January 17, 2018 at 8:35 am #187207
Dear Cali Chica:
Amazing: your thoughts were my thoughts, my goodness! What I am going to type next will take only a few moments and a few lines of a post but it has taken me months and years to realize after I cut my contact with my mother. It is going to be a condensing of my experience of countless hours into a few moments. Of course I am not expecting my sharing to affect you much or have any effect on you because you are not the one experiencing what I have experienced. Can't get the affect or effect from just reading it. Here it is nonetheless:
1. I too thought that my mother will fall apart if I cut contact with her. I too thought she needed me so very much. I thought she couldn't live without me. (and she did express such ideas very passionately at times)
What a surprise it was for me it was when I realized the following: it was me who needed her all this time (remember my couldn't breathe without her experience I shared with you this very morning?) She didn't need me. I needed her.
My goodness, I am still amazed at my discovery. All along I was focused on her, she was my number one. I was not her number one, far from it.
2. I too thought of my mother as ill and insane, that is, not in control of her abusive behavior, a victim of her own childhood, of her own life, of her own illness.
Again, what a surprise it was for me to realize that in addition to the truth I just stated, she was also cruel. That is, when she was angry at me, she intended to hurt me. This is what anger is about, there is a motivation in it to hurt. She was cruel because she repeatedly intended to hurt an innocent child who loved her desperately, and who needed her so very, very much. And then she followed her intention with action.
Repeatedly, over the span of years and decades.
I had great trouble understanding the two exist together: being a victim of her own childhood and being cruel.
January 17, 2018 at 8:43 am #187213
- This reply was modified 5 months, 4 weeks ago by anita.
anita and sis,
a couple months ago, sister, I told you about a thought I had. I stated – “do you ever thing maybe mom was just always like this? like maybe she's just a bad person ..since ALWAYS. so maybe it isnt right for us to be sad that all these bad things MADE her this way. maybe she is just a cruel person”
and this is why i stick to dad. the fact that he abused our mother – well i have no idea how to even think of that..because i guess that makes him evil too? inherently? or was it just normal culturally to do that..so its ok? i have no idea how to even process that…although it seems so obviously black and white..RIGHT VS WRONG. it is not.
BUT, our father was not cruel to us the way mother was. not emotionally abusive growing up. now, yes. but he was never evil the way she was. he had anger issues yes. but it was not directed towards us on purpose like hers was.
January 17, 2018 at 9:13 am #187227
- This reply was modified 5 months, 4 weeks ago by cali sister.
* Dear calisister and Cali Chica:
Your mother used to be as good and loving and lovable like any other baby and child. She was not born bad or cruel, not at all.
Problem is, you didn't meet her when she was a child. You met her when she was an adult, no longer good and loving and lovable. She was not born cruel, she became that way.
Sometimes, I am sure, that good and loving and lovable part of her shows and that may confuse you. Reality, is she is and has been cruel for a long time. Every cruel person has a good and loving part in there, sometimes showing.
anitaJanuary 17, 2018 at 9:24 am #187233
Dear Anita and sister.
I agree completely with my sisters recollection of my regressing. It’s almost like I go back to being the clone of my mother, because she has always made it so that she didn’t realize where she ended it and I began. It is also true that especially last year toxic conversations with my mother would then lead me to be a pathologic talk to my husband. This was very severe and Trumatic to him and continues to be. He does suffer from PTSD is my sister says from this behavior of mine Of course distance from my mother does limit my overall continuation of that but that really is not the point. I think that something important for me will be the following. I am writing here for the root. I’m not writing here as a dear Anita how do I become a better wife, dear Anita how do I become a better sister. I am writing here to say, what about me and my relationship with my mother brings out these abuseive qualities in me to whoever it may be sister husband. And how can I change that. I think I would like that to be the focus and not the exact person or things that are done. I say this Having spent a lot of time in the past thinking oh why did I say this to this person and why do I tend to act that way, but never really understanding the root of it and that I was absorbing toxic and negative energy from my mom and regressing into her brain And voice.
Anyway, with that, if I do not go no contact, and I do continue to have interaction with my mother in whatever capacity limited with breaks or whatever, like my sister said I will have to practice not regressing back into those behaviors. For myself and of course my loved ones.January 17, 2018 at 9:35 am #187235
Dear Cali Chica:
Good focus. It is possible and doable for you to not abuse others while being in contact with your mother. It is the principle of do-no-harm. That will take your ability and willingness to suffer without lashing out; to suffer and not to inflict suffering on someone else. Suffer and intently, pause, hold it in, feel it, and … do not react. Practice and it will get easier.
Your interactions with your mother though is in a different category: she is the one who inflicted abuse on you (and on your sister) and she is in the business of maintaining that abuse. If you argue with her, if you lose your temper, it is not in the same category of lashing out at a person innocent of the abuse you suffered.
I am not recommending acting aggressively toward her. I am saying she is in a different category. If you gave me examples of an interaction with her where you are unhappy with your behavior toward her, maybe (I am not at all sure), I can suggest a reaction. Maybe.
anitaJanuary 17, 2018 at 10:02 am #187251
* Dear calisister and Cali Chica:
I just read your post on this thread, calisister. Then I re-read your response to it, Cali Chica.
Same of what I wrote a bit earlier holds true: suffer without lashing out. But now, I have more information and it is more than lashing out that is the problem. It is micro-managing others, specifically calisister. It will take, Cali Chica, that you notice, that you pay attention when you are about to micro manage calichica, or right after you did and take a pause, then suffer the urge while not acting on it.
If you already said something, already started, tell calisister: oh, I just noticed I started to micro manage you, and then stop.
Do it again and again: notice and stop.
If you fail to notice, calisister: you can tell your sister: you are micro managing me. Tell her not in an aggressive way. The point is you can work on this as a team, two in a team, compassionate toward each other and working for a common goal, helping each other.
This team work will take time, perfection at this point, in this regard is impossible. Changing mental and actual habits is difficult. It takes time and ongoing effort, patience with the process and each one of you being gentle (yet assertive) with your own selves and with each other.
anitaJanuary 17, 2018 at 10:03 am #187253
* Last post didn't reflect under Topics…January 17, 2018 at 11:53 am #187279
There it is. That word – micromanage. I did not realize this is what my sister has been doing.
Sis – let's discuss later!
Thanks anita!January 18, 2018 at 7:46 am #187393
You are welcome, calisister.
Till next time, take care of yourselves, Cali Chica and calisister.
anitaJanuary 18, 2018 at 8:11 am #187401
after talking with my sister, i understand more so why she would find the inkling to micromanage. when my life stops being so problematic, per say, since she is involved in every matter, we think that she will do this less. it is impossible for her as my sister to not act the way she does when there hasn't ever been a real break of me not having problems.
we also discussed how as i get better, sister can work on (and myself) this brainwashed image we have of me as a damaged soul. it will come.
anyway, sorry for butting in to your thread sister. just thought it would be helpful for finding your root.
continue on!January 18, 2018 at 8:21 am #187409
Dear Anita and sister,
you did not butt into my thread! You gave me light!
so the background Anita is – my mother has placed the “burden” of uplifting her and making her happy for me throughout my life. Sister can comment on this. If I wasn’t at a family event she was sad, If I was coming, she would be excited and her whole day would revolve around it. Needless to say at one point about 5 years ago I couldn’t take it anymore – too much pressure and obsession. No understanding of limits or boundaries (as you know).
My my sister has not done the same thing. However, my mother made it her whole life that she “needs my help.” That she isn’t great about making friends so why don’t I help her. Oh she’s lonely why don’t you take her out. (Some of which is normal big sis little sis) but as you know with my mother nothing was normal.
So for example my mother did not give my sister the feeling she was independent and capable. And so without the fault of my sister it’s been Vey much that I am the “emotional caretaker” of her too. Yes, I do need to slowly change this view and see that my sister is able and okay. However since over the last year there has been many ups and downs, it has stunted that progress.
All of this has helped tremendously. I now see that I micromanage as a form of control, and anxiety. It is also rooted in My inability to turn off. So I am “on” even when I don't need to be, such as trying to solve sisters every problem or have an opinion. All in all being able to sit back and take things in will be helpful for myself and those around me as it will help me be less anxious, micromanaging, and always “on”
January 18, 2018 at 9:19 am #187423
- This reply was modified 5 months, 4 weeks ago by Cali Chica.
Dear Cali Chica:
In her most recent post on this thread, your sister expressed, if I understand correctly, that she welcomes, at this time, some micro-management, or just management by you. There are some areas in which you are more functional than she is, so maybe you can help her in those, if she is willing. But give her some space and express your increasing confidence in her, don't overdo it, so that she will be able and willing to take in any valuable help that you can offer her.
Make sure that you allow her to help you as well. Because there are areas where she is more functional than you. Exchange help.
Your mother gave you a job: to make friends for her. This is probably a big reason why you ruminate so much about friends who may become distant from you, afraid to lose friends you made. You take this job assigned to you by your mother very seriously.
Your mother wants you to make up for the lack she experienced before you were born. She is using you to get unmet needs met. You of course needed your mother's love and approval. What you received from her instead is a … job.
anitaJanuary 18, 2018 at 9:54 am #187425
Your mother gave you a job: to make friends for her. This is probably a big reason why you ruminate so much about friends who may become distant from you, afraid to lose friends you made. You take this job assigned to you by your mother very seriously. Your mother wants you to make up for the lack she experienced before you were born. She is using you to get unmet needs met. You of course needed your mother's love and approval. What you received from her instead is a … job.
I read this over and over and will print this. Thank you for putting this into words. Wow you are exactly right. Now my questions is. What are some ways I can work on that (the rumination and the very serious over focus on it)?
IJanuary 18, 2018 at 10:35 am #187433
Dear Cali Chica:
The easy answer: quit the job. The difficult practice: quit the job. How to stop the rumination? Mindfulness is necessary, that is: noticing when you start to ruminate best (or anytime along the rumination) and hush yourself… sh…, this is what I have done and will continue to do when I ruminate, or obsess. I hush myself, sort of take that inner child into my arms and calm her. Hold her and calm her. It is the distress fueling the thinking, so calming the one distressing is taking the fuel away from the rumination.
There is another thing to attend to in this quest, and that is your motivation. Your motivation is fueling this rumination as well, a motivation that goes hand in hand with the distress I just mentioned. The motivation is trying to win your mother's approval by performing very well at the job she assigned to you. Got to lose that motivation. A long term project, of course, but it starts with Intent.
One more thing, the empathy you have for your mother- that is an integral part in the motivation and the distress that is fueling the ruminations. Yes, got to lose that too by seeing your mother for who she is: no longer that innocent child that she was, that suffering, damaged little girl that you need to rescue- but instead the woman she was since you came into her life, about three decades ago: a selfish, self serving, damaging woman.
What I suggest here, is most difficult to implement. I have no other answer, unfortunately.
anitaJanuary 18, 2018 at 2:10 pm #187465
quit the job yes – slowly but surely….so for the first time EVER – i did something, I analyzed my motivation behind a small meaningless social situation. here goes, and sorry if this is jumbled – I am excited to post my observation of myself because your insight has brought some new awareness to me.
I come home from work often and bring my dog for playtime outside in the public backyard area of our apartment complex. through this I met a friend a few months ago, Juliana. She is a very sweet girl, and has moved here from Brazil and does not have many friends. Her english is poor, and she doesn't always feel like she fits in. Our interaction was an instant click, as she is a sweet person. since then – i have invited her over a few times (because I really wanted to spend time with her?, craving social attention, and had the energy to? – nope not at all – more on this below)
so that's background.
so today – i was leaving work in a hurry, and before i could even think – i texted her: hey, going to be outside with the dog in 15 minutes if you want to join.
now if i stop and thought (which i never do): did i really want her to join me? not necessarily, it would have been nice to have 20 mins outside to myself and the dog.
did i invite her bc our dogs would enjoy the experience more: not necessarily, my dog doesn't particularly play with hers.
sure if shes there its fine, but why did i go out of my way (naturally) to tell her and “invite” her —
because: IT'S HABIT.
this was a huge revelation for me. not only is it habit, it “feels necessary.” now NOT because i am lonely and don't like to spend time alone, and NEEDED the company of someone. more because the way I am raised.
like you so astutely pointed out, my mom was trying to live vicariously through me by placing immense immense pressure on friendships. she almost idolized how many friends I had growing up, it was always an important thing and priority. such as oh mom today i went to the gym – “oh with who” not, oh what did you do there, did you have fun. calisister can elaborate more – as my mom has done this even more to her because she is convinced my sister (who did not have as many friends as me growing up) is always alone, and she fixates on my sister making/having friends.
anyway – so I see something. my mom convinced us, and imprinted in us, that to have friends is of utmost importance. of more importance than learning about one's own self, and finding comfort in your own company. in fact, we weren't taught to value that at all. regardless, i have developed a sense of enjoying alone time, to a point, as i have grown out of my 20s and into my 30s – which is something I like about myself, and am glad to cultivate.
Regardless – as you see above today, because it is SO HABITUAL – I immediately don't allow myself the personal space often, even if I don't truly want to be social. another thing I realize is this:
Juliana reminds me in many ways of my mom when she first immigrated:
sweet, young, innocent – lonely, not many friends, and very gracious to find good female interaction.
so – I almost “took her under my wing” during the times I invited her for interaction.
next, she has opened up to me about some things about her husband that to many people would be found to be rude and obnoxious – however she tolerates it well and pretty much dismisses it due to a combination of being seeimingly naive, a new immigrant here, young, innocent, forgiving, etc.. (the husband is not the point, nor is the way she deals with it – more so my observation and “concern” of wow wait Juliana's husband isn't the best)
i notice that after she told me this, I felt even more compelled to reach out to her. and not even because she voiced this neediness to me.
so i see now – i operate on this job. i operate on this job of: i am good at making friends, and being there for people – my mother gave me this job – and so i will do this job to the best of my ability, for it is my role.
i have trouble turning it off, with even pretty much stranger/acquaintances like Juliana.
i find that even in times where I have extremely little time and energy – I STILL don't turn this part of me off. like say i was ragged from work all week – i may have still asked her to join me outside even though deep down all i wanted was 15 minutes of silence with my dog (small example – but telling: that I feel I must operate like this always and I can't turn it off).