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  • #385329
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Linarra:

    I do ask because I want to understand better, but of course if there is anything you aren’t comfortable to answer you don’t have to“- same true about any question I ask you.

    I wrote to you: “no, I wasn’t able to leave her or anyone”, and you wrote: “What about when you did leave at 24? What made it happen? Did you still felt the ongoing trap despite leaving the country? How did this escape feel?“-

    – The escape at 24 was magical, it was wonderful, a rush of joy, the incredible feeling like a bird flying in the clear blue endless sky. I left the country where I was born sometime after watching a movie, The Never Ending Story, the original, which was about a warrior child who left on a journey to the unknown. It was that movie that motivated me to leave my mother and country.. to the unknown.

    The incredible feeling of freedom ended when.. still at 24, only 3 months after leaving her and the country, while I was in New York City (NYC), I happened to .. sort of randomly, get the means to arrange for her to visit me in NYC, so I did. Not because I wanted her with me (I did not!), but  because it was her dream to visit America, and I wanted to make her happy, to make her dream come true. And so.. I destroyed my own dream: to be free from her.

    After a few weeks visiting and traveling with me, she went back to my birth country. her country. After that, the pattern was that I made progress living away from her, but every time I traveled to visit her, all that progress was reversed. Eventually, those wings I felt I had- flying in the clear, blue sky- nothing was left of those wings.

    “why I feel shame and anxiety when I feel intense affection?.. my roommate at college..  I was very fond of her and at some point, my mother started to get jealous and criticize her. Of course, I defended my friend and got angry at my mother“-

    – when your mother got jealous, she criticized not only your friend; she criticized you for having a friend and for feeling affection for your friend. That you felt anger at your mother does not exclude feeling shame and guilt for having upset your mother. For a child: if X upsets her mother, X is a bad thing.

    I am not sure why it would result in shame and humiliation though. Unless… The main reason my mother criticized the few friends I had was… I wasn’t jealous of them, mostly intrigued..“-

    – there is a simpler way to understand the shame and humiliation that you feel when feeling intense affection: it’s not about your mother’s criticism of your friends but about her criticism of you for liking them, for feeling affection for them.

    Her criticisms of your friends and her other messages are all part of the big picture. To undo a confused picture, you have to simplify it, part by part.

    I am not enough of a person and I don’t have enough of a life..  And therefore if I can appreciate someone as a human, I am doubtful they would appreciate me back as a human too“- I believe that you are enough of a person, I believe that.. you are a lot of a person/ human. I understand that my belief isn’t enough: that you need to believe it!

    I feel ashamed for even considering I could be liked as something else than an object“- I like you as more than enough of a person. An object could not be having this amazing conversation with me. Do you feel shame for having read what I just wrote?

    It kind of feels extreme for me too. Honestly, if I was only listening to my feelings I would say ‘no’. It is too much, too sudden. I am unprepared… So if I accepted it would be under the pressure of not wanting to harm our friendship…. I’ll have to talk with her and make my feelings clear. And I guess depending on how the conversation will go I’ll either go in more adapted terms and peaceful mindset or not go at all“-

    – I mentioned before being gentle and patient with yourself, but I didn’t mention being respectful toward yourself: when you talk to your friend, don’t apologize for how you feel about staying with her. In general, don’t apologize for how you feel about anything: you don’t choose how you feel, therefore there is no wrong doing and nothing to apologize for. You can explain to her: I wish I felt differently, but I can’t choose how I feel.

    When you speak about your feelings, including shame, to your friend or to anyone, speak with an air of respect toward your feelings. Instead of saying something like I-feel-shame with a weak, shaky voice, or with a numb, “dead” voice, say it with a strong, confident voice: that’s respect for how you feel/ for you!

    anita

     

    #385328
    Relax Peace Club
    Participant

    Hello Sarah. I wonder if I can share my story with regards to the point you replied to Linarra (Note: This is just my story and I am NOT providing advice here but I would love to elaborate on your reply). First of all I must say read the entire post from Linarra and that’s because I care and because I was in the same shoe as Linarra is. But with regards the following:

    • “How can you positively reframe your negative thoughts? I.E “I’m not enough” versus “I’ve always been enough.”

    with regards to how I reframed myself and my put away my negative thoughts, I must say, I leveraged my career as YouTuber, and computer coder.

    I tried to be a professional in something or anything that people can appreciate. For example, I code for computers, make Meditation Music Videos for YouTube (https://bit.ly/3gCkJrX) and write poems. Please note that I don’t mean people like Linarra need to find a way to prove themselves to others. But what has worked for me was that I proved to myself. I proved myself wrong when I thought I am NOT good enough. The world is better than I am. Then once I figured out that I too can be successful in something I enjoy doing, I leveraged it to open this pathway mentally which leads me out of loneliness. I gained confidence, was able to trust myself more.

    Then I started finding people in the same topic to communicate with. For example, I begin to talk with computer engineers, YouTube creators and this is what worked for me and now, after several months of communicating professionally with others, I have made friends at personal levels. Because its easier to make friends with people when you have something in common with them.

     

    #385340
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Dear Anita,

    ” I wanted to make her happy, to make her dream come true. And so.. I destroyed my own dream: to be free from her.” ” After that, the pattern was that I made progress living away from her, but every time I traveled to visit her, all that progress was reversed. Eventually, those wings I felt I had- flying in the clear, blue sky- nothing was left of those wings.”

    You still loved her and wanted to make her happy somehow. And her power over you lasted despite being so far away because you were coming back to her.. because the ties weren’t entirely cut.

     ” For a child: if X upsets her mother, X is a bad thing.”

    Everything potentially upsets my mother. So everything is a bad thing to her. I had a fight within me. Because I hated her. But any rebellion/standing up I would do she would put shame on me. Sometimes playing the victim very well, making ma a bad girl. Making me feel like a victimizer for… having any feelings/actions that she doesn’t agree with.

    “Her criticisms of your friends and her other messages are all part of the big picture. To undo a confused picture, you have to simplify it, part by part.”

    Quite a difficult thing to do, but your inputs are helpful.

    ” I believe that you are enough of a person, I believe that.. you are a lot of a person/ human. I understand that my belief isn’t enough: that you need to believe it!”

    Thank you. I do not know what it would take for me to believe it. Not only intellectually but emotionally. It makes sense though, emotions are a big thing that makes a person feel like a person, feel alive. And the shutting down of them has been participating in this difficult to see me as a person.

    “I like you as more than enough of a person. An object could not be having this amazing conversation with me. Do you feel shame for having read what I just wrote?”

    No, I smiled when reading this. And no, I do not feel shame right now. Though it is unlikely such phrases would be a shame trigger. After all, how you feel and what you chose to say is up to you. You considering me as a person isn’t something that would make me shameful.

    Me hoping for it though, is a bit shameful. It isn’t rational… It is a needs, the need to be considered as a person, the need to be respected, or wishing for appreciation to be mutual. It is normal, and kind of a pre-requisite for healthy interactions/relationships. Yet something messed up has been put into my mind, making me feel ashamed for normal things. And well, thankfully I’m not messed up enough to feel shameful when a person does respect me or consider me as a person. I do still feel shameful for growing attached though. Or afraid. Or both. Probably because attachment is another level of intensity. More troublesome than basic respect… less rational, more emotional.

    I mentioned before being gentle and patient with yourself, but I didn’t mention being respectful toward yourself: when you talk to your friend, don’t apologize for how you feel about staying with her. In general, don’t apologize for how you feel about anything: you don’t choose how you feel, therefore there is no wrong doing and nothing to apologize for.

    Well that’s at least one thing I’ve been doing right. I don’t have the habit of apologizing for how I feel (maybe because I rarely even talk about how I feel, I rarely even know how I feel). Be ashamed, sure, but apologizing is another thing.

    “When you speak about your feelings, including shame, to your friend or to anyone, speak with an air of respect toward your feelings. Instead of saying something like I-feel-shame with a weak, shaky voice, or with a numb, “dead” voice, say it with a strong, confident voice: that’s respect for how you feel/ for you!”

    Hmm, this one is a bit harder. I don’t pay much attention to how I speak of my feelings, but I think most of the time it’s more neutral/monotone (I guess is could seem numb, I don’t know). It’s is more of an analysis and hypothesis about how I feel than… an actual feeling of my feelings. If it makes sense. Because I don’t feel a lot lately. I do feel some things during my communication with you but otherwise, it is mostly numb. So it is hard to speak with confidence.

    For the update: I spoke to my friend today. She was very understanding, she said she didn’t take it the wrong way and I didn’t have to feel obliged to do anything. She said I could take the time to think about it and she would follow my pace. She did offer, though, if it could help me evaluate, that we could try over a for only weekend. I think she would be understanding even if it didn’t work out. I trust her on that.

    Linarra

    #385343
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Linarra:

    You still loved her and wanted to make her happy somehow. And her power over you lasted despite being so far away because you were coming back to her.. because the ties weren’t entirely cut“-correct.

    “Everything potentially upsets my mother. So everything is a bad thing to her… any rebellion/standing up I would do she would put shame on me… making me a bad girl. Making me feel like a victimizer for… having any feelings/actions that she doesn’t agree with“- she put shame on almost all of you, having shame stick to everything… except for your daydreaming/ fantasy life because she didn’t have access to it

    I wrote to you: ”I believe that you are enough of a person, I believe that.. I understand that.. you need to believe it!”, and you replied: “Thank you. I do not know what it would take for me to believe it. Not only intellectually but emotionally…  emotions are a big thing that makes a person feel like a person“- you are welcome. Clearly, what it would take for you to believe that you are enough of a person is.. emotions, your own emotions coming back to life. But there is no rushing of the emotions, they shut down if you rush them.

    I wrote to you: “I like you as more than enough of a person… Do you feel shame for having read what I just wrote?”, and you replied: “No, I smiled when reading this. And no, I do not feel shame right now“- it is important that you remember that your emotions are not completely shut down (it was an emotion brought a smile to your face). Make it a habit perhaps to pay attention and acknowledge the emotions that do come up for you.

    Me hoping for it though, is a bit shameful… something messed up has been put into my mind“- shame was put into your mind, your mother did that.

    I do still feel shameful for growing attached though. Or afraid. Or both“- she put shame into this and that and the other thing, almost everything.

    I don’t have the habit of apologizing for how I feel“- this made me smile, an emotion of.. what comes to mind is something like feeling proud of you, an appreciation of you, more like it.

    “I don’t pay much attention to how I speak of my feelings, but I think most of the time it’s more neutral/monotone.. . It’s is more of an analysis and hypothesis about how I feel than… an actual feeling of my feelings… I do feel some things during my communication with you but otherwise, it is mostly numb“- if we talked on the phone, I could hear your voice and the tone of your tone and maybe you can practice feeling your feelings and expressing them verbally to me.

    I spoke to my friend today. She was very understanding.. and she would follow my pace. She did offer, though, if it could help me evaluate, that we could try over a for only weekend“- she sounds quite promising!

    anita

    #385350
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Dear Anita,

    ” she put shame on almost all of you, having shame stick to everything…”

    Shame on almost everything I am, and fear on almost everything that exists in the outside world. A perfect trap. And she doesn’t expect me to ever get out. She shames me for who I am, but without this shame I wouldn’t be so much of the things she shames me about. Without the abuse and the neglect, I would have been different. And I would have felt free to go, I would have more strength and courage, I believe.

    She is at least partly responsible for what she accuses me of being, and in the end she doesn’t want me to escape her, so her shaming me is like a tool to keep me trapped. Whether she’s doing it intentionally or not (depending on her mental illness) the result is the same. And I cannot afford to let her do that to me, letting her affecting me more.

    “except for your daydreaming/ fantasy life because she didn’t have access to it”

    I really should reconnect with that. I disconnected from my daydreaming and fantasy a while ago, because I feared bad consequences… I started to think, maybe it was escapism preventing me to learn to exist in the real world, and preventing me to heal and evolve.  So I disconnected. It wasn’t a conscious choice, not really, since depression caused the disconnection.

    However, the depression was a consequence of realizing that maybe I wouldn’t be able to save myself with my current goals, no matter how hard I was trying. Maybe I wouldn’t get anywhere following that path. And I’ve been sacrificing/neglecting/trying to kill my other needs while following this path (other needs being, real human connection? Belonging somewhere real? Existing? Being a person? They are really abstract needs, not the kind I could plan actions to get them… They don’t tell much about myself except I still am a living being somehow.)

    Anyway, my daydreaming/fantasy made me feel things, it was telling more precise things about me as a person even it was getting much reflection into the physical world. Casting it out isn’t a great idea… I should reconnect and find a way to balance my life in a way I can get both my inner world and… existence in the outside world.

    ” Clearly, what it would take for you to believe that you are enough of a person is.. emotions, your own emotions coming back to life. But there is no rushing of the emotions, they shut down if you rush them.”

    I agree.

    ” it is important that you remember that your emotions are not completely shut down (it was an emotion brought a smile to your face). Make it a habit perhaps to pay attention and acknowledge the emotions that do come up for you.”

    Maybe I could make it an exercise, write down in my journal every time I pay attention to an emotion (in order to recognize them better). That would change from my analyzing/organizing/mental puzzle-solving kind of journaling which doesn’t make me pay much attention to my emotions.

    ” this made me smile, an emotion of.. what comes to mind is something like feeling proud of you, an appreciation of you, more like it.”

    It feels good to read you felt proud of me/appreciation of me. It makes me smile. Very different from when my mother show appreciation (which felt twisted, when she felt proud of me she was actually proud of herself for owning me, it wasn’t an appreciation of me as a person, she wasn’t glad for me, she was just using me as a trophy). With you it is different, I am able to feel appreciated as a person and not a possession, and it feels good.

    I also feels good, what you said : ” In general, don’t apologize for how you feel about anything: you don’t choose how you feel, therefore there is no wrong doing and nothing to apologize for.” Because it means that maybe I am allowed to not feel guilty about how I feel either? If feelings are not a thing one should apologize for, then they also shouldn’t be a thing to feel guilty about, right?

    “if we talked on the phone, I could hear your voice and the tone of your tone and maybe you can practice feeling your feelings and expressing them verbally to me.”

    Oh.. Yes, it could be something good.. This suggestion makes me both anxious and curious.

    “she sounds quite promising!”

    Yes. We’re doing it next week, I’ll probably tell you about how it goes then. Until then I’ll try to prepare mentally for it.

    I wonder how is your sleep and if your intestine is feeling better?

    Linarra

    #385354
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Linarra:

    I read your first paragraph, scrolled down and read your last line. I will first answer your question in the last line and then reply to your first paragraph, then read your next paragraph for the first time, reply, then read the next, etc.

    I was up last night for a long time, uncomfortable about sleeping on a different bed, in a different room. The reason is that yesterday the carpet in my  bedroom was removed. After removed, trying to help, I swept the floor and breathed in much dust. At one point, having breathed in the dust, I regretted not wearing a mask, and fear happened, heightened anxiety, I thought that having breathed in the dust will kill me and how stupid it was of me to not wear a mask. A little later, I found out that sweeping the floor was not necessary because a vacuum cleaner was to be used anyway, making the sweeping unnecessary. That made me feel more stupid… for possibly dying unnecessarily. Yesterday afternoon I experienced a heightened anxiety that I did not experience in a long, long time. It reminded me how I used to feel regularly: very anxious, regretting my thoughtless choices (ex. yesterday: sweeping and not wearing a mask), full of regret and self-accusations.

    Next, I asked several people if they think I may die from breathing in the dust, and I became aware (and thought about you and our communication yesterday) of the shame in regard to my fear/ anxiety, wondering what people are thinking about me (I was in the taproom), wondering if they think I am crazy, imagining them looking down at me, as in looking at someone who deserves pity. Overall, I felt strange, as if nothing-is-the-same and everything-changed.

    I then talked to myself, similarly to how I talk to you, advising myself. I thought: (1) I am feeling heightened anxiety because my routine changed: my bed is gone (for now), my stuff is not where it was, and that caused me heightened anxiety, as well as rushing to sweep the floor and breathing in the dust, (2) This nothing-is-the-same feeling: I felt it before,  months ago, maybe a couple of years ago, and that feeling disappeared, so this feeling now will disappear too, (3) I contained this heightened anxiety quite well: I didn’t yell at anyone, I didn’t abuse anyone.. I did not act crazy.. just anxious, so.. I did well, (4) The people around me, they are anxious too, one of the customers/ friend came in and she looked, as she often does- very anxious. So, I am human, like them, they are like me, I am not weird or a freak. If I thought that I should never experience heightened anxiety, that would mean that I think  of myself as different from and superior to others- and I am not these things, (5) When others see me anxious, and hear me express it, any one of them might be feeling better about themselves when they feel heightened anxiety, feeling what I am feeling: that I am not the only one, as in, we are all in this (the human anxious experience) together

    I wrote to you all of the above not so that you help me with it, but so to help myself, writing it helps me process it. Also, I thought that it may help you to read it, particularly the SHAME part being attached to the fear/ anxiety. The shame part-  feeling like a freak/ inferior to others, deserving their pity- greatly increased my anxiety in the past, but yesterday at the taproom, as I talked to myself out of the shame part (#3, 4 & 5 above)- my heightened anxiety.. disappeared within a short time. Back home, I felt uncomfortable on the other bed, other room- but I did not feel nor do I feel now the heightened anxiety of yesterday afternoon.

    And now to your recent post, part by part:

    Shame on almost everything I am, and fear on almost everything that exists in the outside world. A perfect trap“- like I mentioned above, shame increases fear. When I removed the shame, when I peeled the shame off the fear- I felt so much better, it was incredible!

    And she doesn’t expect me to ever get out“- she is a terrible person. Can you imagine you doing to a child what she did to you, and to her other children.. would you have the heart to do it?

    She shames me for who I am, but without this shame I wouldn’t be so much of the things she shames me about. Without the abuse and the neglect, I would have been different. And I would have felt free to go, I would have more strength and courage, I believe“– you believe and I have no doubt that the above is true, no doubt whatsoever.

    She is at least partly responsible for what she accuses me of being“- she is wholly responsible for your shame, and your heightened anxiety (I use the word “heightened” to distinguish it from anxiety which everyone experiences, it being our shared human experience) as your mother, she had too much power over you to be .. partly responsible. In your life, she single handedly did it to you.

    her shaming me is like a tool to keep me trapped. Whether she’s doing it intentionally or not (depending on her mental illness) the result is the same. And I cannot afford to let her do that to me, letting her affecting me more“- if she is not psychotic, she is aware and has been aware all along that her behavior causes her children pain, yet she didn’t mind, doesn’t mind and sometimes she enjoys it. She enjoys having POWER over her children.

    “I really should reconnect with (day-dreaming)“- I remember being a huge daydreamer as a teenager, but the daydreaming stopped at one point. I don’t remember when. It is no longer attractive for me to daydream, to make up stories that do not exist: I don’t even like reading fiction or watching fictional movies- REALITY is too interesting and there is so much of it to occupy my mind that I don’t have the time or desire for fiction/ fantasy/ day-dreaming.

    I’ve been sacrificing/neglecting/trying to kill my other needs while following this path (other needs being, real human connection? Belonging somewhere real? Existing? Being a person? They are really abstract needs“- these needs used to be very concrete in your mind and heart before they were subdued into abstraction.

    Anyway, my daydreaming/fantasy made me feel things… Casting it out isn’t a great idea… I should reconnect“- let me know if you manage to reconnect, or resume day-dreaming, will you?

    “Maybe I could make it an exercise, write down in my journal every time I pay attention to an emotion (in order to recognize them better). That would change from my analyzing/organizing/mental puzzle-solving kind of journaling which doesn’t make me pay much attention to my emotions“-

    – good idea. The Analyzing life-experience is 2-dimentional. Feeling our emotions give us a 3rd dimension of life-experience.

    “It feels good to read you felt proud of me/appreciation of me. It makes me smile. Very different from when my mother show appreciation..  she felt proud of me she was actually proud of herself for owning me.. as a trophy). With you it is different, I am able to feel appreciated as a person and not a possession, and it feels good“-

    – when I read what I boldfaced above, at 8:50 am, I realized that I was feeling better, finally much better than since the heightened anxiety yesterday afternoon, thank you.

    maybe I am allowed to not feel guilty about how I feel either? If feelings are not a thing one should apologize for, then they also shouldn’t be a thing to feel guilty about, right?“-

    – right. Remove the guilt, peel it off whatever you feel- and you will feel better! Plus, we shouldn’t apologize for our feelings because they just happen, we don’t choose them. No choosing= No wrongdoing, No wrongdoing=No guilt.

    “This suggestion makes me both anxious and curious“, you wrote regarding a phone conversation (my idea is that I will call you, so you don’t have to worry about making the call yourself and paying for it, etc. I think that it will be very, very inexpensive for me). The idea made you anxious and curious- I respect these emotions that you felt, no shaming, no guilting for any emotion you ever feel.

    “We’re doing it next week, I’ll probably tell you about how it goes then. Until then I’ll try to prepare mentally for it“- you made your choice! I am pleased,  and ending this post with a smile!

    anita

    #385364
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Dear Anita,

    I am sorry to read about this change of room, as it seems it will cause more troublesome insomnia until you get used to it.

    “I wrote to you all of the above not so that you help me with it, but so to help myself, writing it helps me process it. Also, I thought that it may help you to read it, particularly the SHAME part being attached to the fear/ anxiety. The shame part-  feeling like a freak/ inferior to others, deserving their pity- greatly increased my anxiety in the past, but yesterday at the taproom, as I talked to myself out of the shame part (#3, 4 & 5 above)- my heightened anxiety.. disappeared within a short time. Back home, I felt uncomfortable on the other bed, other room- but I did not feel nor do I feel now the heightened anxiety of yesterday afternoon.”

    It is helpful to read about your experience and how you talked yourself out of the heightened anxiety. I am glad you do not feel it anymore. I agree the 4th and the 5th, about not being alone in this distressing experience and not being a freak for it, can be really reassuring sometimes.

    Reading or writing about anxiety makes me think of my mother at the moment, because not later than today she came into my room to speak about the anxiety she was feeling about my brother’s driver’s license exam. This week she also called the cops on him an evening (and disturbed the peacefulness of the house, waking me from my sleep) because he decided to spend some time of his evening with his colleagues and “only” warned us by sending texts so she went crazy to believe he was kidnapped and someone was using his phone to make us believe he was safe, she was screaming all over the place and was telling to my sister and me that she would kill us if anything happened to him.

    Whether she goes crazy or not, I cannot empathize with my mother’s irrational anxiety… while I know I am more understanding of anyone else’s anxiety. I think the main difference is… her anxiety causes her to creates more problems, upsetting my siblings and me, and it removes the safety and control we have over our life. My brother had to go home after 2 hours of hanging out with his colleagues after he discovered she called the cops, and everyone’s evening was wasted while my mother went to bed without an apology for any of her actions.

    My anxiety, even the heightened one, never made me act like she is acting. It can make me freeze and being not very helpful in case of emergency I admit, but make the situation worse or even creating a situation? Not that I remember… except for the times (especially when I was a teen) when I yelled at my mother for creating or worsening the anxiety within me by… pushing through my limits, insulting me, and forcing me to do things I was afraid of, against my will. But I guess it is different, as it was more often than not a reaction to her and I wouldn’t have done it to anyone else because my usual reaction to anxiety is shutting down and isolate myself so I can cope.

    For long, I felt guilty for not being able to empathize, for yelling at her when she was hurting me. Now, I’ve built a wall but I still feel part of the guilt lingering, just not as strong because I know… I remember times I was able to empathize with her (while still hating her and suffering from her actions), the pain was so great, the self-hate… There was no possibility for healing for as long I was putting her feelings before mine… Yesterday, as I was showering, she came in and started talking to me, trying to make me empathize and feel pity for her, trying to win me over. Really, she looked pitiful, anyone would have had sympathy (maybe if you forget the fact she invited herself as I was showering, breaking intimacy… but intimacy doesn’t exist in this house), it always makes me wonder if I am the one with a problem, as I don’t feel empathy, as I say her “I don’t care” when she’s speaking of her death. It makes me wonder if I am really the abuser she tells me I am, as those scenes would make me look as one without the knowledge of everything else.

    Since I wasn’t acting with empathy, she acted even more as a victim. As if I actively wanted her death (I don’t, I just don’t care and don’t feel like lying), or wanting her to leave. As I was in the shower, calm but still wondering if I was an abuser, I wondered what you would think of this. To be safe, I acknowledge the fact the might be mutual abuse going on, that way I keep the door open to learning and becoming a better person. In the end, I told my mother “If I am bad to you, you would agree it would be better for us to not live together, right?” I don’t remember what she answered or if she even answered, because she often doesn’t answer directly to what I say. Our conversations don’t lead anywhere. And I think she doesn’t want us to be apart because her life has no meaning when she has no one to have power over.

    Alright, there were not many clear points with these thoughts and stories. They weren’t very well-structured thoughts like yours about yesterday’s events. But at least it can help me process and see what thoughts it brings up to you.

    “she is a terrible person. Can you imagine you doing to a child what she did to you, and to her other children.. would you have the heart to do it?”

    I don’t think I would. It’s been a long time since I started to think I didn’t want children. Because my mother made me feel like an incapacitated and bad person, I wouldn’t even think of risking being responsible for a child and maybe causing harm. I did have much thought about children’s needs while trying to understand the needs that weren’t met for my siblings and me, and maybe figure out how to make up for them.

    These thoughts lead me to understand parenting was really difficult, and I decided I wouldn’t ever have a child if I wasn’t able to make sure all their needs were met, and they would have a lot of different support other than myself so they aren’t alone and stuck with me as an only model. Diversity of resources and supports seem very important factor to me, if only to diminish the power anyone can have other them (myself included). Being a flawed person, I can make mistakes, but having different models (hopefully good ones) would allow a kid to not suffer too much from modeling on my mistakes and repeating them, or be stuck with me. It would provide choices, opportunity, and an escape if I happened to be bad or not good enough.

    Such a healthy environment though, I cannot even provide for myself. I wouldn’t even have the heart to impose that on a child, so I wouldn’t have the heart to make them go through the extent of abuse and mental destruction I went through.

    “I remember being a huge daydreamer as a teenager, but the daydreaming stopped at one point […] REALITY is too interesting and there is so much of it to occupy my mind that I don’t have the time or desire for fiction/ fantasy/ day-dreaming.”

    It is understandable it could become uninteresting for someone. Daydreaming is sometimes a coping mechanism or a replacement for what reality is lacking (mine has been and is still really lacking), but sometimes it is also my reaction to interesting reality. Daydreaming is part of my creative process, and creativity is my way to have fun and interact with life, from my experience I am more likely to feel emotions this way, so I can’t imagine feeling fulfilled without having it being part of my life. When I get very excited about something, my imagination can’t be helped.

    “let me know if you manage to reconnect, or resume day-dreaming, will you?”

    Sure, I will.

    “my idea is that I will call you, so you don’t have to worry about making the call yourself and paying for it, etc. I think that it will be very, very inexpensive for me”

    Oh, I didn’t even think about the prices (since my friends usually call me through internet connection) or the arrangement yet… which, oops, give me more to worry because it’s a bit more concrete. But that’s alright, I’m going to avoid overfocusing on the details. My anxiety was more about the conversation itself. When talking with a new person over the phone I cannot predict how it’ll go or if my brain will no fail me. Speaking isn’t an activity I do regularly enough to be confident about it, doing it in english even less. But it’s alright, there’s anxiety coming with everything new.

    Before ending this message, I’m reminding myself of removing the shame and the guilt of my feelings, just as you wrote in your message, but thankfully I feel no shame or no guilt talking with you at this moment.

    It is 10:11 pm here, and 1:11 pm your time. As it is another long message, a little reminder again you don’t have to read it or reply today if you don’t feel like it. (If I’m not mistaking you tend to read the beginning and ending of posts when you don’t feel like it so hopefully you’ll see it even if it’s at the end?)

    I wish you a good afternoon, and good luck for tonight, I hope the night won’t be as long as the previous one!

    Linarra

    #385365
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Linarra:

    It’s almost 11 pm your time, I hope you sleep well! I read just a bit of your recent post and am about to take my walk, now that it doesn’t rain.. and I am so tired. I will reply to you Sat morning, my time.. possibly (but not likely) earlier. Good night, sweet Linarra….

    anita

    #385366
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Linarra:

    Before I go for my walk, and before I read most of your post, it seems so easy for me to understand your comparison between your anxiety and your mother’s anxiety (“I think the main difference is… her anxiety causes her to creates more problems, upsetting my siblings and me), that I had to tell you as soon as possible: what you described, your mother calling the cops on your brother, screaming and making a scene- this is not about her anxiety. It is about her ANGER.

    She goes fast from fear/ anxiety= = => to anger.

    she was screaming all over the place and was telling to my sister and me that she would kill us if anything happened to him”– this is no longer anxiety (fear), this is ANGER. In her anger she INTENDS to hurt those she is angry at: her own children. She then hurts you and feels better. She doesn’t apologize because she feels you deserve it all, she gave you what you deserve (pain) and she feels better for it!

    See the difference between you and her? She jumps from anxiety to anger, you don’t, so it clearly seems to me.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 10 months, 1 week ago by anita.
    #385370
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Linarra:

    For long, I felt guilty for not being able to empathize, for yelling at her when she was hurting me“- you were and still somewhat confused about the chicken and the egg dilemma: what came first: the chicken or the egg.

    There are two items here: (1) she hurting you, and (2) you yelling at her. Which of the two is the Action and which of the two is the Reaction? Who is the Actor and who is the Reactor?

    she looked pitiful, anyone would have had sympathy…  it always makes me wonder if I am the one with a problem, as I don’t feel empathy, as I say her “I don’t care” when she’s speaking of her death. It makes me wonder if I am really the abuser she tells me I am“-

    Is it appropriate to feel empathy or sympathy for a person who is hurting you? What would happen to a deer who feels empathy for the mountain lion approaching the deer for food?

    If your mother went to psychotherapy, it would be appropriate for the therapist to feel and express empathy for your mother. If a stranger felt and expressed empathy for her while sharing a ride with her on the train- that’s appropriate. But it is not appropriate for a victim to feel empathy and be influenced by empathy for her/ his victimizer.

    It is very close to my bedtime. Good night for now, sweet Linarra.

    anita

     

    #385376
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Linarra:

    In your original post, July 13 2021, you wrote: “I had a difficult childhood”.

    Yesterday,  Aug 27 2021, you wrote: “today she came into my room to speak about the anxiety she was feeling about my brother… This week she also called the cops on him an evening (and disturbed the peacefulness of the house, waking me from my sleep)… she went crazy to believe he was kidnapped… she was screaming all over the place and was telling to my sister and me that she would kill us if anything happened to him…My brother had to go home after 2 hours of hanging out with his colleagues after he discovered she called the cops, and everyone’s evening was wasted while my mother went to bed without an apology for any of her actions….Yesterday, as I was showering, she came in and started talking to me..  she invited herself as I was showering, breaking intimacy… but intimacy doesn’t exist in this house”

    Clearly, you are having a difficult childhood. Your difficult childhood is not in the past. It is still happening. Three children (2 girls and a boy) are still living with their mother, living the lives she allows them to live.

    Back to what you wrote in your original post: “I had a difficult childhood, even if it took me a long time to acknowledge that. It was neglectful, humiliating, shameful, and sometimes violent’-

    – your childhood still is all these things: it is still difficult, it is still neglectful, it is still humiliating, it is still shameful, and it is still sometimes violent.

    In the last couple of days she entered your room and the bathroom while you were showering naked, “breaking intimacy… but intimacy doesn’t exist in this house”. Question is, why isn’t there a lock on the inside of your bedroom door so that she cannot enter your room whenever she wishes, and why is there no lock on the inside of the bathroom door, so that she cannot enter the bathroom while you are showering.

    I looked for the answer in our Aug 14-16 conversation in regard to why you don’t have a lock for your bedroom (I didn’t know at the time that she enters the bathroom while you shower when she wishes). Your answer was: “I don’t feel the need for it, I don’t feel distress at being invaded by my family usually”, and you added that your anxiety is about “people of the outside world”, as opposed to your mother.

    I then asked you: “no fear of your mother entering your room.. meaning you don’t feel she is a source of danger”? You answered Aug 16: “if my actions and emotions are under control, this environment is… manageable. My mother leaves me alone most of the time because I behave right enough… I fear not for me… my brain is currently too broken and exposed to this environment to feel or care for myself”.

    What I am understanding today is that in the past, as a young child, when you asserted your need for privacy, she reacted by abusing you even more, so you stopped asserting yourself with her: it was less painful to allow her to invade you than it was for you to try and stop her from invading you. Fast forward, as a woman in her 20s, you are used to allowing her to abuse you.

    Taken from the quote above: “if my actions and emotions are under control, this environment is… manageable”, Aug 15: “I had been nothing most of my life, I was just a thing adapting to chaos, a thing that had somehow learnt to not want anything, to not need, to not expect anything for my future, to not be a person… just an empty shell who genuinely didn’t care about most things”-

    – She was and is an unpredictable storm, moving fast, then resting, then (you never know when, why or how) she erupts again into a storm. You adapted to her by becoming the opposite of a storm: motionless, unmoving, stationary, standing in place.. being a thing, or a nothing, an empty shell. A nothing, or an empty shell doesn’t get hurt much when the storm hits. If there was a living-breathing-feeling person inside that shell- that person would get hurt badly when the storm hits.

    You wrote yesterday, Aug 27: “For long, I felt guilty for not being able to empathize, for yelling at her when she was hurting me”- an empty shell doesn’t have the right to defend itself because.. there’s nothing within the shell do defend. She was (and is) hurting you but your empathy is for her because in your mind, she is the Person, and you are the Nothing. A nothing does not deserve empathy.

    Still yesterday: “As I was in the shower, calm but still wondering if I was an abuser, I wondered what you would think of this. To be safe, I acknowledge the fact the might be mutual abuse going on, that way I keep the door open to learning and becoming a better person. In the end, I told my mother ‘If I am bad to you, you would agree it would be better for us to not live together, right?’ I don’t remember what she answered or if she even answered, because she often doesn’t answer”-

    – Your mother enters the bathroom while you are taking a shower; you don’t enter the bathroom while she is taking a shower. She invades your privacy anywhere, anytime, touching your private body parts, hitting you at times- you never do these things to her.

    She screams, you sometimes scream back, you sometimes talk back (you are not a perfectly empty shell after all) and you don’t know who is abusing whom. Because in your mind, to not abuse, you have to be a perfectly empty shell: no feelings, no needs, no wants, no voice.. no thing. To never talk back, to never raise your voice.. to be a perfect victim.

    In your original post, July 13, you wrote: “I am not able to get a job (and honestly don’t even want to if it isn’t meaningful…). I struggle when I have to go out of my home for about anything… don’t feel comfortable outside my home. Especially in unknown places, or with people around”. On Aug 21, you wrote: My mother saw me as I prepared to go out this morning. She said ‘You’re going out? Alone? Where does this idea come from? It is dangerous to go out alone you know‘”-

    -you adapted all too well to your mother, so much so that you feel that the danger is outside your home, when really, it has always been inside your home. Your mother brought five new people  into the world, turned them all into her victims,  proceeded to inflict much harm and destruction on each and every one of her victims, telling you, one of her victims: “It is dangerous to go out alone you know”.

    My summary today: The danger for you has been and still is inside, not outside. Your adaptation to the inside of your home has been so effective that the danger for you feels like it is outside. The empty shell is not completely empty, but it/you need help to fill that shell with more of you.

    The title of your thread is: “Healing and becoming functional”. You are seeking to heal from abuse that is still happening. Every day and every night, you are living with a woman who is either abusing you, or is about to abuse you at any time, you just don’t know when, why or how: will she next scream at you from the living room or from the kitchen, or will she storm into your room or into the bathroom screaming? Will she hit you, will she touch your private parts, what shameful, accusatory, threatening thing will she say next, etc.

    “Healing and becoming functional” is not possible when living in these abusive circumstances.

    anita

     

    #385379
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Dear Anita,

    Thank you for your detailed input again. I won’t reply to everything, I’ll just tell the things that are coming to my mind, and I’ll see if I have more to add tomorrow.

    “Is it appropriate to feel empathy or sympathy for a person who is hurting you? What would happen to a deer who feels empathy for the mountain lion approaching the deer for food? … it is not appropriate for a victim to feel empathy and be influenced by empathy for her/ his victimizer.”

    At least this is clear. I’ll keep it in mind for next time. Thankfully my self-questioning is less painful than it used to be when I was younger and felt her accusation like a vivid truth. Now the self-questioning is lighter, and more out of curiosity of reaching a true understanding than out of distress.

    “Clearly, you are having a difficult childhood. Your difficult childhood is not in the past. It is still happening. Three children (2 girls and a boy) are still living with their mother, living the lives she allows them to live.”

    We have a bit more power than when we were kids though. But yeah this is a just slight upgrade from our childhood.

    “Question is, why isn’t there a lock on the inside of your bedroom door so that she cannot enter your room whenever she wishes, and why is there no lock on the inside of the bathroom door, so that she cannot enter the bathroom while you are showering.”

    Actually, there is a lock. I just didn’t think about it because it isn’t on my door, but my sister’s. We live in a separate building from the main house and the entrance of this building leads to my sister room. We have a key we mostly use when we leave or when my sister really feel like keeping my mother out when she’s crazy and had trespassed her room a little too much. But that’s about it… Mostly because it easily gets annoying to lock-unlock every time we need to access the house.

    The bathroom also has a sort of primitive lock but it is only used by my brother when he’s showering, I believe. All the girls of this house don’t use in case anyone needs to use the sink or retrieve something, because there are too many cases of bad timing. Patience isn’t always a quality everyone has in this family anyway. Mostly it isn’t a problem because we don’t care much about looking at each other.

    I guess it gets more uncomfortable when my mother uses this tacit rule that allows people to enter when they have something necessary to do just to… have a talk. This is especially unnecessary since she’s already used to talk to me when I’m showering since her bedroom is directly connected to the bathroom. But whatever intimacy isn’t a thing I’ve been taught, just respecting others people’s intimacy, mine really have to have purposeful and ill-meaning invasion to feel violated. Thankfully she never touches me when I bathe, and when she entered to talk to me she was only focused on herself.

    It probably doesn’t change anything, I felt like giving precisions about those points because there are subtleties, but you can ignore that if it doesn’t bring new input.

    “My summary today: The danger for you has been and still is inside, not outside. Your adaptation to the inside of your home has been so effective that the danger for you feels like it is outside. The empty shell is not completely empty, but it/you need help to fill that shell with more of you.”

    This summary makes sense to me.

    ““Healing and becoming functional” is not possible when living in these abusive circumstances.”

    I understand your point. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to change those circumstances. Leave sure, but I don’t feel up to it without a plan and at least a bit of motivation, and coping mechanisms/support that would work under the new circumstances.

    I’m still too much of a ‘nothing’ to be able to get away. I need to gather energy and courage, and well those things are rare in this context. And the few time I go out it isn’t exactly giving more energy. Sometimes it even depresses me more.

    I guess we’re reaching a point where we’re going round in circles. I’ve been on this loop for quite a while, I cannot predict what will break it. I am patient though. It could be a flaw, if I was impatient I would be more courageous/reckless, there would be more probability of change. But my adaptation made me patient. And I’m just stuck in a vicious circle for now.

    Now I wrote my answer, I don’t think I will have anything to add tomorrow. There’s only so much to tell about all of that.

    Have a good afternoon,

    Linarra

    #385380
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Oh, I can just add that I feel a bit sad tonight after writing last post, since I said I would try to pay more attention to my emotions. I am unable to elaborate further though, I’m just sad. Not intensely so, but it’s there.

    #385381
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Linarra:

    You are sad after writing the last post. We feel sad when we perceive a loss. Anything you think you lost during our most recent communication?

    anita

    #385382
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Linarra:

    I am sad too, so I will answer the same question I asked you: I perceive the loss of our connection and our honest communication, the specialness of it. Very sad.

    anita

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