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Scared of Becoming What Hurt You

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This topic contains 30 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  anita 1 week, 2 days ago.

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  • #296071

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jenna:

    You are welcome and thank you for your empathy regarding me going through the same kind of treatment.

    You are a good person, Jenna. Your following motivations indicate to me that you are a good person: “I didn’t want to negatively effect other people with my poor choices… I want to make sure I do all I can to raise healthy children, physically and mentally”, and you are a good person because you feel empathy for your children, you care how they feel. (Parents often say they love their children, but they do not feel empathy for their children).

    This is the history of your reactions to your mother’s aggression against you: Flight, then Fight, then Submit: “I had the flight response with my mother…. teen through older twenties, I would fight back… As I got sober..I became submissive with her”.

    You asked me how did I heal- I started with quality therapy 2011-2013 and I hope you find quality therapy yourself. Healing is very difficult, long and is not linear, that is, all along the way there will be times when you will feel worse, not better and you are likely to doubt the process, asking yourself something like- if I am getting better why am I feeling so badly?!

    You wrote yesterday: “It feels like the veil has been lifted”- problem in the healing process is that after that initial lifting of the veil, there is a whole lot of distress to go through. What most people do is put the veil down again, covering their eyes, so not to see further, and the healing process is stopped.

    There is a whole lot more that I can share about the healing process. My own process is documented in more than four years of my communications here with hundreds of people, maybe more. And I will share as much as you want me to if and as we continue to communicate. As I wrote, it is a long process.

    You wrote that you don’t want to be submissive to your mother anymore, “I get by with a lot of smile and nodding. I don’t want to live like that anymore”. Can you tell me why you don’t want to live like that anymore, how it makes you feel to be submissive to her?

    anita

     

     

    #296219

    Jenna
    Participant

    Anita,

    Thank you for saying that I’m a good person. I’m so glad you found the therapy you deserve. I think its extraordinary you take the time to help others, you have a selfless and kind heart, you are appreciated.

    I understand what you mean about people putting the veil back down. I remember a few years back reading an article about narcissistic mothers, it all made complete sense but I felt guilty reading it. I felt disloyal, how can she be the problem, when she’s let me know I was the problem all these years,  I was more comfortable taking the blame. I remember being 14-15 going straight to the self-help section at Borders. She never went to that section and I assume she thought it was completely normal her teenage daughter was. Good grief..

    So what do I want to stop doing now? I agree with all her opinions and I condone her unacceptable behavior. Just the other day in the store a woman left her cart unattended. My mother starts looking through it..my anxiety started going up the moment she started looking through it. She said to me, “Do you think this is someones cart?” I said “it probably is”, then a woman came up and said “That’s my cart” …right then I wanted to hide. My mom say’s “WELL YOU SHOULDN”T LEAVE YOUR CART UNATTENDED” in a loud aggressive voice. The woman looked offended and taken back by my mother and said ” The ladies up front told me to put it here” then my mom said..as she’s walking away, “well it’s ugly and I didn’t want it anyway.” All these emotions flood in, I know my mother was embarrassed. I know deep inside she is insecure. But the way she acted was mean. Then she strolls over to me talking loudly about the lady..who is 10 feet away. I smile and give the look like, it happens. I know if I look embarrassed or get upset she will get even more defensive. Situations like these happen all the time. When we got back to the car, I make a joke of it and say.. (I really dislike myself at these times) ..”The lady should have been with her cart”…what I want to say and believe is “That was blown out of proportion, a simple misunderstanding ended in hurt feelings, unnecessarily. You were wrong to say her things in her cart were ugly, just because you felt embarrassed”

    I’m actually on the way to pick her up now and to take her to lunch. I dread it. She smokes and my 4 year old has asthma. The last few times I’ve taken her somewhere she lit a cigarette in my car. So today I’m going to tell her, we can pull over if she needs to get out and smoke but she cannot do it in the vehicle with my daughter.  It might not go over well, in fact I know it won’t. Times like these when it comes to my childrens safety. I have to tell myself, it’s selfish to put my need for my mothers approval over my childs health and well being. This is a problem and is going to be a long road ahead but it needs to stop. Thank you for listening as always.

    Jenna

    #296225

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jenna:

    I too went straight to the Self Help section at Borders and spent a lot of time there, looking and looking. Thank you for your kind words to me.

    In the your example, your mother was aggressive toward a woman who didn’t deserve any of her aggression. But your empathy was not with the victim, but with the aggressor: “I know my mother was embarrassed. I know deep inside she is insecure”.

    Same as it was when your mother was/is aggressive toward you- your empathy has been with the aggressor, not with the victim.

    “situations like these happen all the time”, you wrote. It happened throughout your childhood, you being the innocent recipient of your mother’s aggression.

    We fear our aggressive mothers, we feel empathy for her .. as if she was the victim, we feel guilty for disagreeing with her in any way, for protecting ourselves from her, and we are stuck… not protecting ourselves … and often, not protecting our own children from her.

    “She smokes and my 4 year old has asthma.. today I’m going to tell her, we can pull over if she needs to get out and smoke but she cannot do it in the vehicle with my daughter”- I have more to write about what you shared in this recent post but I  need to stop here because it is too important for me to read your answers to the following first:

    1. Does your  mother know that your 4 year old has asthma?

    2. Did she in the past smoke in the car or home where your 4 year old was present?

    3. What happened today, did she lit a cigarette in the car, what did you say, what did she say?

    anita

    #296373

    Jenna
    Participant

    Anita,

    Oh yes, the Self Help aisle. That makes me smile that you were there too, searching. Of course, I wish that you had all the love, support and guidance you deserve without having to search. It makes me smile because, when I was there I felt very alone, probably like you. Now, I smile because I realize I wasn’t so alone after all.

    Very interesting you pointed out that I had empathy for my mother but not for the actual victim. It’s true my mother was mean to that lady and I still felt more empathy for my mother. Crazy. I can see how that relates to the relationship between her and I.

    1. Does your mother know that your 4 year old has asthma?

    Oh yes

    2. Did she in the past smoke in the car or home where your 4 year old was present?

    Not in the home but yes, in the vehicle. It could have lead to an asthma attack (possibly fatal) and I just allowed it. When I type this out – it makes it so much more real. I can never let it happen again.

    3. What happened today, did she lit a cigarette in the car, what did you say, what did she say?

    She had a cigarette in her hand as I pulled up. I was thinking …oh good, she’s going to throw it out and I won’t have to deal with this today… I was wrong. She continued to smoke it and get in the vehicle. This blows my mind she thinks this is ok- It pisses me off as I write this. I need to do better. I said as non-confrontational as I could to put it out..ughhh..and I lied, I said “Hey, im sorry, I was late on her medicine this morning, I can wait in the car while you finish it out there..” I lied, I was on time with the medicine, I chickened out, it’s a bad habit..(I messed up..not you..don’t feel threatened or picked on*). She said “oh ok, no problem”… then once she was finished and got back in the car it was quiet…I hate that silence..I get this nervous energy and start asking about work..she starts to get less tense and complains about work.. She isn’t included in the group messages at work..she vented about my brother, says he is acting different towards her, she thinks it’s because he smokes pot…She vented about her mother..her sister.
    Oh and when I dropped her back off, she lit a cigarette before she got out of my car…Did she forget? She’s very smart- I can’t imagine she could have… It’s like she wants to fight.
    Jenna

    #296405

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jenna:

    I like our self-help-aisle meeting of the mind, both of us being there.

    Your mother has a lot of anger in her, like my mother. It is like there is always fire there, in between her ears, looking for something to ignite and grow, looking for material to latch on to, who did what to offend her, and at any time it can be something you said or did, or failed to say or do, or maybe if your face didn’t look just right to her, an expression there she doesn’t like.. and that fire ignites and grow and grow.

    Until it burns long enough and she is free from anger for just a little while.

    Am I correct in my description?

    anita

    #296409

    Jenna
    Participant

    Anita,

    Yes you are very correct.absolutely. Do you have siblings? If so, did they have the same type of experiences or did she treat them differently? I was the only one in my teen years that would fight back with her. I have 2 younger siblings.

    Jenna

    #296411

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jenna:

    I have a sister six years younger than me. I remember so little of my childhood, and in those memories I have only a few images of her. My sister and I never had a meeting of the minds as far as understanding our mother and childhoods. I believe I was the one who stayed home with my mother so to be there for her when she needed to.. do her thing, burn, using my image above, I stayed with her an the small apartment where we live just in case she explodes, to.. contain the fire, so that she will survive it. My sister was outside playing with children while I didn’t.

    I didn’t fight with her but I was very, very angry. I looked at her angrily.

    anita

    #296543

    Jenna
    Participant

    Anita,

    That’s awful. It seems like the oldest child feels like the keeper with angry mothers. Your sister was lucky to have you. How sad to be stuck in that small apartment, with her.  My younger sister was 4 years younger than me, witnessed the way my mother was to me and did everything in her power to be the “good” child. She never told me this until recently. She has trouble dealing with my mother now as well. It was very hard being alone in dealing with the angry mother all those years because no one understands and you start to wonder if you just made everything up in your head.

    It’s heartbreaking to think how many children are trapped feeling responsible for their parents. You would think in 2019 people would have evolved more, but child abuse happens continues to happen. Just yesterday my son came crying because a child at school teased him. It made me think, what is happening in that childs home that made him think it was ok to hurt someone. Mind blowing.

    Jenna

    #296579

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jenna:

    Unfortunately my sister was not that lucky. As a child I beat her up. I wish I didn’t of course, I wish I could go back in time and undo it. My mother beat me, I beat my six year younger sister. It is heartbreaking as I remember her innocent, little girl face. She was maybe two or there, I was eight or nine, this one memory. It saddens me to no end as I type this.

    I wanted to tell you this one very important thing, the way things happen: when we have a bad mother we are loyal to her, in a conflicted way, but loyal. You know what she is doing is wrong but you love her so much, you feel empathy for her, always seeing the vulnerable in her, not seeing her as the cruel woman that she is.

    Fast forward, you have your own children. You are still loyal to your bad mother. What that means is that you pass on her cruelty to your children, either directly by having her smoke in the presence of your child with asthma (as you did in the past for a little bit, if I understand correctly), or by having her babysit your children, alone with her (smoking in their presence? screaming at them and then.. hugging them?), and otherwise by continuing to let her make you a lesser person and a lesser mother by maintaining the anxiety she has caused you, keeping you scared of her, submissive, and therefore, not in the process of healing.

    What do you think?

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 4 days ago by  anita.
    #296651

    Jenna
    Participant

    Anita,

    You are phenomenal, you grew from your mistake.

    I am starting to see things more clearer.  I don’t particularly like the facts, but they are indeed facts. You are absolutely right on every point. I have the power to end it. I need to let her go. No more abuse for anyone. It will be hard but it’s harder to live feeling this way. Truth is healing. The truth is, the more I think about it…I loved my father, I knew he loved me but he stood by and ignored her behavior. I never felt that close bound because he let it continue. He always took her side. He went to work supported us financially, never yelled. I held a lot of resentment towards him up until he died. Allowing the behavior is just as bad. I guess if you deny the truth, you become what you hate. Thank you for the help, do you have any book suggestions? Any book that helped you grow from the self-help aisle?:)

    Jenna

     

    #296663

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jenna:

    I stopped reading self help books a long, long time ago. I stopped reading books a long time ago, including online sources (I look up things at Wikipedia from time to time, when I don’t know what a word or label means). I don’t read books because I decided that learning from “a beginner’s mind” is the best way to learn matters of human emotions, thinking, motivations and such. And so, I learn right here, over four years of communications with people who write here not as authors of books, but people with no agenda to sell books and the compromises that it takes to produce a book that will sell.

    Short answer: no, I don’t have any recommendations of self help books, and no self help book taught me enough to make any difference in my life… except for one, I suppose, just came to mind: “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Dummies”, British spelling there.  It is one of the for-dummies series. It had exercises in it and led me to google “cognitive behavioral therapists” where I lived at the time, leading me to my first quality psychotherapy in my life, back in 2011.

    Regarding your father, he was responsible for not protecting you, I wish he did protect you. My father lived away, don’t remember him living in the small apartment… except that one fight they had that fight. Anyway, later he told me that I have a very good mother. It was convenient for him to say that, to think that, I think… because it was convenient to think he is leaving behind two girls in “good hands”.

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 4 days ago by  anita.
    #297133

    Jenna
    Participant

    Anita,

    I never found anything helpful in the “self-help” books either. I’m taking your advice on the CBT, tomorrow I will make some calls and schedule an appointment. I usually see my mother sometime on the weekend but I chose not too this time.

    Friday night the kids and I had a movie night- I put my phone away, just enjoyed my time with them. I knew my mother was probably going to text me but I was trying to be as present as possible without distractions.

    The next morning I wake up  and see I have a message from the night before at 10:30pm from my mother “is everything ok?” and a new one from that morning at 7:30am – “Are you ok? I hope you’re phone is just dead” and another from my sister “Are you ok, mom is fretting and it’s caused the trickle anxiety effect, are you good?”

    I responded to my mother “Yes, Im ok, just had a movie night with the kids” – then she says “I was worried about Violet (my 4 year old) I  feel so guilty about the smoking now, I feel so awful, please remind me to not smoke if you see me light one up”

    This put me into an anxiety meltdown….not for long though… I started to feel like complete crap and couldn’t figure it out.. And then I thought about what you said to me. I was feeling guilty for her bad feelings, the “oh no Mother is sad” crap. Even after it registered ..the feelings were still there. I am not going to soothe her… soothing her makes me feel better but it’s not right. My feelings lie, I lie to her and myself.. it’s wrong. I made a decision to not talk to her all weekend. I tried to be as present as possible with my children..I was more attentive and tried to have better eye contact.  We planted new flowers, played outside, cleaned bedrooms..we had a great weekend, good quality time. I felt like I was dying inside because I knew she wasn’t happy, but my kids faces were happy and that’s the most important. This is going to be a struggle but it’s do-able.

     

     

    #297151

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jenna:

    I don’t think I ever read such an uplifting post from a parent before I read yours this morning. It is amazing!

    You did what I wish every adult child  of a bad mother and mother of her own children would do-

    – turn away from the bad mother and toward her own children, replace the loyalty to her bad mother with loyalty to her own good children.

    “I started to feel  like complete crap.. ‘oh no Mother is sad’ crap… soothing her makes me feel better but it’s not right. My feelings lie.. it’s wrong”-

    – talking about self help books, what you wrote here is a better input than what I had ever read in a self help book, best insight and an excellent sense of right and wrong.

    It is wrong to still attend to the bad mother. It is right to attend to the good children. Think of it in this simple way: it was not your children who yelled at you for hours terrorizing you through decades of your young life, not valuing you except as a thing to use so to relieve her anger and distress. Unlike her, your children have always valued you most highly, looking up to you as the most important person in the whole world. Of course it is right to attend to them and not to her.

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by  anita.
    #298077

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jenna:

    I hope to read from you again, would like to think you are okay and not “Becoming What Hurt You”, that the veil that has been lifted is not back down, not all the way down…

    anita

    #298097

    Jenna
    Participant

    Anita!

    I have been meaning to write you, thank you so much for checking on me! Veil is still lifted – I’m taking one day at a time. I no longer give her my attention. I read your reply last weekend – and it was so encouraging, I haven’t stopped since. If I can do a day, a week… I can do it! The anxiety is still there, but I have just been focusing on being kind to myself, to my children. Hiding and avoiding is not love. I can see a change in my children in just a week. I just keep reminding myself to focus. It’s amazing how far eye contact and smiling goes. Its not hard to do. My mother has not loved me..but like you said, my children have and do. Giving them the love they deserve will keep going, if they feel loved..their children will feel loved and so forth. It’s really like a light bulb came on. I can’t thank you enough. I also made an appt- for CBT – I want to keep this mindset.

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