struggling to keep going

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This topic contains 72 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  anita 5 months, 3 weeks ago.

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    Dear caroline:

    You are very welcome.

    Before responding to how your mind works (your recent post), something about how my mind works. In the post before my last one to you I wrote that I will reply to you “in about sixteen hours (first thing tomorrow morning)”. The next morning, yesterday (June 23) I responded to you not first thing in the morning but hours later, still in the morning. When I realized that, after no longer being on the computer, I was alarmed somewhat, feeling I betrayed your trust by not keeping my word to reply first thing in the morning. What was triggered in me was the old core belief that I am a bad person, one who is harmful, who lies, who is… guilty, who is a bad person. Once I recognized the core belief I re-evaluated the issue and settled it in my mind. Part of the settling was to make what I call a mental note to myself, that next time when saying I will reply the next morning, to not state “first thing”.

    Now to how your mind works: “about 30 minutes later and I thought to myself… what if she really knew me, if she did, she would … think to herself… this girl, she is a liar, an incompetent person and not to be trusted. I just feel like I’m a bad person no matter how much ‘good’ I do”-

    My goodness, we do share a very similar, maybe the same core belief. You too believe that you are a bad person. After responding to you yesterday I felt that I was a bad person for not responding first thing in the morning, and you, after reading my response, felt that you are a bad person who .. sort of fooled me to think otherwise and if only I knew you, I would find out that you are indeed a bad person.

    Are you familiar with the terms, did it come up in your therapy?




    Hi Anita


    Sorry ive taken a while to get back to you. this is a pattern of mine, very eager to connect and then i withdraw.

    I am familiar with the terms. ive discovered what my negative core imprint is which is to believe im unlovable. Ive been thinking about what you wrote, about the shame i carry because i know deep down my parents dont love me. i was around my parents today and again i felt it. I feel like i dont belong with them at all, they feel so far away from me, its conflicting feelings, guilt, sadness, shame…. What has always been obvious to me is even more obvious now. What i mean by this is with my two elder sisters who know longer speak to them are really their favourites. what hurts is how they behave in front of me when either one of them comes up in conversation, its like they cant see the daughter that is still speaking to them right in front of their eyes! my other sister hears it too but it doesnt appear that she feels hurt by it, only she knows if this is true.  my dads favourite is ‘successful’ has quite a glamorous and active lifestyle, my other sister is my mums favourite as only she can make my mum happy, she ‘gets’ my mum.


    As much as i dont want to admit this, when you wrote, i turned off my computer and then realised you had not replied, i felt insignificant because you forgot, this is my inner child. The adult me knows that this was not intentional and its totally ok that you done this and as soon as i said its ok i realise that its only ok because we dont know each other. in a real life situation, it would be huge but i wouldnt own up to it until i felt it a few times. I also have the same tendency, i say im going to do something and then dont see it through. when i decide to say something i mean it but then something happens, either change of circumstances or i feel fear again.

    What also happens when i am trying to be authentic when im communicating with another person, i get very stuck. my mind goes blank, i cant think what to say, i want it to be natural and to flow but it doesnt, initially it does.


    I liked what you said about  about finding your partner when you had nearly giving up hope of ever meeting anyone that would love you and you love them. i felt less alone as it was relatable about how you tried and tried in your relationships and you never got what you needed. it gives me hope that there has to be someone in this world that will love me properly. i do not want to hear love myself first because i beleive we as human beings are not meant to go through life alone. i am an expert at being alone, i need more people in my life but the older i get the harder it gets. Being alone without my daughter has brought on a kind of loss of identity. I dont feel like a mother so much now and what remains is the same loneliness that has always been there.

    I feel i drag people down when they get to know me just like you may be feeling drained. its strange because there is another part to me that has energy, so much love to give, im playful and brave. my daughter has seen this part of me and my neice and nephew but i hardly see them now. life is just too hard on your own all the time. im scared that the more alone i am the more i am becoming very self absorbed or worse maybe i already have been and i couldnt see it because i was in it. i do feel like a victim alot and i feel i have hung onto this because if im not a victim then who am i? i dont want to be nothing, i m not ready for that yet within my spiritual practice as esentially we are all one, this does not give me comfort as i have been denied a healthy ego. I am willing to go as deep as i can but the deeper i go the more i feel i come up against a wall. the wall that prevents me from connection, joy and confidence.




    Dear caroline:

    If I understood correctly, you thought that I forgot to reply to you first thing that morning? I did not forget. I thought about you first thing that morning. The reason I responded to other members first was because it was easier. Something about my communication with you is more difficult for me. I find some commonality with you that triggers me, makes me emotional. So I postponed what I felt was difficult.

    Same thing this afternoon. I answered a few other threads but yours, there is  too much in it for me to process quickly, it being the time of the day that I get away from the computer. I want to communicate with you, very much so. It is that it takes a lot out of me.

    And so, in about fifteen hours I will be back to the computer. And when I am back I will thoroughly read your post (read only part of  it so far) and will reply. Maybe first thing in the morning, maybe not, but in the morning nonetheless, in less than twenty hours from now.




    Dear caroline:

    What I am in touch with is my childhood and decades old experience of feeling unworthy. “unworthy” was your previous username.

    Unworthy, feeling insignificant to the extreme has been my lifetime experience. As a child, unseen, unheard, treated as if I didn’t matter, as if I was of no value, I didn’t think to myself: my mother is treating me as if I am unworthy. What I did think, without question, was: I am unworthy.

    I wrote to the extreme: as an adult, while being mistreated by another, I felt guilty for not bringing the other person more pleasure while mistreating me. I don’t want to give you a real example, too humiliating, so I will give you a made up example that is true in principle: if a person slapped my face hard with his hand, and my face turned red and bruised, I felt guilty for my face being of the wrong kind, to have caused his hand to hurt. If only my face was not as bony, if it was softer, then his hand wouldn’t hurt.

    Maybe I was thinking about this made up example because my mother did just that, she did hit my face with her hands and then she said: “look what you did to me, I can’t move my arms” (her arms being exhausted from hitting, that is)

    The feeling of being unworthy, there is rage in it. Intense rage. Hard to understand being able to hold in so much rage. I feel it and then my mind goes elsewhere.

    Back to you, the following are quotes, not in chronological order, from your threads and my initial thoughts. Initial because there is a whole lot more. If and where my understanding is not correct, please let me know:

    “it is so hard to raise a smile in (mother’s) presence and all my family for that matter. im sick of having to be strong and proving yourself… when I knew mum & dad were home from work, I would put on a pretence that I was busy and was ok, I was so ashamed”.

    Your parents didn’t give you a reason to smile. They gave you a reason to frown. But yet, you believed (as children do) that there was something wrong with you for frowning, as if they didn’t mistreat you (“my dad would put me down…my dad and my sister would make fun of my appearance.. my mum.. would  laugh along”). As if you were supposed to smile when made fun of.

    “I can’t trust anyone. when I think I can, I can’t”- because you were betrayed by the people you needed and loved most.

    More about your childhood experience: “they (family) feel so far away from me.. its like they can’t see the daughter that is still speaking to them right in front of their eyes!… I felt insignificant…ignored and there to please… frustrated and lonely.. so alone, lost and scared… they ([people) would either judge me, doubt me or criticize…I feel wounded… I feel angry and feel scared…im always in survival mode with people because if I show who I really am they will reject me and judge me” -We keep living as adults the same experience we had as children.

    You wrote: “I feel wounded so easily”- childhood wounds get triggered and they keep hurting. “I am afraid you (me, that is) would rather not respond to me and you do not like me and you think I am a bad.. fear is that is what they (people) will do to me, abandon me“-

    A child, when ignored, when alone, is afraid to lose the very little she does have, and be abandoned all together. There is no fear greater for a child than to be abandoned by his/ her mother. For a young, dependent animal in nature, to be abandoned by the parent means death, in nature (no food, no protection from predators, cold, etc.). It is an inborn, natural fear.

    “this is a pattern of mine, very eager to connect and then I withdraw”- to connect, a natural inborn need. And fear, also inborn.

    “I don’t want to be nothing”- neither did I want to be nothing. Because it wasn’t true. If I was nothing I wouldn’t be so angry at the thought of being nothing. I was angry all along because I was something all along, something treated like nothing.




    hello Anita.


    Once again i felt resistance in responding to you, not because i dont want too but anything where i am required to respond whether or not i want to or not, the resistance appears and its a big pain in my life but im getting better, very slowly. Today has been quite a tough day, had an interview for a job i didnt really want and i dont understand why they offered it to me but understandable anyone from all walks of life can get a job in the care industrry, the jobs that nobody wants to do. i went for it because i just need money, i dont want to go to the job centre more because i feel humiliated and if i have more money i dont need to depend on my family for support. i feel like such a burden. my mum hurt my feelings again today. the best way to describe is, when i am visibly showing how much disatisfaction, frustration and tiredness i was experiencing where my mum witnessed this, she just seems so fake, pretending to care, im not paranoid, i catch her rolling her eyes at my dad sometimes, she will be sarcastic like its ‘poor me’ and i need to just toughen up a bit, i get so many questions that i am expected to answer in the way that they would like but during these times im so emotionally spent that i cant think properly and i disapoint myself by not making sense which might make it appear to my family like im lying or im not trying hard enough. i still beleive ther is something wrong with me. ill give you a couple of some small examples. my mum sometimes offers me tea when i visit but she never has the milk that i like in tea. i usually bring my own but i dont always remember and we have even joked about it and she still wont buy it so i have to refuse tea sometimes. another one is i asked if i could use my mums bank card to pay a bill as i only had cash and the bill needed to be paid quickly, i gave her the cash quickly to reassure her i was paying and i didnt get a thankyou. i didnt like the way i was being, i was trying to be myself, not faking it like they want me too and both parents leave me feeling misunderstood. when they smile at me, im ashamed because i dont want to smile back, i feel guilty because there trying but i cant bare to pretend im happy when im not. there is so much to mention about my parents but i havent got the strength today to go into it.

    i sent my daughter a message tonight as she will be coming back home this weekend and i havent heard from her since last saturday where she decided not to come to stay at the weekend (she had a friends birthday sleepover but imy intuition told me she wants me to miss her and wants me to suffer)  the conversation tonight ended when i said im really looking forward to seeing you and i got no response so im feeling very rejected and a failure. once again i will have to fake it and pretend that im ok so she can be ok. i dont resent doing this for her as she needs this but i resent my circumstances and my limitations.

    Thanks for sharing about the time your mum mistreated you. it takes courage to share information where it can leave us feeling vulnerable. i dont judge you, i feel sad that happened and id like to say, as a guilty, flawed and abusive parent i have been at times, your mum was totally responsible for her actions, not you. i know you know this already but hopefully as another reminder it helps. i have been the angry mother who has to live with the guilt that it brings and i have also been slapped in the face by my dad so i can relate to what you said. i think you may have been younger than me so it would have been more damaging as i was in my teens but it still hurt nonetheless.

    i question what im living for at the moment. i feel so ashamed, scared and lonely. i want to feel i have value and something to offer. i used to think being a good mother was enough to give me purpose but this has not worked either. i want to write so much more but im so tired and its a miracle ive wrote this. ill try and write some more over the weekend. thanks for reading



    Dear caroline:

    I understand that you feel resistance to posting and that you are very tired, and so, I am okay with you posting when you do.. if you do. I am okay and will think well of you nonetheless.

    Thank you for your input about my personal sharing with you.

    You wrote, “when they (your parents) smile at me, I’m ashamed because I don’t want to smile back, I feel guilty because (they’re) trying but I can’t bare to pretend I’m happy when I’m not”-

    Your mother pretends, “she just seems so fake, pretending to care.. I catch her rolling her eyes”-

    she expresses that she disrespects you, doesn’t she, by rolling her eyes. I don’t think you owe her anything. You don’t owe her to reciprocate her fakeness. If only she showed you respect. She really did side with your father in the past, when he made fun of you. It wasn’t that she was afraid to defy him, she joined in. What a shame.

    What do you think about the idea of having no contact with her or with your father?





    thanks for your reply.

    I feel like you would rather not respond as you havent mentioned other things i have wrote. i am scared that i am being ridiculous for my reasons to be upset, this is why i need a different perspective with the examples i gave? do you think im being trivial? do you think it sounds like im being a spoilt brat?

    its confusing for me because today both parents have been quite supportive about my daughter as she has once again hurt me. she arrived before i was due to pick her up. it was great initially , we were both happy to see each other, she share with me issues at school, i empathised.  when she asked about a play station that i said i would get her (we both agreed that when i buy this she will move back home) i apologised for not getting it when i said i would because they have stopped my child benefit now she no longer lives with me, this opened up her view on how i live my life. she was putting me down about not working full time and being on benefits. i said to her im happy to hear her views and her opinions but she does not get to disrespect me and said she will have to put her phone away as that is the house rule (this is a big factor as to why i asked her to leave) she did not want to and i said well you will have to go back to your dads then. my mum and dad turned as this was happening unexpectedly and they were a bit involved as it seemed that she wanted their input. i kept trying to say lets put this behind us and start again as i really want to see you this weekend and we can do something nice together. she said ill see you sunday and i said i will see how i will feel. i didnt like it when she text her dad asking to pick her up and said’ill just say to my dad you threw me out’ i didnt rise to the bait but i have sent an email. the school have been in touch and apparently there was an incident at school so i will speak to them monday. she mentioned it but she made it seem like it was no big deal, she said she was just being silly. she is worried about her friend going on holiday as she will pretty much be feeling or possibly being alone at school and her best friend is moving away to a different school so i know she is going through alot of emotional turmoil.

    I was working with my dad today (occasionally i work with him) and in a very indirect way he was expressing how he is not wanting to be married to my mum anymore and i found myself encouraging him to separate as i want my parents to be happy. i have done the same with my mum before. my dad said among other things, ‘if it wasnt for the kids i would probably be gone’ i am always put in the position to give advice alot in my family and to my sister but its strange because i feel valued but then im not able to be myself. now i feel guilty for the feelings i have held against my mum today and she was kind by giving me a gift and being there (dad too) when my daughter was leaving.

    can you be really honest with me? im not saying you havent been so far but i feel your holding back?

    no contact with parents? when there being kind and caring, i cant imaging putting distance between us but other times like i have shared i want more than anything to do that because im hurt. regardless if they stay in my life or not i want to not have to rely on them for anything and have my own family.





    i realised after sending the last reply i didnt respond to all of what you said. when my dad made fun of me with my sister, i didnt always see my mums reaction as i was scared to look incase she was joining in, what i saw was her smiling and not saying anything, it was the not doing on her part i hated. i notice i seem to blame her more than my dad when it was my dad that was doing the harm and my sister. when my dad would call me thick and my mum, i would encourage my mum to stick up for us both and i would share very sheepishly that he upset me, she would stick up for me but i felt i had to badger her into it. my dad has done quite inappropriate things where he just always done what he wanted to do. sometimes i called him out on it but i always felt shame for doing it and felt bad for embarrasing him as a dad. surely though if i had the courage to assert myself with him things were not that bad for me. this is why i think im giving them a hard time. its very confusing especially as i am a parent myself.

    your probably thinking that im very immature for my focus being alot on my parents and still stuck in the dynamics of it all but its because im trying to heal. i can be very mature at times and i feel like i really have my head screwed on so to speak. if i had more of a support network i think my life would be completely different.

    im not sure how much to share with you so ill stop here and wait for your response. i do appreciate you taking the time to reply. your feedback is helping me learn about myself.



    Dear caroline:

    I am not focused this afternoon so I will re-read your two recent posts when I am back to the computer. I will be back to the computer in about 13 hours and will reply to you in less than 17 hours from now.

    I read your first two lines of the post before most recent. You mentioned that I didn’t respond to everything you wrote in your June 28 post, if I understand correctly. If you would like me to respond to something I missed on that post, will you  please repeat it in your next post, before I am back to the computer? If you do I will be glad to address it when I am back.




    Hello Caroline,

    I hear your pain and despair and would like to try to be of help. I have been a single mother. I have also had deep depression and anxiety disorder that was paralysing. I am doing quite well now but not without doing the work. I didn’t just take a pill, do 6 things and wake up fixed. So I do understand how hard it is. I’m willing to share what I learned if you are open to that. My anxiety had me wanting to curl up in the corner of stores, thinking that people were talking about me, feeling like someone from another planet, unable to reach people who cared, having visual hallucinations and generally out of control of my mind. Had lots of thought of suicide, lots of shame and false guilt, feeling like a burden.     I shared that because I want you to know I don’t stand in judgement.  I have been in the abyss that is depression/anxiety.       I also want to give you hope. It is possible to get better, to climb out of it. Let me know if you want some help with this.

    Here are some responses to what you’ve posted:

    Your mother. I think she does know you are in pain. This is her way of trying to help you out of it. Try to sit with that and feel it as love rather than judgement. You could say to her something like, “Thanks mum, I know you’re trying to help. I know I need a job, but right now I’m doing it so hard I’m having trouble coping with everything. Driving has become a problem because of my anxiety and I need to work on that first so that I can get to and from work.” Here’s how you could help me with this…….. Tell her about how guilty and ashamed you feel when this is brought up and you would like her to give you some space about it.  that you are already really aware of it and will do something about it as soon as you can.

    Your daughter: Unfortunately teen years are pretty crappy, with hormones raging, and her own issues going on in her head. She is the centre of her universe. Despite this she needs to treat you properly. The fact she came home to you when she was sick proves it’s where she truly wants to be.   Of course you need to set boundaries.

    ”I want you home with me. I love you. I want us to be okay here, to both feel like this is our home and we are safe here. For that to happen we need to work on being kind to each other. That means no more yelling from either of us. It also means that violence has no place here. If you can agree to that I would love you to come home. What do you think? How can we help each other to make that happen?

    You: That’s a longer road. I would start with your anxiety. I’ve learnt some good strategies that may help you if you want my help.   Here for you.




    Dear caroline:

    You are welcome.

    The example you gave, you mean the milk your mother doesn’t bother getting so that you can have tea with her? Is this the item you thought I intentionally ignored because it was trivial… oh, I understand as I am typing this. You thought I communicating to you, by not addressing this example, that it was trivial, that you were “ridiculous for my reasons to be upset” and that you are “being a spoiled brat”.

    No, this is not what I communicated to you. After responding to you yesterday, I took my daily long walk and I thought about your example. I remembered as  I walked that you shared before that you are vegan. Then I thought to myself: caroline probably takes almond milk (my second favorite) or cashew milk (my first favorite) or coconut milk (don’t use it) but definitely not cow milk, being vegan. Next I thought, still on my walk that your mother (rolling her eyes) may disapprove of your vegan choice and for that reason, she chose to not buy the milk you use. I thought to myself, still on that walk, that it was rude of her and how nice it is when a person bothers to accommodate another in this way. In other words, looking back at my thinking on the walk, as you can read, I thought and still think that your example is significant.

    To the rest of your recent two posts, the sentence that stands up for me is this: “can you be really honest with me? .. I feel you’re holding back”. I am honest with you. But this sentence is not about me, it is about the important people in your life, your mother and your father. They haven’t been honest with you. From rolling her eyes to choosing to not get your milk, your mother is not honest with you. She is holding back her thoughts and feelings from you, not me.

    You then projected her/ your father into me.

    “it’s confusing for me because today both parents have been quite supportive”-  they are not always not supportive, they are not always disrespectful to you and sometimes they are kind. Thing is, no one is always rude, always disrespectful. Every abusive person is sometimes kind. This is confusing until you figure human nature: that unlike cartoon characters that are always bad, real life people, however bad, or cruel, are sometimes kind, even to their victims.

    About your daughter: interesting she criticized you for “not working full time and being on benefits” after you chose, by having her live with her father, to no longer receive the child benefits you were receiving when she lived with you.

    You wrote that you empathized with her. This is a big item, in my mind, a mother empathizing with her child. I wish I experienced that myself. You apologized to her. I wish I experienced that as a child, my mother apologizing to me.

    She said: “I’ll just say to my dad you threw me out”- a dishonest manipulative move on her part (talking about honesty). Best, as you know, to not accommodate such moves, so to not encourage her to continue this behavior. Also, what difference will it make to you if she does tell him you threw her out. Her father does not think well of you already, as erroneous as his expressed thinking is.

    I have negative feelings about your father for having made fun of you repeatedly as a child, for hurting you that way, and I have negative feelings about your mother for enjoying his abuse of you, and in so doing, in smiling and later, rolling her eyes, abusing you as well. I believe your guilt toward any of them is unjustified (I understand it though as it is the nature of the child to feel guilty when abused by parents).

    It is not consistent with their expressed lack of valuing you, that they ask you for advice. So it may be that your father was just venting to you, not caring for your advice. He  didn’t ask you for advice, did he?

    I will stop here because my post to you is quite long. I hope you take your time reading it and I hope to read from you if and when you choose to post to me. If you do, let me know if you would like me to address anything I didn’t address. And otherwise, share anything you’d like. I will respond.


    • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by  anita.


    sorry ive taken a while to reply. ive wanted too sooner but i have had alot to deal with. its strange though that even though i feel i have alot on my plate, i say it loud to another person and its no big deal and i question myself, whats wrong with me? why cant i just go faster? why am i so slow even though i dont think i am. i am in conflict in my head triggered by other peoples responses.


    Thankyou for being  so open about your own personal struggles and taking the time to respond. when you feel really alone it means alot. it sounds like you have experienced so much pain and im sorry that you have. it sounds like you have learned alot from being a single parent whilst having anxiety and depression. I would like to hear what helped get you through if you still want to.

    i dont have it in me to say them words to my mum. its not about willingness as i could give many examples of times where i have tried to make amends or have taken responsibility when i shouldnt have and apologising first so i could feel ok and feel less guilty and of course not feel abandoned. just recently i have saw my mother in a way where i dont feel like i want to give very much to her at all now. if i was to say, again, it might seem like i should just get over it and stop being so sensitive but in my heart i know that i have to honour my feelings.

    whenever i am trying to be firm and boundaried with my daughter, she tries many ways to test me and she knows exactly when to do it too, normally when she knows im tired, in a hurry or feeling a bit down. over the last few days she has got physical with me, barged into me deliberately, threw my new phone, threw shoes, slammed doors really hard, wanting to argue and talking over me alot. she said she has no respect for me. her moods change daily when i have been seeing her. upto now whenever we have not been getting on, i send a text or call to make sure she is ok to reassure her that i still love her. tonight i text her to say i think its best at the moment she doesnt come to the house because of her behaviour but she can ring me whenever she wants. im scared this is a mistake but surely she needs to learn there are consequences to her actions. i guess you could call this ‘tough love’ i cant help but feel i have let her down.


    thankyou for your response.

    The milk example i gave is a way i feel loved by someone where they are considerate, i dont think its asking too much. when i have asked my mum about but she just gets defensive, loud and tries to humiliate me by making it seem like im being too sensitive. it happened recently. when i mentioned before about how my mum and dad turned up when my daughter did where she was putting me down for not working full time and being on benefits, my mum was being supportive by saying that i am never alone and i can rely on my parents for help.i asked my mum for help since and she has begrudgingly helped with my cats. without going into too much detail, it was quite stressful in the car bringing the cats over. she realised she had upset me, instead of me reacting like i have done sometimes  when i have felt emotional, i didnt say anything and she broke the silence. she tried to act like everything was ok between us, i didnt go along with it and then she said ‘are you gonna sulk now’. again i just didnt bite as i needed her help. i guess you could say i was faking it but i was just trying to keep myself calm and in control as i was worried about my cats. i always wonder if my mums behaviour is deliberate or not as its very subtle what she does. i could go on and on with examples but it would be quite dull to read.

    i realise now how much my daughter is manipulative. im really worried for her. i want her to have a good future and be a kind and caring person. even when we lived together she was putting me down about not working enough, she has done it for a while and not just about work. about the car i drove, our home not being modern or big enough. i beleive this is stemmed from her dad saying this to her over the years  as well as her cousins where my sister  & brother in law have had an attitude of me and house not being good enough.

    you are right about her dad not thinking well of me anyway so why should i care about what she tells him. perhaps its naive of me but the last few weeks he has been civil with his emails (this is the only way we communicate) and im trying to make peace so hopefully my daughter will stop manipulating us both and he wont put me down in front of her.

    when they made fun of me it really hurt and this is a big wound. im starting to feel a bit better in my own skin as im literally not afraid so much to show it as i want to feel good like everyone else and there not perfect. being self conscious has affected my confidence, my work performance and intimate relationships since i was very young.

    maybe my  dad was venting to me but if felt like he needed some guidance. my dad has never been consistent with what he has said, my mum is the same. my family keep secrets from each other, many conversations end with ‘dont tell __

    yes your right i am projecting my parents onto you. their not honest people and  i dont trust them.








    Dear caroline:

    Reads to me that you “don’t trust them”, your parents, that is, because they are “not honest people”.

    Your father “has never been consistent with what he has said, (your) mum is the same”. They “keep secrets from each other, many conversations end with ‘don’t tell__'”

    This means each of them lies when they feel that they need to lie,  to each other, and each one of them to you. Likely, your father and mother have conversations about you when you are not present (gossiping about you, that is), one telling the other to not tell you this and that. When your mother rolled her eyes, that was probably a signal to your father, referring him to a conversation they had about you relating to what you said right before she rolled her eyes.

    You wrote that when you asked your mother about the milk, “she just gets defensive, loud and tries to humiliate me by making it seem like I’m being too sensitive”-

    this means, to me, that she is not motivated to give you an answer to a question you ask, that her motivation is to defend herself from the discomfort she felt when asked the question by attacking what she believed to be the source of her felt discomfort: you.

    You wrote: “I always wonder if my mum’s behavior is deliberate or not as it’s very subtle”- I think that when she feels uncomfortable/ distressed by something you said or didn’t say, by an expression on your face, or lack of, she then aims at hurting what she perceives to be her enemy, at that particular moment, the source of her distress.

    In my experience, it is easier to imagine other people (not one’s parents) are dishonest and gossipy. It is difficult to hold it in awareness that my own mother or father, or both lie to me, gossip about me. Is it so for you?





    i find that if im feeling isolated and needing some connection then i gravitate towards my family where my needs are so great that my knowing of not trusting them is forgotton in the moment and then i soon realise that i have fallen into the trap as im always hurt or left feeling manipulated. you are so right about what you have said about my parents, it helps to hear it from your you as i have so much doubt. i want a life where i am not around them like i am and to get there means meeting a partner and i must be careful not to see this person as my potential saviour but as my equal partner. i want to be financially secure and confident in myself and to have friends that put in as much effort as what i put in but there no where to be found yet.

    i really appreciate being able to write on here and receiving the replies i have had.



    Dear caroline:

    What we need our parents to be, as children, is strong, capable, honest, loving people. When who they are is too different from what we need them to be, there is a gap. In that gap we make believe they are who we need them to be. We make believe we can make them be who we need them to be.

    In that gap, having no one else to turn to, we turn to them, again and again. We hold on hopefully to any sign, any little thing that looks like the strength, honesty and love that we need.

    Think of it, a young child, once realizing her parents are aggressive, not loving; dishonest not honest, what is a child to do? Leave the home and look out there for other parents? They are all we have. And so we are stuck, as children.

    Not figuring out what is going on, consumed with self doubt, we can’t really see ourselves and other people until we see our parents for who they are.

    How fortunate must be the people whose parents are who the child needs them to be. Still fortunate are those whose parents are not that different from who they need them to be, the gap being not that big.

    But when the gap is huge, the child, and adult child is in trouble. Serious healing has to take place so that one can see what-is. And take it from there.


    • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by  anita.
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