September 24, 2020 at 12:33 am #367148
Apologies for not being clear and for disappearing (time zones!)
So the situation would be something like this:
A 7/8 year old be would be throwing a tantrum because I hadn’t got my way or been told off. I would get upset and say “you don’t love me, I’m going to run away!”. (I think runaways were a common theme on tv back then). I don’t think I ever thought I wasn’t loved, I was just trying to guilt trip my mother and get my own way! I once packed up a little rucksack with a torch and not much else. I thought I might go to the park and sleep under a bush, but of course I didn’t go. All this to me seems standard childish tantrum stuff.
My mother’s response would be one of incredulity: “YOU’RE running away? I’LL run away”. With the sentiment being she had more reason to run away, what with putting up with me. I don’t remember feeling the panic after this, just concern that she would do this. In addition to knowing she had “running away money” it didn’t seem a bad assumption.
By the time I was a teenager I think I was confident that running away wasn’t really something a mum did. Maybe I then invented other ways she might disappear/abandon me.September 24, 2020 at 9:47 am #367163
When we experience severe distress in childhood, unless as adults we aim at healing and proceed to heal from that distress best we can, we keep re-experiencing the same distress, as adults, over and over again.
* Here is your re-experiencing of your childhood distress at 46 (from your first post):
Your partner’s action: “I felt (current partner) had withdrawn a lot of affection“.
Your reaction: “I went nuclear! I was examining every action and word from her as a sign I was being rejected and that she was withdrawing. As a result I knew it would only get worse in my head and my behaviour would become so bad I would make myself unlovable and she would leave me. So I forced the issue of breaking up”.
* Here is your experiencing the original distress at 7 or 8 (in your most recent post):
Your mother’s action: “I would get upset and say (to your mother) ‘you don’t love me‘”. I know that you introduced the incident as if you were a manipulative child who copied behaviors she watched in running away movies, but I believe that what caused your upset was that your mother withdrew affection from you (“you don’t love me”!).
Reaction is parallel to the above:
Then: “throwing a tantrum” => now: “went nuclear”.
Then: “I would get upset and say ‘you don’t love me, I’m going to run away!.. packed up a little rucksack”=> now: “I forced the issue of breaking up”.
Then: “I would get upset”=> now (the nature of the upset is detailed): “I was examining every action and word from her as a sign that I was being rejected and that she was withdrawing.. I knew it would only get worse… she would leave me”, “I get the feelings of utmost panic and fear as soon as I believe someone has rejected or withdrawn their affection…. I.. blame myself and my failings for the withdrawal of affection, go over and over things. I can’t breathe, my chest is tight”.
More, you wrote: “I had a very loving childhood”. I read this statement from many members here, over the years, only to find out later that it was not so. A child never thinks something like: oh, oh, my mother does not love me.. but I will be okay. No, a child panics at such thought and pushes such thoughts and feelings down underneath her awareness; she dissociates (“I don’t think I ever thought I wasn’t loved… I don’t remember feeling the panic”).
At 7 or 8, when you told your mother, “You don’t love me, I’m going to run away!”- it wasn’t a calculated, calm child that said that, planning to guilt-trip her mother so to get her “own way!”, such as getting a toy she wants, or expensive clothes. Your own way was about getting her affection back!
You told her that you wanted to run away because you wanted her to realize how badly you were hurting. But how did your mother react to your words and acts of desperation, did she “hear” you, did she see your pain?
No, she didn’t. She made it about her: “YOU’RE running away? I’LL run away”, “With the sentiment being she had more reason to run away, what with putting up with me”.
“All this to me seems standard childish tantrum stuff”- no, it is not standard childish tantrum stuff, this is a girl panicking, a girl distressed, so much so that she keeps re-living that distress periodically “for 30 years.. I get the feelings of utmost panic and fear as soon as I believe someone has rejected or withdrawn their affection… I weep and wail and curl into a ball, blame myself and my failings”. This distress is the reason you “find it difficult to let someone in and truly be vulnerable to them… I have been living alone for so long that I find it difficult to let someone in”.
“every child will have had some sort of experience of feeling alone and afraid. Parents are human after all”- people are deeply flawed, and your mother was deeply flawed in the way she behaved with you. A young child is most accurate in perceiving a withdrawal of affection by her mother, so I believe that indeed she withdrew her affection from you in ways that were harsh and intended to cause you hurt.
“My first experience of ‘rejection’ was around the age of 17”- your first experience of Rejection was way earlier than that, and it was the experience of your mother rejecting you.
“she had a bank account called her ‘running away money’. It was in fact an old bank account from prior to her meeting my father. It was said in response to the (I think) common, petulant child protestation that I was going to run away from home”.
Let’s look at some online definitions of the word petulant: “unreasonably irritable or ill-tempered, rude in speech or behavior.. easily annoyed and complaining in a rude way”. I don’t think that you were a petulant child. I think it was the other way around: your mother was unreasonable, ill-tempered, easily annoyed and complaining in a rude way when she told her 7 or 8 year old (and probably repeatedly before and after that age) that she is prepared to run away from her own little girl.
It is almost unimaginable, isn’t it, that a mother, at times, intends to scare and hurt her child and proceeds to do so.
anitaSeptember 24, 2020 at 10:02 am #367164
<p style=”text-align: center;”>Hi Anita,
I read your response with interest. I think the description seems a bit harsh on a parent who was probably tired and pushed to their limit; and who did not recognise the impact on such words on their child. I have discussed it with my mother over the years and it does seem a throw-away comment that stuck, rather than said with cruel intentions. I am certain of my mother’s good intention but also of her fallibility (human condition). I can objectively observe her behaviour towards others and myself and would not describe her behaviour in the terms youused.
As a child, my mother would always be careful to say she loved me but not necessarily love my behaviour.
M</p>September 24, 2020 at 10:48 am #367166
It took you less than 15 minutes to read my long post to you, to type a reply to it and submit it. This is too fast, too fast for anyone to consider what I brought to you (it took me a few hours to put together that recent post), especially considering the sensitive nature of the topic.
If you want to, if you are able and willing, take as long as it takes, and reply to me at another time, when you are calmer or in a more accommodating state of mind, accommodating to the aim of exploring, which is what you stated that you want to do (“How this feeling can be as a result of a childhood experience. This point I would like to explore”, your first post).
“I think the description seems a bit harsh on a parent who was probably tired…”- I am not here to harm your mother. I didn’t address my recent post to your mother. I addressed it to you. It is your life experience, in the context of relationships, that has been harsh, and it is your harsh experience that I am addressing and exploring with you, not your mother’s.
anitaSeptember 24, 2020 at 11:45 am #367168
I clicked on this thread as I thought it was the one I normally post on, having replied on the original thread I felt compelled to reply here too. I have a huge amount of respect for the time and effort you put into your insightful posts however, I feel the above post by you may be shortsighted.
As you probably have read, I have had anxiety/issues from relationships. It wasn’t all rooted in childhood. Childhood does play a huge role in our adult behaviour however it doesn’t necessarily always mean our parents were harsh to us. There are so many other variables that condition us to become who we are. There are also many children who have grown up in poverty, war-torn countries, or absent parental figures who become well-adjusted adults. I think a broader approach is needed, a lot of what you wrote comes across as projection.
This is just my opinion. Just like the above is yours and the reader is entitled to decipher and make of it what they will. I just felt you were condemning @Moomin for disagreeing or coming to the conclusion that it may not be applicable. There have been many things I’ve posted in another thread that contributors do not agree with it, it is what makes different perspectives so valuable.
Just some food for thought.
TimSeptember 24, 2020 at 12:00 pm #367170
* Dear Tim: Welcome back to the forums. If you want to criticize my input to Moomin- you have done the what it takes: you addressed me and proceeded to criticized my input to her. If you want to help Moomin, then address her and offer her your perspective/beliefs/ life experience without mentioning me and criticizing my input to her. Neither one of us needs more criticism in our lives when it is not necessary (you can fully express yourself to one member without criticizing another member).
anitaSeptember 24, 2020 at 12:15 pm #367172
I will not prolong this discussion, I was just trying to give food for thought on how it came across and it may be something you wish to reflect on. I would welcome such feedback myself, we are all humans and capable of mistakes and improvements. If there was a PM option it would have been what I opted to do but it wasn’t available and after reading the response I felt compelled to reply, I apologise for offending you. I will refrain from commenting in the future to a post you have posted. Again not my intention to cause you any grief. Apologies.
@Moomin if you would like an alternative insight I’d be happy to offer. If I have offended you by interjecting I too apologise.September 24, 2020 at 1:53 pm #367175
Thank you for your kindness, time and, insight over the last few days. I have found this helpful and comforting. I will continue to explore some of the ideas you have raised with me (particularly the mindfulness meditations) outside of the forum.
Wishing you health, peace and happiness
MSeptember 24, 2020 at 2:09 pm #367176
You are welcome. I am glad to read that you will continue to explore. Thank you for wishing me health, peace and happiness. I wish you the same!
anitaSeptember 26, 2020 at 12:50 am #367259
Thank you for your kind words to me.
Wishing you peace, health and happiness.
MSeptember 26, 2020 at 8:04 am #367268