July 19, 2014 at 3:59 pm #61266
Ugh. I keep typing. Backspacing. Typing. I don’t know where to begin. I think I’ll just jump in and try to make some sense.
I’m sad and aching and struggle to get through most days….I can’t remember a day in the recent past that wasn’t steeped in sadness. I can have fun. I can work and play and get stuff done. But deep down, I’m always sad.
I was raised by a domineering, critical father and a passive mother. I was mini-mom irt to household chores and helping with my younger siblings. When I grew up, I had kids young. I wanted to be a mom more than anything. I took my role as mom as the most important job I had. Ten years ago, my eldest became a teen. It wasn’t good. Two years later the next became a teen and it was even worse. There were times I would literally sit in my closet and cry. The baby became a teen 3 years ago and it was no better. They were all supremely challenging in very different ways. But all in ways that made me question just what the hell I was doing as a parent. I did everything I thought I was supposed to. When it went wrong, I tried to do things differently. Nothing made it better. I have since lost my mom and kind of feel like I’m expected to step into her role as the matriarch of the family. The fact of the matter is that I absolutely just want to secede from my whole family.
I want to stop answering the phone. I don’t want to visit. I’m a grandma now. I don’t want to babysit. I don’t want to help out. I pretty much want to stay in my house and look out the window. I’m so broken. I believe that I am a bad daughter, a bad mother, and now a bad grandmother too. I’m blessed to have a supportive husband, but sometimes I want to pull away from him too. I just want to be alone. When I’m alone, I can be at peace.
My dad wants to make plans. I need to throw a shower for my daughter. I have to do something for my son’s birthday and get his grad pics done. My middle needs help. I don’t want to.
I don’t want to be a bad mom, bad daughter, bad grandma. But I want to be alone. I have nothing left to give. I feel like every call I answer, every gift I give, is a chunk of flesh from my bones and I’m nearly picked clean.
And I tell myself to take care of me.
And then I ask myself why the hell I’m such a narcissist and can’t think of anyone besides myself. They need me. And all I can think about is me.
Help please.July 20, 2014 at 3:49 am #61283zaicaParticipant
you’ve been through a lot.. and here i am thinking im nearly going crazy with my predicament…..
have you tried pampering yourself? even just a bit? a manicure? or a pedicure?. things that will make you feel good.. if you cant bring yourself to leave for a while… maybe you should try a little bit everyday.. do something for yourself that will make you feel good.. that’s a start right?July 20, 2014 at 5:43 am #61289
I’ve been working on pampering myself – getting massages, new clothes, pretty things for the house. My problem is more my interactions with others.July 20, 2014 at 6:24 am #61292The RuminantParticipant
It sounds as if you didn’t really have a chance to grow up, before you already started taking on a lot of responsibility over other people. I remember reading this one psychology book with all the phases of growing up and that there is kind of a requirement to go through all of the phases sooner or later. If you postpone them for some reason, they will still be there, waiting for you when you’re older.
I’ve seen it in myself and in other people how difficult it gets over time, when more responsibilities start to pile up, but the capacity to handle them hasn’t grown. All the while the inner child is asking “What about me? What about my needs?” Then you feel bad about thinking like that and feel like you need to give more, but you can’t.
Do take your own time, but instead of trying to escape the reality or ruminating over the thoughts that you’d be bad (you’re not), take time to nurture that inner child. Meditate, get in touch with nature, draw or paint, give yourself the nurturing, attention and love that you need. When you get your needs met, you’ll find that you have so much more energy to be there for others as well. What now feels like a chore can start to feel like a blessing.
You also really have to stop telling yourself that you are bad, because that just takes up even more energy and causes even more emotional outbursts. If you can’t say anything nice to yourself, don’t say anything. Just nurture yourself and love yourself unconditionally.July 20, 2014 at 7:55 am #61305
Thank you, Ruminant. I’ve reread this several times already. It really resonates with me.July 20, 2014 at 8:14 am #61308MattParticipant
In addition to TRs heartfelt and wise words, consider that you can’t control others. Your heart is so strong, it wants to run to the aid of every family member, as a superwoman, a champion of love, justice. But they don’t see it, make choices that scare you, seem wrong, foolish, whatnot. Ick, what to do? The conflicts can quickly stack up, leave impressions on us, until to see our children, loved ones, is to see a mess. Chaos.
The secret here is to let it go. You can’t control it, can’t be the anchor. Can’t stop them from making mistakes, and sometimes they’re not even mistakes, they know it better than you. But you did your best, and that’s all we can do. You brought your heart, to them, and in the closet crying. There you were, what a beauty.
To let the past go, consider forgiving yourself, others, and hoping that whatever ripples show up for them today are warm, happy, full of safety and friendship. As TR gently noted, consider saying “they’re on their journey, where do I wish to take mine” and pick up a brush and lay some paint to canvas. What do you want to see on it?
This helps us in many ways, including becoming more nourishing to our loved ones, when we feel the inspiration to give it, choose to. “I need some space, I’m heading into my cave for awhile to paint/sew/meditate/craft/whatever” is often the most loving choice. For them, and us.
MattJuly 20, 2014 at 10:02 am #61313
Oh goodness, Matt. Everytime I read this, I cry again. I’m not an anchor anymore. I’ve let go of my superwoman role. I don’t want anyone to lean on me, to need me. But I was that person. And I think they still expect me to be.
And you’re right, I haven’t forgiven myself – for not knowing what to do. And I’ve not forgiven them for not loving me. I gave everything to them (all of my family, not just kids), and I was rejected. And I’m struggling with that. With being vulnerable again. With loving and trusting again. I have forgiven my husband. It was easy – he was always there for me, never blamed me – even when I blamed him. But the rest – I can’t and feel I should.
I understand the need to choose to live my life; to choose space when I need it. I am working on it. I just feel such guilt for choosing myself, my needs. Hopefully in time I will be able to let go of the guilt.
It may be a silly question, but logistically, how do I choose to not talk when I don’t want to? Do I just not answer the phone? That feels rude, and then I start getting panicky calls trying to find me. Do I answer and say I’m busy? At that point I already feel imposed upon in addition to being rude.
I suppose it all boils down to being ok with my own choices. *sigh* Is that true?July 20, 2014 at 12:23 pm #61317MattParticipant
There is no need for such conflict in your heart. It may help to call what you’re experiencing “burnout”, rather than falsely think something is “just wrong” with you. To much given, not enough received will quickly weary the strongest hearts.
The resentment, feeling of “get away”, all fades quite simply when we are well nourished. Our mind, body, heart, needs space and tender attention. My teacher described this as caring for our own air supply, before trying to be steady enough to help others skilfully. The resentment is like a jealousy, as a starving woman may feel for others who are eating mindlessly, wasting food. If we take some time to grow our own food, nurture and care for ourselves, we often find the path before us looking much brighter. Instead of “gosh, people want something I don’t have, leave me alone”, it becomes “whew, look at all that I have! Do I share it? With myself, others?” Light, simple.
In the meantime, sometimes the skillful choice, when the phone is ringing, is to answer. Such as being tired, seeing the dishes, then choosing to do the dishes first so the rest is more authentic, peaceful. Answer the phone, accept the role of lighthouse for a while, then when you hang up, really hang up. Be done. Move on, back to the canvas. That way, when you get there, you’ll know you’re in the spirit of giving, and just rightfully aiming that gentle light toward your own path.
Sometimes, just don’t answer the phone. Let the bees buzz, their free honey pot closed for business. “Oh, I was painting, turned off my phone. I’m going to do that now sometimes.” “Oh, but, oh, but, you’re on call 24/7” “Sorry, nope. Wipe your own butt if I’m not around, you’re a big girl/boy/husband.”
Finally, sometimes when we spend a lot of time feeling like no one is loving us back, the world can appear shadowy, as though our loved ones don’t share love with us. This isn’t it. They feel safe enough to confide their stress, ask for help, see you as a goto being. That’s their heart, underneath, saying “with her, its real, go there”. Said differently, sometimes if the night looks shadowy for us, but bright for others, we just have to look down at our chest. Chances are the love there is a lighthouse, and you’re just too busy shining to notice. Take the time to notice, you’re worth it! I bet they do, underneath whatever distractions they have.
Namaste, dear sister, less cleaning, more playing! 🙂
MattJuly 20, 2014 at 7:24 pm #61341BenzRabbitParticipant
You have been given some good advice above.
I would only add that please realize you did the best you could and do not beat yourself up – you are Human and there is only so much you can do !!
God bless !July 21, 2014 at 6:14 pm #61456
Ah, Matt. You really helped bring understanding and hope to me. I will continue to read both of your responses – each time I do, I discover more. It makes me think about why they come to me – they know I’ll be here for them, I have good responses, good instincts, I’m understanding and loving, accepting. I can share those gifts with myself too. Ha ha – I’m feeling so LARGE right now.
BenzRabbit – thank you. I try to remind myself. I’m usually so successful at everything I try! I expected the thing I threw myself whole-heartedly into to go as easily as the rest. But who am I to say what their lives are supposed to look like? I was good to them. I was true to myself. What more is there?
Thank you for being here for me. I feel loved.July 22, 2014 at 8:33 am #61482rosamundiParticipant
Matt really does come up with some wonderful replies. 🙂 They help me so much too.
Alyce, you said “I believe that I am a bad daughter, a bad mother, and now a bad grandmother too.” and that rang bells for me as well – and yet, I can see from what you’ve written that you are deluding yourself that you have been ‘bad’. You sound quite the opposite! I too keep telling myself how bad I was at mothering my very challenging teenager, and blaming myself – but I just did the best that I could too. It certainly wasn’t for lack of trying! Most decidedly not, when I think back.
It was lovely to read that last post where you said such lovely things about yourself, and you clearly meant them too. May you continue to make space for yourself, and to feel LARGE! I’m feeling larger too, so thank you for sharing. 🙂July 23, 2014 at 6:47 pm #61643
It’s always nice to hear a story similar to your own, isn’t it? It’s nice to not feel alone. I’m so glad my sharing helped you too, Rosamundi! I’m glad you let me know – it makes me feel better. 🙂