Forum Replies Created
July 4, 2021 at 2:07 pm #382408
<p style=”text-align: left;”>Dear Anita</p>
I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the new things and advice on pregnancy and labour I am hearing and learning at the moment.
On top of it the recent situation with my mother, is making me feel so inadequate as my own capacity as a mother. I am trying to be in present moment as possible. I have a holiday coming up in next week and perhaps that will make a difference. Otherwise its a groundhog day off late.
You wrote ” Parents mirror reality to the young child this way, so it’s important for parents to contain their anxiety, particularly in situations that don’t warrant it.”
Absolutely agree. I recently read this book on parenting by Phillipa Perry : “The book which you wish your parents had read”.
Sometimes, I amuse myself- I am reading manuals on bringing up children. Should this be a natural thing? ( I know it’s not…but I struggle without a proper template) If someone asked me at 18 what I wanted to atudy/profession to pursue I had a clearer answer. But with motherhood, I struggle. I think I was doing ok…but the incident with my mother is pulling me down.
I know I feel anxious around the people I love..making sure they are absolutely alright. I don’t know any better at times. But for the past year, I am much better with my typical responses to such situations. I hope to make continued progress in this area.
Namaste87July 4, 2021 at 1:49 pm #382405
Thank you for your post and sharing your thoughts. I will reflect on them in coming months.
Currently, I am processing a lot of things and more importantly the changes happening in my body. I don’t want to go into deep thinking at the moment, it is bringing too many negative emotions than positive ones
I could do without them for now.
Namaste87July 2, 2021 at 9:13 am #382279
Thank you for appreciating my poem. Your interpretation of my poem is almost accurate. Although, I had particularly those in mind with unfavourable circumstances, not all of us get a chance to be adorable roses in a well kept garden. Some of us fall into muddy waters, some by the roadside. And yet we learn to bloom, however small or big our petals maybe!
You also mentioned:
”talk to him about what specific behaviors (that he observed other mothers do) does he considers to be mollycoddling, see if the two of you agree on the matter. And when time comes, and you find yourself mollycoddling your child (in your opinion and his)- then gently correct the specific behavior.”
Great advice! I will keep this in mind. But, I do know he was referring to me checking with him the other day if his ankle was alright at least five times in two hours. He had badly sprained it from his run and we had gone for a long walk the next day.
Hope you are taking care of yourself in the heatwave which Northern America is facing at the moment!
Namaste87July 2, 2021 at 8:53 am #382275
Thank you for your detailed post. Many of the things which you have mentioned in your post, I have already come across those concepts before, I have reflected upon them. I have used some of them to make improvements in my life.
E.g. I have mentioned before, I have forgiven my parents for their behaviour, there is no longer a burning anger inside me.I am also grateful for things which happened to me in my life. It made me study very hard, doing two degrees at once and also a degree and a full time job in my early twenties. My father’s misjudgements with money, taught me to be prudent of my own financial dealings. I bought my home (however small) together with my husband at age of 28 in one of the most expensive cities in the world.I am debt free except for the mortgage.
My mother’s state of mental health, reminds me to take care of my own. I am not ashamed to be vulnerable and take help. Her terrible relationships with people, ensured that I had my circle of dependable people.
I am thankful to my parents for teaching me to read and write, give wings to my ideas and helping me shape opinion. They are far liberal for people of their generation as well. For an Indian girl, I was never asked to wear this or that. I am grateful for them teaching me to treat people from all classes equally and being confident in every environment. I was taught to eat at fanciest restaurants as well as from shanty tea stalls. To always have a sense of adventure and explore the world.
But, I am not at a stage where I am thankful to my parents for the other things they do or did. I end up feeling helpless and guilty around them. As you said, I try and manage my responses but there are days when my mind simply cannot take it. I become a prisoner to my emotions so to speak. May be with time, this will go away.
I will meditate upon this and look at it from a third person perspective in coming months.
You mentioned a lot about SOUL choosing things…I am not sure how to interpret this at all. As someone raised in a Hindu household, took upon to read the Bhagvad Geeta out of interest at about 17/18 from my grandfather’s library, these concepts are not alien to me at all. Ever since, I was a teenager, I have been trying to look for answers for the problems which I have faced.
This has made me dip into philosophy, Vedic astrology (I know the basics and use it as a guideline), self help books, phycology and now meditation. On a personal level, I may be ok with concept of my SOUL choosing my mother and father. Maybe it was a past life karma.
However, as a practitioner of law of this material plane, I beg to differ on this concept. Does it mean that all the horrendous crimes committed against people are as a result of their own choosing? As my favourite author/contemporary philosopher puts it in his book “How the World Thinks : Julian Baggini”, is karma also an instrument/excuse by those in power to suppress the destitute?
Was it right for people who were my carers to molest me as a child (3-5)? Did my SOUL choose a mother, who when I narrated these things happening to me (when I was 23/24) accused me of lying and refused to listen to me?
Maybe she was in denial, but couldn’t she hug me instead? I believe this is the hardest part for me to understand in the SOUL choosing theory. I am not even angry towards those people who molested me. I have no feelings towards them. I just think they were so very wrong.
I would end this by saying thank you for taking your time to write to me and remind me of staying in the present moment.
Namaste87June 30, 2021 at 5:48 am #382181
Hope you are doing ok.There is a lot going on my mind since last week. I have been reflecting on what we have discussed on this thread and at the same time wondering about things to come in my life. Especially my little one. My husband pointed out the other day the high chances about me mollycoddling my child to avoid being the sort of terror that my mother was….Honestly I don’t know. Only time will tell.
You wrote “It is therefore better to not talk to just anyone about our mothers- many will consider us.. disloyal, feel angry at us for allegedly betraying her, and they will pity our mothers.”
This hit home. This happens time and again. Just this Sunday, a friend/acquaintance asked if my mother would be there take care of my baby. I replied in negative and said my mother in law would instead. Her expression just changed, she was so puzzled. Why are in-laws looked at in such bad light? Maybe these people have had such loving homes, that they never had to look elsewhere for love.
I have also realised that I am also turning into a people rescuer of sorts. I have been concerned about a young cousin (I am not exactly close to her) who has left cushy job in Silicon Valley and headed home to India. She was suffering from severe paranoia resulting from lockdowns and loneliness. She is fine now, that she is home. But I sort immediately rushed into telling my Aunty about seeking a therapist. Maybe because my Aunty feared about an ‘evil eye’ creating havoc in her daughter’s life! I try my best to raise mental health awareness.
I am also thinking about return to work next year and conversations with HR. The idea of individuality and motherhood and how often these issues can get so tangled. I am currently on my creative lowest. I am simply embracing the changes which my body keeps throwing at me every few days. I had written the below poem at the start of my IVF process few months ago. It was also a part of this 55word posts forum which I was contributing to since past year. The word prompt was ‘seed’
A fallen seed from the heaven,
Are you frightened of getting dirty in the muddy waters?
Hold your reins against those torrential currents and menancing pests.
Others may bloom at the will of sweet sunshine,
But only you will learn to breathe underwater.
Unfluttering your pearly white petals,
As the Buddha’s Crest.
Namaste87June 25, 2021 at 7:18 am #381967
No need to apologise for your long post. I take a solace in writing too. It helps to clear my own mind and at times give more creative means to my own feelings when I channelise it via poetry.
You wrote “ It took me a long time to truly understand that really, really.. there is nothing I can do to make her happy. I still wish that she was happy. I am smiling right now at the thought/ image of her being happy, but I know that I was not, can not, would never be able to make that happen.”
These words made me smile and shed a few drops of tears at the same time! Perhaps, we all know that from within. But, the relationship with a parent is so so deep!
“My sister is 6 years younger than me and while I stayed at home all the time when not in school, my sister was out a whole lot, busy with friends etc., but when I left the country at 24, my sister was alone with my mother for the first time, and that’s when she was hurt the most.”
Ah! Siblings. I left the country when I was 25 and my sister was left behind. She is an introvert unlike me…she usually tailed around me wherever I went. My friends were her friends and they treated her as a baby. I do sense she was at loss without me. She was a tall, slender girl. She started gaining weight rapidly after I left India, often sticking to her room to minimise interaction with my parents.
I also want to thank you for sharing your story Anita. For years, I have had been this person who felt like an imposter (Very much like Donald Draper from Mad Men), getting around socially by my charm and wit. In an Indian society, it was such a taboo to speak against your parents or tell someone how things were wrong at home (except closest friends and they didn’t know any better as they were same age as mine!) I still struggle at times with it but then I have learnt that not everyone needs to know everything. Authenticity is such a rare thing in society. I am sure there are so many people like me who have struggled but maybe are so afraid to voice themselves when it comes to sharing their burden. For the past two years, at least I am trying to be authentic to people to truly say how I am feeling instead of “I am fine”. I feel so light after that!
“you will have a lot of power to help/ make a difference in your child’s experience of life, while having no power to help/ make a difference in your mother’s experience of life. This is why better invest in your child, and no longer in your mother.”
Thank you for these words. Yes, the thinking is to be there for my child and I can’t wait to him/her. 🙂 I have always wondered over the years, what sort of mother I will become. I hope to become a kind and compassionate one.
Namaste87June 24, 2021 at 5:43 am #381923
Thank you for your reply. It seems to me that you gone through a lot yourself and its commendable that you have a come a long way. Your strength and resilience sounds astounding.
The path of no contact as you said has its own hardships. Having very recently, experienced that with my younger sister, after reaching a tipping point, it seems very liberating. I believe I may feel slight remorse or guilt after few months but I do know having done that with my sister, I feel so much at mental peace. But it feels very hard to do so with my own mother.
I was mulling over why my husband could hope against hope that things will be alright with my mother. Then, I realised I was that same hopeful person as a tweenager and even a young adult. I thought if I did this, it would make my mum happy again. If my father won a big contract, she would be happy. Why, when I was in my early twenties and when my sister( aged 14) ran away from home after a confrontation with my mother and attempted to end her life by walking into the ocean (She was spotted by beach patrol and rescued)…I had this hope than my mother would change her behaviour. My parents would act more like adults!
I believe one cannot help a person who doesn’t want to help oneself for a prolonged period of time. My husband sometimes tells me to treat my mother like a patient and discount her behaviour. But, I do not have the professional training to do so and as Pink pointed out in her post…It’s hard to keep my guard up!
I am now going to begin by minimising my calls with my mother and see how it goes. Thank you for all your help in guiding me.
Namaste87June 23, 2021 at 12:16 am #381878
Dear Teak, Anita and Pink24
Thank you so much for reading and replying to my post.
Almost all of you have given me similar advice of “Not being in contact” with my mother. I must admit it does feel very difficult to go for it almost straight away. 8 years ago when I moved to England, I wasn’t exactly in regular touch with my parents. To be honest, one of the reasons I had moved away, got into an arranged marriage (not the forced one…although it was still a quick decision by western standards) was to simply escape my family. However, I was getting along very well with my in-laws (also based in India) and was in regular touch with them (I love my in-laws to bits and it feels like family I never had).
My parents started complaining to my in-laws that I am not exactly in touch. My father accused me of favouring them over my parents as my in-laws are more financially stronger than my parents! In the meanwhile, my husband found it hard to believe that toxic families exist and I was probably making it all up. It has taken years of marriage, counselling and my husband’s active listening to empthaise with my situation. But he is a someone with strong family values and I doubt if he will ever support me I decide to go no contact.
The last time I was in India (2018), I had decided to take some time out and go on a beach holiday with my friends (a reunion of sorts), I had given reasonable time to my parents and my in—laws : all carved out of 15 days of my annual leave. My parents had also spent some time with me that summer of 2018 with me in England. My parents were so mad at me for seeing my friends (3 days) that they complained about me to every other extended family member, neighbour etc (public humiliation has always been their favourite punishment).
When, we came back from this mini holiday, and when my parents picked up my husband and I from the airport, they didn’t even bother asking how the holiday was..instead they kept bickering over something stupid. My husband had his eureka moment then! How different it was to his family! But he still says, they will have some role to play in upbringing our child.
Anyways, after 2018, I was going through my last therapy and started my mediation practice. I could let go of my anger and any resentment I had towards them. I am also learning to build boundaries (one of the reasons, I have realised I struggle is the extreme affection showered by my parents and the abuse inflicted by them at the same time). Then the pandemic hit last year, like everyone else I was worried about my family, I had started working from home and hence sort of got into a habit of calling them more often and regularly. Of course, there have been some manipulative attempts by my father around money during the past year, something which I have refused to indulge into. With my mother, its the same old story. Although, they were really supportive as I went through an IVF earlier during the year (and the result of my pregnancy)
@Anita, you pointed out how could I know my mother was a quiet and shy person, I have had some extended family members from my mother’s side of the family say that about her. She is an introvert and socially can be mistaken for someone who is a gentle person!
But at home and with some close family members she has been absolutely nasty. Although, I have been told by a member of father’s family, how rude my mother was when she was a new bride. My mother also holds a lot of anger against her own father.
The reason I had sought therapy and hold a practice of ‘letting go’ is because I refuse to carry this burden with me for the rest of my life. Imagine being angry with what your parents did to you as a child until you are 60!
Earlier, I used to be jealous of people who put family pictures on social media or often spoke lovingly of their parents. I used to make up something. For me, now my family is that of my husbands. I proudly put out a picture of all of us doing an ultra walkathon as a family few years ago. That is my happy photo.
I have even asked my mother in law to come support me around the time around birth of my baby (The traditional Indian way is that one’s own mother is present around that time, but I am finding it too difficult to ask her to)
Now the question remains, over how I could minimise contact with my mother. Yes, I would feel very guilty and ashamed doing so, its not the belief system I have grown up with! My husband often jokes these days, what a different person I am at work (thanks work from home), I am very straightforward, no-nonsense legal counsel. Yet when I am at home and when it comes to personal relationships, I feel so guilty, unsure and so afraid to even slightly hurt people for healthy selfish reasons!