but I didn’t want to rush it! I didn’t want to risk worrying you or making you scared, also I was a bit worried it could mess your connection if I rushed it. So I thought, “It’s alright to wait, it’s a special word, I want it it to be special, and use it when it’ll be safe”. Safe from too much worry… Because worrying is legit, when love is at play, emotional investment… Plus I’m living with a monster who has been messing with my head since my birth, not exactly the most reassuring thing ever. I understand it very well, this kind of worry. It is why I need to be emotionally mature and responsible! For myself, sure, but also to be worthy of your trust in me, to be worthy of saying “I love you” meaningfully, because I’ll be able to prevent as much hurt as I can if I take full accountability for my own emotions and actions.
And I want to deserve it, to be worthy, because I’ve been wanting to tell you about my deep affection so much times. I’ve been worried about letting it slip during one of my posts in the middle of the night, in a timing that wouldn’t be right, because my sleepy mind probably would probably forgot to tell you about to commitment I mentioned in the previous paragraph (my sleepy mind very often think “oh it’s Anita, I love her, let’s tell her!”, I’m very childish and emotional when I’m half asleep) . And I wouldn’t have liked to make you worry until I notice my mistake! So I’ve been keeping myself in check.
In the end I let it slip today because… you suggested I could hate you! And not even for a reasonable reason, for being good to me! I couldn’t let it go! Plus, you did mention the word ‘love’ in relation to our connection so it relieved a bit of the worry of maybe offended you or rushing you too much.
That being said, please do tell when I’m doing something wrong and I don’t notice! I’m trying to be careful so you don’t have to worry too much about me, but I want you to feel free to tell me without having to worry about me hating you.
I hope your walk is enjoyable, I wish I could join you too! Good afternoon Anita, and I hope you’ll sleep well tonight, I’m going to sleep now.
PS: when we’ll exchange our emails I’ll have to tell you about my real name! Just for your personal information. I didn’t think things would go in this order, a bit unconventional. I don’t mind though, I hope you don’t either. I would have tell you way earlier but not on the forum.
“someone to wake you up to how uncomfortable it really is to live with her. When you experience living with her to be too difficult to endure, it will be easy for you to leave. If I was to be that someone, I think you’d hate me for taking away your habituation-comfort.”
I don’t think I would hate you. If you were able to make me take away so much of my habituation of her, it would mean I love you very much. Because I don’t think I’d be able to change that without love. The time I lost my habituation of her the most was the time I had… another place to be, with people and a routine I liked very much. I was closer to be happy. To lose this habituation takes love and comfort somewhere else. I couldn’t hate it, just like I couldn’t hate you, for losing my comfort with the Monster. Plus, she’s responsible for my discomfort. My habituation is a coping mechanism, it can be put back if necessary.
Of course, it would be uncomfortable to not have it and having nowhere to go, if somehow you were able to take it away just from our conversations. (I can’t tell if it would go there though, I feel love for you, a lot, but I also make the difference between this love and… the feeling of having a safe home, a familiar place where I belong. It takes more than love for a person I am afraid.) Even you managed to make me lose all my habituation through our conversation, I wouldn’t hold it against you. You are not responsible of how I cope or do not cope. And if our conversation makes me less comfortable with the monster, I’ll figure it out. You wouldn’t be deserving of hate for that, you are way to kind and lovely. My suffering is my problem, I’ll have to find a healthy way to solve it. And a healthy way is definitely not hating someone who sincerely wish only good for me. Definitely not turning against someone I care about and who isn’t the cause of my suffering. I would hate myself if I did that. I told you I will do my best to keep the monster I live with away from you. It also meand I do not want my habituation to her (which she’s responsible of) or the loss of it to cause you harm such as the loss of our connection.
“relaxing and seeing Her and your situation as it is, without the habituation lenses. It will take courage, not pressure, to see it as it is. When you do, it will become easy to leave.”
I can’t help but still be doubtful at the easiness. My beliefs on the difficulty of it are strong, even if I see her as she is. But maybe more look on the overall situation could help to deconstruct my beliefs.
“freedom from the Monster is good for you, no doubt.”
Yes, no doubt on that. I meant: there are several paths to go to leave. I am only reassured when knowing what path I’m taking, and I have a hard time chosing one on which I would be more motivated than afraid.
“too precious to not copy. You are welcome and I am glad we are having our conversation, it is significant for me too and I love our connection! Like you I was very academic. Becoming emotional is the growing of branches and leaves and blossoms that I’ve been talking about. Also, life with branches and leaves is way more interesting than the life of a bare tree trunk!”
I am smiling. And I agree, it’s more interesting and beautiful! Trees with branches and leaves have… Life, beauty, a lot of interesting diversity and interactions as they go through the seasonal cycle. It’s really beautiful.
“she attacked you=> you attacked you. You+ Her= A Unit. Part of the Unit attacks the other part.”
I want to make sure I won’t be part of her unit anymore.
““Learned helplessness, training/conditioning… A very powerful way to remove the power of someone“- a very powerful way to remove a person’s belief in her own power.”
Belief seems to be the right word. Beliefs are powerful…
“it takes experiencing it to make a difference. For the elephant that would be to actually move its body forward, beyond the distance allowed by the chain.”
And experiencing it takes… trying? It seems too easy. It probably isn’t or I’d already have a plan… But probably, all considered, it could be easier than what I’ve been made to believe.
“ if it is possible for you to break the chain, then it is possible for you earlier than you think. It could have happened to me way, way earlier if I had the help that I needed.”
I guess it could… I’ll try to not this possibility as a reason to pressure myself in an unhealthy way. I’m still unsure what is the right help for me, practically speaking.
I guess if I slowly deconstruct some beliefs, it can’t hurt.
I have still to figure out when it is right for me to push myself and when it is wrong. What is the necessary push/amount of trying to trigger motivation and good things… and what is too forceful and will drive me into a corner of negative feelings of helplessness and inadequacy.
I am uncertain of my capacity of recognizing what is good for me, since I have a hard times figuring out how to differentiate the good coping mechanism from the bad ones.
I guess that’s all I can think of at the moment, in regards to healing.
Thank you, our conversation is helping my focus, it is significant even if I can’t figure out things too quickly. At least I can tell this is good. And the connection helps, because it makes it less academical, more emotional… I got the feeling you noticed my tendencies to withdraw into academic knowledge when I am overwhelmed/confused/lost/afraid. I appreciate how you get my attention back to things that matters and that I overlook/avoid. It is different in a challenging but interesting way.
If I summarize it, the woman who gave birth to me feel emotions (which is alright) but the way she displays them has a purposefully twisted aim: manipulation of the emotions of ‘her’ children, so she can have power over them and own them, making them stay despite the abuse and the pain. Which is wrong, and makes her wicked.
“I feel hate for her, hate as in strong anger. I hate it that she succeeded in … habituating you to abuse.”
Legitimate hate. It is good to have someone who is able to remind me what is wrong when my habituation is blinding/numbing me. I pay more attention and care to other people’s emotions, especially those I care about. When you are angry, it makes me make an extra effort, because I care about how you feel and what leads you to feel that way. So I try to view things the way you see them, in order to understand what you see and understand your feelings better. And it makes me reevaluate, reminding me of the familiar feelings I have when I am not numb.
It is a strange way to proceed for me, but it works well enough. I guess it is a bit like when you mentioned how our conversation was helping you before. It is easier to feel for me when I know you went through similar things and were deeply hurt and angry. Because I feel the wrong at what happened to you, and because I trust your recognition ot that fact that what is happening to me is wrong even when I am too numb/habituated to really feel it… because of that, I am able to see it more clearly. And maybe feel it a bit more without falling into an urgent numbing…
“Expecting yourself to expand because of abuse is an unreasonable expectation because NATURE’S WAY is to withdraw, not to expand when .. abused by the weather= lack of rain for too long.”
Before, I would numb myself and not listen. Not allowing myself to acknowledge the pain because I didn’t know if it was the right thing to do, if I deserved a better situation, and the shame was just not allowing me to consider my pain. I was too busy attacking myself to make myself stronger even if it made no sense. It is… helpful to not jumping on those bad habits anymore.
I am not healed, but at least I’m not working against my own healing anymore. Not as strongly at least, I am more able to recognize when I’m adding hurt to the hurt, and stop it.
“congratulations for regularly brushing your teeth and showering! Did I mention that I hate this woman, that woman who does not deserve the title Mother.. but Monster? Did you notice that the two words are similar: Mother/ Monster?”
It is nice, to not be alone in hating her… And I did notice the similarity between Mother and Monster as we changed the terms. Not that all mothers are monsters, but those who are monsters really have the perfect opportunities for big damages. There is really no defense for children, they are entirely relying on them and have no choice.
“: to attract a rich man so to get his money were PITIFUL, and further humiliating.. as I too felt “incapable.. even that I wouldn’t do”, couldn’t more like it, incapable of doing what my mother needed me to do, so it seemed to me”
By being capable of doing it, we would have given more power to the monsters… so being incapable wasn’t a bad thing.
“tiny bit stronger on tiny buddha (I like this play with words)”
It is cute and positive, it made me smile. Tiny buddha is really a breath of fresh air to me.
“this reminds me of The Beautiful Story of the Chained Elephant “
Oh I remember this story, you mentioned it in a thread I read and I relate to it. Learned helplessness, training/conditioning… A very powerful way to remove the power of someone… A concept I’ve been taught again and again in my psychology classes and yet, strangely, knowing about it, seeing it… isn’t sufficient to fight back the phenomenon. It’s a bit ridiculous, but it is how powerful it can be sometimes… I guess, for all the years I have been taught to feel helpless, it may take me a lifetime to heal myself from the consequences of this… training.
Just the moment before… I was in my bed, relaxed, sleeping. Until I heard the monster’s voice coming nearby. She was talking on the phone, going towards my room. I jumped from my sleep and managed to make her understand she had to back off with signs. Thankfully she listened and left me alone. But I’m not relaxed anymore.
My progresses aren’t good enough. Even if I’m able to calm myself down, it’s still feeling unsafe. It will be for as long as I live with her, for as long she’s in my life…
She terrorized me from phone calls, terrorized me from driving, terrorized me from people, she made me feel like I couldn’t do anything. She hurt me so bad, and I didn’t protect myself well enough. I don’t know how I can still let it happen. I don’t know how I can manage to save myself when my energy and power is crushed down and reduced into pieces everytime I’m trying to heal just enough so I can have what it takes to leave. She always ruins anything that is good.
I don’t know what I’m digging… A hole in my prison, or my own grave. I don’t know.
I hope I’ll be able to come up with something…
I didn’t exactly intend to write a post this morning. I intended to focus on something else, but in the end I couldn’t, and I ended up thinking about our discussion. I wondered if you still felt unease with me not feeling too strongly about the bad woman casual abuse. For me it’s still a regular thing so it’s difficult to feel strongly about that, especially since I had worse times before…
I figured, since part of healing is being able to talk about the painful things, and since our talk could benefit silent readers, that I can share about some of the worse moments I went through during the last few years. I thought about a few things I could share with you, I’ll see if I can remember them all. As usual, you don’t have to reply to everything.
So… These are shameful things. The shame is less vivid now than it was at the time, but there are remains of it left.
About the bathroom situation. What kind of worse was it the last few years… Well, it was bad enough to affect my personal hygiene. This woman, she has been very pressuring about the bills related to water for very long (the anger mostly aimed toward my sister, but she was mentioning it to me on regular basis) and she was next to the bathroom, which have very thin walls so she can communicate through easily without even getting out of her bed. During an extended period, she was worse and it was very painful to have a shower with her nearby, and she was more pressure too… and I wasn’t going out of home because I didn’t have anywhere else to be… so I sacrificed my personal hygiene. For the bills, and because shower times weren’t very enjoyable. It didn’t seem as a big sacrifice at the time, but as it lasted I started to get ashamed. I didn’t have to go out or see anyone to be ashamed. I was ashamed that my solution to try to appease the monster was to stop shower instead of getting a job and paying the bills myself. It was ridiculous… A proof of how incapable was. (It was after university, I was above 21, I wasn’t a child I should have been able to do something else…)
Similarly, related to money issues and water, the system that was heating the water was partly broken around that time, I believe it lasted two years, almost three, because we figured paying for reparations would be too costly and nobody wanted to look into that we… went with the inconvenience. It was very difficult mentally in winter. Several times a day I had to get outside to restart the system so we wouldn’t be entirely freezing in our rooms, it took a while. It gave me a lot of time to think about how alien, incompetent, and messed up our family was. There was no way to tell when we would take care of this issue that anyone else would have at least try to fix as soon as they could. Eventually, after a lot of time and painful family fights, at least this one was solved.
For my personal hygiene, I fixed my irregular teeth brushing habits despite the difficulty of it after it backfired on my health (it was 2 years ago, maybe?). And the showering I started to fix it more recently, but I don’t know when, because I figure it didn’t worth it for me to sacrifice my physical and mental well-being, even to spare money, even to avoid the monster. But it took me long enough…
I think, the last thing I thought about sharing, that goes into the long list of how painfully/shamefully messed up this family was… That was still after I came back from university. Since we were stuck and in pain, with no solid plans for the future and to get money, we talked about that a lot with my siblings… Since I was mentally incapacitated with my anxiety and couldn’t get around the idea of getting a job and having to face people, my siblings suggested less conventional was to make money… among them, prostitution was the one they got the most insistent about. Half-joking, half-serious. I heard their points, I thought about it, but in the end I wasn’t able to consider it seriously. I was humiliated that I was seen as incapable that prostitution was seen as one of my few possibilities and somehow even that I wouldn’t do it.
Not too long after that, I tried to work in a factory so I would be left alone by my family. Thankfully, even after I quitted they didn’t go back on the topic much, we established I was a hopeless case and that convince me into doing anything wouldn’t work. I rathered being hopeless than having my siblings getting on my back in such a way again. I did not resent them… They weren’t any better with themselves, we were desperate and messed up. And it was painful for me to watch us hurt each other by trying to force desperate plans or keeping the shame and humiliation alive through our talks…
There were a lot of tough times like that, they hurt so much, they were so suffocating and humiliating. So I’m able to deal with whatever I’m going through more easily right now, for some reason… right now is not good, but it is not as bad as it was years ago. I have grown a tiny bit stronger.
So that was all the things I thought about sharing with you lately, I believe. Now you know a bit more.
“I remember when I stopped saying “my mother” and started saying “the mother”, as in.. no connection/ no relation, the intent being relation and ownership is not an unchangeable reality or destiny.”
Oh yeah, I understand. It makes me remember how angry she was when we called “mother” instead of “mummy”. Oh angry she’d be if I called her “the mother”. Oh, once I was angry at her dramatic attitude and called her “The misery goddess”, she was angry, but it was a funny one. She brings misery to this world, feed on it and here she can have her grandiloquent title since she’s trying to impress people with the amount of misery surrounding her.
Anyway, I’ll try to get rid of the ownership hints I guess. Might be a bit hard. Having to change normal sentences just because she makes the “my”/”her” twisted… How troublesome she is.
“ I definitely do want and intend to meet, as long as you are willing, it’s just that I need to make it happen practically and I’ve been out of the habit of making things happen practically for too long.”
I understand. It’s the same for me, but more “since forever” than ” for too long”. I didn’t start.
” But definitely, if I fly out of the U.S., when I do- with your consent, I WILL make a stop in France (it excites me to think of that!!!)”
Your excitement makes me smile!
“no expectations on my part in regard to what the turning point may be, or even if it will be.. this is the magic of Healing.. you get to get surprised along the way, as in: I didn’t expect that! I had no idea!”
Thank you for not putting expectations on me. It is a very intriguing experiment.
“ I just had the image of you flushing her down the toilet. Symbolically, of course.”
The image amuse me. It would be nice to be able to get rid of her so easily!
I’m in bed and getting sleepy. We shared more posts than usual today, it was agreeable (no pressure for the next times, I just wanted to express my appreciation.) It it 10:45pm here so 1:45pm where your live (this time it should be right!) Have a good afternoon Anita. I feel really warm about you.
“Yes, nature is better, no reason to add unnecessary stress such as a crowded place, besides, for me, visiting you will be about meeting you, not about going to a restaurant or seeing other people.. so nature, a park- will be find and dandy with me.”
Thank you for discussing it with me, I really appreciate it. I have still difficulty realizing you would really consider meeting (and that I am not rejecting with vivid fear). It is quite… new for me. All of this. I tend to avoid new experiences, I’m usually overwhelmed just at the idea, to the point I prevent anything that may entertain it. So it is very strange to me that I am not doing that… I am not sure I understand. I just hope I’ll find the courage to live up to it. I’ll just try to figure things out at my pace though. I am peaceful enough, despite all the unknown factors. I think all the conversations we had, and the way we handled them helped me relax a lot. There’s something about it.
I think I might be at a turning point in my healing journey, I am not quite sure because I can’t see ahead, but there’s definitely something different compared to how I used to proceed and feel. It is very mysterious, yet not too scary.
“It occurred to me that maybe you feel uncomfortable about telling me more of what’s happening in your home, with Her because it made me so emotional last time you told me- but I do want you to tell me what’s going on between you and her/ your siblings and her, it is important that I know about such an important part of your life. I will be okay with handling it emotionally, really.”
I’m not uncomfortable, not really, but she’s a mood downer so I like thinking about you better, she doesn’t need to take more space in my mind than she did already. But I can share, sure.
Today she find a way to pet her nose into my brother’s business even if he’s not here anymore! By making a phone call he wouldn’t have liked her to make, because it is humiliating. I warned my brother, he asked me to stop her. I did, but not too efficiently. She was upset with me for ratting on her for the rest of the day. Being rude and everything, insulting and making phone calls to make sure everyone knows how unfair her ‘insert insulting descriptions I won’t repeat’ of daughter was spying on her.
I wasn’t even upset back. But I felt annoyed when she interrupted me in my cooking, purposefully rejecting the meal I was making despite it was including her, taking my place and the tools I got ready to make her own food as some kind of power move against me (as I interpreted from her attitude). I sent her a dirty look thinking about how little she cared about her children, she seen it and insulted me, once she left the kitchen with her food I was able to resume the cooking. Her share of it is still in the fridge.
After eating I procrastinated a little bit on washing my teeth because, unfortunately, the only access to the bathroom requires to go through her room. Instead, I read some old threads on Tiny Buddha until I finally felt the energy to pass through the monster’s room. Which reminds me I should do that now too before I go to bed.
It’s alright, today had also some nice moments. I wasn’t numb.
“I deeply appreciate your promise and the fact that you went out of your way to expand on this promise in the three paragraphs preceding it… thank you.”
You’re welcome. It is important to me.
” I didn’t think about that. I would rather then meet you in a park, sitting alone on the grass, maybe by some kind of flowing water, no one close by, people being at a safe distance. And no alcohol because it upsets your stomach.. maybe we can have a to go coffee or hot chocolate and a croissant from a nearby shop, have our little picnic.”
I like it better, nature is more peaceful, and picnic are nice. If you want to try a restaurant or anything later it can be done, but maybe for the first meeting nature is better for me, less overwhelming. I will keep you updated though, if I end up feeling more comfortable in crowded place. And well I wouldn’t keep you from wine either. I am not uncomfortable with you having it even if I don’t drink alcohol (and I might if I feel like I can handle it, just have to be careful because I’m not a regular drinker). I’m sure we’d be able to figure out something nice, with a little bit of planning (I’m really bad at improvising, I like to be prepared, though I’m not against following the flow when I’m with someone I trust. As long we’re able to relax everything is fine.)
” All the academic information, as interesting as it is, will not bring about anything good unless the person you get attached to is worthy of your trust.”
Indeed, if there’s no trust it doesn’t work either way..
“Earlier I thought about calling you and it occurred to me that you are living with.. Her, and what if she gets on the phone and harasses me, what if she finds our communication here, email.. and attacks me, perceiving me as the Danger-Out-There.. I don’t want her or people like her in my life.”
Living with her made me keep people I care about away from my house (and unfortunately from me) for their own safety for very long. I don’t want her anywhere near you. I don’t want you to ever meet her, and I don’t want you to have to hear her voice.
If we have a phone call I will get out and hide from her. I will be careful. It is my job to protect my loved ones from the monster, whether it is by keeping them away from me (if I’m unable to leave) or maybe, when/if I’m able to leace, by being away from her myself. There is just no doubt in my head that as long I am within this home, the people I care about outside have to be away from me…
Until now it wasn’t exactly a big issue, because my friends can’t or don’t care much about visiting me. For those who aren’t living nearby it visiting me never has been an option, and for those who do live nearby we just hang out outside. It is the first time I have to worry about having someone wanting to see me, so… I am a bit unprepared. I would have to prepare and plan things ahead. If I still live with her I guess we would meet far from where I live and I would lie to her about who I’ll be with (a lie that would prevent some fuss). To be honest farther than that I cannot imagine, because there’s no way to know what the future is made of, whether it is for Covid or my ability to leave home.
I can just promise I wouldn’t let her near you, whatever it takes.
” sitting in an outdoors casual restaurant with you, it’s quiet enough to talk but the noises around are pleasant, people talking to each other, seeming happy.. and we sit there, maybe drinking cappuccino with foam, your face so young, mine much older.. a smile, maybe a shy smile on my face, on yours, the sun is pleasant, warm but not hot, some traffic noise.. sitting there enjoying the pleasant sun, the sounds, noticing the awkward feeling and reminding each other that it’s okay to feel awkward, no need to add awkward on top of awkward… “
The scenery seems nice. I’m feeling anxiety because my past experiences of having anxiety in crowded places, but this anxiety is bearable when I’m with someone I trust. And I can still try to improve my anxiety management until then.
” Maybe it’s later in the day and we an have a glass or red wine (I will have to add a sweetener to it, which might offend proud wine drinkers… will it offend you?)”
I wouldn’t be offended by such things. I’m am no proud drinker (of wine or anything, alcohol upset my stomach too easily) and when I have any kind of alcohol I prefer it sweet so, no offense. For that or any food preference by the way. I’m not exactly sure why people are wasting their energy criticizing other people’s personal preferences.
“this is so beautiful that I had to quote it all just so to see it again, it makes me smile and feel so good about you!”
I am glad. It was one of the things I’ve been thinking about telling you but waiting for a good timing. I did notice the times you mentioned fantasy about talking to me over the phone, helping me escape my mother, or… being there, holding my hand and helping me through each step of the way. I was deeply moved by those parts of your posts, yet I didn’t reply to those specifically.
Every of those would have been an occasion to tell I’ve had those small daydreaming about you. Not something like you helping me escape, no… mostly just about what our connection would look like if we could interact in real life, how I would feel… And it makes me feel really good to imagine this.
I didn’t dare to tell you, because it would show attachment, and since we both experience fear of emotional attachment I am instinctively wary about showing signs and telling about it. I can do it though, slowly, when the timing feels right… with hopes if I do it in the right way it will be good for both of us.
Figuring out the right way to go with attachment is difficult. I base myself on the attachment theory of Mary Ainsworth and John Bowlby (I don’t know if you’re familiar with this?) and my personal emotional experience. My personal experience as a receiver :
– too much clinginess (from interaction with anxious attachment, coming from a fear of abandonment) feels suffocating, unsafe because I’m not trusted and I can’t feel free to be myself because I have to be wary of not harming the other person’s feelings with everything I do… So, not good. It can fall into unhealthy caretaking.
– too much distance (from interaction with avoidant attachment, coming from a fear of intimacy) is alright when I don’t feel ready to being emotionally attached either, but when I feel some attachment it can go from… feeling disheartened to being heart-broken, and maybe awoken some anxious attachment feelings that I kill immediately because I know from my inner emotional experience that clinginess will make it worse.
Now, as the person feeling and showing attachment to others, I relate to both anxious and avoidant feelings… (which would mean I have a fearful-avoidant attachment, I guess) Though, being more of an half-dead trunk than a person, I didn’t act on my feelings most of the time, I was trying to be more of an observant. When I didn’t have a choice because I was directly sollicited, I tried to tempered whatever I was feeling. And after I discovered attachment theory and what Secure attachment was supposed to be like, I tried to emulate it. I am still aiming towards that, learning to trust, learning to alright with expressing and receiving affection, and reminding myself that distance isn’t necessarily leading to rejection or harm.
I am willing to let our connection be a blossom on my trunk, and I want to do it the healthy and secure way for both of us. Of course, there will always be some fear, anxiety, awkwardness… this is a whole package coming with the emotional attachment (this package thankfully includes joy, warmth, excitement!) The negative aspects of it are intensified by our similar childhood experiences that lead us to insecure attachment patterns, but as we are both on our healing journey I believe it is safe enough for us to… go for it. At the pace that feels right, since we are patient this shouldn’t be a problem to go slowly and safely. Carefully, because we both care about each other.
Coming back to the bits of daydreaming I had about you. I didn’t dare to go too far because I don’t want to let my mind build expectations. I believe it could come in the way of our connection if I let myself feel any expectation. I rather experience our connection as it is, with the real you. I still have these bits of daydreaming because it is how my attachment towards you expresses itself. If we were around each other, I could look at you and pay attention. If you seem uncomfortable, we could talk and try to reach some clarity and peace (if you needed space and no talking it would be alright with me too). If you seem comfortable, we could just enjoy it. Maybe, after looking at you in the eyes and confirming you feeling good, I would dare to tell you how good I feel about you and our connection. Maybe I would dare to ask you about what kind of intimacy you are comfortable about, if I feel bold and confident enough, or maybe I would ask you what would make you happy to do right now if I still feel shy but want to show you affection in a softer way.
These daydreams don’t exactly reach an end because it is just me imagining how I could express affection safely for both of us, and how I could react to different possible actions and reactions from you. They are some kind of simulation, some kind of training that makes me feel good and reassures me in my ability to handle a close connection safely.
I hope you’ll sleep longer tonight!
“the lion protects the deer from the wolf because if the wolf eats the deer, guess who’s going to stay hungry?”
It makes sense. A tricky subtlety for a child’s mind, but easier to understand as an adult.
“Historically, I felt uncomfortable giving and/ or receiving affection, but I am getting more comfortable with it. Still awkward though. So, I’ll express it once in a while, not in every post.”
I understand, and I don’t mind.
Thankfully, I was lucky enough to have been exposed to affection (despite the low personal investment from my part due to my caution and poor social skills) from several friends who weren’t shy with affection (more physical than with words, often, but it varied from people to people). I found were able to drop the awkwardness for some, then it would get back depending on the circumstances. But I find, despite the awkwardness, it’s still worth it when the connection is good.
I don’t have much daydream lately, but sometimes, after or before our conversation, it happened that I imagine an alternative reality in which meeting each other would have been a possibility. I wondered whether we’d still get along and how awkward it’d be. I figured, if somehow we’d still appreciate each other and therefore affection would have be not entirely unwelcomed, that I would probably ask you if it’s alright before giving it. It’s awkward to ask but it’s more comfortable to have clear consent even for little things. And I appreciate how mindful we’re trying to be (while staying true to who we are!) in this conversation, so I find it interesting to imagine what it looks like in more real context.
Have a good afternoon Anita, I hope you’ll sleep well enough tonight!
“The healing process is about being more and more true to yourself, which means: you must not accommodate me at the expense of you being true to yourself. Call that woman whatever feels true to you.”
I like this idea, not having to accommodate to understand each other, to be able to be true to myself without having to fear every time about how it could endanger our connection.
“Does she deserve yours or anyone’s empathy… this woman who harms children with weapons .. just because she can get away with it?”
Having empathy for her costs too much. And honestly, it didn’t make her a better person to have mine. So she doesn’t deserve it.
“Long ago she was a child herself, harmed by her own mother and by other adults in her young life.. but that didn’t cause her to side with those harmed, too weak and dependent to protect themselves or fight back. Instead, she sided with those inflicting harm on the weak and dependent.”
She claims she protect us so strongly. And I can see her actions are sometimes coherent with that, but even when she makes actions in order to ‘protect her children’, she thinks more of herself than she thinks about her children. Because we tell her “no it’s not going to help”, “no it will cause more harm”, “no, it isn’t your business”… and yet she keeps imposing her harmful “protection”. This means the truth is… no matter how much she lies about it, she’s on the side of the harm.
” positive, meaningful connections with others will bring your emotions and your cognitive functions back to life, infusing your heart and brain with much needed oxygen!”
Very very much need indeed.
“After I submitted to you the last post yesterday, ending with “dearest Linarra”- I was worried: maybe it made you feel uncomfortable, it could potentially, if ..let’s say the wicked birth mother refers to you this way, in French.”
Oh, she does call me with french endearments terms but, to be honest, I don’t listen to her much when she’s being affectionate. I listen to her so little that I couldn’t tell exactly what endearment she uses, or how often. And even those I can remember at this moment I don’t associate them with her specifically. But don’t worry I will telling you if something reminds me of her in a way that makes me uncomfortable.
“Also, I am quite new at referring to people affectionately. How do you feel about me calling you earlier “sweet Linarra”, and this “dearest Linarra”… ?”
It depends on the moment. Yesterday, I was still a bit worried about our connection (only slightly), so I didn’t allow myself to feel warm like other times you showed affection. When it comes to affection, I have a ‘proceed with caution’ system. I am open to it and enjoy affection very much when in relationships that I trust, but even when I trust there are times when my brain get stuck into evaluating the risks. Not the risks of big betrayals, but the risks that come with usual emotions and fluctuations that come with relationships… which are not supposed to be too risky, but since my brain has been used to be cautious I can’t help a bit of worry.
As I said, it’s not too intense, but when they are there, they can be messing with my appreciation of the connection. Other than these times, I very much appreciate affection and I don’t believe I have specific negative triggers. If you have some, please tell me so I can be mindful of them.
Before replying, I’ll tell you some news that I believe will please you. First, my brother went back to his studies, so he won’t be home for the next few months and since he mentioned a lot his intention of not coming back at all if he can’t help it (and he’s quite determined) he might not come back. Second, the fact he came back home this summer was actually helpful for something, because he helped my sister getting a job and making a step further in her goal, if it goes well for her she might be the next one to leave. It will take some time, but there’s progress for her. I am proud of them.
Now, I’ll reply to your post:
” I will never, ever again refer to any one of these women as Mothers, but as Monsters. If you prefer that I use another word that has a definite negative connotation (in English or in French), let me know what it is.”
I understand your need and I’ll try to be careful to not use the term mother with you from now on then. I don’t know how comfortable with using the term Monster myself, but I might get used to it. I can’t think of another English term. In French, I’m thinking about “marâtre”
Definition from wordsense.eu :
marâtre (fem.) (pl. marâtres)
1. A stepmother (especially an evil one, as the -âtre suffix came to be a pejorative)
2. An abusive, wicked birth mother
“she weakened you with her triple weapon of Fear-Shame-Guilt, profiting from your history of being small and helpless as babies and young children, and keeping you that way.”
I feel this one deeply. She’s been doing that so much, unfortunately successfully.
“You can’t know how it is to be connected to others as a person when you didn’t yet adequately experience it long enough to trust that it exists and can be trusted to continue. This is why for as long as you allow it, I must stay connected with you, so that maybe.. just maybe you will trust me and our connection.”
Thank you.. It is important to me. I don’t know how long it’ll take to really trust, but I am glad you are willing to try. I really believe I need more positive connections, real ones, with people who consider me as a person. Maybe it’ll help me find back some life and be more connected to my emotions. And maybe as I feel more and more like a person, and get used to healthier connections, I will recognize more easily the wrongness when it is happening.
“back to the tree image, I said I have a couple of blossoms, guess what- I have a third, because I connected with you, and there are more blossoms to have because as long as we are alive there is always something missing/ something to yet have.”
This image is hopeful, I like it. And I’m honored to be able to add one more blossom to your tree.
“you don’t know because I didn’t tell you and because my brain’s function has greatly improved: my brain failed me for decades in ways that could have easily killed me. My brain was severely inattentive, severely numb, severely dissociated, I was spaced out.. couldn’t focus, couldn’t process information.”
I’m glad to read it can greatly improve, and that it did for you. This issue is one of the things that makes me lack confidence in the idea of being able to take care of myself well enough to survive in the outside world. Not being able to trust my cognitive functions is scary…
” It was so pathetic, in my mind. I thought to myself: THIS IS ALL IT TOOK???? This is all I had to do in the past to make her stop???? And I felt sorry for her, oh.. poor monster lost her courage.” “That was the last time she attempted to physically hit me. So you see.. the monster is not out of control when she abuses us, it’s simply a power strategy on her part.”
It is easier to stop physical attacks than mental manipulations… And I also believe I was more messed up by the mental attacks than any of the physical ones I receive in my life. The physical ones are proofs something is wrong, they show evidence of something awful. The mental ones are more easily overlooked, innocent looked, and before you know it you’re stuck into the trap so deep and even there it can be difficult to recognize the victimize as one.
“I expected myself to process everything quickly and become a.. functional member of society, put a lot of pressure on myself. I failed every time I tried to meet my own unrealistic expectations.”
I feel this one very deeply too. It takes a lot to let go of unrealistic expectations.
“I really like you too. When I feel distant from you again, maybe even angry… I will take a break, a walk outside.. and I will like you again afterwards. Anger doesn’t have to be catastrophic and lead to a disaster.. if you are not a monster.”
Thank you. And you are right. Another emotion that has been twisted so much.
I had to read your post several times (and reread my post of 2 a.m. too) to process. I tried to think a lot, even if I cannot think too far. Just like you, “I don’t know where to go from here”... But I’ll try to give you my thoughts and feelings as clearly as possible.
First, I am relieved we’ll keep communicating, and that you feel closer to me again. I understand the… distance you take when the situation gets too close to home. And since it is so close to you, I understand why you would feel anger towards me for not leaving. I remember I felt such anger toward myself before I was more adapted, less numb. The self-hatred didn’t help though… It turned into shame and more inaction. I hate my mother, I hated myself, I thought if fate made any sense it should kill us both. I thought if my family disappeared the world would be better. So I understand and agree when you said : “I am feeling anger right now, a valid anger, I am okay with this anger: anger at the Monster, anger at the Wrong passed on from one generation to the next”. I felt a lot of pain and anger contemplating helplessly the inter-generational mental illnesses, the fifty shades of trauma…
My siblings and I, we were so alone in this, shamed, tied to secrecy, truly believing if we were to speak about our reality the blame would fall on us. Nobody would believe us about what kind of monster our mother was, everybody would believe her because her speech is more intense. I always thought if I was to speak about this, even if the difficulty of the situation was acknowledged I would be considered as responsible for not being strong enough, for not being close to save myself, and therefore I would deserve/receive no help or sympathy.
So I had… to fake being strong until I was. It didn’t heal me, it turned me into something… something so numb that it brings even less empathy to people. I am crying again. Maybe the loss you asked me about yesterday was… the loss of my connection to humanity. The loss you get when you have been scarred by your life so deeply you can’t feel emotions, can’t feel human, cannot hope to be healed/fixed… And yet, yet… I just have enough emotion left to suffer from… this loss. The loss of not being able to have human connections. My greatest pain.
My mother’s yelling, threats, shaming, mind games… I was able to get used to it. What I never was able to get used to, even though I actively tried, was… the pain of not being able to connect, of having to live with the thought I would be forever alone. Being so broken that I would never be able to get any good human connection at all, not without risking being abandoned when people would realize… where I came from, and how far from being a person I came to be… Worse. If they were to bear with that, what if I was broken enough that my issues could… spread? Just like my mother did to me. So I resigned myself to survive alone. And I couldn’t really do it honestly. I was missing everything I would need, the strength, the experience, the motivation. How to be motivated when you have no hope you’ll ever be an entire enough person, when you are convinced the only people who would want anything with you will be those who intend to use you as an object. Because those who want a human would notice something’s missing… And I didn’t have the energy. My mother doing her mind tricks and feeding upon me… How could I have it?
I’ve been crying from the moment I mentioned it until now. Now I am not crying anymore but my eyes are irrated. I was trembling as I wrote, I hope I didn’t make too many mistakes because I won’t have the courage to reread this post. I hope it’ll be readable.
I have to tell you… My brain fails. My memory isn’t good. Unlike you (from what I gather from your posts) I am not very visual in my memories, and not very auditive either I guess, except for a few exceptions. But I have some memories of feelings, from some moments I wasn’t numb. I remember the distress… I was alone with my siblings, nobody to confirm we were suffering, nobody to tell us what was going on wasn’t normal, that maybe we weren’t to blame. I remember, in this distress, asking myself often “It has to be abuse, it can’t be normal… She cannot have the right to do that?”, “She shouldn’t be allowed to hurt us even if she is our mother”, “Why nobody is noticing? Do we really have to tell about it? Then… maybe it’s normal, maybe we aren’t suffering enough to deserve help.” And… I became adult, we became adults, and then I thought “Now it is too late, maybe people would believe children are defenseless and deserve help, but adults? It doesn’t matter how messed we are now, we’re alone. People won’t understand someone supposed to be old enough to defend themselves yet being as powerless as we are.”
From all the people I mentioned my mother’s behavior, you were the only one I remember who got so angry (most don’t even show any anger). This makes sense, I gave you more details and you are able to feel it at a personal level due to your own experience. You are the only ones who allow me to feel like what has been going on is really abuse, and very wrong. I’m grateful for that, it allows me to remember the feelings I’ve been burying for so long.
I have been, very disturbed the first time I read your post… disturbed by so much strong emotion, so much anger. And some even aimed at me (which echoes my self-hatred and my past inner belief maybe I am bad/broken enough to deserve… more hurt). But in the end, I understand. Thank you for reminding me of my anger… and I’m sorry. I’m afraid you’ll have to be more patient with me, I wish I could do as you say easily but… it is unlikely to happen so fast.
I do value our connection a lot, so it would take a lot to break it but if there’s more pressure than my mind can bear without breaking I will have to slow down… I don’t want to lose our connection over making not enough efforts, but I wouldn’t feel great to lose it over feeling I’m too broken to meet your expectation and to succeed in my healing either… I will keep trying to heal, and help my siblings but… It’ll be difficult. You don’t have to pressure yourself by coming up with a plan either… Maybe we’ll get somewhere eventually, see how I can stop feeding the beast eventually, but I cannot process everything at once.
Thank you for sharing your feelings with me Anita. I really like you, even when your intensity gets challenging for me.